[Foundation-l] Celebrity pictures

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Tue Aug 29 01:09:23 UTC 2006

On 8/28/06, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
> Anthony wrote:
> >On 8/28/06, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
> >>Has anybody so much as investigated industry standards about the use of
> >>album covers or the publicity shots of celebrities?  The entertainment
> >>industry if infamous for protecting what it believes to be its
> >>copyrights.  Have there been any cases regarding this kind of material?
> >>What can we do to free this borderline material?
> >>
> >>
> >I don't know of any such study.  But if one is done it should look at
> >both sides.  Has anyone lost a case over it is one question.  But
> >another is whether there are companies in jurisdictions which don't
> >have fair use that are using publicity shots without permission in the
> >first place.
> >
> I was afraid you would come back with something like that. :-)
> Perhaps more significant than whether anyone has lost is whether any
> such case has ever been filed.  Given that they are distributed for the
> specific purpose of publicity there could be an implicit permission.
If you're using the image for the purposes of promoting the person.
If, on the other hand, you're using the image to sell an encyclopedia
article which portrays the person in a way which they don't want to be
portrayed, then there probably isn't implicit permission.

Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but even here in the US where we have some
very strong fair use and first amendment rights, I still wouldn't feel
comfortable selling an encyclopedia with the current [[Lindsay Lohan]]
article in it, without first receiving permission from the copyright
holders of the images.
in case it changes before this is read)

> >As a tangentially related case, the John Dillinger Museum in Hammond,
> >Indiana lost a lawsuit over the "right of publicity", "which restrict
> >the use of someone's image or name for commercial purposes".  It seems
> >John Dillinger's family doesn't want the museum portraying him as a
> >murderer.  http://www.artsjournal.com/artfulmanager/main/008254.php
> >
> The article that you mention also suggested that this museum is somewhat
> trashy.  People who might find such a museum acceptable often don't act
> unless things get trashy.  Similarly, people who never saw their writing
> as money-making might be okay with a tasteful infringement of copyright
> may change their tune if they find the usage disrepectful.
> The right of publicity may be a dubious theory.  Wasn't this the issue
> in the case that WMF-de won in Germany?  Major League Baseball has not
> been doing very well with this argument in its attempt at preventing the
> use of its statistics by fantasy leagues.  They had already given up on
> the argument over copyright infringement because it's expression and not
> information that is copyright.
Frankly I think that case could be probably be won by the museum on
appeal, if they spent enough money fighting it.  Besides, there are
always going to be crazy jurisdictions (like Indiana, apparently) with
laws so out of touch with reasonableness that we just can't follow
them.  But when it comes to finding a free image of Lindsay Lohan, for
example, I just don't think it's difficult enough to not insist on it.

As for relying on the copyright holder of the image finding the
Wikipedia article "respectful", well, I just think that's a horrible
thing for us to even have to consider.  Would Linsay Lohan (*) object
to our portrayal of her in "Media spotlight"?  I don't know, and I
don't care.


(*) Who apparently has become the example of the day: I typed in
[[Jody Foster]], and was pleasantly surprised that there were no
"publicity photos", just two film screenshots.  Then I clicked on the
[[category:Former child actors]] and found Lindsay Lohan.

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