questionsi want to make spoof designed shirt (eg. x-men…


Contact a lawyer. The laws are tricky, can vary from state to state, and the consultation with an attorney will be cheaper now than after you received a cease-and-desist letter from a copyright holder. (Note the spelling of "copyright")


Make sure you don't have any identifying copyrighted titles IE "Star Wars" etc

Most of the shirts that woot prints fall under the category of parody, which you are allowed to do. You just need to make sure it is actually parody, and deviates far enough from the original. Some companies care more than others, some don't care at all.


If you are making one-offs for personal use, you are probably going to be okay regardless. Not only is it generally beneath the notice of the IP holder, it's hard for them to show damages. But if you are making them for sale you need to be careful. The more sales you get, the more likely you are to get the attention of the IP holder. Familiarize yourself with the "parody" exception in copyright law. Here's a good article.

"A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that, by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original."

I've always thought it was ironic that it's legal to ridicule someone's work, but not to make a respectful homage. We are a strange nation.


Whether you call it parody, homage, tribute, or anything else, you can be sued; you're creating a derivative work (one that wouldn't exist without the original work),and IP law gives the right to derivative works to the original creator. I have friends who've received C&D letters and all the lawyers could do is negotiate the settlement. Remember that a certain mouse-logoed company has sued daycare centers for having paintings of that certain mouse on the wall just as decor, no money involved. Magic cave, lichme, and moondrake all have good answers, but not only is there no parody exemption as you'll sometimes read, parody is protected only to the point of how much money you'll spend to protect it. (Spoiler alert: Lawyers love money.) Do read moondrake's link, do go to a lawyer to get help understanding it as magic cave says, and get some perspective on how litigious your topic subjects might be as lichme says. Then you can minimize your risk and have a blast doing it


wow thanks for the heads up guys, I'm glad i asked.