Fort Smith, AR asked in Copyright for Arkansas

Q: My question is involving copyrights I'm in the process of starting my own t-shirt business I'm trying to get more info

If I go online right now I can take any picture I want posted on a t-shirt printing website and have the tshirt made and printed to me pay for it they receive a profit and they send me the shirt how is that not violating copyright laws like all I want to do is figure out how to run a successful business making t-shirts hats and many other accessories mostly my designs that I'm coming up with and ideas but occasionally one of use some ideas that I think might sell or pictures that might sell with my style of clothing without violating the laws I'm just not understanding the difference from uploading the picture online and having a made then owning your own t-shirt company and doing the same

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX

A: Your example of finding a copyrighted picture online, sending it to a t-shirt company, and having them print a t-shirt with the photo, is infringement. The infringement is just not enforced by the owner, likely because either the owner does not know, or it is not worth the time and expense of pursuing the claim. A copyright owner is much more likely to pursue an infringement claim against someone who is reproducing and selling copyrighted images as part of a business. To legally go forward with your business of making t-shirts, you can obtain permission from the copyright owner or use images that are in the public domain. A copyright attorney can help you obtain permission.

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