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Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

 
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 6:36:06 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Does anyone know if I can print t-shirts with politicians' names without their consent? I wanted to print some of my own shirts with slogans containing mayoral candidates' names.
 
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 6:44:20 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Technically, using their name or likeness without permission is a violation of their right of publicity and they can sue. However, elected officials typically do not pursue legal action because they do not want any negative media attention. So you can probably get away with it, but it's important to understand there is some level of risk.
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 6:58:57 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

I think you can use their name as your T-shirt is protected just like a newspaper. Now depending on what you say about them can get you in trouble.
 
 
Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 7:08:21 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

pretty much political figures are open game. there is not much they can do to you unless you pose a threat. even the guy that had a palin dummy hanging in a noose at his house couldn't be touched.

Sarah Palin effigy hung by noose in Halloween display - Telegraph
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 7:15:13 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali514
I think you can use their name as your T-shirt is protected just like a newspaper.
Not sure about Canada, but this is not true of US law. T-shirts are salable goods, not a source of news information.

Salable goods are governed under the Lanham Act, which protects trademarks and right of publicity.
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 7:21:00 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Thanks for pointing out the distinction. The law in Canada use to be like the US on this matter but a case went to the supreme court and was thrown out. This doesn't mean that the vendor might not be sued for defamation or libel or is it slander I can never get it right lol.
Aren't newspapers sale-able goods.
 
Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 7:25:45 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali514
Aren't newspapers sale-able goods.
Are they tangible goods sold to consumers? Yes. But are they governed under the Lanham Act? No.

The law draws the line.

Newspapers are considered a media source, like tv and radio. Not a salable good, like t-shirts.
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Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 7:34:56 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by binki
pretty much political figures are open game.
Slippery slope. Political figures do not give up their Right of Publicity. They can sue if they choose to. They just usually choose not to. Fine line, but important to understand the risks and not just make assumptions.

Right Of Publicity » President Obama infringements?

Quote:
Originally Posted by binki
there is not much they can do to you unless you pose a threat. even the guy that had a palin dummy hanging in a noose at his house couldn't be touched.

Sarah Palin effigy hung by noose in Halloween display - Telegraph
I think you may be confusing Right to Privacy and Right of Publicity.

Elected officials give up right of privacy when they take office (or even run for office). So yes, unless you pose a threat, there is low risk of legal action.

But right of publicity is completely different. It specifically protects a person's name and likeness when used on merchandise. Elected officials do not legally waive these rights at any point.
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Last edited by kimura-mma; May 18th, 2011 at 07:40 PM..
 
Old May 18th, 2011 May 18, 2011 8:22:35 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use politician's name on my t-shirt without his permission?

Thank you everyone for your replies.
 






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