The picture under analysis is Paris Hilton’s image on a Hallmark greeting card. It is appropriate to talk about copyright infringement here since an unauthorized use of copyrighted material had taken place. Moreover, the image was used in a manner that violates one of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, such as the right to imitate the copyrighted work or to make its derivatives.
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Of course, the right of free speech resembles much of democracy and freedom the US society is based upon, however, it has nothing to do with rights of publicity and copyright infringement. Therefore, although Hallmark argued that the freedom of speech allows them to sell the card with the image of Paris Hilton, there appears another detail: they used her phrase ‘that’s hot, which happens to be her trademark filed in 2007. Hence, the socialite filed a suit and gained a legal victory for her public rights’ violation and the copyright infringement since apart from the image use, the trademark use cannot be regarded as a “transformative” expression.
Moreover, the use of the image and the trademark are not the only issues to be discussed within the lawfulness of this very greeting card printing. Also, a scene from her reality shows The Simple Life was stolen for the greeting card. This case is completely illegal and we can talk about the public rights violation.
So, as it can be explicitly seen the case with Paris Hilton’s trademark and image use is illegal. Of course, the parody is protected within the right of freedom of speech. However, here it is determined that Paris Hilton managed to file her copyright before the release of Hallmark greeting cards.
The new start-up Pixazza has been involving thousands of site publishers in order to monetize the pictures they have on their websites as a new revenue stream. The thing is that they can easily put any picture’s fashion item on sale in case it passes the verification.
So, the copyright in this case should belong to the site owner in the first place. Since Pixazza is a break-through, truly amazing and innovative technology that can help people buy things they have seen on their favorite celebrities, it is to be noticed that the main focus of the picture is not the celebrity itself but the style they acquire. Namely, those are clothes, jewels, accessories, etc. that they wear in this or that picture.
The main idea is to sell the item and raise funds, which they successfully cope with lately. So, the right of publicity is not violated by Pixazza because the picture was initially taken from another website of the owner who wants to sell the items and get his/her percent out of it.
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Pixazza stresses on the selling items that Jennifer Aniston wears not her personality in particular. (Though this is one of the tricks used for better merchandising). Hence, copyright infringement has nothing to do with this image.
So, the use of Jennifer Aniston’s picture was nothing but a trade’s dodge. None of her public rights were violated or humiliated because the published image was not meant for sale or other usage, while only the scarf and the sunglasses she was wearing were meant to be sold.