Knoxville, TN asked in Business Law and Trademark for Tennessee

Q: If I download a photo of actors and edit it to make it look like a sketch or art, can I use it commercially?

If I download a photo of actors or musicians or other public persons and edit it to make it look like a sketch or art, that makes it look significantly different, can I use it for commercial projects like T-Shirts or Mugs?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: Given that most famous people have the Right to Publicity, meaning how they exploit their own fame, you will not be able to use their likeness without their permission. Best to consult with local business/intellectual property counsel to understand fully what the Right to Publicity entails.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Miami, FL

A: Intellectual property rights include the exclusive rights to copy, reproduce, distribute, as well as create derivative works. In addition to possible violations of the actors/musicians' rights to publicity and rights to control and exploit their likeness, your commercial use may also constitute infringement of the photograph owner's copyrights since you are preparing a derivative of the photographs without permission and for commercial use. Definitely speak with an attorney.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: Don't do it

they have the rights to their image, so they can come after you

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