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TheCommissionClothing
05-24-2006, 05:10 PM
Hi everyone. I'm new to this site so I hope someone can help me with my question. I want to use a likeness of someone who has past away on an article of clothing. There is an estate who has the rights to his likeness. I want to give away this article of clothing to 25 powerful people who can market my clothing line. There will be no exhange of currency at all. They wear the clothes and I in turn reap the rewards of promotion. If there is no money exchanged, can I still be sued?

BusinessMan
05-25-2006, 02:01 AM
IMHO the answer is almost certainly yes. Courts aren't stupid, and bear in mind that giving the clothes away, in return for advertising the logo/image for you, is essentially trade.

Also, you don't have to make money to breach trademark/copyright/etc legislation.

oxpaulo
01-20-2014, 04:45 PM
Hi everyone. I'm new to this site so I hope someone can help me with my question. I want to use a likeness of someone who has past away on an article of clothing. There is an estate who has the rights to his likeness. I want to give away this article of clothing to 25 powerful people who can market my clothing line. There will be no exhange of currency at all. They wear the clothes and I in turn reap the rewards of promotion. If there is no money exchanged, can I still be sued?

Yeah you need to get permission from the estate, it's as simple as that. Like BusinessMan said, even if you don't make money from it, you can still be sued.

nick87
01-22-2014, 04:36 PM
Yeah you need to get permission from the estate, it's as simple as that. Like BusinessMan said, even if you don't make money from it, you can still be sued.

This is correct. It would still be considered copyright infringement, and, in the worst case scenario, if they don't like what you're promoting, they may also be able to get you for defamation. Contact the estate and get written legal permission. If you use somebody's likeness even for an obituary without the permission from the estate, you can have a lawsuit headed your way...and even if you're lucky enough not to lose the lawsuit, the fees you'll be paying for the lawyer and court fees will still be enough to severely damage your business.

MLeoCasas
01-27-2014, 09:56 AM
Rule of thumb; if what you're doing is linked in any way to for-profit marketing then copyright law applies. The only real exceptions are if you're using the copyrighted material for the purpose of parody (and then only in specific circumstances, or if you're using it for the purpose of education.

So, yes, what you're talking about would most certainly make you liable to the company that holds the rights to this person's likeness. You could, hypothetically, dispense these t shirts as gifts with no mention or implied intention of these big shots wearing them to market your brand....but it's a dangerous semantics game you'd playing. I'd advise you to forget the thing entirely and focus on the strengths of your own brand.

CSomm
02-17-2014, 12:41 PM
Yeah, i'm going to have to side with everyone else on this issue. You might get away with it (if the estate doesn't find out, or doesn't care) and that's a risk you'd have to take, but if they do decide to take legal action, you'd most assuredly lose. I can't recommend this, mostly because I'm sure you can come up with a better idea, one that doesn't bring you a lawsuit.

On the other hand, a lawsuit is a lot of promotion for your company if used correctly with the media, so if you're looking at it like a "cost of doing business" thing, you could do worse than being sued by the estate of a celebrity.

Lostvalleyguy
02-28-2014, 08:30 PM
Yes, get permission. The fact that you are not receiving money may make it more of a challenge for the estate to put a number on the damages, but will not help you in the long run. There is an inherent value in advertising. If you make money as a result of the advertising campaign then that money would be subject to a lawsuit.

mameeker@cuse
03-01-2014, 05:33 PM
Yes, you must secure the rights to use the likeness if the person. If not you will be sued.