Should I just keep my fat nose out of it?

So I have a friend who’s recently retired and she’s designing t-shirts for her friends with her Cricut. All the designs are based on the Love statue by Robert Indiana. I’m pretty sure she’s accepting paid orders. Should I tell her she could get screwed with a copyright infringement suit, or just let it go? The copyright on the design is a whole story in itself, pretty interesting.
Who Owns Love?

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Sure, just send her the link as somethign you saw the other day…
That’s a little different from reporting her to Robert Indiana’s agents.

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You cannot sell any kind of reproduction of any artists work unless already in the public domain.

Companies are actively pursuing legal remedies and are making examples of people in order to stop the last 20 or so years of people stealing images from the internet.

She could be sued for:

  1. Use
  2. Intellectual Property appropriation
  3. Damage to Robert Indiana’s image

Hate to be the Lars Ulrich of Graphic Design but this is a time to be very careful.


She knows all that - We know all that lol :smiley:

… that’s why she is wondering if she should stick her nose in as a friend. :wink:

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As PD said … send her the link. Can’t hurt. If she ignores it … you tried to save her :slight_smile:

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I don’t think it’s standard practice for a lawyer to bring a small time sole proprietorship to court for copyright claims without first sending them a cease and desist letter. Especially if they know the person they would be suing doesn’t have the money to pay; I would think they would much rather settle the issue out of court.

As others said, a friendly convo that leads to “hey, check out this article I read the other day” wouldn’t hurt either.

Yeah, tell that to the freelance designer that got gigged 6-figures for using a photo belonging to a deceased famous person’s estate. Put him out of business. Luckily he was an LLC or he’d’a’ been out on the street. I’ve heard about a lot of these “little things” over the years I’ve been in the business. They don’t care if you can’t pay or not.

I contacted an artist once to use an illustration of hers. Took a devil of a long time to find her as there were repros of the art all over the web. She was in the process of sending out C&Ds to web-usage users and in the instances where people were selling the image, she had a lawyer outright suing them for damages on their profiteering. So it doesn’t have to be even a well known artist who brings a suit.

I don’t know about the agents for Mr. Indiana, but some people are downright rabid about their property.

This case of Designia’s friend? Depends a lot on if she has a storefront if she’ll even turn up on their radar. A friendly word to the wise may be all that is in order.

OK, I guess I’m just saying absolutely YES stick your nose in.

The long term risk is theirs to take, but do you want a friend doing something without understanding the consequences?

I’ve lost work over this. A local guy wanted to make labels for those throw away vaporizers with NFL team logos on them. We asked if he had the rights. No. OK then we can’t print it. So the things show up in local convenience stores. They’re on the shelf for about 2 weeks before the cease & desist.

Thanks guys, I am gonna stick my big fat nose into it.

So, I stuck my big fat nose in it and I get back that because she’s not using the “o”, (she’s using different sport balls, football, basketball, etc.)(copyrighted clip art I’m sure :smile:) she’s doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong.
I just said- yea, it’s still an infringement but as long as she’s not using a storefront she should fly under the radar. I tried. :woman_shrugging:

I can’t remember where I read it, but the article was about a sort of cottage legal industry springing up where attorneys were soliciting copyright holders to sue copyright infringers rather than sending cease and desist letters.

The purpose of a cease and desist letter is to get someone to stop what they’re doing. Skipping that step and moving straight to a lawsuit, on the other hand, could be seen more as an attempt to make money.

In other words, if a design firm used a copyrighted image without permission, an attorney just might advise their client to skip the cease and desist notice and move straight to a lawsuit since there could be a large payout from it. So instead of a simple cease and desist letter, the first indication of trouble might be someone showing up with a summons to appear in court.


I’ve often joked on here that that is my retirement plan. Post some cool imagery or illustrations online then team up with a legal friend of mine to sue the infringers for cash.
Too much work though.

Intellectual Property law is the fastest growing. A lot of lawyers see a void. What you are talking about sounds very “ambulance chasing”.

Yeah, most definitely ambulance chasing, and that was the spin on the story I read too. Even so, it’s something to consider and another reason to avoid running afoul of copyright laws while assuming that the worst that could happen is a cease and desist request.

Sidenote: Having gone to law school and decided it wasn’t for me I feel for a lot of young attorneys. A lot of them make 30-35K to start IF they get a job. Only the top 5% really make good money out of the gate so a lot of young folks are just doing what they have to do to ay their loans off.

Another thing about attorneys, they must have a minimum of 10% of billable hours as pro bono work.

You’ve done your due diligence @Designia! Let’s hope your friend’s venture never finds success, because with it will come the lawsuit.

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