Celebrity Voice-Over Impersonations Require Copyright Permission
Titled "Celebrity Voice-Over Impersonations: Be Cautious! Words to the Wise," the article is located in the Voice Acting section of VoiceOverXtra.com, which is the voice-over industry's online news and resource center.
Based on her experiences, research and opinions (but not legal advice), Zoller writes that celebrities with recognizable voices are keen to protect the use of their voice and income derived from it.
"It is illegal to impersonate living people in commercials without their permission," she warns. Thus, voice actors who are asked to impersonate the voice of a living or deceased person should ensure that copyright permission has been obtained.
Celebrities have another reason to protect use of their voice, Zoller notes: contract clauses often prohibit them from doing voice-over endorsements, or from endorsing competing products.
Parodies are different from impersonations, she notes. She advises obtaining legal advice when in doubt about such projects.
About the author:
Bettye Zoller, owner of VoicesVoices, is one of the nation's best-known voice, speech, acting, and voice-over coaches, and is a winner of ADDY, Clio, Golden Radio and Audie Awards. Her home is Dallas but she teaches, by invitation, worldwide. She is also a professional audio engineer producer, owns a recording studio in Dallas, and is a Simon & Schuster audiobook author and reader.
For information, contact:
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PO Box 132, Trumbull, CT 06611
VoiceOverXtra.com is the voice-over industry’s online news and resource center, providing a free virtual library of how-to advice from industry experts and voice-over pros. It also features the industry’s most extensive calendar of industry training and events, a directory of industry sources, an online home studio equipment store, and much more.
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