Legal Question in Intellectual Property in New York

Can you use a historical figure that has been dead for more than 50 years to advertise a product that is clearly not from this century and they wouldn't have the cognitive knowledge to endorse?

Asked on 9/11/14, 7:18 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

The issues fall under publicity and privacy rights, which are causes of action under state law.

You cannot use the image or likeness of a person to promote your goods or services, especially a famous person who may have even greater protections, without their permission. About a dozen states even extend these rights to dead persons ranging from 10-100 years after they die and which would be enforced usually by their estates.

This may not pose a problem for, but it is certainly possible, so before investing anything in this I would clear it with your own counsel first.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section):

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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Answered on 9/12/14, 6:09 am

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