Can I legally start a party-planning business centered around a popular fictional characterusing names, characters, and likenesses?

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Can I legally start a party-planning business centered around a popular fictional characterusing names, characters, and likenesses?

I would like to use all of the character’s names, places, and any general information used in the books and movies. Since everything related to the character is copyrighted, I want to tread lightly. I have seen books (being sold for profit) and other publications (like websites) using them but those have disclaimers on every item or site saying that they are in no way affiliated with the author or movie production/distribution company. I don’t plan on selling any items but I want to give away items with a likeness on it as a prize. Is that legal?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Missouri

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Before you proceed futher on your venture, you need to consult with a business attorney about the copyright issues that you already see being a possible problem for you.

My understanding of United States copyright laws is that if an item is validly copyrighted, a person who does not have a written license or permission to use the item copyrighted cannot use it in any shape, way, form or manner without being subject to violating the copyright. Giving away for free items that are copyrighted without permission of the owner also would constitute a copyright violation.

Trademarks also go hand in hand with copyright issues. Potentially your venture could also violate a registered trademark.

You do not want to become involved in a copyright or trademark infringement lawsuit. They are very expensive to defend and the damages for their violation can be significant.

 

 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Before you proceed futher on your venture, you need to consult with a business attorney about the copyright issues that you already see being a possible problem for you.

My understanding of United States copyright laws is that if an item is validly copyrighted, a person who does not have a written license or permission to use the item copyrighted cannot use it in any shape, way, form or manner without being subject to violating the copyright. Giving away for free items that are copyrighted without permission of the owner also would constitute a copyright violation.

Trademarks also go hand in hand with copyright issues. Potentially your venture could also violate a registered trademark.

You do not want to become involved in a copyright or trademark infringement lawsuit. They are very expensive to defend and the damages for their violation can be significant.

 

 


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