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Licensing Celebrities Images

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DangerousDave

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Apr 12, 2018
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My understanding is:
If I were to take a stock photo of some celebrity (let's say Kobe Bryant for example), and use it to draw a picture of him, and try to sell it commercially, I could get into legal trouble. Correct?
.. . Because he did not sign off or license it?

If that assumption is correct, using the above example, let's say I wanted to draw pictures of lots of NBA players and sell them, I would need to get licensing, right? Would that be through the NBA organization, or through the individual players?

And if I did want such licensing, does anybody have any idea of what that kind of licensing costs? I would guess it would depend on who you're drawing?
And short of that, does anybody know how to find out that information?
 
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Merging Left

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Read through the answers here:
Can I sell my own artwork depicting a celebrity - Q&A - Avvo

From what I've read, it seems that celebrities have what's called a "Right of Publicity," which is the celebrity's exclusive legal right to use their own image for commercial gain.

If you're wanting to sell a t-shirt with a player on it, you'll probably need to license both their celebrity image and the logo's on their jersey's. I don't know if the NBA already licenses or controls the rights to their player's images while playing the sport, but here's the NBA license application:
NBA.com: NBA License Application

As someone who is pursuing a license deal (not with athletes), I can tell you that as someone with no prior experience, they won't even give you the time of day. A company as large as the NBA will have ridiculous (7 figure?) minimum guarantees on their licenses.

NOW, since you mentioned Stock Photos, you'll need to be specific. On Shutterstock, for example, you can purchase a stock photo with commercial rights to profit from the image and use it for commercial purposes. I don't think I've ever seen celebrity's on there, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I suppose that could be a legal work-around. If the stock photo company truly has the right to sell that image and provide the commercial use of it, then I would think that you'd be covered. Ask a lawyer.
 

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Read through the answers here:
Can I sell my own artwork depicting a celebrity - Q&A - Avvo

From what I've read, it seems that celebrities have what's called a "Right of Publicity," which is the celebrity's exclusive legal right to use their own image for commercial gain.

If you're wanting to sell a t-shirt with a player on it, you'll probably need to license both their celebrity image and the logo's on their jersey's. I don't know if the NBA already licenses or controls the rights to their player's images while playing the sport, but here's the NBA license application:
NBA.com: NBA License Application

As someone who is pursuing a license deal (not with athletes), I can tell you that as someone with no prior experience, they won't even give you the time of day. A company as large as the NBA will have ridiculous (7 figure?) minimum guarantees on their licenses.

NOW, since you mentioned Stock Photos, you'll need to be specific. On Shutterstock, for example, you can purchase a stock photo with commercial rights to profit from the image and use it for commercial purposes. I don't think I've ever seen celebrity's on there, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I suppose that could be a legal work-around. If the stock photo company truly has the right to sell that image and provide the commercial use of it, then I would think that you'd be covered. Ask a lawyer.

Solid response
 
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