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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 9411
Experience:  Since 1983
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I wanted to make a t shirt out of a muhammad ali photo that

Customer Question

Hi I wanted to make a t shirt out of a muhammad ali photo that I played with a lot in photoshop. It's just like line art just showing the basic outline of his face with a couple of filters applied. I see it as if someone painted from an actual image and created a physical painting or if someone sung the actual words of a song but in their own voice - i.e. not subject to copyright issues (as I see it). I played with the image a lot, it's art! Art is impervious to copyright.
Anyway the company that was going to print it said no but if I added 'RIP' somewhere it's ok. Well adding 'RIP' doesn't do anything to the actual image so how does that solve anything?
Anyway, what to you think about all that? Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question.

I am sorry but you have created what is called a derivative work without permission of the copyright owner. So you cannot use it commercially without risk of being sued by the owner of the copyright unless you get permission to publish and commercially exploit what you created.

Adding RIP as a caption des not change the analysis.

If you drew an original you would own the copyright. Or if you started with a public domain photo and created something using that as the base, you would own the copyright.

I hope this information is helpful.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much. If it matters this is just for myself, not for commercial distribution. Total production, one shirt.

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

If you are not commercially exploiting the photoshopped image you will not be sued for copyright infringement.