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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know how things are in the U.S, but here in the UK ebay is flooded with printed t-shirt designs incorporating classic film images and logos, to retro computer games & famous music band motifs.

Now we all know that in an ideal world this isn't totally legal, and in a minority of cases court action has been taken. However, this hasn't stopped ebay removing items, or stopped sellers, selling these goods. It is a massive market out there, and i would bet my house, most printers on this forum have in some way, sold something that infringes copyright!

Slightly off topic, what has got me scared was the recent forum post on 'adidas' taking court action against companies selling anything with 2, 3 & 4 stripes on. They have already 2 main trademarked logos and yet they want to sue anyone that has a few stripes in their decoration of garment...The world has gone mad. Whilst they are a massive company and probably not out to get the small time sellers, i'm pretty much scared of the whole copyright & trademark thing now!

I have a number of original music band designs i have made for printing on t-shirts, but they all incorporate the actual bands motif, & i'm quite scared to print these incase anything comes of it down the line. Whilst i see hundreds of t-shirts incorporating these bands logos on ebay and in near by markets, should i join the rest of these sellers in the hope nothing will come of any copyright issues! I mean, if there are hundreds of similar shirts out there, surely they won't come after each and every one of us?

This seems to be somewhat of a grey area, as such t-shirt auctions never get removed on ebay! If you copied a DVD/CD it would be removed straight away! What does the future hold for selling such t-shirts on the likes of ebay! Whilst i know every reply will state this is ilegal, which we all know it is, we have to recognise it goes on & is being allowed in most parts, so why not join everyone else in making a few coins along the way.

I would like to know if people on here share my views or are totally against this? Would anyone here own up to selling similar t-shirts?

I'm intrigued to know what opinions are on this matter!
 

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Copyright, IP & Patent infringement is taken very seriously here in the States, as you can see with Addidas in your own arena. I think it's perfectly understandable people want to protect their hard earned images, designs, art work etc. Just look at the proliferation of pirated software and the corresponding increase in cost that companies, such as software companies, have to do to ensure profitability (which is always passing the cost onto the consumer, i.e. all of us). In as much as Gutenberg lost his invention to Fust and Schoeffer, so to do companies today loose from people stealing their technology and ideas.

Ideas are only as good as you have the money to make them reality. I have a ton of GREAT ideas, just ask me, but only a certain amount of money (and good sense) which roughly balances itself out. I try hard, as I'm sure most on here do, to not knowingly infringe upon the copyrights of others. This is why I spend time reading all the fine print on contracts, or better yet why my business partner, spends so much time reading the fine print on contracts, use clauses, etc. We make think it frivilous all these lawsuits against this small guy or that small shop, but we, myself included, more often than not forget that these corporations began as small mom-and-pop shops trying to get big. And if we're smart enough, or daring enough, or just plain crazy enough we might one-day get there ourselves, only to see our intellectual property stolen or cloned or 'reverse-engineered' for better purposes.

Now that I'm off my incredibly high soap box (which, by the way, the view is quite lovely), progress is progress and not perfection. What is progress? Nasty, gritty, horrible, painful and hopefully in the end you have a nice product....as my grandfather used to say, 'You may be hairy and full of (explitive) but you're all mine and I love ya.' <By the way I have no idea why I threw in that quote, but it just seemed fitting, and I always wanted to use it in a forum>

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think we can compare pirated software to printing t-shirts to that extent. While both are illegal, the loss made from pirated music and dvds far exceeds that of t-shirts for a band. The loss affects revenue from cinemas, the legal DVD release etc...there is no benefit at all from piracy of this nature.

With t-shirts it's a bit of a double edged sword, meaning that whilst it is still classed as infringing on copyright, it does have a positive effect in that it promotes the film/artist/band, depending on the nature of the print/design used! However 'official' merchandise is very important for increasing artist revenue, especially in this day & age due to a boom in illegal downloads & i don't agree with ripping off 'official' band t shirts...

With so many people doing this on the ebay i just can't help but think ebay aren't taking this seriously as i have kept tracks on a number of ebay shops and they have been selling unofficial t-shirts for a number of years...so i can't help but think if they can do it then why can't i!

Maybe i'm just trying to make my argument sound valid, which is wrong, because i wouldn't consider it right to use Nike's swoosh or addidas' stripes on a design & no one would get away with selling these anyway...but i just can't believe that so many people are selling what can only be classed as fake t-shirts, & so far maybe 2% of such shirts have been removed due to such infringement issues...I'm suprised that music companies like Sony, EMI etc havn't come after ebay or sellers regarding unofficial shirts. Maybe time will tell and things will change soon! But i'm feeling very inclined to stick up some of my designs on ebay...
 

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Now we all know that in an ideal world this isn't totally legal
That's an understatement. In this less than ideal world it is totally illegal.

in a minority of cases court action has been taken.
Minority, yes - but not a small number.

Slightly off topic, what has got me scared was the recent forum post on 'adidas' taking court action against companies selling anything with 2, 3 & 4 stripes on.
That was in Germany if I remember correctly. It was also against another sports apparel company. I think people were blowing up the actual impact of the thing out of proportion.

I have a number of original music band designs i have made for printing on t-shirts, but they all incorporate the actual bands motif
So, original designs that aren't original then? I'm getting so sick of people using the word "original" in the same sentence they admit ripping off someone else's work.

A piece of design that crosses that threshold into becoming truly iconic, shouldn't become so invisible to people that they suddenly forget that someone else put hard work into creating it.

Band logos aren't handed out in cereal boxes.

should i join the rest of these sellers in the hope nothing will come of any copyright issues!
We can't advise you to break the law.

This seems to be somewhat of a grey area, as such t-shirt auctions never get removed on ebay!
It's isn't a grey area at all, and such auctions are frequently removed by eBay - there's just so much of it, that there'll always be a lot of examples up at any given time.

And some sellers who inexplicitly get away with it time and time again... perhaps those particular sellers actually have official licenses. Who knows.

eBay takes advantage of the difficulty in verifying official apparel. If someone pirates a DVD it's often quite obvious, which is why they're removed. If someone pirates a t-shirt... well realistically it's often pretty obvious too, but they can 'reasonably' claim that they weren't sure if the seller had a legitimate right to sell the item or not. You can print a t-shirt at home if you have the license, but there is no such license available for the production of DVDs.

eBay wants the seller's fees, so they turn a blind eye to it as much as possible. But it's like a duck on a pond: all calm on the surface, but underneath the water lawyers are madly spinning away (just like a duck; they actually have lawyers for feet).

The VERO program is very active, and people are definitely sued as a result of their actions on eBay. It's just such a rampant problem that you'll always be able to find illegal activity anyway.

Just like I would have no problem finding a dodgy street corner where drugs are being sold.

we have to recognise it goes on & is being allowed in most parts, so why not join everyone else in making a few coins along the way
No, we don't. Just because we're surrounded by a world of scum, doesn't mean we have to be corrupted by it. We can choose to be better than that because it's the right thing to do, and we can choose to be better than that because their actions harm our entire industry.
 

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I think there are alot of Licensed band shirts on ebay, I have sold Licensed band shirts there my self. But they are Licensed, I do not make them I purchase them from dist, that are Licensed to sell them.
I heat press , silk screen and vinyl other t-shirts, but I would not ever Make my own Band Shirts. I Value my business and home to much. lol:p
Sandy JO
 

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The answer you want is you can get away with yes! At a flea market level...hence BOOTLEG.
Is it legal, NO. However in the world of tee shirts it does have its place. It is big buisness at that! At that local level its not going to raise flags. I venture many flea markets here in TX and even hit major venues in Houston and Dallas where this practice take place...everything from Hanna Montanna to Sponge Bob BOOTLEGS on every corner, its SALES. I dont condone illegal activities, however bringing awareness that you ideas are already in market. I sought out the source of these bootlegs and was amazed at the warehouses and the pinpoints!

Adidas in this matter must fully vallidate registered trade mark of the logo to stripes for this be an issue...what is it they use three stripes and
kmart brand use 4 something like that. If it the logo corresponds to a design they have an argument... meaning that when you see the design you think addidas, its obvious they got more cash and lawyers to spook the off brand copy cat trend makers.

Dont be scared to print the locals, just present the proper forms and have your customers state they own the design of the so called TM copyrights etc...till they do its game.
 
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