Do I need permission to use images of famous people

by 19 comments
Hello fellow warriors,

is anyone ofay with the legal side of using images of famous people E.g. Justin Timberlake, Angelina Jolie etc...
The web is literally plastered with pictures and the majority combined with the intention to make some cash.

Do images on the google search engine have restrictions?

I'd like to start a project which manipulates images but where is the limit. Naturally I'm not talking of any hard core or offending stuff.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

Thanks
TW
#internet marketing #famous #images #people #permission
  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    All pictures are subject to normal copyright restriction including those in Google's image search. If you use an image without the appropriate rights, you could end up in legal trouble.

    Will
    • Profile picture of the author Winlin
      Originally Posted by Will Edwards View Post

      All pictures are subject to normal copyright restriction including those in Google's image search. If you use an image without the appropriate rights, you could end up in legal trouble.

      Will

      As Will points out "All pictures are subject to normal copyright restriction". It's a fallacy to believe that once someone becomes "Famous" (a subjective concept) that all images of them become a part of the public domain.
      -Proceed with caution...

      -winlin
  • Profile picture of the author jonasgr
    As Will said they are subject to copyright restriction, or well most of them. You should use royalty free pictures, to be safe.
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    1. Celebrity images are treated as trademarks worldwide.

    2. All human beings in the United States are endowed with "natural trademark rights" in their own likeness and identity.

    3. Don't ask for legal advice on forums. The above facts should help you answer your own question. If those facts are insufficient, consult an attorney.
    • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      1. Celebrity images are treated as trademarks worldwide.

      2. All human beings in the United States are endowed with "natural trademark rights" in their own likeness and identity.

      3. Don't ask for legal advice on forums. The above facts should help you answer your own question. If those facts are insufficient, consult an attorney.

      Thanks,

      It's not a case of asking for direct advice, more a question of "what have you experience in this area"
  • Profile picture of the author abubakar89
    do not just save from google search. Go to actual website and then save it for your own use.
    For example if you reach a photographers website in this situation those images will have copyrights and you are not allowed to use them.

    A little research can save you from big trouble in the end

    I hope this helps
    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by abumadni View Post

      do not just save from google search. Go to actual website and then save it for your own use.
      Another smart....

      What is the difference between stealing from G. or from the original site?
    • Profile picture of the author FredJones
      What most others have said is what I believe too.

      If you cannot do without the pics, how about trying to get written permissions from the celebrities? I think its unlikely that you shall get one but if it is a show-stopper then you might as well try because you probably cannot lose by making a written request.
  • Profile picture of the author sadiecopywriter
    I used to be active in the visual arts world and this question came up all the time. Artists always want to use pictures of celebrities in their paintings or sculptures.

    A friend of mine did actually get sued for this and she explained the rule this way to me; (After she lost.)

    If it's a person who makes a living off their image, like a movie star, TV star or music star than they can and do have the right to sue you. (That's where she made her mistake.) The same is true is it's a TV/movie character.

    However if it's someone who is just famous and is not in the entertainment industry, like a politician, then you can use their image all you want.

    They make their money on their deeds, not their image, so unless you're saying slanderous things about them, using their image doesn't actually hurt their ability to make a living.

    That's why it's different from the entertainment industry. People pay a lot of money to use the images of entertainment celebrities. This is how they earn their living. It's called 'licensing'.

    While many won't sue you, they all have a right too, and it only takes one sue happy celebrity to ruin your life.
    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter View Post

      If it's a person who makes a living off their image, like a movie star, TV star or music star than they can and do have the right to sue you. (That's where she made her mistake.) The same is true is it's a TV/movie character.
      Again, that's regarding the "personality/trademark" rule ... there's still the copyright to think about, separately/additionally.

      Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter View Post

      However if it's someone who is just famous and is not in the entertainment industry, like a politician, then you can use their image all you want.
      But not if you don't own the copyright to the photo.

      The photographer/agency who owns it can still sue you for breach of copyright, whether the person depicted is famous or not.

      It's like any other content you don't own, in that regard.

      I'm no lawyer, Sadie, but I do think your friend has misinformed you, here. If she thinks it's ok just to "take" and use a photo of someone, and the fact that the person isn't famous will protect her from a lawsuit over breach of copyright, I'd advise her to have a little re-think about that proposition, I really would. The "You can use their image all you want" part doesn't sound right to me, at all. It can't be, really, if you think about it, can it?
  • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
    Thanks everyone....I don't don't believe I ever changed a business concept so quickly! Thank goodness I have a plan B

    cheers
    TW
  • Profile picture of the author Mike McLeod
    Guess you should got permission from the photographer, the likeness of the famous person is their property.

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