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Hey everyone!

I'm just getting started in my tee-shirt business but before I get in too deep, I've been trying to figure out if I can use certain images legally on my shirts.

For instance, I want to use an image of an athlete that has been altered by a graphic designer. The target market for this shirt knows upon looking who the person is, but most of the defining characteristics have been touched up slightly so no logos, names or numbers are showing. Is that going to be ok to sell?

Additionally, with respect to team names and logos, I'm aware those are off limits, but I've seen shirts with team names in a slightly different font. What are the guidelines in these situations? Can someone please help me out while I try in vain to find a good intellectual property lawyer?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Dan
 

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If you take an image that is owned by someone else, no matter how much you change it, it still belongs to the rightful owner. There is a myth that if you change an image so much, it becomes yours. That is just not true, in fact changing it only shows the intent to infringe on it and hope no one notices. The only way you can change an image and use it is to change it 100% :) Which means not using it at all.

As far as logos and team names the same goes, just because you change it doesnt mean its not still protected :) It is illegal to use and copywrited images or trademarked logos.
 
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What about sayings? what's the deal with using them? I know if you repeat what someone says you need to use "quotes" and note the original author. Bu can you print that stuff?
 

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My suggestion would be to get advice from a intellectual property attorney. Although the advice on a forum might be well meaning it is not always accurate. Good luck in your endeavor.
 
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