Is it legal to use Disney character images on my blog? What about an artist's rendering of a Disney character?

Asked 6 months ago - Athens, GA

I am a new blogger and am writing articles on movies. It is mostly lists and analysis of different aspects of characters and such. I will be making money off of ads that are put on the blog. What I want to know is if it's legal to use Disney pictures to enhance this blog? What about using someone else's artwork of a Disney character? (with permission, of course). I would be most appreciative for an answer.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Golnar Sargeant

    Contributor Level 19

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, you can not do that without paying the copyright holder.

    We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute... more
  2. Paul Karl Siepmann

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No. Stop now before you get yourself in real trouble. I don't care who responds that there may be some fair use avenue for you to proceed down with the blog, this is a very bad idea without vetting by competent IP counsel. The specific answer to your initial question (which ISN'T your only problem with this idea), is that you need permission from Disney, not from someone else that also infringed Disney's IP by reproducing Disney's artwork. Bottom line, you want to profit off of Disney - which absent Disney's permission is going to result in trouble for you.

    I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not establish an attorney-client... more
  3. Eric D Ridley

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Not without paying Disney for the rights to use their image. Disney, in particular, is highly active in protecting their images. I would recommend staying TWO ten-foot poles away from using any unlicensed images.

    This answer is not intended to be legal advice. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo... more
  4. Christopher A Pearsall

    Contributor Level 9

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, it is not legal. You can't use an actual Disney image nor can you use an artist's rendering without the express written permission of Disney, Inc. or the proper company holder of the copyright for that character. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to use the image for profit or not.

    Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. It is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client... more
  5. Bruce E. Burdick

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is not advisable. It could pose legal risk under a number of intellectual property rights laws. My colleagues have noted many of them. There may be some leeway under fair use provided use is limited to what is minimally necessary for the commentary or critical review in the blog. It's best to work closely with IP counsel about this.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more
  6. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree in part with the only other intellectual property attorney who’s responded and disagree with all the rest.

    As Attorney Siepmann rightly notes, “this is a very bad idea without vetting by competent IP counsel” and that Disney may cause trouble for you.

    I disagree, however, with his conclusion that you categorically MUST acquire Disney’s permission to display its, relevant, fictional characters on a website specifically designed to comment and critique and discuss those Disney characters and the movies in which they appear.

    There are many Disney-themed blogs that do a very good job of not causing source or association confusion with Disney and which limit their publication of Disney’s fictional characters to well within lawful fair use – so far within, in fact, that if Disney did file an infringement suit it would be sanctioned.

    You and your own intellectual property attorney should review the blogs linked-to below and discuss how you can go about lawfully publishing Disney characters. Good luck.

    The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client... more

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