T-Shirts Legal Guide: Copyrights and Trademark Custom

T-Shirts Legal Guide: Copyrights and Trademark Custom

T-Shirts Legal Guide: Copyrights and Trademark Custom

Most of us feel that at the time of creating new designs, images, and messages for T-shirt printing and styling the only thing that must be borne in mind is the aspect of creativity, innovative designs, and style quotient. In reality one of the main aspects that must be borne in mind in such creative works or when you are in the business of designing and selling print t-shirts is the aspect of copyrights and trademarks. You cannot ignore this vital aspect that may turn into several legal consequences. 

T-Shirts Legal Guide

What is copyright?

Copyright is the legal rule or enforcement that protects intellectual properties like designs, movies, songs, logos, emblems, and anything creative. In India, the rules or regulations of using other’s creations are regulated under the copyright act 1957.

It empowers the original creators only to use or decide who can re-use the same creation. No one else can make copies of this intellectual property without the due permission o the creator. This is quite the case when it comes to printing images, designs, and messages on T-shirts as well. If you are in a t-shirt printing business, then it will be advisable that you follow a strict legal guide to designing and printing T-shirts so that you do not meddle with copyrights and trademarks adversely. Advice the clients accordingly when they are intending to use any image, logo, or anything else that is already protected under the copyright act. 

Be careful with what you choose

This is the first and the basic that is to be followed when it comes to select designs and print T-shirts. You must steer clear from images and figures that are to be seen in popular movies, cartoon series, books, television shows, etc. All company logos, emblems, and iconic images related to music companies, sports teams, celebrity individuals must be avoided at all costs. You should also steer clear from caricatures or cartoon depictions of important politicians, celebrities, etc. There shouldn’t be any form of copyright infringement as it can put you in legal trouble. Contact the reputed custom t shirt designers who can help you in this matter when you need personalized t-shirts. 

Use the public domain

Other than images the other popular image choice used for printing and designing T-shirts are quotations and messages. In this context again it is only safe to make use of messages, quotations, popular faces, and anything available in the ‘public domain’. So now the question is what is a public domain? This is a platform that has material in it which is not protected by any kind of copyright law. This means now you can use this material, which can be images pictures, or quotations without taking permission from the initial creators of the material. This kind of material is often considered as donated content or happens to be forfeited. In some cases, the copyright for these creations has expired which means you are free to use them. However, this does not mean that this kind of content cannot come under copyright laws in the times to come. What is necessary for this context is that before using any material you must check with their copyright status at the current time.

Copyright marks

At this stage, it is important to find out ways through which you can identify copyright material right at the very beginning. This is one of the very simple ways through which you can not only look for innovative and interesting T-shirt design ideas but can even stay away from material and content that can lead you to copyright or Trademark problems. At the very beginning, you must look for the symbol ‘©’which is indicative of copyright for the material concerned. In some places, the image might have a watermark which is the name of the creator of the image all across the backdrop of the picture. You must avoid these images at all costs. Using images with watermark can lead you to a major legal hazard. If you are still unsure about the copyright status of a certain material, the best way to find out about is to visit the copyright office. Here you can browse through the copyright files and can select a design that is cleared from copyright and trademark issues.


Selecting of design or image with copyright or trademark hassles can put a company into print t-shirt designing and printing in major legal problem. These controversial entanglements will not only jeopardize your business as a whole but can also malign the image of your brand in the worldwide market. Other than copyright contents, you will find millions of contents in the form of image, design, and text.  Hence,  at the very beginning, it is advisable that when looking for a design it is best to design it yourself but if not be sure about its copyright status. 

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