About 2 years ago I was working on an online game. I asked a friend if I could base it on him (use his picture for the character) and he said yes. Back to current, he is asking me to take the game down. I don't want to as it would require redeveloping the entire thing, losing it's fan base in the process. My argument is that he agreed for me to develop the game around him and has no right to demand it be taken down, especially after being fine with it for years.

Where do I stand legally? Do I have to take it down?

Edit: This issue has been resolved. He complained through our school who threatened me with suspension if I failed to remove it.

  • Tell him: "That's Ok, but I'll lose a lot of money, so I will have to ask you to pay for my losses". Then you'll see how serious his request is when there might be consequences for him. – gnasher729 May 24 '17 at 13:33

Such protection is widespread in the US, falling under the rubric "right of publicity", but as this article says, such protection is very limited in the UK. This assumes that you have permission of the copyright holder to distribute the picture (e.g. if you took the picture). One basis for preventing you from using the image would be if you were "passing off" the use of the image as an endorsement. Supposing that you took a picture of Graham Norton, you could not then sell a line of Graham Norton goods that implied an endorsement of your goods. However, this cause of action is about how you may have damaged a celebrity plaintiff's revenue stream, and can be easily overcome by saying "using the picture does not imply endorsement". Another theoretical line of attack for a plaintiff would be defamation, e.g. if the product implies that the subject is a murderer.

There might be applicable EU laws based on the Human Rights Bill, but from what I can tell that limitation is on how a government can exploit you. Plus, who knows how long that will last.

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