Mixed up pop culture / Disney t-shirt designs – Are you sitting at home, inspired to create a Frozen design, but feeling limited by copyright rules? Well, you might be elated (or gassy?) to know that almost every day Tee Fury puts out a t-shirt design that gets awfully close to receiving a cease and desist letter from companies like Disney.
So, how do they get away with it? Actually, they’ve been stepping on people’s toes for years, including those of Mike Mignola, creator of the Hellboy comic. Their biggest advantage might be that each t-shirt is on sale for only 24 hours. By the time a lawyer looks at it to even consider a cease and desist, it’s probably not for sale anymore.
The other factor is that Tee Fury sells the designs of independent artists, meaning that any potential lawsuit might be deflected to a graphic designer who probably has more student loans than assets. A number of their designers also don’t like in the U.S., further complicating any potential lawsuit.
Anyway, with Disney’s Frozen grossing over a billion dollars in theaters, it’s creating it’s own mini-economy, with companies like Tee Fury cashing in on unlicensed “Frozen-inspired” merchandise. (Heck, I’m going to mention Frozen a few more times, just hoping that it gets me more page views! Frozen, Frozen, Frozen!)
Consider that Disney does more than it’s own share of borrowing; a few recent examples being the movie Frozen based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, and Tangled based on Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm.
Should we feel bad that Disney isn’t getting their share on these t-shirts, or should they just let it go? Let me know!
*Update – The insane thing is that I just noticed a few of these Elsa / Frozen t-shirts selling for as much as $40 on eBay!