Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Restaurant Celebrity Photos

Dear Rich: If you snap a photo with a celebrity in your place of business can you then use that photo in a documentary to show that the business attracts celebrity patrons? We don't have a written release from the celebrities. The short answer is, "yes," assuming you have the photographer's permission. You should not use the photos in ads for the restaurant -- that is, implying the celebrity endorses the restaurant -- and you probably shouldn't use the celeb photos in ads for the documentary, either. But if you're using them within the documentary simply to show that the celebrity ate at the restaurant--and the celebrity was aware the photo was being taken (no hidden cameras)  -- there shouldn't be a problem. 
Some celebrities that the Dear Rich Staff has seen while eating in restaurants: James Mason (yes, we're old), Charles Nelson Reilly, Patti Smith, and Tom Cruise (when he was still married to Mimi Rogers -- although she wasn't eating with him which is too bad since we're big Mimi Rogers fans).