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Can I use George W. Bush as a character, or do I need permission?

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  • Can I use George W. Bush as a character, or do I need permission?

    I had an idea for a script I would want to sell, cause it would be too high budget for me to make. But basically it's an Iraq war movie. However, could I write him in as one of the main character's in the story, or would I more likely need his legal permission?


  • #2
    Wow, what a great question. Subscribed.


    • #3


      • #4
        I think this may be of interest to you:



        • #5
          As I understand it, you don't need his permission. You must, however, be careful about libel laws, because, if your film suggest he said something improper, you may be liable for defamation.

          The best way is to speak to an entertainment lawyer.


          • #6
            George W Bush is a public figure and therefore you don't need his permission nor the permission of any other public figure to depict them. There are already several films and TV shows which feature fictitious depictions of Bush many of which cast him in an extremely negative light. It's extremely rare for any public figure to sue over a fictional depiction or parody of them self even in a slap suit because most of the time they accomplish nothing but creating negative press. In the case of George W Bush there are already so many negative portrayals of him that the odds of your particular film getting noticed are slim to none. He's been portrayed as a pot head in Harold and Kumar a bumbling super hero on "The Daily Show" and as an idiot child on "Little Bush". What difference will one more film make? Mind you this is a script we're talking about. While you're pitching it you'd actually need a studio exec reviewing the script to bring it to the attention of one of Bush's aides. If the film were actually picked up you'd be in no danger because the studio producing the film would be the only actionable party. Don't waste any money on a lawyer for this. You're more likely to get struck by lightning twice then have your script result in a lawsuit from a former President. I'd be more concerned that studios will shy away from the script for fear of negative press. Historically public figures that want to suppress depictions of themselves that they dislike have usually found success by simply using their influence to get the media in question panned. William Randolf Hearst did it with Citizen Kane and that cost the film financial success and the Academy Award.

            As a side note, you might want to look into finding public domain footage of Bush. If it works contextually it will be a lot cheaper then hiring a Bush impersonator and might push this into your price range.
            Last edited by Patrick Wiley; 06-04-2014, 06:41 PM.


            • #7
              Sorry, I've moved my post to it's own thread. Was asking a similar question.
              Last edited by Fiveacre Films; 08-21-2014, 12:05 PM.
              Matt Crunk
              Fiveacre Films Productions