Copyright of Designs - New T-Shirt Business

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Mary S

17 April 2014
Hi, I am planning to start t-shirt business. How will I know if my designs are already under copyright?


John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi Mary S,
The Australian Copyright Council has an excellent information sheet on t-shirt copyright issues in Australia.
Key points from the Australian Copyright Council information sheet:
  • If you are not the copyright owner, you will generally need permission to print an image on t-shirts;
  • Making a few changes to someone else’s copyright work is unlikely to mean you don’t need permission to use it;
  • You'll need permission from the copyright owner if you want to use a quote that is a "substantial part" of someone else's literary work;
  • If copyright has expired in the material, you won’t need permission to use it;
  • If you find material on the internet, this doesn’t mean you can use it without permission; and
  • The use of existing brand names or slogans is unlikely to be a copyright issue, but may raise issues under trade mark or competition and consumer law.
Good luck on your new venture!