Right of Publicity – Have you ever thought about using a living or dead person’s name, image, photograph, or likeness on your website, or in your book, song, or play? If so, think again, or you may find yourself on the other side of a costly lawsuit.
The law prevents you from making money off of someone’s image or likeness. The right that a person has to protect their identity is called the right of publicity. It’s a form of intellectual property that applies to celebrities and non-celebrities, as well as to living and deceased individuals.
Each state makes its own rules regarding the right of publicity, but the general rule of law is that any person who uses a living or deceased personality’s name, voice, identity, signature, photograph, or likeness—in any manner, whether on products, merchandise, or other goods, or for advertising or selling, without prior consent is liable.
While there may be some exceptions to the general rule, it is best that you avoid even the appearance of violating someone’s right of publicity.
Here are 4 tips to help you avoid being sued:
- Ask for permission before using someone’s identity, name, photo, or story in your book, website, or other money-making vehicle.
- Have them sign a written Release before you interview them or use their identifying information.
- If they refuse to sign your Release, DON’T use their information.
- Make sure the Release includes everything you need to be protected (Internet boilerplate templates will not provide you with that protection).
Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker
Don’t miss Francine’s Latest Blogs:
- Scams and Scammers – How Do You Know ?Four Signs of Scams 1. Scams and Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know. Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might […]
- Wills and Trusts –They are ImportantWith over 600,000 people dead from CoVID related issues, having an estate plan is more important than ever. While most people have heard of wills and trusts, very few really […]
- Have You Thought of Setting Up a Non Profit?Contemplating forming a Non Profit organization or a Non Profit foundation? Considering qualifying as a 501(c)3 charity? 501 (c)4? 501(c)5? 501(c)6? 501(c)7? Other 501(c)? Not sure about the requirements? Let’s explore a few […]
- Scam Alert. Scammers are Out To Get You!IRS Scam Alert. Scammers seem to be targeting Americans at an alarming rate. I was the target of a scam attempt not too long ago. I received calls claiming to […]
- Consider Non Taxable Gifts in 2021Non Taxable Gifts not Included in Your Taxable Estate In this current political climate, it’s easy to be frightened away from making Non Taxable Gifts or tax-free gifts, medical payments, […]