It is necessary to make a distinction between the copyright attached
to a specific image, and the "rights of publicity" attached to the
exploitation of a celebrity for the purposes of advertising or trade
(also known as "rights of celebrity").
Every image (photograph, painting etc) of Louis Armstrong will have a
copyright-holder, unless the image has been released to the public
domain by that copyright-holder.
The copyright-holder could be the photographer or artist, or their
employer, or an individual or organization to whom they have sold or
bequeathed their rights.
So, if you already have in mind a specific image that you wish to
license, it will be necessary to track down the copyright-holder for
that particular image.
If, on the other hand, you are seeking some kind of Louis Armstrong
image to license, but have not yet selected a specific one, you can
find many at the Louis Armstrong House archives. In addition to
photographs, there are Louis's home-recorded tapes, personal
manuscripts, sheet music, videos etc.
The Louis Armstrong Archives have standard pricing for one-time use of
material for magazine articles, posters, CD covers, etc. Other uses
must be individually negotiated. Here are some relevant links:
Louis Armstrong Archives
Louis Armstrong Archives - Publication Policy
Louis Armstrong Archives - Fee Guidelines
Note that the Louis Armstrong Archives cannot grant you the "rights of
publicity" associated with images that relate to Louis Armstrong's
persona. If you license a copyrighted photograph, for example, you
might also need to license the "rights of publicity" for certain uses
of that photograph.
Even if you create an original work (such as a painting of Louis
Armstrong from your memory) you may need to obtain "rights of
publicity" for certain advertising/trade uses of that work:
"The right of publicity 'signifies the right of an individual,
especially a public figure or a celebrity, to control the commercial
value and exploitation of his [or her] name and picture or likeness
and to prevent others from unfairly appropriating this value for
Wisconsin Lawyers - Rights of Publicity and Licensing Agreements
Another guideline to Rights of Publicity is available here:
Caslon Analytics - intellectual property guide
The Rights of Publicity for Louis Armstrong are held by the Louis
Armstrong Estate, which is administered by the Louis Armstrong
"For permissions, please contact the Louis Armstrong Educational
Foundation. There are two contact people for the Louis Armstrong
Educational Foundation. Phil Leshin can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)or 914-234-0779 (fax). Phoebe Jacobs can
be reached at 212-535-5092 (fax)."
Louis Armstrong Archives - FAQ's
I trust that this is the information that you are seeking. Please
request clarification if this answer does not yet meet your needs.
Google Search Strategy:
"louis armstrong" copyright licensing OR merchandising
celebrity license image rights estate
"louis armstrong educational foundation"
Clarification of Answer by
22 Apr 2004 09:11 PDT
Your clarification request raises a few different issues.
Firstly, is your sculpture to be a "one-off" piece of "fine art", or
is it to be mass-produced? If it is a "one-off", you may find that
"rights of celebrity" do not apply - but you would need to seek legal
advice to be certain.
Assuming you are planning to mass produce or otherwise commercially
exploit your sculpture, you should contact the Louis Armstrong
Educational Foundation for "rights of celebrity" (contact phone number
and email in main answer above).
The second issue relates to the photographs that you are planning to
use as your source material. If you are just using them as a
"reminder" of what Louis Armstrong looks like, you may not be
infringing copyright - but again you would need to seek legal advice
as Google Answers provides general information but cannot offer legal
If you find that you do need to license the copyright (as might be the
case if you were copying the pose from an individual photograph, for
example) then you would need to establish the copyright-owner of that
photograph. Where did you get the photos from? If from a newspaper or
magazine then it is likely to be straightforward to negotiate the
copyright situation with the publisher.
A much simpler approach would be to restrict your source photos to
those that can be licensed from the Louis Armstrong Archives (web
address in main answer above). Then you have only one party to license
copyright from - and they have so much material that you would surely
find what you need amongst their collection.
I've mentioned above the need to seek legal advice. There are
practitioners who specialize in this kind of work. I post the
following link not as any kind of endorsement but simply as an example
of such a specialist:
Quirk & Tratos - Mark G Tratos