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

Answers:

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.


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