Sunday, June 02, 2019

Flattery Will Get You.... In Trouble

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery... until they call it plagiarism or copyright infringement.

And then, there are famous hairy features, attractive hairy features, mind you. If you pay homage to such things for fame and profit, you might violate a famous person's valuable rights to publicity.

Legal bloggers Linda A. Goldstein and Amy Ralph Mudge blogging for the law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP discuss  the lost case of iconic eyebrows and a product named without permission.

Celebrities forfeit a lot of personal privacy by virtue of being celebrities, but they retain the right to profit from their own personas--or to prevent others from exploiting their names and likenesses for commercial gain.

This pdf from Alan L. Friel of BakerHostetler is interesting reading.

This writer's takeaway for authors is, never, never reveal that your hero's bedroom eyes were inspired by a famous living actress, or that your heroine is based on a reality star.

Also, if you want a famous person on your cover, be sure you have all rights.  Cover heroes can be tricky absent a signed, written agreement.

And then, there is the problem of asking for flattery, aka incentivizing reviews. Just because a lot of your competition does it, does not make it legal and safe.  The "best" reviews are freely given, not solicited and not paid-for.

Legal bloggers  Leonard L. Gordon  and Tyler Hale blogging All About Advertising Law for Venable LLP  explain.


Although authors may not think that the FTC case about free food in exchange for a screenshot of a flattering review applies to them, it well might.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

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