As a local business, all of us at Same Day Printing take pride in delivering quality marketing solutions that don’t sacrifice the integrity of our brand. This is why we find it important to educate our clients of the protocols we must follow when it comes to Copyright Infringement.
Please keep reading!
We print many types of items for a varied client base and it's impossible to keep up with all the different brands, celebrities, animated characters and other IP (intellectual property) owned by others.
Occasionally, we hit a gray area…copyright, trademark and or licencing infringements.
Here’s an example: Your friend asks you to print some shirts for her sons birthday. He’s a huge fan of Grogo (Baby Yoda) from Disney's Mandalorian series. She searched Etsy and found a graphic designer to create and supply the PERFECT image and purchased the high resolution print files from the seller. She was also offered the release forms from the designer to bring to the printer, allowing us to print the image.
But this is where the challenge starts for us…the seller doesn’t own the rights to Grogu or any of Disney's characters. Only Disney does. Unless the has secured the legal permission from Disney to use their characters, they can not use . If they did have permission, they would be able to provider the expressed written permission showing that they have the legal write to use. Unfortunlatey as a result you haven’t bought the rights to the design at all.
Your friend was probably told that they had the right to reproduce them once, without making changes, for personal use. This isn’t true. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. If she wants a tee for her sons birthday with a Disney theme or any copy-written character, she will need to request authorisation to reproduce from the copyright holder…Disney. Currently, Disney takes approximately 8 weeks turnaround for permission to use their assets. I checked.
As printers, we are legally bound by copyright, trademark and or licencing laws. We print for both companies and individuals who hold these legal rights. As a business, we appreciate their hard work and it is our obligation to protect their property. This is why we don’t send logos and photos from one client to another without express written (or emailed) permission.
Fines can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars for printing copy-written materials. Those fines can be imposed on your friend, as well as Same Day Printing, for printing the material without proper consent.
Children’s cartoon characters aren’t the only images that require permission to print: the NFL, NBA and MLB insignia; collegiate logos and any graphic design on the Internet that isn’t in the public domain. You even have to be careful what words and color combinations you use. “Roll Tide”, “Just Do It”, “Geaux Tigers”, and “Who Dat” are all copy-written. PMS “Tiffany” blue is copy-written. You must even be careful using green and yellow tractors to prevent copyright infringement with John Deere.
You cannot Google an image, download and use it free and clear. Unless the image is public domain, or you have permission from the website owner to use it, this is theft of intellectual property.
If the company wants to push it, even a hand-drawn, well-recognized character or logo would be considered copyright infringement.
Requesting permission is easy and can usually be done via the company’s website. Do remember that it can take weeks to get a response. When permission is granted, it must be in writing, and a copy will need to be kept with the job.
Alternately, we have some very talented people who can design something for your friend that will be 100% their own!