MAD Magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond writes an informative piece on creating art with someone’s likeness without infringing on copyright or the person’s right of publicity.
Doing a piece of caricature art of a famous individual or a cast of a TV show or movie and then attempting to sell reproductions of that art can bring either copyright or an individual celebrity?s ?right of publicity? into consideration of having been infringed upon. Copyright is the protection of the earning power of a piece of creative work or intellectual property. You cannot draw a picture of Mickey Mouse and sell it on T-shirts, that infringes on Disney?s copyrights. Right of publicity is the right of a celebrity to protect the earning power of his/her image. You can?t produce a T-shirt with a photo of Elvis Presley on it without the permission of the Presley estate (even if you had taken the photo years ago). It isn?t even necessarily about selling what you create, but more about protecting the infringed party?s rights to profit from selling something similar.