Q: If re-sell clothing with a copyrighted name on it but that name is an Acronym, can i still get in trouble legally?
I want to re-sell unofficial BTS clothing. BTS (Bangtan Seonyeondan) is a Korean Boy band. They are owned by the Korean record label Big Hit Entertainment, the copyright holding company. Big Hit succesfully copyrighted "BTS" in the US in April. I'm not worried about trademark infringement as I will be advertising my company as an Unofficial merchandiser. The problem here is that Big Hit Entertainment doesn't make any clothing with BTS on it. On AlliExpress there are many BTS clothing articles that simply say BTS in plain text. Obviously China has lax copyright enforcement compared to the US. But my question is, Even though "BTS" is copyrighted by Big Hit Entertainment, can they really claim copyright infringement on 3 letters on a shirt? Especially if i have a disclaimer on the splash page of my website informing customers that they are buying unofficial merchendise and that i am not affiliated with Big Hit Entertainment in any way? Lastly, can i get in trouble even just as a reseller?
A: If they have a registered trademark in the US on the acronym for the band, selling t-shirts with that TM would be infringement. You should ask for a license since you indicate they do not sell merchandise. Whether a "reseller" or with a website disclaimer, the business you describe would not be lawful. (Lyrics are covered by copyright, and the same considerations apply.)
A: The question is does BTS have a registered trademark in the United States? If so in what classes are they registered as a trademark in the United States? Absent that information, it's hard to give a good comprehensive answer. If they do have the trademark registered in the US then your unlicensed business model could be one that would infringe and run into problems.
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