Do I need to get permission to use names of well-known athletes on T-shirts for a fundraiser for a non-profit?

UPDATED: Apr 8, 2015

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Do I need to get permission to use names of well-known athletes on T-shirts for a fundraiser for a non-profit?

If it’s shaped as a donation with a gift of the shirt, does that make any difference?

Asked on April 8, 2015 under Business Law, Virginia


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You will need to obtain the written consent of the athletes to use their names on T-shirts.

If you don't have their written consent, you will be sued for invasion of privacy.  Invasion of privacy is the use of one's name or likeness for commercial purposes without consent.

It is irrelevant that the use of the names is a donation with the shirt being a gift.

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