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Hello guys, I have been printing shirts for about three years now. I have become fairly proficient, and now have a vacuum table, about 10 screens, a few gallons of ink, and about 300 blank t-shirts.

I have been printing the timeless Che Guevara and The Ramones prints and selling them fairly cheap. Here are the stats on the shirts:

Hanes Heavyweights
100% Cotton
White
5.6 Ounces
Expensive as hell (sourced at 2.34 a shirt)
Sizes S-XL

I have been selling them for 7.99+4.99 shipping. I have sold about 32 of them, but was expecting more business.

The shirts are of top quality, but I can't seem to find the right market. Ebay has proven mildly successful, but there just isn't that much of a demand for these shirts.

Any ideas/strategies that I could implement?
 

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Hi imakeshirts, welcome to the T-Shirt Forums.

You only need to post a question in one place, so I've removed your duplicate topic :)

Regarding the shirts. You may end up with legal problems unless you have permission to use The Ramones and Che Guevera images.

If you have other designs, you could try creating a website and advertising it in places you feel your target market might see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice- sorry about the double post.

The Ramones Screen was purchased from the local screenprinters (they were closing out and I really just needed an extra frame). They had several such images, and they explained that the image they used was public domian. I liked it so much I kept the screen in tact, and it has been selling fairly well.

The Che shirt...well considering that it is probably the most screened image in history, I am not that concerned about copyright infringement. My first screen ever was a Che, and this one is one of my more recent (a really nice heavy image).

Any more advice would be appreciated- I have had minor success with ebay, but I could probably spice up my descriptions- any suggestions?
 

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There are no "public domain" Ramones images. All people/celebrities/etc have what is called the "Right to Publicity", which means that they get to decide how their image/name/likeness is used on merchandise for sale.

You may have gotten some misinformation from the old printer.

Regarding the Che image: although it may be used alot, the rights to the image still may have some legal issues. There are even trademarks registered on the image:
http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=75548973

But back to your question, if you do some searches of the forum for ebay, there are a few good posts on how to get the most of an eBay listing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback-


It looks like the copyright only applies to that image (with text), at least that is the way it reads to me. Journies, hot topic, AND wall-mart all have Che Shirts from different manufacturers- all with different designs. Seriously- I don't think anybody will blink twice at a non-licesened shirt of che.

As for the Ramones template- you guys may be right. After all, they did go out of business. I will probably stop selling them, but I see no harm in doing a short run for me and some friends.

Any other tips you could share?
 

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das_king said:
I thought someone can only copyright a specific image or design not a whole person, like che...
Yes, someone can copyright a photograph (like the origin of the Che image).

However, as mentioned above, a person doesn't need to "copyright" themself, as their likeness is automatically protected by the Right to Publicity laws:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Publicity
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Right, except for the fact that Che happens to be fairly dead, and is survived by his wife and daughter who are fairly poor. They have never filed suit for anything against anybody (I did a quick google).

As for Cordeo (I think that was the photographer's name), I don't believe that he has ever sued anybody, and may be dead himself. IDk

Regardless, I digress from my initial point. Any good key words I could use- like hot button names?
 

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imakeshirts said:
Right, except for the fact that Che happens to be fairly dead, and is survived by his wife and daughter who are fairly poor. They have never filed suit for anything against anybody (I did a quick google).
Death doesn't make the right to publicity nullified. Just because his wife and daughter are fairly poor doesn't make it any more legal (maybe even less?)

As for Cordeo (I think that was the photographer's name), I don't believe that he has ever sued anybody, and may be dead himself.
That's possible, but I don't think it puts the photo in the public domain.

Regardless, I digress from my initial point. Any good key words I could use- like hot button names?
You mean like keywords for your ebay auction? You could look through t-shirt auctions that have ended successfully and see what words they are using in their title. Maybe generic keywords like music, rock, etc.

Also, I think a website with an expanded line might help you to reach a larger (and different) audience.
 

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I think that it is safter just not to do any of those shirts. What happen if someone somewhere had a relavation and decide to sue the crap out of everyone?
 

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Lucky for you they're all dead, eh? Let's crack open the champagne! *sigh*

If you're going to have the "I don't care that it's illegal because I can get away with it" attitude then I would suggest you do it in private. I'd be lying if I said I never use iconic pseudo-public domain images from time to time - but I wouldn't go around bragging about it. Morally I believe fair use strictures could afford to loosen up, but publicly I'd stick with what's legal.

The issue with Che's image isn't the right to publicity etc. but a simple one of copyright. While there are multiple images of Che there is only one that is used over and over again, and only one that appears on t-shirts. That image is a simple one colour screen version based on a photograph by Alberto Korda.

Initially the status of the copyright of this photo was a bit of a giant question mark as Cuba didn't sign the Berne convention. Then someone pissed off Alberto Korda.

Specifically, a vodka company used the image to advertise its product and angered by the blatant commercialism Korda sued and won, establishing his copyright. On the topic of his copyright he has said:

"As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che."
Officially the image was never made public domain, but practically speaking Korda essentially authorised a lot of the uses to which the image was being put. That would seem to put people in the clear. Except Korda died in 2001. Rather than that helping you, in this case it really doesn't.

The rights to Korda's photograph were inherited. From what I hear whoever now owns the rights is rather more sue-happy; a lot of people have received C&Ds for using the image, and a lot of others have stopped selling it out of fear that they'll be next.

The use of the image is not legal. Personally I wouldn't blame you for using it anyway (the original creator probably wouldn't have objected, so why should I?), but I do object to you celebrating the fact that you perceive people's deaths as having made it easier for you to make a quick buck.
 
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