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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
My freinds and I are "the OC" tv show fans and we searched the internet for cool tshirts to buy but couldnt really find any authentic or original designs worth purchasing (yes, I looked on cafepress.com - yuck). So, long story short I created my own "theoctshirts.com" website in hopes to sell some better "the OC" tees for people to buy. (I still need to get about 4-5 designs up online for the mens/womens catagories)

My question to you guys/gals is:
Can I get busted for selling "the OC" tees online?
If so, what will happen?
Or, do you think that my site is ok the way it is. I havent sold any tees yet because nobody really knows its out there yet.

That comes to my 2nd question:
Any recomendations on how to get the word out there with out spending any marketing dollars I dont have?

Thanks for reading my post. Cant wait to hear your replies!

Seth
 

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The OC is a new primetime soap opera on Fox.

I would suspect that if you use photos and logos from the show without licensing them you will find yourself in some trouble.
 

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New? It's been here in the UK for at least a year.. that could be an interesting fact when doing your marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Guys,
Thanks for the replys. I think I will do that eventually. For now, I dont really use there exact logo. My original plan was to make designs that were totally different from theirs. I will look into licensing if any start selling.
Does anyone have any suggestions for the functionality or design of the site?
That would be helpful...
Seth
 

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I definitely think you could have some problems by selling "the OC" shirts. Since they have an officially licensed shop for "the OC" show, I'm pretty sure Fox is out to protect its rights on this one.

When your site becomes more popular, they could send you a cease and desist notice, or even take you to court for damages (if they feel they have lost sales because of your site).

Any recomendations on how to get the word out there with out spending any marketing dollars I dont have?
There are a few free places to promote a new t-shirt store like:

http://www.t-shirtlinks.com
http://www.buy-tees.com
http://www.t-shirtcountdown.com
http://www.t-shirtshopper.com

And also regular search engine marketing through http://www.google.com, http://www.yahoo.com and http://search.msn.com

However, for long term success, you may want to think about some sort of targeted advertising. Like you said, if people don't know your website exists, you won't get any sales.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Rodney,
Thanks for the reply and good advise. I have a question though. What about all the OC tees on cafepress? How do they get away with it?

Seth
 

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Seth.
I would not use cafepress as a measuring stick for anything. The people on there do it because they think they can get away with it. That raises an interesting question in my mind though. If someone is marketing pirated or knockoff gear on Cafepress, who is do blame if and when the heat comes down? Does the burden of guilt fall on the store owner or the company that is actually printing the copyright infringing merchandise, Cafepress? Anyone?
 

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sethmats said:
Hey Rodney,
Thanks for the reply and good advise. I have a question though. What about all the OC tees on cafepress? How do they get away with it?
You will always find people that break the rules and get away with it for a certain period of time before they are caught.

The CafePress system is instant, so they don't always manually review each image uploaded to their system or catch all the offending stores immediately.

What usually happens is CafePress will get a call or cease and desist letter (or a notice of lawsuit) from a trademark holder and then CafePress will then have to go and search for/shut down any offending stores.

I've seen this happen on a few occassions (most recently with the Napoleon Dynomite related tees).

They do have a team of people who's job it is to review new stores and images for infringements, however, with so many new stores being opened daily on their service and so many images being uploaded every hour and so many different themes/trademarks/copyrights out there, they don't always catch them all right away.
 

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DickTees.net said:
If someone is marketing pirated or knockoff gear on Cafepress, who is do blame if and when the heat comes down? Does the burden of guilt fall on the store owner or the company that is actually printing the copyright infringing merchandise, Cafepress? Anyone?

Usually, since CafePress is the easiest to get a hold of, they are usually the first to get contacted.

They have a whole team of people there that deal with this type stuff on a daily basis.

Once they get notification of an infringement, they investigate, remove the images/store if necessary, and notify the cafepress shopkeeper of the issue.

According to their terms, the shopkeeper is liable. However, they seem to be very quick in handling the issue so it doesn't come to lawsuits (even though some lawyers are quick on the draw -- sue first, ask for removal later)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey Rodney,
Im curious? On 99% of my "the OC" tees I put the OC California on them. Does that make a difference? I mean. OC stands for Orange County so Im sure anyone can make shirts that say OC on them. Maybe just not "the" OC?
So, I guess my question is: What if I take the "the" off my shirts and add california to all of them? My thought is they couldnt say a thing because its just promoting Orange County, CA.
What do you think?
Seth
 

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sethmats said:
Hey Rodney,
Im curious? On 99% of my "the OC" tees I put the OC California on them. Does that make a difference? I mean. OC stands for Orange County so Im sure anyone can make shirts that say OC on them. Maybe just not "the" OC?
So, I guess my question is: What if I take the "the" off my shirts and add california to all of them? My thought is they couldnt say a thing because its just promoting Orange County, CA. What do you think?
Sounds like a question for a lawyer :)

If you think about it from Fox's perspective, it seems like your site came out almost as a result of the popularity from the show they spent millions promoting.

So to them (or their lawyers), it might seem like you are trying to profit off of the shows popularity (even if you change up the wording a little).

I'm not a lawyer, and you may be fine. Just trying to play "devil's advocate" here to show a different perspective.
 

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There are even legal difficulties with doing that... they can then argue that you are profiting from their intellectual property. They could probably prove it too, as you are pitching to their market. Much the same happened when I sold a t-shirt with a cartoon car on it, but I won't go into that. I don't sell it anymore.

The only way I can see you getting around it is completely changing your marketing strategy. If you market from the outset to people who live in Orange County and not the fans of the tv program then that should be okay. It is a lot about your intention and how you make that publicly obvious.

I don't think many people are going to suggest a way to skate in the grey area. If you want to do it correctly get the licenses. Selling until you get caught when your entire business is about the OC isn't too clever, what happens then?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Very true, I am actually starting a clothing company called "Orange County Clothing Company" as we speak, but didnt want to associate it at all with the tv show. But everyone is telling my I am dumb if I dont sell "the OC" stuff, so thats why I started this little side project. I may change it around like you said to just orange county residents...
I appreciate all your posts!
Seth
 

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sethmats said:
Very true, I am actually starting a clothing company called "Orange County Clothing Company" as we speak
I'm actually doing a small line of shirts for my local "hood" as well just to see how it goes.

I don't have a hit tv show named after my town, but I think I should be able to do some local advertising to help sell the tees :)
 
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