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Discussion Starter #1
Heya everyone,

I have a question, and maybe its embedded in a thread somewhere here already (this site is massive! =D)

Anyway, do you have to get permission from companies if you want to use their logo? I know that seems self-explanitory, but here's my dilemma:

I want to allow customers to design their own shirt. If this means they want me to hand-draw a twisted looking carebear or a kid-type Cloud Strife than so be it. But, is that REALLY copyright infringement? I would almost consider that to be a specially requested art design for a shirt being sold to a SINGLE customer..not to the masses. I mean, obviously if I took actuly art work from, say, Grand Theft Auto and use it, yeah, I could say that makes me a bad bad girl. But what if I made a parody of it? What about all those Mr. Bubbles and Fraggle Rock type of 80s shirts you see too? Were those licensed deals given to a company to sell, so long as they shared the wealth?

I guess in short my question is, what CAN'T you do to pre-existing designs?
I r so confused!
Thank you and <3 you all!
 

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I have used logos of local companies but it was to show them what I could do for them if I got their business. I alway leave the item with them after I meet with them wherather it be yea or nay. Don't fool with it if unless you feeel lucky.. And what did Dirty harry say?
 

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A surprising amount of those 80s shirts you're seeing could probably be traced back to one or two legitimate licensed sources. Obviously there are also plenty of illegal imitations, but they are, well, illegal.

No, you can't use a company's logo without their permission. No, it makes no difference at all if it's one customer, a lot of customers, or none (i.e. personal use) - it's all infringement.

Parody is a complex grey area. Depending on what you're doing it may or may not be illegal, but either way you could get sued and it's best to talk to a lawyer if you want to stay within the law.

If you don't really care (not something I'd advocate, but your choice) you could just more or less do whatever you want and wait for the cease and desist letter. Most companies will fire off a warning before they sue you into oblivion (though some will skip straight to the fun and games of a legal circus), and plenty of people never even become enough of an entity for whatever company they're ripping off to notice them.

Personally though, I'd avoid using content that is clearly owned by someone else, and read up on what flies and what doesn't for parody and only use what I was confident was fair game (copyrighted content must be the direct object of the satire for example, and not just used to satirically send up an unrelated party).
 

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i agree with Solmu, just do it unless they give you a cease and desist. I doubt they'll even find out unless you do sell them in large quantities. I can't picture them tracking down that one image on one shirt from one customer, so i say go for it, but have some sort of back up plan or something. trust you instinct.
 

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MinusBlindfold said:
i agree with Solmu, just do it unless they give you a cease and desist.
Just to make it clear I do not think you should just do it until you get caught.

I said you can and I know a lot of people will (including myself occasionally - I am a hypocrite afterall), but I don't think you should.
 

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just do it unless they give you a cease and desist. I doubt they'll even find out unless you do sell them in large quantities. I can't picture them tracking down that one image on one shirt from one customer, so i say go for it, but have some sort of back up plan or something. trust you instinct.
I don't recommend "doing it until you get caught" at all.
 

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interesting topic for sure,,,,I have many import logos for cars that I cut or print everyday....always looking out for the cease and desist order but....and this is no excuse,,,,they do love the free advertising and it costs them nothing. Now when they are at an event representing with product I will not infringe...that is just suicide!!!!
 

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Rodney said:
I don't recommend "doing it until you get caught" at all.
What are the chances a company will discover a shirt that was only made once? maybe if they printed a few and set up a store or stand publically it'd be greater chance of getting busted, but if a customer just requests one shirt that may not be the most "legal" i don't see the harm. kind of like burning a cd for a friend. as long as you don't go bootlegging all around town, you should be fine just making one on the DL every now and then.
as for making that the basis of your whole business, then yes, i advice against that.
 

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What are the chances a company will discover a shirt that was only made once?
My concern isn't the statistical chances, it's the fact that you are knowingly recommend doing something illegal. I don't recommend that and don't recommend people post to the forum recommending it.

Just because you don't see the harm doesn't mean that the harm doesn't exist.

Be Ethical!


The T-Shirt Forums website: resources, articles and discussions are based on basic, appropriate professional ethical behavior. Unethical behavior: stealing other members intellectual property, copyright/trademark violations, spamming other members via email or Private Message, warez discussion and other illegal activites are completely inappropriate
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much for all the advice! I think I'll play it safe and create things no where near a licensed anything =P. Now another question...though I doubt I can find much on this subject..is, what if I am trying to promote cultural awareness with popular images?
For example, say I'm trying to promote awareness of music stars, movies, novels, etc of a foreign country like, I don't know, France for example. How many French rock groups do you find on American tees? I know its not popular..but I bet a kick *** shirt design of a group that's popular there would sell here..and even raise awareness that they exist. What do you think about that kind of, um, advertising? Still a no-no I can imagine...le sigh.
 

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makkura said:
Thanks so much for all the advice! I think I'll play it safe and create things no where near a licensed anything =P. Now another question...though I doubt I can find much on this subject..is, what if I am trying to promote cultural awareness with popular images?
For example, say I'm trying to promote awareness of music stars, movies, novels, etc of a foreign country like, I don't know, France for example. How many French rock groups do you find on American tees? I know its not popular..but I bet a kick *** shirt design of a group that's popular there would sell here..and even raise awareness that they exist. What do you think about that kind of, um, advertising? Still a no-no I can imagine...le sigh.
I'm sure those french rock bands have their own merchandising setup. Most bands have t-shirts that they sell with their brand name.

I don't think the bands would see it as "promoting cultural awareness". I think they would see it as "making money off our band name in a different country".

Your best bet for anything like that is to go to the source and try to get permission. Without permission, don't do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Haha, words from the wise are so true. Ah well, if all else fails I can at-least support the different types of music in other countries right? =D
Thanks again..you've kept me from attempting about...2,000 stupid things so far!
-Melissa
 

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sorry about the illegal advice, im not a very good influence haha. Just play it safe and create some original designs. If you have original designs, you have nothing to worry about.
 
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