Celebrity Photo on small eCommerce Website

I am starting a small website to sell women’s accessories. It’s a very small site and no financial backing, all of out of my pocket. I want to use pictures of celebrities to help buyers identify their fashion sense by picking their

Asked on May 27, 2017 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you need to get permission:
1) You cannot use another person's image--especially a celebrity's--for you commercial gain (e.g as part of your e-commerce website) without their permission: you can be sued for this.
2) The photographs are undoubtedly trademarked, either by the celebrity or by the photographer, and so if you use those specific photos without permission, you are violating copyright and could be sued for that, too.
Try contacting the celebrities' press or marketing offices, to find who to speak to about this. Be warned: big celebrities likely charge a lot for the use of their image.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.