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Protected Images & Content

RushOrderTees is excited to help you create custom apparel for your group, organization, or event, but there are legal limitations to the content that can be used. We’re obligated to follow all relevant laws surrounding the production of custom apparel using the intellectual property for sale.

Despite the limitations, we’re here to help! Consider this brief explanation of what can and cannot be used in creating your custom apparel.

Intellectual Property is Protected

Intellectual Property (IP) is made up of intangible creations of the human mind that include literary, artistic and design works. The rights to use these works belong to the creator or a legally recognized third party. Copyrights and trademarks are the most common types of IP encountered when customizing apparel, so creators must have the legal right to use the related content.

What is Copyright?

Copyright protects original works of authorship as soon as the creator develops a piece of work in a tangible medium. Common types of materials include:


Casual use and sharing of works rarely create an issue; however, the use on purchased apparel does infringe on the creator’s rights of ownership.

Watermarked Images

A common issue is the attempt to use watermarked images in a custom design. A watermark is a sign (logo, stamp, signature) placed on an image that indicates that rights to its use are protected under copyright. Unfortunately, watermarked images cannot be used; however, rights may be available to purchase from the rights holder.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these things that identifies a company’s goods or services. Examples include:


Businesses want their marks to be recognizable, but are cautious about where they are used. If permission can be obtained, it’s usually via a paid license that places limitations on how the content is used.

How Do I Get Permission to Use IP?

Obtaining permission to use content protected by copyright or trademark can be done. Generally, this is most easily achieved by:

Ask For Permission

Rights to use protected Intellectual Property can be requested from the individual or entity that has ownership rights. Written permission must be obtained to use the content incorporated into your custom apparel design.

Once written permission has been obtained for the use of the protected content, an electronic copy should be submitted to us. This should be submitted to the following location, based on the status of the order:

  • Orders not yet placed:
  • Already placed orders:

Purchase the Rights

The right to some protected content can be purchased directly from the entity that has ownership rights. A license to use the content should be obtained and submitted to to accompany an order.

To find who may have the rights to a specific work, The United States Copyright Office maintains a centralized repository of copyright ownership.

There’s Still Plenty of Content That Can Be Used

Despite all of the protected content, there’s still plenty that can be incorporated into your custom apparel design without complication. Here are some of the most popular sources of content that can be used:


More About What You Need to Know

If you’d like to learn more about what can and what cannot be used, check out our blog post: What You Need to Know About Copyright Before Designing Your T-Shirt