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Business Copyright Basics Fair Use and Public Domain Fair Use in the Real World

Question about whether work breaches copyright.. and if the work is copyrightable in itself.

I have created some T-Shirt designs by taking an original photograph of a celebrity (for example) and traced it to create an outline from which I create a stencil. All of the detail of this original has been lost, and in many cases to make the stencil make more sense as a stencil some detail has been added. In addition some text or slogan may have been added too. In short the final design may be reminiscent of the original work, but is far removed from it.

Is this legal? Is this fair? Is the subsequent work protected by copyright?

Thanks

Barry

2 Answers

This is definitely something you want to be careful with. Remember Shepard Fairey and the Obama poster? He was sued by the photographer even though what he did was probably within fair use. Using an image of a celebrity is different than a regular person, their image is their career.

I would probably not do it. Or you can contact their agent and ask for permission.

I would have thought it was the photographer I needed to request permission from, not the celebrity?