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Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

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Old January 15th, 2014 Jan 15, 2014 8:35:48 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Hello

I'm new to the Tshirt Industry and I'm trying to break in.
I need to get an idea of what the Tshirt community has to say about this trend I keep seeing everywhere.

While doing a lot of research of Tshirts designs of style and what's out there I come across many geek art and pop culture designs. While these designs and ideas or truly amazing they are not original.

For example a starwars theme and disney theme combined in one design or characters used with pop culture. Many don't have mixing designs and are themed by themselves with no changes to the actual character.

Here a website as an example:

Once Upon a Tee

What is the Legality in these designs and is selling them allowed?

I just wanted to know since I am a geek myself and would love to sell 80s or 90s cartoons on a tshirt but I don't think it would be right to the original artists and it's almost plagiarizing. And the huge movie studios don't like that.

Let me know what you think.
 
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Old January 15th, 2014 Jan 15, 2014 8:47:19 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

No thinking needed. It is either Trademark infringement which is a civil case or counterfeiting which is a felony and comes with seizure of your property and prison time.
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Old January 15th, 2014 Jan 15, 2014 9:08:14 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Binki is correct. .. It is theft pure and simplem if you do not have permission, which can very expensive to obtain. But more costly if you do it without permission
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Old January 15th, 2014 Jan 15, 2014 9:23:04 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

I agree completely.
 
Old January 15th, 2014 Jan 15, 2014 9:36:02 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

I don't know why these guys aren't prosecuted more often. It seems totally illegal to me. I read a book on copyrights. T-Shirt hell does this and I've heard they've been sued several times, but they're still doing it and still in business.
 
Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 12:28:50 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Can anyone explain how are designs inspired from pop culture illegal? I'm talking of designs that are inspired, and not those that are direct copies of original artwork.
 
Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 4:36:38 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bougie
T-Shirt hell does this and I've heard they've been sued several times, but they're still doing it and still in business.
The revel in being "against the establishment" in regards to IP. Yes, they have been sued many times. But they use those lawsuits as publicity and advertising for their site and products. Not exactly a recommended business model for anyone else just starting out. But it has worked for them.
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Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 4:42:26 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

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Originally Posted by salmanravoof
Can anyone explain how are designs inspired from pop culture illegal? I'm talking of designs that are inspired, and not those that are direct copies of original artwork.
It's illegal to profit off someone's intellectual property without permission. So when you create a new work that is based off an existing work, it enters a large gray area. Where it falls in that gray area depends on the specifics of the original work and the new work. There is no one exact answer to it all. The new work could be considered infringement; or it could be considered a new work; or it could fall under fair use. The only one that can really decide for sure is a judge. So to create works that are inspired by an existing work is a risk. Because the owner of the original work can take legal action at any time. It is then up to the owner of the inspired work to stop selling their design or fight it out in court to see what the judge decides. This, of course, requires time and money which adds to the risk of creating the inspired work in the first place. It's a slippery slope and plenty of research should be done before creating inspired works. Sometimes it's worth the risk. Sometimes it isn't.
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Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 6:11:06 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bougie
I don't know why these guys aren't prosecuted more often. It seems totally illegal to me. I read a book on copyrights. T-Shirt hell does this and I've heard they've been sued several times, but they're still doing it and still in business.
I've always wondered about that too. I see roadside stands all the time selling towels and shirts with copyrighted stuff, including our local professional sports teams.

I don't know if it's because they're such small time Charleys that it's not worth the cost of suing them, but you'd think that their stuff could get confiscated, especially when it's for sports teams that have lawyers right here in town.
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Last edited by Ripcord; January 16th, 2014 at 07:28 AM..
 
Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 9:27:58 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

It is up to the holder of the Mark or copyright owner to enforce the rights. Your local gumshoe isn't going to get involved without a complaint from the person or company that is being harmed.
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Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 3:27:39 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

I have to say that the most direct, fastest reaction to infringement is by Harley Davidson.
They have their 'thumpers' out at shows and they will take the merchandise immediately.
Of course those infraction people are lucky if that's all that they do to them. ;-)
 
Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 4:01:49 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

So, what sites like teefury.com are doing is illegal? I see them selling tees with mashup designs of various pop-culture icons.
 
Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 4:10:27 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmanravoof
So, what sites like teefury.com are doing is illegal? I see them selling tees with mashup designs of various pop-culture icons.
Technically, the users that create and upload the art are committing infringement. But when teefury prints and ships the shirt, they can also be held liable. It's possible that teefury has licensing agreements with some properties that allows fan art. But I'm not aware of any. It's up to the IP owner to take action if they believe their work is being infringed upon.
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Old January 16th, 2014 Jan 16, 2014 5:01:35 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Thanks for all the feedback. I've always felt that this was a big problem especially these days. If your a fan of a genre that's great but to copy "design" and sell is another. I think As tech and software are more available to the generations people are more savvy with these programs now and so anybody can make tshirt designs and print them at home even. To me it kind of hurts the industry but it may not i don't know I'm still trying to go through with this. I hope nobody here has had their work stolen either from a print shop or website. That's what I fear the most right now.
 
Old January 17th, 2014 Jan 17, 2014 10:56:43 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Selling Unlicensed Tshirts

Quote:
Originally Posted by squidbearstudios
I hope nobody here has had their work stolen either from a print shop or website. That's what I fear the most right now.
We t-shirt designers get work stolen on a regular basis. I just found another copyright violation of one of my designs a few minutes ago. I already copyright registered that design. I'm gonna report it and have it deleted. It's just part of business. You deal with it and move on. Some day I might sue one of these people. I would love to screw them over so hard.

Right now I'm working on a series of great new designs that I think will be a big hit.
 
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