Friday, October 4, 2013

Wants to Use "Johnny Cash" on T-Shirt

Dear Rich: I want to print "God Bless Johnny Cash" on a t-shirt using a custom t-shirt website. They said that in order to print Johnny Cash's name, I have to get permission from him (well, he's dead, so probably his estate.) Do I seriously have to get permission JUST for using his name? I don't want anything else printed on the t-shirt, just God Bless Johnny Cash written in white on a black t-shirt. What should I do? Yes, you need permission to use Johnny Cash's name on t-shirts because doing so without permission would be a violation of right of publicity laws. If you make a t-shirt like this at home, chances are good that nobody will know or care ... but the custom t-shirt company is a big corporation that doesn't want to risk lawsuits, hence the permission hurdle. By the way, the company that manages these rights for the estate of Johnny Cash (and June Carter) is Greenlight (though we don't think you will have much luck getting the go-ahead from them).

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