Is it illegal to sell this...?

by warrior88 33 replies
Dear warriors,

I need your opinion about selling t-shirt, mugs or posters with cartoon characters on it, such as mickey mouse.

and what if selling mugs with a (modified) company logo on it, for example "I Love Google".

is it illegal?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #illegal #sell
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  • Profile picture of the author graphicsgenie
    Yes, oh Stupid too

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author mdunn123
      Originally Posted by graphicsgenie View Post

      Yes, oh Stupid too

      Thanks
      Now we could be just a little bit nicer can't we?

      We've all asked dumb questions that we honestly didn't really know the answer to, or have had not so great ideas in the past....
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      • Profile picture of the author macchiavelli
        Yeah I would say its illegal.
        I also doubt it would be profitable...unless you have a tshirst displaying micky mouse slapping the hot fire out of dombo
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        • Profile picture of the author seasoned
          There is a little known law that ****REQUIRES**** them to get you to stop, and that often means SUING! If they fail to "properly defend" their trademark, they can lose it! Disney STILL makes money from, and is associated with, mickey mouse. So, unless it is obviously a poor spoof, they WILL sue! Heck, hormel as good as lost spam, and xerox as good as lost their trademark, etc...

          Anyway, if you want to do this legally, you can maybe LICENSE it!

          And garyv's example is a bad one. A mistake was made in good faith, and they did NOT win! It was a SETTLEMENT! Although disney decided to let it continue, future attempts were STOPPED! The other side agreed to that. Disney CLEARLY defended their trademark, and did it for effectively NOTHING! If anyone won, DISNEY DID!

          Steve
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          • Profile picture of the author garyv
            Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

            And garyv's example is a bad one. A mistake was made in good faith, and they did NOT win! It was a SETTLEMENT! Although disney decided to let it continue, future attempts were STOPPED! The other side agreed to that. Disney CLEARLY defended their trademark, and did it for effectively NOTHING! If anyone won, DISNEY DID!

            Actually if you read the rest of her website - you'll see that she's effectively defended herself against over a dozen large companies. All trying to sue her for using licsensed material to make her products with. - The key is you have to use materials that are already licsensed by company. Once you buy the licsensed material - you are covered by the first sale doctrine.
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            • Profile picture of the author ConversionTime
              Trademark means you cant without permission, is it worth the risk
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              • Profile picture of the author Philip John
                Hey,

                It’s not an entirely silly idea… there’s plenty of people making a good side income online doing just what you suggested, selling via print on demand services such as lulu or cafepress, but you’ll definitely want to steer clear of trademarked/copyrighted material.

                As mentioned earlier by Bishop81, what you need to do is learn about the use of public domain material.

                If you are interested in using cartoon or comic book type images on t-shirts, mugs and so on then check out the following sites that have Public Domain Comic Books available either to download or to purchase on CD. Note: not all the scans on these sites are necessarily in the public domain: make sure you check the copyright status before you start selling anything!

                Goldenagecomics.co.uk
                electro-comics.com/index.htm
                alternativecomix.blogspot.com

                Interestingly enough, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon was set to enter the Public Domain in 2003, and Donald Duck and Goofy to follow shortly after but, to the relief of Disney, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was signed in 1998 and the copyright got extended by another 2o years. There has been much speculation that that the long arm of Disney had a helping hand in the passing of the law.

                I hope this helps you out, if you want more information on the use of the Public Domain then please PM and ill point you in the direction of a couple of interesting recourses.

                All the best
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                • Profile picture of the author hommi_16
                  You know what say... DONT **** with Micky
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  • Profile picture of the author Anup Mahajan
    Yes that would be illegal... If Disney or Google finds about this they have every right to sue you ...

    Having said that I come across a lot of products that do use such images and logos in local markets... and they are sold real cheap, so I don't think Disney is making any money from them...


    Cheers,
    Anup
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    • Profile picture of the author warrior88
      Thanks for your opinion, guys...!
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      • Profile picture of the author Brian Tayler
        Originally Posted by warrior88 View Post

        Thanks for your opinion, guys...!
        Opinion? LOL... it's called fact... not opinion.
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        • Profile picture of the author rocker123
          I liked this thread.. BUt why its illegal??/
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          • Profile picture of the author seasoned
            Originally Posted by rocker123 View Post

            I liked this thread.. BUt why its illegal??/
            A trademark is considered intellectual property. Use of it without remuneration is considered THEFT! It is trademark infringement. Without such protection, companies couldn't be accurately identified, standout, or even be assured any control over a domain name.
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            • Profile picture of the author scottwood1986
              I imagine if you did this on a small scale, you would probably pass under the radar. Yes it is illegal, but unless you make alot of products i doubt they would bother with sueing you.
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              • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
                Originally Posted by scottwood1986 View Post

                I imagine if you did this on a small scale, you would probably pass under the radar. Yes it is illegal, but unless you make alot of products i doubt they would bother with sueing you.
                I'd expect better advice from someone who is involved in web design...
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                eCoverNinja - Sales Page Graphics & Layout Specialist
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              • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
                Originally Posted by scottwood1986 View Post

                I imagine if you did this on a small scale, you would probably pass under the radar. Yes it is illegal, but unless you make alot of products i doubt they would bother with sueing you.
                Wanna bet? They'll start with other options first, but if you don't stop, they'll do whatever they have to in order to protect their property rights.
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                • Profile picture of the author ExRat
                  Hi,

                  Sorry to pick on the same quote but -

                  I imagine if you did this on a small scale, you would probably pass under the radar. Yes it is illegal, but unless you make alot of products i doubt they would bother with sueing you.
                  There are many people running lucrative licensing operations who create/sell these type of products. I used to know one of them. So it's not just Disney who will be looking out for you, it's the licensees who have paid for the right to service their own geographical areas.
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                  Roger Davis

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    • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
      Yup, of course, as it is trademarked .
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    As long as you have their permission in writing to do so, it's perfectly legal.

    See if you can cut a deal with them on the idea. They might actually go for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author DeenaEsq
      As Floyd says, you can license the characters or company names to use on your t-shirts, but failing to do so (though not "illegal" because that indicates that the act is criminal) is a violation of trademark law and/or copyright law. I concur with the rest of the group in saying that it's a BAD idea.

      Deena
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      Any opinions are offered without knowledge of the specific law of your jurisdiction and with only the limited information provided in your post. No advice given here should be reasonably relied upon by you or any third party without consulting an attorney who is aware of all of the facts and law surrounding your situation. Any advice given here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship in any way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dick Doe
    Originally Posted by warrior88 View Post

    Dear warriors,

    I need your opinion about selling t-shirt, mugs or posters with cartoon characters on it, such as mickey mouse.

    and what if selling mugs with a (modified) company logo on it, for example "I Love Google".

    is it illegal?
    Illegal, yes. You shouldn't use their trademarked logos, cartoon characters, etc.

    I do see vendors here selling t-shirts with the mickey mouse character, but they shouldn't be surprised if they are sued sooner or later.
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  • Profile picture of the author MicahF7
    Its best to avoid it...

    If your goal is to make money, then there are much easyer ways to reach your goal.

    Why get invalved with somthing that "rides the edge" when there's no reason to.

    Micah Rush
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    • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
      Stay far away from Disney characters unless you want to get a license to use it or they will come after you. They have to be the company most aggressive and protective of their images. There was a woman who had a website with some Disney images, just a small, personal fan site, and Disney made her take it down. I don't even know how they found it.

      If you want to use cartoon characters- use public domain like someone else said, or have an artist design your own.
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      siggy taking a break...

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      • I believe you knew the answer to your question before you even asked the question. But if you really didn't know that why forums are a great place to start
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