T-Shirt Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know the legality of using someone famous on your shirt? I see a lot of shirts with Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee and wonder if you have to aquire some sort of licensing for that? How's about using something from a movie? Would you just have to get permission or would you have to pay royalties? :confused:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,512 Posts
:searchbox:

Seek and ye shall find.

This comes up on the forums a lot. The short answer is yes you need to negotiate a licence, and yes you'll need to pay royalties. In theory the copyright holder could give you permission to use it without charge, but that's not going to happen.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
Solmu the only way us new people are ever going to earn a black shirt on this forum is if the same questions keep getting asked and some of us Journeymen get a chance to answer the questions we all asked a few months or years ago. LOL
Hehe, that's actually a good point Brian :)

It probably would help to give other members a chance to answer the question (which may be new to them).

Although the search is a great place to start (even I start there a lot of times :D)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
i think it's dumb you need permission to use someone's likeness. If someone made money off of using my face, I'd be stoked.

Also, how does one go about copywriting themselves?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
Also, how does one go about copywriting themselves?
You don't necessarily get a "copyright" on yourself :)

It's called the "right to publicity" and you don't have to be a celebrity to be "covered" by it.

It basically means that each person (you, me, Humphrey Bogart, Jimi Hendrix, etc) has the right to decide how their image/likeness is used on merchandise for sale. In the US, politicians are "exempt" from this right, so they are often used freely on merchandise for sale.

I'm very glad it exists :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
I’ve had a few auctions cancelled on EBay due to skirting the step of gaining the right to use an image or so. However I’ve noticed that the competition has seemingly skirted getting called on the carpet by using a likeness (some sort of illustration) instead. Is that really getting away with it or have they just not been “caught” yet?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
by using a likeness (some sort of illustration) instead. Is that really getting away with it or have they just not been “caught” yet?
They probably just haven't been "caught" yet (or they have permission).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
good point They probably just haven't been "caught" yet (or they have permission).[and also I’ve noticed that the competition has seemingly skirted getting called on the carpet by using a likeness (some sort of illustration) instead. Is that really getting away with it or have they just not been “caught” yet?

Ive been thinking of doing shirts with famous people like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Che Guevara, Michael Jackson you get my point. Most of these people are dead, some not... Is using a picture/alternated pic/illustration something you need permission to do.. Several companies do these...Or if they are public record photos (i.e.; police records, a.p. photos) does that count?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,187 Posts
neversatisfied said:
Ive been thinking of doing shirts with famous people like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Che Guevara, Michael Jackson you get my point. Most of these people are dead, some not... Is using a picture/alternated pic/illustration something you need permission to do.. Several companies do these...Or if they are public record photos (i.e.; police records, a.p. photos) does that count?
Even if the person is dead, the image still may be copyrighted. "Public record" photos from newspapers, etc may be copyrighted by the people who took the photo as well.

The only really "safe" photos to use, besides the ones that you get permission to use, are those that are in the public domain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Domain

Caricatures or parodies (original illustrations that make fun of the subject) may be permitted under some circumstances, but this can still be risky. This thread has some more info:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/showthread.php?t=2740
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
also worth consideration is:

1. if you parody the illustration, why not parody the name/title? come on... you're bright.

2. choose wisely. think it through... would you pay $25 for a Bebe Neuwirth portrait T ;) ? of course, i probably would-- especially after her how- did- she- not- Grammy- after- the- cameo- on- Star- Trek- Next- Generation, but still... i am just one. and perhaps not worth the investment to produce a whole line of it. then again (and my next point is:)

3. i've heard of particular rights owners being fine with a "complimentary" product in exchange for royalties-- as long as a pre-determined number/profit is minimal. never hurts to ask, say George Takei :eek: .

(BTW.FYI- STNG and all associated actors aforementioned have not been contacted prior to posting, and in no uncertain perceivable terms endorse nor oppose this, and/or any other related and/or unrelated statements i have made as of the 3rd day of the month of October, in the year of 2006... ano domino.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,512 Posts
withwords said:
as of the 3rd day of the month of October, in the year of 2006... ano domino.)
Didn't you hear? We're calling it the Common Era now :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top