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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What kind of legal issues could I run into if I made a t-shirt with my own picture of a company's product?? More specifically a car.

Lets say I had a photoshoot with an interesting car of various states of modification. Could I print my photo onto a shirt and sell it?? Would this be violating any copywrites?

What if the Auto company's logo is ledgible in the picture??
 

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Yes, you can always run into legal problems when selling someone elses intellectual property on merchandise for sale.

Especially if the car company sells merchandise already with its logo and it's car design.

If you took the photo, you would own the rights to the photo. But those rights usually don't transfer over into merchandise for sale. You would need to get permission from the auto maker in order to legally sell the shirts.

As always, you should talk to lawyer (I'm not one) on serious matters like this (not just opinions from folks on a forum :) )
 

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This is sort of a delicate matter. It will probably depend on how big a part the car is of the image. If the car may be looked upon as merely a prop in the photo you might be in the clear. I don't think there would be a problem if this was a portrait with a car as a backdrop. As Rodney, I am no lawyer, but i am a professional photographer, and I never worry about props as intellectual property. If you could pass the shirt off as (fine) art, you'll most likely be safe, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
teees.com said:
This is sort of a delicate matter. It will probably depend on how big a part the car is of the image. If the car may be looked upon as merely a prop in the photo you might be in the clear. I don't think there would be a problem if this was a portrait with a car as a backdrop. As Rodney, I am no lawyer, but i am a professional photographer, and I never worry about props as intellectual property. If you could pass the shirt off as (fine) art, you'll most likely be safe, though.
The car would be the main focus of the image. Its basically to cater to people who like those cars.

It would similar to if I photographed the picture below, edited a bunch of things and printed it onto a shirt.

 

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That's beautiful! But, I would contact a lawyer, for sure. Even if a lawyer tells you that you're safe, I would get a second opinion. And be ready for some C&D letters even if it is safe.

You need to weigh the costs of using the shirt and getting sued and determine if it is worth it. IMHO, it's just not worth the aggravation. Unless you get some kind of agreement from the manufacturer, in which case I would still get a lawyer.
 

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If you are picking images from the net and reworking them you are probably going to step on toes. If you own or know the owner, just ask for permission. These car buffs may like their pride and joy be a commercial success. I print private party rods for them all the time. If you don't know the folks, best get the royalty free images and check the license agreement that usually accompanies it on the CD or at download time. Car shows are great for new images... Just ask the owners. Ya never know.
 

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Z28 correct? Ask the manufacture for permission. You’re basically promoting their product. One that’s no longer available for sale, so there should be no problem with it. The manufacture will probably even give you a better picture to use and you won’t have to worry about those rights.

If they ask for a “rights” fee. I would guess that would depend on the price and how bad you want that image.

Most of the time if you’re promoting someone’s product in a positive light… they let you use their stuff. Sometimes they even help you out in other ways too!

Good luck!
 

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Most of the time if you’re promoting someone’s product in a positive light… they let you use their stuff.
The key is asking permission though. Because even if you're promoting someone elses product in a positive light, they may not want a third party profiting off of their product (especially if they sell merchandise related to that product).

You may want to ask the folks at z28.com how they got permssion to print shirts with the camaro logo.

Looks like Chevy is coming out with a new z28 in 2009.
 
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