Personal Identities and the Law

Everyone automatically owns their own likeness. You don't need to formally apply or fill out any paperwork. This is called the Right of Publicity. This can be extended to other things like a quote that the person said. Just think about that. Everything that you have ever said is automatically copyrighted (assuming that it is original).

I had to go back to the artist and ask that we back the characters even farther away from the true likenesses. All character names were dropped favoring instead to just refer to what the character embraced. Additionally, the artwork needed to be further tweaked.

Thanks to a legal case in California we can use the "Albert" likeness as it is considered public domain now.  The court claimed this because it has been over 50 years since his death. Political figures have the "least" rights since they are in the public space already as opposed to an individual. For example, the major of NYC tried to stop his image on the side of a bus and lost.

More interesting reading on the topic:

Right of Publicity:
Einstein Case:
Jobs Lawsuit:
Obama's Personal Identity:

Disclaimer: I am not a lawer; this is not legal advice.


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