Bad idea. It's copyright infringement, plain and simple.
You might "get away with it", or, you might get caught. The risk is that at the very least, if caught, your production gets shut down, and you lose your investment of resources. At worst, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit for "willfull infringement", to the tune of $150,000 per infringing act, or more.
The cost of licensing is quite small, relative to this risk. Just pay for the rights. The folks who...
Yes, if your product and hers are in the same 'class of goods'.
The test here is whether there's a likelihood of confusion in the mind of the average consumer for the product.
That said, there may be other defenses, and you'd do well to consult with an intellectual property attorney before responding to this C&D. How you respond could have an impact on whether you'll have to pay any money, or have an injunction issued against you.
Ideally, the settlement should be documented...
It's not just copyright that you need to think about.
For example, certain structures may also have trademark protection, and can't be used in or as a commercial product. Selling Art prints might be different than selling postcards or coffee-table books.
For example, the Hollywood Sign is such a structure, as is the Disney Hall in downtown LA.
Consult an attorney to evaluate your specific situation in greater detail. The answer isn't black-and-white, I'm afraid.
You haven't waived your copyrights.... You're still entitled to the protections offered by copyright law, except, if you didn't register within 3 months of your first publication of the photos, you can't get Statutory Damages, and you'll be responsible for your own attorneys' fees.
But, you CAN get an award of your actual damages (which might be measured in a few different ways), and you CAN get an injunction (restraining order) against further infringement of your work.
You don't need any documents, you need an agent.
The studios won't sign anything., anyway.
Most entertainment lawyers won't do submissions of this sort.
Just beware of any submission release you may be asked to sign. Many are really a "license to steal"
Again, devote your resources to finding an agent. That's the best avenue to getting your material into the hands of folks who might actually buy it.
Your "Friend" isn't your friend. She's screwing you over. Tell her she needs to make the situation right, or you'll have your lawyer get involved. You'll be suing her and the production company if they proceed without properly crediting and compensating you.
Go out and find a good lawyer to help you with this. You're going to need it.
This DOES sound like a right of publicity claim. Trademark claims would have to be asserted by the designer, IF he/she owns a trademark, or can substantiate other unfair competition claims.
Copyright infringement MAY be an issue, but the photographer probably owns the copyright in question.
Are you sure you didn't sign a release when you hired the photographer? If you didn't, then right of Publicity is a viable possible claim.
Consult a lawyer to investigate further.
Whether it is or is not a fair use, it will be less costly to license the song than to litigate the issue of fair use. This is a DEFENSE, which means you argue the point AFTER you get sued. You could easily win the battle, but lose the war.
I recently dealt with almost this exact issue for a client. It's actually a much more complicated analysis that it might seem. There are rights beyond merely jackson's personna at stake here.
For example, you'd likely need to license the music from the publishers, and the recordings from the record labels...
It's not insurmountable, but it is complex. You need a lawyer for this project.