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Question, if I take a picture of someone famous - say a MMA fighter - from my camera then make and sell a shirt of the picture - is this legal?
 

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Question, if I take a picture of someone famous - say a MMA fighter - from my camera then make and sell a shirt of the picture - is this legal?
No, this is not legal. It is intellectual property infringement.

If you took the pic, you would hold the copyright of the image. But all people - famous or not - have Right of Publicity, which grants them the exclusive right to profit off their own name and likeness. You would need license or permission to use it legally.

And in the case of MMA fighters, they probably already have sponsorship and merchandising agreements that would make getting permission difficult and/or expensive.

Hope this helps.
 

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people take pic's of celebrities and sell them to gossip magazines
Different mediums are governed under different laws.

Magazines are a form of communication, so selling and publishing pics is legal under privacy and media laws. T-shirts are a form of clothing, so using pics is illegal under intellectual property laws.
 

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Just a what if. What if printed on the shirt is something against a person or institution with the face of the person or a tradename or trademark also printed on it and worn in a protest action (like 30 or more people wearing the same shirt)? I am just curious because here, the shirt is used as a means of expression and not as clothing.

I am not planning to court legal action but woner if there have been precedent cases.
 

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Just a what if. What if printed on the shirt is something against a person or institution with the face of the person or a tradename or trademark also printed on it and worn in a protest action (like 30 or more people wearing the same shirt)? I am just curious because here, the shirt is used as a means of expression and not as clothing.

I am not planning to court legal action but woner if there have been precedent cases.
The law defines shirts as clothing, not as a means of expression. It may seem like a gray area in logical terms because people do like to use clothing to express themselves. But the law doesn't see it that way.
 

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When you say "public figures," are you referring to elected officials? Elected officials generally do not pursue legal action against right of publicity infringement. They don't officially waive their rights, they just choose to protect their reputation by avoiding the negative publicity of filing a lawsuit.
 

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I think most are elective officials but a few may be appointees. Not sure though but their names and faces, incluindg names of political parties, should show up in google under political tees, political shirts, etc.

So political expediency is the primary reason they don't sue.
 

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If one is to use that article as basis, where the qualifying factor seems to be "commercial purpose" and "commercial advantage", protest shirts or any other shirts given out for free or sold at cost seems exempted. Just thinking out loud and seeking legal counsel would still be the prudent way to go.

In the link provided by mark be sure to click other tabs. The following articles should be of particular interest to those planning to print graphic/cartoon/fictional characters Protection of Graphic Characters and [URL="http://www.publaw.com/graphical.html"]Protection of Fictional Characters[/URL]
 

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Aren't most lawsuits in this area for commercial reasons. ? I would believe so.
But anyone that decides to toe the gray areas of IP/Copyright/Trademark/etc law w/o talking to a lawyer is just asking for a court date and a big ol' headache.

Read carefully ,think hard, and see a lawyer.

Like my son likes to say 95 per cent of whats on the internet is made up by 5 perccent of the people who like to mess with your head.
 

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Aren't most lawsuits in this area for commercial reasons. ? I would believe so.
But anyone that decides to toe the gray areas of IP/Copyright/Trademark/etc law w/o talking to a lawyer is just asking for a court date and a big ol' headache.

Read carefully ,think hard, and see a lawyer.

Like my son likes to say 95 per cent of whats on the internet is made up by 5 perccent of the people who like to mess with your head.

That is very true. You will also be courting trouble by simply using a character that is similar, even not exactly the same, as a famous character. Win or lose, the mere fact that you are taken to court would be costly enough for most of us.
 
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