Is it a trademark infringement to use a copyrighted picture of myself that resembles someone famous?

I have a copyrighted picture that resembles someone famous. As long as my name is on it and it’s copyrighted, can I still resell it, use it in print, etc without worry of trademark infringement?

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Possibly not. The issue is whether the picture would confuse people as to its origin--i.e. as to who it is. If confusion is likely--i.e. you look so much like celebrity X--then there might be violation of both trademark and also the celebrity's right to control his or her own image. Of course, this is a situation-dependent issue; if it's sufficiently obvious--e.g. you have your name and various disclaimers very prominently on the picture--then you may well be ok; but if there is any reasonable possibility of confusion as to whom the picture is of, then that's when difficulties could arise. So therefore, if you're hoping people would buy the picture because they think it's the celebrity, that's when you get into difficult ground.


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