using song lyric snippets for creative clothing

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using song lyric snippets for creative clothing

I know its a risky business endeavor, but I wanted advice anyways because its
something I’m passionate about. Is it possible to start my own screen printing t-
shirt business using dancehall/reggae song lyric snippets? I would be
conducting out of MA.

Asked on October 30, 2016 under Business Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you do this, legally you are violating the copyright of the rights holders (the singers and/or labels) and could be sued; there is no legal right to sue even snippets of songs for a comercial endeavor (e.g. a T-shirt business) without paying the rights owners.
Practically, they might never become aware of what you are doing or take action, so you might be fine. But be aware you are gambling--you *could* be sued, and the lawsuit could include taking all your profits and getting a court order requiring you to stop doing this and destroy your merchandise.


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