Recently, I was asked the following (edited) question through the http://www.rightofpublicity.com query forum: “I would like to use Michael Jackson’s image as well as (possibly) some of his song titles in conjunction with a line of specialty products. Do I need a license from Jackson’s estate?
My answer: Yes, a product like you describe would require a license from Jackson’s estate. Use of Jackson’s image implicates his right of publicity, which is a right that typically survives the death of an individual. Also, if you intend to make use of his music, album covers or song titles, then a license may also be required from the music publisher of that particular song or album. In these instances, it is advisable to proceed only after covering all the bases with respect to the intellectual property rights that are potentially implicated via a product line like you are contemplating.
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