Can I use the names of living people in a podcast if they have already been published?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I use the names of living people in a podcast if they have already been published?

I am creating a podcast that will re-tell stories already published by news
outlets. These will include names of living individuals, who are not celebrities.
Do I need consent to use their name if it is already publicly available?

Asked on November 13, 2017 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, if a person's name is already in the news, you can retell the story or article about them without their consent. Just be careful to not defame anyone: if you make an untrue factual statement about a non-celebrity which damages their reputation, even if you do so innocently or by repeating what you heard elsewhere, you could potentially be liable for defamation. Be sure of your assertions.

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 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.

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