Can I use the likeness (real photo or one drawn by a artist) on a product I intend to sell for profit without the permission of the famous individual that's running for elected office and has had a television program? I've looked at this and it seems I may be ok because this can fall under free speech and the famous individual has no expectation of privacy having had a television show and currently in the spotlight as well. Please correct me if wrong. Thank you
1 Answer from Attorneys
No, no, NO! And given the likely correlation of this query to a known serially-litigious figure, you can expect to be sued until your ears bleed. Misappropriation of an image for commercial purposes is not protected free speech, but rather constitutes infringement of rights of publicity and also involves a false impression of sponsorship or affiliation that would be actionable under federal trademark law.