Middletown, CT asked in Copyright for Connecticut

Q: Can I create digital art of president Trump?

I am a digital artist and want to create some portrait digital art from an Associated Press photo of president Trump.

I asked AP to see if it is ok to use their photo. Also, even if AP says it is ok to use it, will there still be legal issues to use a portrait of president Trump in my art?

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1 Lawyer Answer
John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Milford, CT
  • Licensed in Connecticut

A: If you are making another piece of artwork from an existing photograph, be aware of the idea of derivative works. The owner of a work has the exclusive right to make derivative works of their work. A derivative work is an adaptation of the first work, or also considered “based on” the first work. Therefore, make your art original, not based on the first work – or changed so much it wouldn’t be seen as based on the first work. Also, there is the right to publicity – or right to one’s likeness. This right to publicity is based in common law, and varying state statutes.

This answer includes generalizations and there are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship. Consider hiring an attorney to review the specific facts to your situation.

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