It is on the floor or maybe the coffee table of a littered room. It's supposed to be a guy who is a slob and the girlfriend has about had it with him. He's on the couch sleeping in all this mess. Beer bottles, etc., of which there is a Playboy...or two. It's a gag book with jokes about the things men do not know about women.
Jody,Generally the use of a copyrighted image is protected unless that use is not primary or is otherwise incidental to the image. If this is a small part of the picture and is not the primary focus, it can be argued under fair use especially since this isn't a means of profiting from the cover but is, as you stated, just one of many items in the picture and not the primary focus of work. Arguably there is still a risk of being sued, but that risk is very low and highly unlikely. It is not likely that this will cause a lawsuit, as there are excellent defenses available. Purely going by your facts it does not appear to be a situation where you would be in direct violation.Good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).