Can You Use Celebrities In Your T-shirts Design

celebrities on t-shirts Micheal jackon_prince

I know you see them all the time. On the streets, on people, at street fairs and tradeshows,

And most definitely on the Internet. Celebrity tees. Everybody from Tupac to Elvis to Kurt Cobain to Lady Gaga or who ever the flavor of the month is. And I know you’re saying to yourself. Is this legal? Can you just use a persons face on a T-shirt. Once we get into using celebrity likenesses on T-shirts it’s really not simple. It’s a very slippery slope.

The short sweet answer is “maybe”.

Now to be perfectly honest technically from a legal standpoint. It is illegal to use anyone’s likeness without their permission. So you’re probably thinking to yourself “so all these T-shirts that I see have been officially sanctioned by these people”? The short answer to that is Hell no.

Most people are very ignorant to laws like right to privacy. And the fact that everyone owns their own likeness. You see most of the people who are using these celebrity likenesses I have no permission. However their companies are so small. It will cost of celebrities and their representatives more money to sue these companies and the companies are actually worth.

In most cases they just leave these people alone or simply send them a cease and desist letter.

If the companies are big they’re usually sued and if they can’t show that they actually have permission they have to pay hefty fees and give most of the money earned from those T-shirts back to the celebrity. This rarely happens and usually only happens to large companies.

So am I saying that you should use a celebrity likeness? NO!

More info In Video Below

I know it sounds like easy money but just leave that be. If you want to be taken seriously come up with your own ideas and concepts. You’ll be much better in the long run. Once you have established yourself and you’re making some real money. You can contact these celebrities and or their representatives and work out a licensing deal. Look celebrities love to make money and they love to see their images everywhere on people yeah some of the most shallow people on the planet that’s why they decided to become celebrities. So why not just go legit. And become an official licensee of said celebrity. At this point reaching celebrities is very easy. You can reach out to via social media but a much better way is to simply google who their PR representative is.

There is a loophole to possibly legally using a celebrity license without their permission.

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Write them a letter or an email and tell them that you are an established T-shirt brand and you’re looking to partner with them on some type of licensing deal. You can either work with that celebrity directly or with a licensing company that represents said celebrity.

One of the biggest celebrity licensing representatives is a company call Check them out and be on your way to being a legit celebrity licensee.

Hope this helps you on your magnificent T-shirt journey.

Peace and blessings Gary Ajene