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Other >> Copyright Forum >> Do I need permission?
(Message started by: paradyforprofit on Oct 20th, 2006, 8:56pm)

Title: Do I need permission?
Post by paradyforprofit on Oct 20th, 2006, 8:56pm
If I write a humorous ebook/newsletter from a fan's perspective about the season of a professional sports franchise, but use altered or ficticious names for the characters and the franchise will I still need permission from the league in order to publish and sell?  Thanks ahead of time for any replies.

Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by JSonnabend on Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:15am
If I understand your question correctly, not only would permission not be necessary to use fictitious names, it likely wouldn't be necessary to use the real names, either.

- Jeff

Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by paradyforprofit on Oct 23rd, 2006, 5:25pm
Thank you again for your reply.  The ebook/newsletter will be a time period parody of each game using the players names and their ficiticious titles.  So you are thinking that I would not need permission from either the league or the individual players because it IS parody and consequently an original work, correct?

Do I need to refrain from marketing it with the actual name of the sports franchise it is parodying or can I do that without infringing trademark rights etc.?  And thanks again.

Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by Isaac on Oct 23rd, 2006, 6:03pm

on 10/23/06 at 17:25:47, paradyforprofit wrote:
Thank you again for your reply. The ebook/newsletter will be a time period parody of each game using the players names and their ficiticious titles. So you are thinking that I would not need permission from either the league or the individual players because it IS parody and consequently an original work, correct?


I would disagree with this analysis which does not appear to reflect Jeff's position in any event.   Copyright law isn't much of an issue here.  One issue would be publicity rights.   To the extent you are reporting on actual events you don't need permission.   The further you get away from reporting, the more likely it would be that you are encroaching on the rights of the players, their teams or the league IMO.


Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by paradyforprofit on Oct 23rd, 2006, 7:01pm
Okay. This will be a retelling of game events albeit in a farcical and barbed way, and will be slanted toward the fans of a particular team.  I have been to the league and team sites looking for a hyperlink to contact for permission, but I get either a busy signal by telephone or no actual email link.  Any suggestions on how I can proceed?  Does anyone know how much a standard permission fee is?  And publicity rights are defined as what?  Thanks.

Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by Isaac on Oct 23rd, 2006, 7:27pm

on 10/23/06 at 19:01:00, paradyforprofit wrote:
Okay. This will be a retelling of game events albeit in a farcical and barbed way, and will be slanted toward the fans of a particular team.


Reporting in a humorous style might still be legitimate reporting.  I'm not saying that you definitely need permission, I'm only critiquing the analysis.

Title: Re: Do I need permission?
Post by JSonnabend on Oct 24th, 2006, 8:22am
To critique the critique, I don't think Isaac is on the right track.  

Rights of publicity, generally speaking, concern the right of an individual to control his name, likeness, etc. in connection with commercial speech.  When the first amendment kicks-in, as it does in large parts with dramatic works, the rights of publicity aren't at issue.

Going a step further, one might consider the right of privacy (the right of publicity is different from the right of privacy).  I don't think that's an issue here either:  the individuals in question are "famous", thus diminishing their expectations of privacy; the works are clearly fictionalized accounts of real events, effectively eliminating a "false light" type of claim; and the public event basis for the dramatic work further diminishes any right of privacy action.

- Jeff



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