Wanted to know what would be the policy on using celebrity mugshots on amazon merch products as they are public domain?
The mugshot may be "public domain" but the celebrity still retains rights to their image. So, no.
"Public Domain" doesn't mean free to use commercially. For this particular case, "public domain" in reference to a celebrity mug shot would mean FREE for the MEDIA to use in writing a story. Not free to do whatever you want with.
Public domain is so misunderstood. And not knowing the law will not excuse you from paying the cost in court if you get caught. If you don't know the rules (and there is a lot to it) when it comes to public domain, avoid it. It isn't something to get into if you don't fully understand what it is and how / when it can be used.
Celebrities (rightly so) own their own name / image. You cannot make money off of them without permission from them to do so. They would deserve to be paid as it is their name/face selling the product.
If you value your account / business, I would avoid at all costs using anything questionable.
celebrities own rights to their image. Think of them as a brand unto themselves, because they are, in a way. Would you want someone to put your picture on a shirt without permission?
A mugshot of a celebrity is NOT public domain, so the answer is no.
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