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I want to print and sell shirts with Bob Marley on them. Does anyone know if I have to pay royalites for using a picture of a celebrity? I want to take a picture of Bob Marley off the internet and I am going to convert it to a black and white logo and then add my own colors and designs to it and write Bob Marley....is this considered my own artwork now, or is that still considered property of Bob Marley?

Or what if I come up with an original design and write Sublime on it or Rolling Stones or Aerosmith....can I sell those legally without permission? Any information on this would be great.
 

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Does anyone know if I have to pay royalites for using a picture of a celebrity?
Yes. If you use an image of anyone (celebrity or otherwise), you need permission.

It's called "celebrity licensing" and estates like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, etc have legal teams setup for this type thing.

Another term you'll want to look up is the "right to publicity". That means that each person has the right to decide how their image is used commercially on merchandise for sale. In the US, politicians are exempt from this.

Same goes for band names, sports teams, celebrity names. etc.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've seen this one covered quite a bit. Of course if you want an official opinion, a lawyer would probably be best.
 

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The short answer is, no you cant do this. In reality, people like southpark do it all the time. Get a good lawyer, and there are ways to walk the line of legality, but you have to be carefull.

Another bit of advice: dont ask for legal advice on a forum. Im not trying to antagonize you by saying this, I just want to warn you against following anyone (even mine ;)) but a good lawyers advice.

Bob marley specifically will come after you for selling un-licensed shirts of him. The company is called zion rootswear, and they sell a ton of shirts...they dont like competition.
 

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Again here we go....what is a politician?... someone running for office? someone supporting a politicl office?, Michael Moore??? An action group? I love the loopholes because in actuality nobody knows the ends and means....just waiting for a bunch of lawyers to decide ones fate.
 

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MotoskinGraphix said:
Again here we go....what is a politician?... someone running for office? someone supporting a politicl office?, Michael Moore??? An action group? I love the loopholes because in actuality nobody knows the ends and means....just waiting for a bunch of lawyers to decide ones fate.
In the context mentioned, it is someone that has held, is holding, or is running for public office.
 

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if you're not sure if you're breaking copyright rules then you must be thinking 'maybe i am' in which case a judge will then ask you what you did to find out if you were. its called due dilligence...def: the care that a prudent person might be expected to exercise in the examination and evaluation of risks affecting a business transaction.

i hope your answer isnt 'i asked some people i dont really know in a web forum'!

if your not sure...dont do it!

ive been through several copyright lawsuits, some i've won and others lost. i still get letters from lawyers about cases from several years ago asking us to 'pay up or else!' or else what, i keep thinking! the case has been closed, they lost and still expect some compensation from me. these lawyers really have nothing else to do other than to try sue people. thats their job. it takes almost no effort for these guys to write a nasty threatning letter and give you lots to worry about. so you take it to your lawyer and pay him to tell you what it means for your company. who wants to pay a lawyer $200 (or whatever) so they can tell you the letter has no legal basis, or they cant sue you for that, or whatever.

in the end its up to a judge or arbitrator to give the final word, but that doesnt mean the lawyers will give up. as long as someone pays them they will keep on your butt!

so again...if your not sure...dont do it! SERIOUSLY your time lost away from your business and the sleepless nights will kill you in the end, even if you win the case!
 

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mr_muncher said:
so again...if your not sure...dont do it! SERIOUSLY your time lost away from your business and the sleepless nights will kill you in the end, even if you win the case!
Wise words from an informed person! Thoroughly endorse the quoted statement and all you say about lawyers. Keep away from 'em! If you lose, they win. If you win, they win. And they value themselves outrageously highly.

Having said all that...the fact is, as anyone who regularly attends market stalls will know, Tshirt vendors/designers frequently and flagrantly ignore copyright issues with celebrity Tshirts, and the truth - for better or worse - is that few of them ever get prosecuted.

Similarly, for all Ebay's claims about strictly policing copyright abuse, there are many instances of Tshirt sellers blatantly and profitably exploiting lines from popular tv shows, bands and celebrities, without license. One guy on Ebay Australia is evidently making a fortune (going by his feedback) selling his own designs of Ts quoting catchphrases from Little Britain, in many instances with accompanying graphics of the characters from the show. The same guy sells Desperate Houswives Ts and any number of other such TV/celeb themed stuff. And he's being doing it for quite a while now, evidently without attracting any attention from wigs seeking to protect the copyright owners' interests.

In stating the facts as above, please don't anyone go posting accusations that I am condoning copyright abuse of the sort outlined above (as has happened in the past) - I am not. In fact, I have been a victim of copyright abuse; I'm on the side of the artist! I am simply pointing out that there is a world of difference between the way things are legally supposed to be, and the way they are in reality.
 

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I am simply pointing out that there is a world of difference between the way things are legally supposed to be, and the way they are in reality.
As is the case with most things :)

Stealing is illegal, but in reality, people do it. Speeding is illegal, but people still do it. That's why there are policemen and court systems :)

Without people breaking the law, there would be no need for a justice system :)

Sometimes people get away with crimes. Doesn't make the acts any less criminal (not that you said that it did).
 

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Just yesterday on "the 9" (a yahoo web show for those who don't know) they "Featured" a website that does parodies of Hasselhoff (the Knight Rider) and of course his picture is on EVERY product they sell. This site doesn't have permission but they are doing PARODIES and that is a legal occums razor that is very tough to walk. (that is the line that shows like southpark walk to "get away with it")
 

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Despotte said:
This site doesn't have permission but they are doing PARODIES and that is a legal occums razor that is very tough to walk.
What does the idea that the simplest answer is most usually correct have to do with the legal status of parodies?
 

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Despotte said:
Just yesterday on "the 9" (a yahoo web show for those who don't know) they "Featured" a website that does parodies of Hasselhoff (the Knight Rider) and of course his picture is on EVERY product they sell. This site doesn't have permission but they are doing PARODIES and that is a legal occums razor that is very tough to walk. (that is the line that shows like southpark walk to "get away with it")
I'm a lawyer! :eek:

Actually I finished law school but I'm not practicing the job.

I'm also a graphic designer. This I'm practicing.

Anyway even if I'm not from US the laws of copyright in my country are similar so... we cant use pics or quotes that belong to others.

With the PARODIES stuff... well they brake this policy. Why? Every TV-Show or Publication of parodies specify at the beginning of their program 'This show is a parody (or the right word) and should be taken accordingly'. That's how they get away with it.

But I don't know that if you specify on your t-shirt that he's a parody or a satiric design of a person you can sell it. This I do not know. But it will be fun to see a person with a T-Shirt saying 'This t-shirt is a parody and should be taken accordingly'. I'm copyrighting this quote cause maybe I will do a t-shirt like this :p . Yea... that will be a fun thing to see.

Have fun everyone!
 

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ust yesterday on "the 9" (a yahoo web show for those who don't know) they "Featured" a website that does parodies of Hasselhoff (the Knight Rider) and of course his picture is on EVERY product they sell. This site doesn't have permission but they are doing PARODIES and that is a legal occums razor that is very tough to walk. (that is the line that shows like southpark walk to "get away with it")
Are you sure the site doesn't have permission?

It's also possible that the site just hasn't been contacted by hasselholf yet to have the shirts removed.

Parody in a show and parody on merchandise for sale are 2 very different things from what I've seen.
 

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He's sure as heck a politician (judging from his flipflopping around this last year). I made the mistake once of asking my lawyer to explain the ins and outs of parody law. I think he charged me for the two hour monologue. Very enlightening and, subsequently, I have some politician parody shirts in the works.

Better stock up on some wooden stakes for Mr. Marley.
 

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Hello,
i know for sure that bob marley is a registered trade mark and all his pictures are copyrighted.If you are interested in getting the original one ,e-mail me ,and i will give you the number to the company that represent the estate.Good luck.
 
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