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Discussion Starter #1
I wonder.
I know politicians are screwed because we can use their images on shirts..but how about the political party's logo?


I have this great shirt design that's pretty much desecrating the political parties, but I'm not sure if its legal or if it's considered freedom of expression.

Share some wisdom?
 

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GO for it... what's the worst that can happen lol

I have seen this many times and would not give it a second thought.
 

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Just becuase others do it doesn't mean it's legal. The logo is probably copyrighted; run a search on the US Copyright site to double check. If it comes up with a copyright registration, then if you reproduce the logo in any form that looks like the logo, then you're violating copyright law. Take your chances from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, it's difficult because I heard that the goverment can't copyright things that will be used by their entity like the flag, seal and things like that. I wonder if the political party's logos are also under that since I see so many people selling political propaganda all over the place with the party's logos.
 

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I doubt if anyone can quote you specific advice on here Rangy, as it all depends on how you actually implement the use of somebody's logo. Political parties do have to tread a slightly more gentler path than corporations, as any action they take, can have direct political consequences. Do something that is malicious, or state something unfounded though and I'm sure they will take appropriate action.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
*nods*
Well, I am making fun of/criticizing their parties by parodying their logos.
I'd say in a very strong fashion XD

For example, can you make a shirt with the Democrat donkey taking a crap?
(Not that this is my shirt, mind you :p )
 

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For example, can you make a shirt with the Democrat donkey taking a crap?
Sometimes you have to cross over the boundaries to get your message across. If you didn't, then humour itself would cease to exist.

I have recently seen a very funny tee shirt, where two Japanese motorcyclists are urinating over the flag of a famous American motorcycle manufacturer. Did I find it amusing? Yes I did: Would the motorcycle manufacturer find it amusing? Probably not: Should it be removed from sale? In my own opinion, certainly not.

A world without humour, would be an awful place in which to live. You go with your heart Rangy. Life should be about exploring new horizons, not living in fear of everything around you.
 

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The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

And if that's not enough to convince you:





These are a few examples....and I've made enough parody shirts myself to know no one is dumb enough to not understand it's a parody. I've even seen christian shirts do it. They're a good money maker if you can make a clever design. Oh, and I believe Mr Johnny Cupcake himself has something similar...like a Joker design that is awfully close to looking like the Joker from Batman. I haven't heard of DC Comics coming after him.
 
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GO for it... what's the worst that can happen lol

I have seen this many times and would not give it a second thought.
has anyone noticed the the circle r on the corner or on the logo???

i have a shirt that looks like the state seal...i put my own words on thier to correspond my brand...hehehehe
 

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The 1961 Report [...]
A lot of laws have changed since 1961. And it's pretty obvious which one in that list is the odd one out.

Oh, and I believe Mr Johnny Cupcake himself has something similar...like a Joker design that is awfully close to looking like the Joker from Batman. I haven't heard of DC Comics coming after him.
Johnny Cupcakes has a lot of parody designs of trademarks. Nike and Batman are two of the big ones, but he's done others.

The problem is there's what's right, and there's what's legal - and they're not always one and the same. Ethically I have no problem with what Johnny does. Legally, he might not get away with it forever.

As the commercial viability of parody has expanded, and it's less about free speech and more about making money, the courts have been shrinking its ability to be used as a defence.

Personally I think things are unclear right now. Many businesses (especially new design entrepreneurs) are still operating on the old parody case law, but there seems to be a turning tide. On the other hand, words like "seems" and "turning" certainly apply - it's not like everything has changed clearly and emphatically. Parody is an open question right now.

Political parody is an easier matter though. I think you'd still be on safe ground there (including things like a defecating donkey), but I'm no lawyer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies guys!
Will, that speech brings tears :_3 It's like a Braveheart pep talk , only for parody shirts.

Talkng about what Solmu brings to point, I always see the big companies getting away with lots of parodies.

Taking Johnny Cupcakes is one example, but my favorite case study is T-ShirtHell, cuz they do parody everyone's logos, and in the most offensive of ways...
which always gives me this feeling of "Hey! They've been doing it for so many years and keep doing it! Means I can too!! CHAAARGE!!"

Then comes my hubby to rain on my parade: "They probably have a huge team of lawyers backing them up hun."
 

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A lot of laws have changed since 1961. And it's pretty obvious which one in that list is the odd one out.
Yes, laws change, but that was from a fresh search of the US Copyright Office. If it had been updated to include other examples...it would be safe to say the website of the United States Copyright Office would duly note it.
 

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Then comes my hubby to rain on my parade: "They probably have a huge team of lawyers backing them up hun."
There are thousands of smaller businesses that don't have a team of lawyers Rangy. You can put any type of image or slogan on a tee and make money. The people that 'cross the line' and take risks, seldom do it to make big bucks, as that's not where the big money lies. Most designers that create parody or 'lookalike' tees do it to get a message, or point across.

I would find it difficult to visualise a political party taking someone to court over a parody tee shirt. Although it is strictly my own opinion, the risk of possibly losing millions of potential voters for the sake of a few funny tees, would not be a viable proposition. The media would literally have 'a field day' in that scenario, with talk of a political party trying to crush free speech.

The choice at the end of the day, is all yours though Rangy.
 

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Since we can't really advise you on whether or not it's legal or not, or whether or not you would be sued or not, I'll close this thread out.

For a legal question like this, it's best to ask a lawyer. I know that's not the most popular answer, but we try to air on the safe side of things here.

As Will says, at the end of the day, the choice is yours on what you decide to do.

I just wouldn't want you to move forward based on inspiring words and well informed opinions and then be at the wrong end of a lawsuit a few months down the road.
 
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