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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I'm looking for some advice. I'm sure you're all familiar with the classic "I (Heart) NY" shirt. I am very confused at to whether or not it is OK to create your own "I (Heart) whatever" designs for shirts without getting "permission" from anyone.

I read on one of those copyright sites a while ago that NY have a "copyright" on any design that includes a red heart with black text. That seems to cover an awful lot and frankly I'm amazed that they would have got a copyright for that!

Does anyone know what the deal is? I have a design I want to do and currently have it up on CP with a red heart and navy text, but frankly I think it looked better using black. I've withheld putting it in my "real" store for that reason.

So...um thoughts? Can I "heart" anything?
 

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The City of New York has a trademark (rather than copyright) on the "I Love NY" mark. So while they can't sue people for loving things, if you're using the same font, format, etc. it could be seen as trademark infringement.
 

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I think JUST the "I heart ny" is trademarked.

However, I'm pretty sure it's OK to create your own line of I heart (something else) t-shirts as long as the (something else) doesn't have a trademark of its own.

Most things won't, like "i heart ranch sauce", but there could be a few trademarks out there similar to i heart ny.

I know a guy that has a cafepress shop that has literally thousands of different I Heart designs and he does pretty well with that shop (although the market is a bit more saturated now).
 

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I think JUST the "I heart ny" is trademarked.
It is "I love NY" that is trademarked, not the whole concept, but that doesn't mean that e.g. "I love OC" is not an infringement. They are very sue happy with the mark. If it looks like the mark it could be infringement. If it's about loving NY it could be infringement (depends on the particulars obviously). If it doesn't look like the mark and isn't about NY it's not likely to be.
 

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I was told in a design class that I "heart" NY is a trademark and registered logo of New York. I dont think they will sue you for that, as there are trillion of shirts, stickers, posters, hats, keychains, flags, etc, etc, ect, with I "heart" something. They wont be able to sue everybody and if people and companies keep on doing it without problem, it must be because there no thing to worry about. If I was you, I would print whatever I wanted BUT I "Heart" NY, just in case ;)
 

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I was told in a design class that I "heart" NY is a trademark and registered logo of New York. I dont think they will sue you for that, as there are trillion of shirts, stickers, posters, hats, keychains, flags, etc, etc, ect, with I "heart" something.
If you read the article I posted above, it's pretty plain to see that they do sue people for it, and even for the ones that are just "I <3 Something".

Pretty risky, if you ask me.
 

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It is UTTERLY ABSURD if the heart symbol itself is copyright protected in the context of all "I heart..." comments - whatever the legal position. Speaking of which, I seriously doubt that any such copyright protection exists, and it will take a solicitor specialising in such issues to convince me otherwise.
 

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No, I'm 99.9% sure it's just the specific word drawing, "I Heart NY" that is trademarked.

Not all variations thereof.

Similar thing with "got milk". That specific phrase is trademarked, but I don't think other "got" phrases are protected. But again, I'm not a lawyer :)
 

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Well, if you're right, Rodney - and I can't imagine you're not - sanity prevails. The very notion that anyone can "claim" legal ownership of a word, phrase or symbol that is part of common language infuriates me. It is surely the very nature of language - lexical or visual - to evolve constantly, and when it does, common ownership should prevail.
 

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I don't know if this means anything but a tv network show made a bunch of these that read i heart celeb/name one of a kind signed by the celeb to be given away framed at the end of every show to the person that got to live the celeb real life day, got their place done up with all new furnishings also, and met the celeb too. ..... does dat make sense ? :confused: ...i would think the tv network would know if it was ok or not. They are usually very picky of what goes on the tv screen.

I have also seen some of these same shirts at bazars but I know that the TV network did not make them, because they made only 1 of each celeb (the one's in a frame hanging on a wall somewhere :D ).

...gee.

I Love Peanut Butter snaks on the road. :rolleyes:

I do think Rodney and Ross make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The thing that clouds the issue is: yes, we have all seen it "everywhere", however there's nothing to say that the people printing those shirts have not got a licence from NY to do so (e.g that they would need one, but have it so it's legal) or a simply flying under the radar (e.g that they would need one, but choose to ignore it), OR, like I hope, that there's no legal issue with it.
 

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No, I'm 99.9% sure it's just the specific word drawing, "I Heart NY" that is trademarked.
It is. But again, that doesn't mean it affects only "I Love NY", that's what confusion and trademark dilution is all about.

Similar thing with "got milk".
Exactly. Like when the "got milk?" trademark owners sued people for making variants that were designed to look the same. The last bit is the important bit. Not all iterations of the phrases can be protected, but those that intentionally look the same (same font choice, same colour choices) can be.
 
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