Redmond, WA asked in Copyright and Trademark for Washington

Q: Can I put anime designs on t shirts and sell them with the anime title in the name?

I'm trying to design some t shirts based off of anime. However, they are simply inspired by the anime. For example, its not an entire picture of naruto or anything, but like a blue swirl and some yellow and orange lines for naruto. I don't think the designs infringe on any copyright and I am the one creating the designs. However, I want to name the t shirt on my shop something like "subtle naruto shirt" or something. Does using the name of the anime or a character from it infringe on copyright/trademark? If so, how would I go about getting a license?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Floyd Edwin Ivey
Floyd Edwin Ivey
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Kennewick, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: Re: Copyright, your phrases :"...based off or anime..", "..simply inspiredly the anime...", "I don't think the designs infringe..." , "...I am the one creating..." may show willfulness and are troublesome regarding Copyright Infringement. It may be prudent to contact the author and seek a license. You also should contact counsel.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta

A: You are skating on thin ice.

Consult with an attorney.

IF your designs are unique and are not a rip off or copy of other's work, you may be ok.

Most likely nobody has the right to a color or swirl pattern, but you never know.

IF you are using or reproducing large portions of a person's work where it is clear that the material belongs to somebody else, then you are in trouble.

Best luck!


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