This is good advice and almost always true.You can figure anything you didn't create is copyright or trademarked
Excellent info TimCharacters from a show are not only copyrighted (as part of the intellectual property of the show), they are often licensed for merchandise. You would need permission to use these types of images on t-shirts.
You can check out copyright.gov and search the database to find existing copyrighted material.
But more importantly, you can't just find images online and print them as your own. Artwork and photos are automatically copyrighted when they are in fixed form. So anything you find online is more than likely copyrighted. You would specifically need to find royalty free or public domain images, which is unlikely to contain the type of content that would be popular enough to resell on t-shirts.
You would be better off creating your own original designs.
This is true. There was a business that called itself "Mike" that was making "Just Did It" shirts. Needless to say they lost in court.Parody can be a slippery slope. Sure, you can create them and make millions. But the original IP owner can also sue for infringement. There is no distinct line between parody and infringement; it will be up to a judge to decide (if you can afford to take it that far). Bottom line... parody or fair use is a defense to an action; not a license to infringe.
I've done this with a few photographs. One of these is my current best seller, so worth the effort.Excellent info Tim
Let me add this. BROADEN THE POSSIBILITIES! Keep in mind, when finding art on-line that you would love to put on a shirt and you don't see any examples of that image / brand on a shirt....the copyright owner may also desire to have their designs on that substrate.
Find them, Reach out to them, provide them with a sample, structure a partnership / licensing agreement and move on to the next art or brand that you like that isn't on shirts.
I'll just say this as I close....lots of money to be made doing this!
Never seen ANYONE make a withdrawal without going to the bank first. Don't run away from the money, run towards it.
Hope this helps
Definitely contact them not to mention contacting their licensees (big opportunity there). Again, don't run away from opportunity and partnerships, run towards them.Thank you so much everyone for the iadvice and help... but what about just an image of two characters from the show game of thrones for example, would this automatically be a copyright?