With the increased ability to share creative ideas and art, graphic designers everywhere are finding more lucrative opportunities to profit from their work.
T-shirt designing is a fashionable possibility but very little has been published to give guidance to the budding artists who are providing the designs that make today’s t-shirts so popular.
As the industry flourishes, copyright challenges and questions seem to grow almost as quickly.
Copyright ownership lines are often blurred and it’s a challenge to keep up with the laws and understand who owns what and who can do what to whom! The maze of legal issues can be overwhelming and distract you from what’s really important – selling your work for profit.
Therefore, if you really want to monetize your graphic design work in the t-shirt world, you’ve got to know your legal rights and understand the copyright laws surrounding this industry. That way you can move forward knowing that your work is being distributed in a way that you’re comfortable with, without the stress of wondering if you’re losing money or control over your designs.
What is Copyright?
Before I go any further, let’s start with a basic definition of ‘copyright’ and what it means to t-shirt designers.
Copyright is the ownership over a piece of work or art and the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, commercially exploit, and otherwise profit from it.
So, for those of you designing art for t-shirts and other products, copyright generally refers to ownership and control over the art and designs you’re creating for third parties and their products.
The #1 Question T-Shirt Designers Ask Is . . .
Over and over we hear, ‘When my work is printed on a t-shirt, who owns the copyrights?’