Some of the most difficult challenges we face as professional screen printers is handling touchy situations that arise from attempts to use protected artwork for personalized apparel. Having had to fight plenty of times to protect our trademarked name and images, we take legal issues like this very seriously. When we work with clients on a new clothing line, we want them to feel secure in the fact that we would protect their designs to prevent loss of revenue and marketshare too.
With an online design studio which allows customers to design or upload art for printing customized shirts, it may not be apparent to some that what they are endeavoring to do is illegal. We try to be as transparent about our business practices as possible but since the ordering process is designed to be self-serve, the best we can do to thwart an attempt to have protected graphics or designs printed is to include notification that we won’t print those items unless with permission.
Our goal as custom t-shirt printers is to provide total freedom during the design and ordering process, that’s why we allow clients to complete the entire transaction independently. This works beautifully for 99% of our customers. We further understand in 2015, customers want their commerce experience in their hands. However, on occasion we run into issues where someone uploads protected art.
When this happens, we contact the client and alert them that we will not be able to fulfill their order and issue a refund to the card they used to purchase the service. Very recently we made one client very upset when we cancelled their order for a t-shirt that infringed upon Disney’s designs.
Here are excerpts from the email correspondence:
Yes, we are afraid of a mouse, a lot of people are. Disney strikes fear into the heart of many designers, screen printers, muralists, children’s event entertainers, cake makers, day cares and more. That’s because they do not mess around when it comes to protecting their property and they don’t mouse around with making examples of people. For some, it may seem ridiculous to worry about the printing of one little shirt that uses Disney imagery (or any other protected artwork,) but the reality for companies is this, if they allow for little infractions they put their entire right to protect their property at risk during more serious matters
Although we really hate to turn down orders and upset customers, we try to operate a lawful business and have further responsibility to stay in business as we have more than 40 employees that count on us for their continued livelihood. We make every effort to delight our customers and meet the needs of everyone in the market for personalized apparel, but sometimes we just have to say no.