The case of female celebrity images being used without permission is not new. There have been victims of copyright in the past, and you certainly do not want to be one of them in the future. Downloading and using celebrity photos in the Internet must not be taken lightly. You cannot simple get them from Google and use them in any way you please, especially those with great commercial value. You have to get the right license and permission to use them.
Did you know that you can be sued for using the name or likeness of another? In most states, you can be sued for using female celebrity images without permission for an exploitative purpose. That’s what a lawyer has been pushing through with Google for the alleged nude photos of female celebrities. Also, you can get in trouble when you use their photos or names for commercial purposes, such as advertising and other promotional activities.
The Chang Case
Are you familiar with the case of Alison Chang? Her parents filed a lawsuit in 2007 against Virgin Mobile Australia for the company’s use of Alison’s image in a commercial setting. The said image was taken from Flickr’s Creative Common with Attribution license. From a copyright perspective, it gave the mobile company permission to use the image as long as it gives attribution to the photographer who took the photo.
Virgin Mobile used the image to promote its free text messaging and other mobile services without asking permission from Alison and her parents to use her image. The parents sued the company for misappropriation of her likeness and violation of her right of publicity. Although the case was subsequently dismissed, it should serve as a warning for those who plans to use female celebrity images to worry about copyright law, misappropriation, and right of publicity.
In conclusion, you should never use someone’s name or photo in promoting or advertising a website or blog without their permission. The same applies with creating merchandise you plan to sell to the public. If you want to write an article or blog about a female celebrity, you can browse through stock photo websites. They have photographs covered from social events, with license for editorial use. It is a good practice to obtain consent, especially if your purposes are promotional or commercial.
The Chang case and other copyright violations should serve as a lesson for you to purchase and download your female celebrity images from the right sources. If you want to avoid getting sued in the future, only use images with the right license and obtain consent from the right people. Keep in mind that the right to publicity is not to be taken lightly. It can bring you serious reputational and financial damages.