More copyright

More copyright

"Can I use quotes that are from other Famous people , print them on my T-shirts (With a twist) , and sell it?"

"What are the copyright laws around quotes? Can I take a quote, make it into a poster and sell it on Etsy?"

You hear stories of people who have a little business in butt-F no where get sued for selling some thing with someone elses name, design or quote on it. As a photographer I totally get. Photography seems to be the easiest thing "borrowed" online. You want your art to be out there and seen, but those seeing it might be taking credit for it, or worse getting paid for it. That fear is in the back of my head. But honestly, and as I get older, and since I have NO sales (thus far) with my photos, I just want to get my shit out there!

So, in attempts to broaden my spectrum, and not just search for galleries it's all about marketing. I'm looking into postcards or books to prints out so I can leave or share with owners and show them what I have. We'll see how it goes.

As for copyright, I found some more interesting information.

For example. One guy asked on

Please read everything - I found the following the most easiest and straight forward answers..

"Yes, you can use quotes from famous people and print them on t-shirts, especially if they have been dead for a long time. However, be forewarned that the estates of certain people are aggressive in suing for use of quotes (e.g., the MLK estate) and, even though many legal scholars disagree with their assertions, then can make things expensively difficult.:"


"I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with."

A little more up front question, instead of that that wants to "modify"

The Answers...

Generally, you need permission for something like this. Absent permission, it's a copyright infringement unless the quotation is drawn from a work in the public domain or otherwise ineligible for copyright protection, or one of the other exceptions or limitations on the rightsholder's exclusive rights applies.

2. Same rules apply as for anything else. You need permission from the copyright owner. If it was published before 1923, it's in public domain. Keep in mind that something that a WB cartoon character is known for may not even be a matter of copyright but of trademark. If you're willing to take a risk, then see if there are others doing it and getting away with it. But this risk is not likely to be worth it. Be ready to clear the rights or come up with another idea.

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