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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3425
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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I'm starting a t-shirt business and would like to use

Customer Question

I'm starting a t-shirt business and would like to use illustrations (art) such as Pulp Art, comic book, etc. How do I get permission to use these illustrations on my shirts?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 1 year ago.

hello. comic book characters/art are protected by copyrights owned by the publishing company such as DC Comics or Marvel Comics, so you would need to get permission from them (i.e. a license) in order to use the material. Now if the copyright had expired you would be free to use the material (but that is very unlikely given the timing...see here for a copyright duration chart https://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm) but even without copyright protection there would be trademark issues since the characters are trademarked as well (names and images).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about Pulp Art such as http://www.theretrovert.com/z_posters.php?keywords=pulp+vintage ? They sell posters, books, etc. Also, a lot of the illustrators are dead. How do I find out who to contact?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 1 year ago.

It would be the same, you need to contact the publishers of those materials. Copyright lasts a long time, general rule is Life of Author + 70 years, but see the link i provided above for detailed info on copyright duration. Starting with the publisher is your best bet, but often its just a matter of research (online etc) to find out the copyright owner, and sometimes you just won't be able to find or contact the owner, that's just a tough luck situation and it happens a lot, and in that case you either don;t use it or roll the dice (a little risk here but usually not an issue with things like this that have minimal commercial value/demand) and use it and hope the owner doesn't find out / care, or then works out a license with you....I have seen it work both ways.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, Alex. Very helpful. :)
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 1 year ago.

you're welcome, best of luck

Expert:  Alex Reese replied 1 year ago.

please rate me thanks

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