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F E Smith
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Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am creating t-shirt designs using designs created by a

Resolved Question:

I am creating t-shirt designs using designs created by a designer. The design will also have slogans as part of the design.
I will be selling the T-shirts online, in the UK and internationally and want to know if I can copyright the actual design? If I can, how do this, does it take a long time and is it costly (I will be creating many designs with my designer)?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

In the United States, copyright must be registered with the appropriate agency.

Each country has its own requirements and you would need to make enquiries in each of those jurisdictions.

In the United Kingdom, although copyright is covered under the Copyright Design & Patents Act, copyright arises automatically simply by virtue of the fact that the author or artist created it.

All that necessary in the United Kingdom is for the author or artist to prove that they created it and that they created it on a particular date.

The copyright in the design actually belong to the designer if the designer is self-employed or a contract er even if you pay for the design, unless there is a specific agreement between you and the designer that the copyright vests in you.

If the designer is employed by you as an employee under a PAYE scheme then the copyright vests in the employer.

The best way of proving that you created it on a particular date would be to affix a postage stamp to it and get the post office to cancel the postage stamp with their date stamp. Alternatively, send a copy to your solicitor and ask them to date stamp it.

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Customer: replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

From what you are saying, UK work does not need a copyright stamp. If an item has this in the description (as below), does this mean it is a US Copyright?

Copyrighted TX0000034343 / 2015-02-04

(I have changed the numbers to random numbers)

So if I have an agreement with the designer that all copyright belongs to me, can I put the word 'Copyright' in my item description? There is a lot of 'stealing' of designs in this business (just as all businesses) and I wondered if having a Copyright mark might help as a deterrent?

Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

You would need to put a question in the US law section of the website but it doesn’t appear to be a United States copyright number according to this


the © merely serves as a reminder and deterrent in the United Kingdom. It is of no legal effect. So you can stick it where you like although if you do not own the copyright, it could be said to be misleading.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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