Q: Is it legal to sell Michael Jackson tshirt, muhamad Ali tshirt, frida kahlo tshirt online, can I get in trouble for that
I own a small ecommerce website where I sell some items bearing the names of very famous people from the past, like Michael jackson, muhamad ali, marilyn monroe, etc, can I get in trouble for doing that? A corporation recently contacted me regarding using the name of Frida Khalo on my site, she is a famous mexican painter, a very inspirational figure, she has been dead since 1954, they ask me to remove all mentions of her name from my site, what should I do?
Maybe yes. If you are duplicating her image, likeness or name (signature) you may be violating trademark/copyright laws.
You need to speak with a patent/trademark attorney on this topic as that is a specialized area of law
Ayesha Chidolue agrees with this answer
A: Perhaps. Privacy and publicity rights protect personal interests of the people who are represented in, or by, the work so in this case the artists you mentioned above. There are a few states currently that have statutes where the right of publicity survives the death of the person and protection could be as long as 100 years. The other area you would need to consider is where you are getting the images of these celebrities to place on your t-shirt and if you are violating the copyright of the image owner. I suggest you contact an IP attorney to examine your own particular case to determine if you are violating any rights.
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