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Maryland Intellectual Law Lawyer: How To Reduce Your Chances Of Getting Sued For Disclosing Private Facts and Violating Rights of Publicity

copyright_law_attorney_marylandIt is difficult to eliminate all risk when using peoples’ names and likenesses however there are ways to reduce your potential liability.

Obtain Consent. Getting the written consent of the person you are covering is one of the best ways to avoid a lawsuit. Having the person sign a well drafted consent form or release that does not expire is especially helpful in instances where the information gathered, or photographs taken, are then used at a later date. Consent forms should be specifically created for your project and you should avoid using one-size-fits-some generic forms.

Use Publicly Available Sources. Whenever possible, obtain your information from publicly available sources, for example: court records.

Be Clear About Your Intentions. When interviewing someone or taking photograph of them, be clear with that individual about exactly how you intend to use the material. Many claims arise when the contributor feels betrayed because they were misled about how the material or photographs would be used. And if you are going to obtain consent, you will need to be very clear about your specific use of the material.

Report on Relevant & Newsworthy Topics. When writing about other people’s lives, include those details that are relevant to the larger topic. When writing about matters that could be embarrassing or show an individual in a negative light, you will want to make sure the discussion of these details is relevant to a larger social topic and not simply gossip. For example exposing details about the private acts of your neighbor would be more difficult to defend than exposing details about the private acts of a person holding public office, as the details of the later “could” be relevant to society.

Consider Purchasing Insurance. Most publishers will carry liability insurance to protect against these and other potential claims.

For a confidential conversation to discuss these and other intellectual law matters, contact Maryland attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959, or by clicking here.

Day, evening and weekend appointments are available in office or at your residence. Mr. Reichert personally serves clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Carroll County, Harford County, Frederick County, Montgomery County and throughout most of Maryland.