Teespring Copyright Issues

23 replies
Has anyone ran into any copyright issues when using Teespring? I was browsing past campaigns and I saw a lot of uses of what I deemed questionable graphics and such that could potentially lead to copyright issues. Particularly, a lot of stuff involving the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. I was wondering how these campaigns got away with it.

Also, when it comes to fonts, have people been getting permission to use certain ones or using freely available ones? I've got a lot of niche markets I've been a part of for a while that would work well for these campaigns I just wanted some more clarification on the do's and do nots when it comes to treading the line of copyrighted material.
#copyright #issues #teespring
  • Profile picture of the author Nuno
    You cannot use any copyrighted material in mass resale items. Most marketers don't realize they cannot even use most royalty free images for that, much less sports brands like those.
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    • Profile picture of the author OmarR
      Originally Posted by Nuno View Post

      You cannot use any copyrighted material in mass resale items. Most marketers don't realize they cannot even use most royalty free images for that, much less sports brands like those.
      Many stock websites sell two types of licenses. With the standard license, you are not allowed to use the graphics in 'mass resale' items. However they offer an extended license - which of course is much more expensive - to be used in such mass distribution for profit. My 2 cents
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  • Profile picture of the author LuckyAndroid
    Any idea how these campaigns are successful then? Or maybe the NFL just wasn't paying attention and this will change in the upcoming season.

    I'm more curious about font use - what is OK to use then fontwise?
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  • Profile picture of the author LuckyAndroid
    Think I found a solution for now for fonts:

    Handpicked free fonts for graphic designers with commercial-use licenses. | Font Squirrel

    Looks like they've done the work.

    But still interested in hearing any insight on any copyright / trademark / licensing issues anyone has had at the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    I'd stay away from pro and college teams. They're on the lookout now and it's impossible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lee Murray
    Yeah I have a friend who made a Seahawks shirt. It was really nice, and mostly generic, but she put the green bird's eye inside of a football and her campaign didn't live to see it's 2-day birthday.
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    • Profile picture of the author dhex
      Check out this latest lawsuit. If Tesspring loses this case, they will probably be very quick in taking down questionable campaigns

      Ohio State sues Teespring in another trademark case against a DIY T-shirt design company - Columbus - Columbus Business First
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      • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
        Originally Posted by dhex View Post

        Check out this latest lawsuit. If Tesspring loses this case, they will probably be very quick in taking down questionable campaigns

        Ohio State sues Teespring in another trademark case against a DIY T-shirt design company - Columbus - Columbus Business First
        It's a shame that big businesses such as a large corporation as Ohio State enjoy blowing their wads threatening the little guys trying to make a living out there. I hope whoever the seller was made a killing. I know it's wrong to use copyrighted images or logos. But there are better ways to handle these situations without showing your ass threatening bogus lawsuits. The company should have contacted Teespring politely and asked them to please not use our logos/images for profit. Problem solved.

        I just hate these stupid lawsuits. Lawsuits should be issued in much more in important situations rather than a stupid T-shirt.
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        • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
          Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

          It's a shame that big businesses such as a large corporation as Ohio State enjoy blowing their wads threatening the little guys trying to make a living out there. I hope whoever the seller was made a killing. I know it's wrong to use copyrighted images or logos. But there are better ways to handle these situations without showing your ass threatening bogus lawsuits. The company should have contacted Teespring politely and asked them to please not use our logos/images for profit. Problem solved.

          I just hate these stupid lawsuits. Lawsuits should be issued in much more in important situations rather than a stupid T-shirt.
          You don't understand how trademark law works.

          Owners of a mark MUST enforce/defend their intellectual property rights or risk losing them.

          They can't pick and choose which infringement to go after and which to let slide.

          But more importantly - your sense of "little guy" entitlement to profit on someone else's brand/property is incredibly wrongheaded.
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          • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
            Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

            You don't understand how trademark law works.

            Owners of a mark MUST enforce/defend their intellectual property rights or risk losing them.

            They can't pick and choose which infringement to go after and which to let slide.

            But more importantly - your sense of "little guy" entitlement to profit on someone else's brand/property is incredibly wrongheaded.
            I understand how trademark law works. Maybe the seller didn't? My whole point was instead of threatening lawsuits, there are better ways to handle it.
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            • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
              Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

              I understand how trademark law works. Maybe the seller didn't? My whole point was instead of threatening lawsuits, there are better ways to handle it.
              Clearly you don't understand or you wouldn't take issue with it.
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              • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
                Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

                Clearly you don't understand or you wouldn't take issue with it.
                I have issues over greed and bogus lawsuits. If you read my post above, there are better ways to handle it.
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                • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
                  Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

                  I have issues over greed and bogus lawsuits. If you read my post above, there are better ways to handle it.
                  How is defending your intellectual property rights - as required by law - greedy or bogus?

                  Do tell...
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                  • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
                    Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

                    How is defending your intellectual property rights - as required by law - greedy or bogus?

                    Do tell...
                    As I stated before Brian, there are better ways to handle it besides threatening lawsuits. Politely ask the company or individual to remove the logo.Give them a time window deadline to have it removed. Problem solved. Then everyone is happy.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
                      I don't think it's asking too much for people making tshirts and other graphics to KNOW what trademark law is and what infringement of trademark is....and avoid doing that.

                      If you want to be in business you need to know the laws that apply.
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                    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
                      Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

                      As I stated before Brian, there are better ways to handle it besides threatening lawsuits. Politely ask the company or individual to remove the logo.Give them a time window deadline to have it removed. Problem solved. Then everyone is happy.
                      Um... did you even read the article?

                      According to Ohio State's filing, the school complained to Teespring about allegedly infringing designs in December, and the company promised to remove all offending images, but the same thing happened in January.

                      "Teespring has not stopped the activity and Teespring continues to solicit orders for, manufacture, sell and ship infringing and counterfeit products using the Ohio State trademarks," OSU said in the filing, which lists numerous OSU-themed T-shirts available on the site.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
                        Um... did you even read the article?
                        I did thank you very much

                        Ohio State is asking for a permanent injunction against Teespring, profits from the sale of OSU merchandise and damages of $1 million per counterfeit item sold.
                        That's a bit excessive. Who can afford that type of lawsuit. I could understand a $500 fine after the first warning, but a million per shirt? Cmon Man!
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                    • Profile picture of the author rrielly
                      Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

                      As I stated before Brian, there are better ways to handle it besides threatening lawsuits. Politely ask the company or individual to remove the logo.Give them a time window deadline to have it removed. Problem solved. Then everyone is happy.
                      If you would read the article they did ask teespring to and teespring did but it happen again and thats why OSU you is pissed
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                      • Profile picture of the author MarinerdMike
                        Teespring is going to be thrown into the same boat as sites that allow users to share download media. In the end, a decision will have to be made as to whether it's Teespring, or the user that's culpable.

                        What Teespring needs to do is make it absolutely clear to its users that any personal details will be given to copyright and trademark holders if they request it. That way, the claimant will be able to come right after the people profiting from their stuff.

                        It's very early on in this - just a few months ago people were making small fortunes off of just about every sports team name in the US and elsewhere - and I wouldn't be surprised if someone is made an example of here pretty soon.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
                          Originally Posted by MarinerdMike View Post

                          Teespring is going to be thrown into the same boat as sites that allow users to share download media. In the end, a decision will have to be made as to whether it's Teespring, or the user that's culpable.

                          What Teespring needs to do is make it absolutely clear to its users that any personal details will be given to copyright and trademark holders if they request it. That way, the claimant will be able to come right after the people profiting from their stuff.

                          It's very early on in this - just a few months ago people were making small fortunes off of just about every sports team name in the US and elsewhere - and I wouldn't be surprised if someone is made an example of here pretty soon.
                          Teespring says as much in their FAQs, but this isn't enough, imo. People aren't going to stop or bother to learn the rules just because of a vague threat. The company needs to step up and devise a way to ensure that their users aren't infringing copyright. As costly as this may be, I think it's in their long-term best interest.

                          I love Teespring, so I hope they get their ducks in a row before it's too late. With a little creativity and a good designer, it's possible to make money there without stepping on any toes.
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  • Profile picture of the author JCorp
    Can't do it. In my early days on teespring, thought having Mavericks without the Dallas would work... it didn't.

    So always be sure to search for trademarks when you have an idea, then go and create the shirt.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    The other day I saw a design that featured the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones and Iron Man from Marvel Comics. This is blatant copyright infringement. The campaign tipped and presumably the shirts went out. It was a great design, but that's irrelevant.

    No doubt about it: Teespring has a problem.

    They need to prevent this kind of thing if they want to stay in business. They're a profitable operation, there's no excuse for not monitoring their campaigns. Last time I checked, there wasn't even a way to flag questionable campaigns. I wouldn't do it, personally, but they should make the option available.

    As far as marketers not knowing the rules goes, ignorance is no excuse.

    For those moaning about the big guys enforcing their copyrights....well, I think you would too.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    Didn't that article say Ohio state DID contact them first and Teespring said they would take down all the shirts. Then more Ohio state shirts crept up and then they sued teespring?
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