Would I get in trouble....

by mbmediadesigns 5 replies
Hey guys!

Would I get in trouble for selling a product
labeled as something like....

"Obama type tie" or something like that.

Am I allowed to use a famous figures name referencing
something that is or is in resemblance to something they own or wear ?

Thanks : 0
#ecommerce sites, wholesaling & drop shipping #trouble
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    The answer lies on how that name is being used. If it is being used to make a political or satirical point, chances are, you are good to go. If the name or likeness is being used solely for promotional reasons, you could definitely be sued. This article briefly touches on it - Can Hillary Clinton stop companies from selling Halloween masks of her face?

    Also keep in mind that politicians rarely sue in cases like these because ... well ... it's just plain, bad politics!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fredbou
    If you say something like" Would you like a tie such as Barack Obama wears?" I don't see a problem. It's not insulting or political or demeaning, etc.

    I suggest that the criterion should be if the person himself/herself would be offended by a comment/statement that you make.

    Interesting question!
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by Fredbou View Post

      If you say something like" Would you like a tie such as Barack Obama wears?" I don't see a problem. It's not insulting or political or demeaning, etc.

      I suggest that the criterion should be if the person himself/herself would be offended by a comment/statement that you make.

      Interesting question!
      It really has nothing to do with whether a politician would be offended. The First Amendment protects your right to insult and offend a politician. The issue is whether their name/image is being used solely for commercial reasons with no commentary or satire involved.

      Selling a T-shirt with just Obama's face on it would set you up for a lawsuit because you are using his likeness without permission solely for the purpose of profiting from it. Selling one that had his face with some sort of political message (pro or con) or altering his image to make a political statement would be allowed because you are using the image in a free speech context to make a point.
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  • Profile picture of the author mbmediadesigns
    Thanks guys! I appreciate it....

    I just used obama as an example. It's nothing political.
    I guess a better one would be if I had a dress to sale
    that was created to resemble one that Rihanna had on.
    And I titled it as "Rihanna type dress"

    So what I got from you guys is. If it doesn't promote a negative
    outlook on that person, then it's ok...

    Thanks again!!
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by mbmediadesigns View Post

      So what I got from you guys is. If it doesn't promote a negative
      outlook on that person, then it's ok...

      Thanks again!!
      No, that is not the point at all. Generally speaking, you cannot use the likeness of ANY person or their name to promote a product without the approval of that person. The exceptions to that rule involve when that person is a "public entity" and they are being used in a way to express an opinion.

      Even then, a lawsuit could ensue but it is one that you would stand a good chance of winning. That is, if you could afford to hire the lawyer.

      In the case of politicians, they rarely even consider a lawsuit because the political ramifications of suing someone are worse than any positive outcome they could derive from a settlement in their favor.
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