Matt has a question about promoting his podcast episodes with images of his celebrity guests.
I'm entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark, and this is Asked and Answered, where I provide answers to common legal questions, so you can take your career and business in entertainment to the next level…
Q: I'm curious about image usage. My podcast is a celebrity talk show, and I always create a title card for the episode using a headshot. Often, these are not provided and Google is where I find them.
I know the general assumption is that if it’s of the person you're featuring you're in the clear. But it's my understanding that's sometimes not the case because the subject may not be the rights holder to that image.
A: (address copyright, derive works, right of publicity, and approval rights)
I suggest you always get permission from the owner of the image you use. Google search is a dangerous approach.
Celebrities have images available for this stuff, so ask for one when booking them.
The agent, manager, or publicist should have no problem providing one. Ideally, then, when the guest signs that release, you'll be covered for the photo, too. If not signing a release, make sure you get them to SAY (on recording and/or in email) that they have the rights to the photo…
But if you're making major changes to the image (I.e., more than just cropping), the celebrities will likely expect an approval right. So it pays to run it by their representatives before going live. You don't have to actually ASK for approval, just say, “Here’s the image I'll be using to promote your episode”. If they have any issues, they'll certainly let you know.
So, that's it for this session. You can get that free podcast guest release that i mentioned at http://podcastrelease.com.
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