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T Shirt Copyright Question

Discussion in 'Logo Design & Brand Identity Forum:' started by thecolourinbetween, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Hey guys and gals,

    Here be a question that I have seen obvious answers to elsewhere but I am looking for something more intricate which seems to be the norm here :)

    Basically I have some really cool T Shirt ideas for Doctor Who. I would love to upload them to a site to sell them but have no idea about the complexities of IP when it comes to characters on T Shirts as you can go to any site and see 101 ideas that probably haven't sought permission.

    Are there loopholes that allow you to do such?

    Cheers m'dears!
  2. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Pay the BBC lots and lots of money and it should be fine, haha. Other than that I doubt you'd get away with using images from such a high profile IP for long before they ask you to stop - especially if youre using their original images.
  3. Rather than pay them money, could one not approach them saying you have this idea and any that you sell you will give them a percentage?

    How on earth would one go about brokering such a deal?
  4. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    I imagine the BBC already has several very large deals in place with regard to marketing and merchandise, it's unlikely they'd allow freelancers to make arrangements to do something like that.

    You could always email them and ask.
  5. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    Ok, this sort of thing goes on a lot!

    And their is a fine line between a parody/homage and theft.

    If you are using copyrighted material, even as reference, good luck with that expect a cease and desist, possibly worse.

    If you are creating the characters yourself, you 'can' get around it. But it is risky.


    example. this is obvious the power aid jug, but this is filed under parody, because they aren't using the actual copyrighted character.

    Incomparison, there are countless star wars designs out there that are nothing to do with lucas arts, some get through the net and get made, but some get made and then the cease and desists get sent.

    It's a minefield.
  6. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Mrp makes a good point. I wonder if you'd get away with JUST having a police box... No copyright on that is there? Even if it's on the moon!
  7. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    I would think you could get away with generic items, but combining that with any reference to the show would then become an IP issue I would guess, as you're hoping to trade off the back of their work? I would personally think that if you have concerns over IP issues then they will probably have the same concerns, and voice them via the legal channels. Where does the line fall between fan artwork and commercial? at the point you're trying to sell it for a profit?
  8. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    At exactly that point I'd say. It'd be difficult to do something referencing something as well known as doctor who without being noticed.
  9. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    This is a moustache stroking subject! It is a mine field of IP, copyright, parody, homage...
  10. I'm hearing you all and it is pretty much what I am aware of already. It's just that whenever I look at T Shirt sites, there are loads of unofficial designs that you just see all the time. I just simply thought there must be some loophole. I've heard of the parody/interpretation one but mine don't follow that suit.

    I have to say I am really frustrated because any Doctor Who T Shirt official design has always been so bland and strictly appeals to the anorak. There are no funky mass market ones... you know, that you wouldn't be ashamed to wear and I believe mine fit that need.

    I wonder if I should develop a range and a business plan and give them a pitch.

    There has to be a market for it.
  11. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    Graveyard | Cool graphic Tee Shirts from RIPT Apparel

    Look through that, loads of designs that could be umm...iffy....but not at the same time.

    I've read that some of the smaller sites, just take the risk, whilst a larger site (threadless) won't take the risk because they have a higher profile.

    Having dealt with companies who license merchandise it is one massive cost. Typo might know a little about this too. But the amount you would have to pay to legally license the characters, you would have (HAVE!) to be shifting units into the 1000's to make it cost effective.
  12. Greg

    Greg Active Member

  13. Thanks for the links guys... I'm going to have to stew on this. Again.
  14. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Hell, I'm a big Dr Who fan and I'll buy any you produce.
  15. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    First thousand units sold! Nice one Typo :D
  16. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Just one or nugget.
  17. I'm absent for the weekend and I come back to find I have already presold one or two thousand t shirts?! WOW Happy Mondays! What a nugget this site has turned out to be ;)
  18. CarmaCreative

    CarmaCreative Member

    Has anybody had experience with t-shirt design displaying song titles?

    I know that strictly speaking you shouldn't use song titles without licence. But some titles, are common phrases, others not. So I wonder how this works...

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