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Using a dead man's likeness for marketing - Should I?

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MoreVolume

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I'm making an addition to my company's line of products. I'm thinking up ideas for ads, and a pretty good one popped came to my head. It would involve a cartoon character, drawn in the image of Karl Lagerfeld. For legal reasons, id make sure to have the artist make changes so its not a carbon copy.

My target audience (fashionistas) LOVE that man. Unfortunately, he passed away not too long ago.

So long story short...in your opinion, would it be morally wrong to go ahead with this idea?
Do you think that the public would respond negatively to the ad?
 

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MJ DeMarco

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I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think you can without significant legal trouble. Right to publicity exists for celebrities, even dead ones. @AllenCrawley is also leveraging the likeness of a "dead person" and he had to get a license. You can't just draw a photo of Sinatra (or Lagerfeld) and call it your brand, or even in your marketing. You might not get caught, but I wouldn't...

Also look up the case law, Michael Jordan Vs Dominicks.
 

biophase

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I'm making an addition to my company's line of products. I'm thinking up ideas for ads, and a pretty good one popped came to my head. It would involve a cartoon character, drawn in the image of Karl Lagerfeld. For legal reasons, id make sure to have the artist make changes so its not a carbon copy.

My target audience (fashionistas) LOVE that man. Unfortunately, he passed away not too long ago.

So long story short...in your opinion, would it be morally wrong to go ahead with this idea?
Do you think that the public would respond negatively to the ad?

If it’s close enough that your audience knows who it’s supposed to be... then you’re infringing aren’t you?
 

Esquire

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The law on this subject varies from state to state. There is no uniform rule of law governing the issue. But ... I personally would not go there. In the states where the laws exist and are strong, you could be cruising for a bruising. Even if you win, how much do you want to spend on legal fees? And if you lose ... you'll be paying their legal fees as well ...

Not worth it. Run with Plan B ...
 

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