Design and Sell T-shirts With Quotes Without Fear of Legal Repercussions

It is obvious that almost everywhere you go, you are likely to see people making loud statements on their t-shirts. The benefits of using a t-shirt as an advertising tool are obvious. However, it is crucial to make sure that you are using phrases or words that have not been protected under copyright law in the United States. Fortunately, there are three rules of thumb that can help you to design and sell t-shirts safely and without fear of legal repercussions down the road. 

Understand That You Cannot Typically Copyright An Idea

It is first necessary to understand that an idea or mental concept without a physical form cannot typically be copyrighted, but a product obviously can. That means that manufacturers can claim that their item is the best, most flavorful, or superior to similar products without fear of crossing the line.

It is important to note that you typically cannot insult another product, service, or other concept in most cases. In addition, using parody to mock or imitate another product, item, or service is acceptable in some cases. It is important to note that trouble may occur if the competing company can prove that your product damaged their business, so be careful to be cute or funny without being insulting.  

Remember There Are Only A Certain Number Of Words In The English Language

When you consider how many different companies, products, and organizations compete against one another, it only makes sense that eventually there will be some overlap in slogans, phrases, etc. Just the use of certain words does not violate copyright law.

When comparing the quotes that you are considering for t-shirts, it is a good idea to only use common-place words. A distinctive or unusual word can be associated with a particular product--including words made up by a company for the purpose of advertising, sales, etc.

Consider The Image And Design Of Your Product

If your t-shirts with quotes will also be featuring pictures, it is a good idea to remember that they can also be copyrighted. The way the t-shirt is laid out may also be protected, so make sure that any t-shirt you design has a wholly original design.

In conclusion, the use of t-shirts featuring one or more quotes has typically been well received by the American public. As long as you are sure that the majority of your quotes are distinct and unique, investing in that product for your business is probably all right.


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