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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
alright here's my dilemma:

a couple of years ago two of my closest friends and i did the old 'let's start a tshirt line' and go into business. we were all going to be equal partners. all of us did the think tank thing and came up with design ideas and names for the line. i did the actual art production. that was to be my main contribution along with coming up with ideas. the other guys were to push the line. one has contacts with a lot of boutiques in the city and the other could sell snow to an eskimo.

well long story short: one of the other guys decided he couldn't work with the other and thankfully we never actually got into money or actually incorporating or anything like that, BUT i did do a lot of work and produced about ten designs that i would actually like to have printed up. the places i would like to have sell them are known to the other guys and i feel as though i would owe them something if i did decide to do this.

this whole thing cost me a good friend of over 15 years. i still talk to the other guy all the time. who ever said don't go into business with friends was dead on. the thing is i don't want to go into business with any of them but how do i produce these designs without having to worry about a scorned friend saying that something was his idea and taking me to court?
 

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BUT i did do a lot of work and produced about ten designs that i would actually like to have printed up.
That to me says it all. You did the work on the designs so why shouldn't you be compensated for your time and effort.

Also were these designs created entirely by you? Were they influenced by ideas from your friends? I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as the legal side goes since you created the designs yourself and they can't claim ownership. The thing you should be worried about (and I think you are) is losing more friends over getting the designs printed.

If it was me I would probably start from scratch with new designs that way you can keep the friends while still getting compensated for the work you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That to me says it all. You did the work on the designs so why shouldn't you be compensated for your time and effort.

Also were these designs created entirely by you? Were they influenced by ideas from your friends? I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as the legal side goes since you created the designs yourself and they can't claim ownership. The thing you should be worried about (and I think you are) is losing more friends over getting the designs printed.

If it was me I would probably start from scratch with new designs that way you can keep the friends while still getting compensated for the work you do.
yeah, i'm kinda leaning that way. even though the one person and i don't talk anymore i still care about the guy. we all worked together in another industry for over 15 years.

the designs were mainly the brainchild of the guy i don't talk to. but after researching the stuff i've seen where he's gotten his ideas from so to say he was this genius with all these great ideas is coming up a little short. for example he wanted a shirt to read 'kiss kiss bang bang' and i thought that was edgy and cool just to find out it was a movie.

bottom line is i don't want to come off as a scumbag. but on the other hand nobody else did the work.
 

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Call them up......tell both what you want to do, and express the fact that you did create the artwork from the collaboration of all of the ideas, at least you can break the ice with the lost friend, and get a feeling from both if they are going to support you or fight you.

To me I'd have to know before I would proceed with those designs, you have the talent to create new designs also.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
maybe i can work out a percentage deal or some type of 'buy out'. really wondering if anyone has had success going into business with friends. almost like getting married..........would have to break out the pre-nups. anyways, thanks guys!
 

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maybe i can work out a percentage deal or some type of 'buy out'. really wondering if anyone has had success going into business with friends. almost like getting married..........would have to break out the pre-nups. anyways, thanks guys!
Mike...

I've worked (day job) with my family for over 35 years, 5 days a week, 10 hours a day, while we still have good relations I have little to no desire to see them away from work, it's nothing personal just that I do have a life that they are not a part of....go in business with friends and in the end...well you know first hand what happens.

Hope it works out for you.
 

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If the designs are ones you really want to put out......Then I say do it. Forget those other guys and their feelings. Obviously none of them want to go ahead with the business and it seems you're the only one still working on designs and stuff. F*@! em' I've learned over the years that while yes, it is good to keep good relations with people.....but if they don't have the same goals or they're not helping you achieve your goals, than what they think doesn't really matter. And since you don't have anything between you guys that legally bind you...like I said F*@! em'. Friends come and go
 

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I would figure out a one time payment for them, to be paid from initial profits. They don't deserve "royalties" for their small contribution, but if they don't get something, I think they have a legitimate gripe. I would be generous and give them something, but only if you actually make money.
 

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just trying to do the right thing. they did have input on the designs, just didn't do any of the work.
From a legal standpoint, input and ideas cannot be owned as intellectual property, so they wouldn't have any rightful claim to anything you created. You're the one who put pen to paper, so the copyrights are yours.

Since there was no business structure or agreement, there isn't even much of an argument that the IP belongs to an entity owned by all three of you. But I guess there is a "good faith" argument if you designed the art with the intention of the copyright being owned by all three. I guess it really depends on how you feel about it. If you want to cash in, go right ahead. If you want to keep this whole mess behind you, just go design new art.
 
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