Can I get in trouble if I’ll sell T-shirts or mugs with printed photo on it of music artists/cartoon characters/random pictures from the web?

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Can I get in trouble if I’ll sell T-shirts or mugs with printed photo on it of music artists/cartoon characters/random pictures from the web?

Can I get in trouble if I’ll sell these on ebay? As I figure, I can use pictures from public domains but can I really get in trouble for selling stuff on ebay? I see allot of sellers doing it so it can’t be dangerous, right?

Asked on April 11, 2012 under Business Law, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Wrong.  If the picture or cartoon is under copyright you could be infringing on the right of the owner to use and market the photo.  There is something called a "fair use" exception but your scenario does not fall under that.  I would make sure that the photos are not under copyright before you invest a ton of money here to have your listings pulled or worse, you are sued. Good luck.


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