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Thread: Is it legal to sell Michael Jackson, muhammad Ali, frida kahlo items online?

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    Default Is it legal to sell Michael Jackson, muhammad Ali, frida kahlo items online?

    I own a small ecommerce website where I sell some items bearing the names of very famous people from the past, like Michael jackson, muhamad ali, marilyn monroe, etc, can I get in trouble for doing that? A corporation recently contacted me regarding using the name of Frida Khalo on my site, she is a famous mexican painter, a very inspirational figure, she has been dead since 1954, they ask me to remove all mentions of her name from my site, what should I do?

    Excerpt of the email below:

    -----------------------------------------------------

    To whom it may concern,

    Frida Kahlo Corporation objects the sale on .................. of the products bearing the image and name of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, as shown on the site ............... The product is advertised and sold as Frida Kahlo.

    Frida Kahlo Corporation owns several registrations worldwide for the Frida Kahlo mark including registrations with covers the products sold on your website

    Based upon our investigation it appears that your company is indeed infringing upon FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) and/or used or is using a confusingly similar trade name for the sale of your items under the brand name Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo’s valuable good will and business reputation has now been tarnished by your actions. Therefore, we urge you to immediately discontinue bearing the FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) to avoid further damages.

    We expect a written reply from you with in five (5) days from this email. If you or your company does not respond or act as requested, we will asume that you are not interested in resolving this controversy amicably and we will act accordingly.

    Sincerely yours,
    Frida Kahlo Corporation
    -----------------------------------------------

    The items that i sell on my site are items that are currently being sold all over the internet by hundreds of sellers here in the U.S and internationally, why am I being the target of this? I am not manufacturing items in the artists' name, I am just a reseller. If the corporation is coming after, then shouldn't it also go after all of the other sellers that are also selling the same items. For example, many sellers on Amazon are selling the same stuff, and I am pretty sure, it would be exhausting going after all of them, it's not something that is even possible. What is the best way to go about this?

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    Discount Prodigy Array Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mandela10 View Post
    I own a small ecommerce website where I sell some items bearing the names of very famous people from the past, like Michael jackson, muhamad ali, marilyn monroe, etc, can I get in trouble for doing that? A corporation recently contacted me regarding using the name of Frida Khalo on my site, she is a famous mexican painter, a very inspirational figure, she has been dead since 1954, they ask me to remove all mentions of her name from my site, what should I do?

    Excerpt of the email below:

    -----------------------------------------------------

    To whom it may concern,

    Frida Kahlo Corporation objects the sale on .................. of the products bearing the image and name of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, as shown on the site ............... The product is advertised and sold as Frida Kahlo.

    Frida Kahlo Corporation owns several registrations worldwide for the Frida Kahlo mark including registrations with covers the products sold on your website

    Based upon our investigation it appears that your company is indeed infringing upon FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) and/or used or is using a confusingly similar trade name for the sale of your items under the brand name Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo’s valuable good will and business reputation has now been tarnished by your actions. Therefore, we urge you to immediately discontinue bearing the FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) to avoid further damages.

    We expect a written reply from you with in five (5) days from this email. If you or your company does not respond or act as requested, we will asume that you are not interested in resolving this controversy amicably and we will act accordingly.

    Sincerely yours,
    Frida Kahlo Corporation
    -----------------------------------------------

    The items that i sell on my site are items that are currently being sold all over the internet by hundreds of sellers here in the U.S and internationally, why am I being the target of this? I am not manufacturing items in the artists' name, I am just a reseller. If the corporation is coming after, then shouldn't it also go after all of the other sellers that are also selling the same items. For example, many sellers on Amazon are selling the same stuff, and I am pretty sure, it would be exhausting going after all of them, it's not something that is even possible. What is the best way to go about this?
    The names and likeness of these dead celebrities are intellectual property owned by those corporations. You cannot sell Michael Jackson anything without licensing the rights to use his name from the property owner. You cannot do anything with their music either until 70 years after their death. I am going to recommend removing everything before all of the other companies take note and possible try to sue you.

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    Owen is correct and you could end up with some sizable damage claims. I would suggest you find something else to sell ASAP.
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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Seems like you knew the answer when you got the letter. To be clear, no you cannot do that. You can sell memorabilia if you are licensed. As for the painter, you can resell her paintings but not her likeness or things that have her name just placed on them. Always best to check on things like this before just doing it. Consider the warning a blessing. A lot of times the first letter people get is notification of a law suit or demand for payment.
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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array tallen's Avatar
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    Do you have a "paper trail" showing that the merchandise you are selling is properly licensed, and that you are authorized to sell it?

    BTW, You are probably not being singled out; it is highly likely that all the other sellers of Frida Kahlo merchandise also got the same letter.
    Last edited by tallen; 10-14-2017 at 10:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mandela10 View Post
    What is the best way to go about this?
    As every person posting so far has said, you simply cannot sell unlicensed products using someone else's intellectual property. A person's name and likeness are protected in nearly every state by what is called the "right of publicity". It is state-law based so the details vary from state to state. Originally, the right of publicity generally ended on the death of the individual but most states by statute have extended the property right for many years beyond death (100 years after death in the case of Indiana, 70 years for California).

    In addition, many celebrities or their heirs have registered trademarks. Just as the trademarks for Coca Cola, GE and Cream of Wheat are well over 100 years old, there is no reason to believe that a corporation that owns and licenses trademarks could not extend the life of those trademarks beyond the expiration of the right of publicity.

    You are wrong to feel that you are being singled out. Companies like Frida Kahlo Corporation spend a great deal of time protecting their property rights.

    Even if it were the case that you were being singled out, they can clearly stop you if you are selling unlicensed products which use their intellectual property.

    What can you do? Find products that do not try to take free advantage of someone else's rights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mandela10 View Post
    I own a small ecommerce website where I sell some items bearing the names of very famous people from the past, like Michael jackson, muhamad ali, marilyn monroe, etc, can I get in trouble for doing that? A corporation recently contacted me regarding using the name of Frida Khalo on my site, she is a famous mexican painter, a very inspirational figure, she has been dead since 1954, they ask me to remove all mentions of her name from my site, what should I do?

    Excerpt of the email below:

    -----------------------------------------------------

    To whom it may concern,

    Frida Kahlo Corporation objects the sale on .................. of the products bearing the image and name of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, as shown on the site ............... The product is advertised and sold as Frida Kahlo.

    Frida Kahlo Corporation owns several registrations worldwide for the Frida Kahlo mark including registrations with covers the products sold on your website

    Based upon our investigation it appears that your company is indeed infringing upon FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) and/or used or is using a confusingly similar trade name for the sale of your items under the brand name Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo’s valuable good will and business reputation has now been tarnished by your actions. Therefore, we urge you to immediately discontinue bearing the FRIDA KAHLO trademark(s) to avoid further damages.

    We expect a written reply from you with in five (5) days from this email. If you or your company does not respond or act as requested, we will asume that you are not interested in resolving this controversy amicably and we will act accordingly.

    Sincerely yours,
    Frida Kahlo Corporation
    -----------------------------------------------

    The items that i sell on my site are items that are currently being sold all over the internet by hundreds of sellers here in the U.S and internationally, why am I being the target of this? I am not manufacturing items in the artists' name, I am just a reseller. If the corporation is coming after, then shouldn't it also go after all of the other sellers that are also selling the same items. For example, many sellers on Amazon are selling the same stuff, and I am pretty sure, it would be exhausting going after all of them, it's not something that is even possible. What is the best way to go about this?
    Why not get a CC license? In most parts of the world, copyright has grown to include many, many rights that increasingly protect not just copying, but adaptations, translations, and related ideas. I would def get a CC license. You might want to check this out because there are different types of these licenses and you need to find one that is tailored to what rights you want to claim.

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