General Question

BoyWonder's avatar

Can I put Google images on a t-shirt?

Asked by BoyWonder (806 points ) January 8th, 2012

I just started a T-shirt printing business and was wondering if it was possible to print any image on any shirt without any repercussions. Would the same go for fonts as well?

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8 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

You have t find this wierd paper that you print on, then you can iron on the image and it lasts quite a while, but a real buisness uses silkscreening.

marinelife's avatar

You will be violating their trademark, and they will come after you.

GrayTax's avatar

@BoyWonder In order to sell t-shirts with an image on you’d have to get the image owner/copyright holder’s permission to do so if the image is copyrighted; similar thing for Creative Commons licensed images too. In the majority of cases it’s safest to contact the owner (or if you can’t find the owner, the person who posted it – they may know who you should get in touch with) and ask for permission to use their work.

Not sure what the rule is on fonts. I’d say if it’s one made by an individual then it might be subject to copyright laws, but if it’s one that’s readily available it’s not so bad? I don’t know.

jaytkay's avatar

I think if you have a licensed copy of the font on your computer, you’re OK. Meaning all the fonts that come with Windows/Mac/Linux/whatever plus those installed with programs you bought later.

Basically, unless you went out of your way to install a font you do not own, you’re OK.

Images are different.

harple's avatar

Back in the days when I managed a t-shirt printing factory (I kid you not) we made good use of this site without repercussions. (The company I worked for are still going strong.)

But no, you cannot use images from Google. You must create your own, or if you are doing custom printing for your customers you must include a “I confirm that I own the rights to use this image” clause when they upload an image…

Good luck!

MrItty's avatar

“Google Images” is not its own thing. They do not own any of the images they show you. Therefore, it is not correct for anyone to say “yes” or “no” to the question as written. In order to use any image, especially for commercial purposes, you have to have the permission of the person who owns the image. That person is NOT Google Images.

SmashTheState's avatar

It’s easier to seek forgiveness than permission. For most large businesses, the cost of litigation is far higher than anything they’ll ever collect from you. The law says that if you don’t actively defend your copyright or trademark, you are considered to have given it to the public domain. This is what happened to cellophane, for example, which was once a brand name. Since they can’t afford to sue everyone, and they’ll lose their copyright/trademark if they don’t defend it, most businesses turn a deliberate blind eye to infringement, pretending that they are unaware of it. In Japan, for example, there’s an entire billion dollar industry producing ’doujin,’ copyright-violating, unofficial, fan-made stories and artwork of popular manga and anime. The companies who own the copyrights generally pretend they don’t exist.

There’s a huge HOWEVER attached to this: some companies with very deep pockets have the resources to sue everyone on Earth. Companies like Paramount or Disney will fire squadrons of lawyers by catapult at anyone who sketches one of their trademarked and copyrighted properties on the back of a napkin without paying a royalty. A small local daycare centre, for example, was threatened with a lawsuit by Disney for having paintings of Disney characters on their wall.

sinscriven's avatar

Using google images is a minefield. Each search result has it’s own legal strings and is best just avoided entirely. If you want to search for creative works to use, try using the Creative Commons search engine and make sure to have “Allow for commercial use” checked.

Fonts are intellectual property and must be licensed as well. Could be anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars depending on the font and who owns it.

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