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What are the legalities of selling cartoons with the likeness of a celebrity?

MAD Magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond takes on the following question in a “I’m not a laywer, but a cartoonist” fashion:

I know from reading your blog that a caricaturist can use caricatures of celebrities to display their work, but cannot sell them due to the celebrity “owning” their likeness, and that it is not worth the hassle of getting into legal trouble doing it. Having said that, an artist sold a painting of a nude Bea Arthur a few months back- Don’t the same rules apply? Or are exemptions made for “fine” art?

Community Comments

#1 birdie Birdashaw
September/18/2013
@ 8:55 pm

I believe there is a rule of parody/satire that is used in these situations. I’m pretty certain political cartoonists can sell their original artwork despite it being illustrations of famous people.

#2 Jerry Dowling
October/1/2013
@ 11:32 am

I’m publishing a book which is a collection of cartoons and caricatures of Hollywood personalities. The book will be sold in stores and online. There are over 400 drawings in it. Do I need license permission to do so? That would be overwhelming cost wise.

#3 ???? ?? youtube
October/16/2013
@ 1:57 am

tory burch ??

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