Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

I have pictures inside a celebrities house, of him and a girl. this picture i want to sell to the magazine, does he has any rights cause its taken inside his house, and hes not aware of the picture itself?

Asked on 10/10/14, 5:59 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.

Yes, there are at least two categories of rights that could prevent you from exploiting this photograph. One of the key points here is that the photograph was taken in a private home, rather than a public place. (The laws that apply to public places are different.)

First, a Right of Privacy. Everyone has a reasonable expectation of privacy in their own home. An exception to this might be where someone invites television or news photographers in to take photographs or participate in a program.

Second, a celebrity has a Right of Publicity. The very concept of celebrity treats individuals as "brands" and celebrities have an exclusive right to make money off their "brand." By selling a private, unauthorized photograph, you are taking away a potential source of income from this celebrity. (Surely you've heard of celebrities who are paid large sums of money for the first pictures of their newborns or weddings, for example.)

Depending on how aggressively this celebrity protects his image, you might be the target of a lawsuit. And, believe me, the cost of defending against such a suit will far exceed whatever amount you get for selling the photograph.

Understand that this is a limited and brief summary of a couple of rights that may apply. There may be other issues that enter into this, as well. For more information about these rights, which I broadly call "rights of personality," please see my DVD series, "What Every Filmmaker Needs To Know About the Law," available at .

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Answered on 10/13/14, 4:17 pm

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