Design/Content Usage Policy

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Welcome to the iDesign Street Design/Content Usage Policy (“DCUP”). This Design/Content Usage Policy sets forth the guidelines for use of designs and content through the iDesign Street Service. These guidelines are provided to help you better understand what iDesign Street expects from you regarding your Designs/Content and the Intellectual Property laws as they relate to your use of Designs/Content through iDesign Street. Users of the iDesign Street Service are responsible for making sure their designs and content complies with this DCUP. If you believe a user is infringing upon your intellectual property rights or you would like to report something that you believe does not comply with this Design/Content Usage Policy, please email dcup@iDesignStreet.com.

Table of Contents

  1. Questionable Material & Prohibited Content
  2. Marketing Restrictions
  3. Intellectual Property Information
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Questionable Material & Prohibited Content

All designs and content being used in connection with the iDesign Street Service will be graded using a White – Yellow – Red scale. Clearly acceptable to use Designs or Content will fall within the White Zone. Prohibited Designs or Content will fall within the Red Zone. Questionable Designs or Content will fall within the Yellow Zone. These zones are not strictly delineated: Designs or Content that is deemed to be in the Yellow Zone but closer to White Zone will have a higher probability of remaining in a user’s Store. Designs or Content deemed to be in the Yellow Zone but closer to the Red Zone will have a higher probability of being removed.

Below are some general types of prohibited Designs and Content on iDesign Street. iDesign Street will determine, in its sole and absolute discretion, whether your Design or Content is in compliance with this Design/Content Usage Policy (DCUP). Any Design or Content that is determined to be in the Yellow Zone may be subject to removal in accordance with the iDesign Street Affiliate and Storekeeper Terms of Service and Design/Content Owner Agreement. Designs or Content in the Red Zone will be immediately suspended from use and then removed as soon as practicable.

Prohibited Content General Guidelines

  • Designs or content that may infringe on the rights of a third a party.
  • Items that make inappropriate use of Fascist symbols and glamorize the actions of Hitler or Mussolini.
  • Use of marks that signify hate towards another group of people.
  • Hate and/or racist terms.
  • Inappropriate designs or content, or nudity that is not artistic in nature.
  • Designs or content that exploits images or the likeness of minors.
  • Obscene and vulgar comments and offensive remarks that harass, threaten, defame, or abuse others such as “F*** (Ethnic/Race Group)” or “Kill All (Ethnic/Race Group)”.
  • Designs or Content that depicts violence, is obscene, abusive, fraudulent or threatening; such as an image of a murder victim, morgue shots, promotion of suicide, and so forth.
  • Designs or content that glamorizes the use of illegal substances and drugs; such as a person injecting or ingesting an illegal substance.
  • Material that is generally offensive or in bad taste, as determined by iDesign Street.

The list outlined above is NOT an exhaustive list of offensive material but rather as a general guideline for you to follow.

Please Note: iDesign Street has a large number of users from varied backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures, who differ in their views on what is offensive or acceptable. We recognize that with such global diversity that someone somewhere may be offended by the opinions, perspectives, and/or creative expressions of some of our users. We ask that all users respect each-others’ right to express themselves in a manner consistent with this Design/Content Usage Policy.

2. Marketing Restrictions

You are subject to the all term, terminations, and conditions as found and defined in Section 6, Marketing and Advertising Your Products, Stores, and/or Websites, of the DCOSA, which is hereby incorporated by reference in this DCUP.

3. Intellectual Property Information

The Intellectual Property information below is to help you better understand Intellectual Property laws as they relate to your use of Designs or Content through iDesign Street. The information contained on this page is for informative purposes only and is not legal advice. For specific advice regarding your use of Design or Content through iDesign Street, please consult an attorney.

3.1 Copyright
3.2 Trademark
3.3 Right of Publicity
3.4 Right of Privacy
3.5 Defamation
3.6 Examples of Prohibited Content

3.1 Copyright.

3.1.1 What is a Copyright?

In the United States Copyright protects original works of authorship, such as a picture, drawing, graphics, software program, written work, sculpture, song, or photograph. A copyright is created as soon as a work is fixed in a tangible medium (that is, on paper, on video, on canvas, etc.). A copyright is a bundle of rights, including the exclusive right to distribute, sell, duplicate, publicly perform, and create derivative works from the original work. Copyright law prevents you from copying, distributing, selling, or publicly performing another’s original work without permission. Copyright law also prevents you from creating derivative works based upon or derived from another’s original work without permission. Copyright protects original expressions of ideas, not the ideas themselves. Individual words, titles, or short phrases cannot be copyrighted (they can be Trademarked, however; see below).

3.1.2 What is a Derivative Work?

A derivative work is a work in which you take someone else’s copyrighted material and change, add, or remove material. For example, if you were to take Grant Wood’s famous American Gothic painting and redo it with penguins, that would be a derivative work. The way to tell if a work is a derivative is to remove the changed or added elements and see if the original work is still identifiable. If it is, then you need the original copyright holder’s permission to produce your derivative work. However, if a change has been made to a work taken from the Public Domain (see 3.1.4 below), the work may be copyrightable and protected for the new material added. For example, if you take Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night“ and add dinosaurs, you have a copyright only on the new material in “The Starry Night with Dinosaurs,” but not on “The Starry Night” itself which remains in the Public Domain.

3.1.3 How long does copyright protection last?

In the United States, for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works created prior to 1978, the term of a copyright depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. Most works created before 1923 are in the Public Domain. To determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work, consult chapter 3 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code).

3.1.4 What material is in the Public Domain?

A work is in the “Public Domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the Public Domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. You should NOT presume that material is in the public domain without verifying it with an attorney or other reputable source. You should also NOT presume that material publicly available on private or commercial websites is in the Public Domain and not protected by copyright. Simply because someone says a Design/Content is in Public Domain does not mean the Design/Content is in the Public Domain. It is up to you to determine the truth.

3.1.5 What is fair use?

“Fair use” is a principle of copyright law allows for the unauthorized use of another’s original copyrighted work for the purposes of criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. In determining whether a given use is “fair,” courts look at four primary factors:

  • The purpose and character of a use.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion of the work used.
  • The effect upon the copyright holder’s potential market for the used work.

Fair Use is a difficult and murky concept, even for experts, so you should consult with an attorney before using copyrighted material in connection with the iDesign Street Service, even if you think that such use is “fair.” One way to evaluate whether a use is “fair” is to consider your own reaction if someone used your original work without permission in this manner. In general, the courts have consistently ruled that using a copyrighted Design or Content to sell merchandise is NOT a Fair Use.

For more information on copyright visit the United States Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov and the federal law on copyrights (U.S.C. Title 17) http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/uscmain.html.

3.2 Trademark

3.2.1 What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or other device that identifies the goods or services of a given person or company and distinguishes them from the goods or services of other persons or companies. Trademark law prevents you from using another’s trademark (such as the name of a musical group or artist) on your merchandise, because such use will cause consumers to believe that the trademark owner has made, approved of, or endorsed your merchandise. In short, a trademark is someone’s name/brand. For example, iDesignStreet.com® is a registered trademark, as is Coca Cola®, Pepsi®, and Walmart®.

3.2.2 What is a Service Mark?

Any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a merchant to identify and distinguish their services from those provided by others and to indicate the source of the services is a trademark.

3.2.3 What can be trademarked?

Word(s), word(s) plus design, trade dress, packaging, sounds, slogans, smells, service marks, geographic marks, collective marks, certification marks, and family marks can all be trademarked. The same trademark can be used by companies in different industries where there is little or no possibility of confusing the consumer as to the owner of the trademark. For example, Microsoft has a trademark on “Microsoft Windows” with regards to the computer industry, while Anderson Windows has a trademark for “Anderson Windows” for physical windows.

3.2.4 What is Trade Dress?

Trade dress (the “dressing” of the trademark) can function as a trademark and is used to identify the goods of a party in the marketplace. For instance, trade dress can be the shape of a Coca Cola bottle or the blue-and-white checkerboard pattern on a Red Bull® can.

3.2.5 What are Trademark Rights?

An owner of a trademark/service mark has the right to use that trademark/service mark and to prevent others from benefiting from the trademark/service mark’s good reputation and recognition in the marketplace. If a company fails to defend their trademark they could lose rights to that trademark. For example, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide will send out letters to any newspaper, magazine, website, or other entity that uses the word Kleenex® without the registration mark, informing them that they must either correctly identify the word Kleenex® with the registration mark in every use of the Trademark Kleenex® or use the generic term “facial tissues” in its place. If Kimberly-Clark Worldwide were to fail to do this they could lose the trademark they have on Kleenex®.

3.2.6 What is the difference between a Trademark and a Registered Trademark?

The ® symbol represents that a trademark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ® symbol may only be used in association with a trademark that is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If the trademark/service mark is followed by a TM or SM symbol the goods/services provider is using the mark as a trademark, although the mark may not be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

For more information on Trademarks visit United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov and the federal law on trademarks (U.S.C. Title 15) http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/uscmain.html.


3.3 Right of Publicity

What is Right of Publicity?

The “right of publicity” makes it unlawful to use another’s identity for commercial advantage without permission. A person’s “identity” includes, for example, his look, voice, name, nickname, professional name, and other distinctive characteristics. For example, the Right of Publicity prohibits you using the picture of a celebrity without authorization on your merchandise.


3.4 Right of Privacy

What is the Right of Privacy?

Generally, individuals have a “right of privacy.” An invasion of this right can occur in four ways:

  • Public disclosure of private facts (publication of true, but embarrassing information of no legitimate concern to the public).
  • “False light” (publication of information that creates a false or misleading embarrassing impression of a person).
  • Intrusion (improper acquisition of private information).
  • Misappropriation of name and likeness (similar to a “right of publicity”).


3.5 Defamation

What is defamation?

Defamation occurs when a false and damaging statement of fact concerning an individual or entity is communicated to another person or persons, and the person communicating such information knew or should have known such information to be false. “Communicated” means that such statement was written (commonly called “libel”) or verbally communicated (commonly called “slander”) to another.


3.6 Examples of Prohibited Content

In accordance with intellectual property laws, iDesign Street has certain rules regarding the types of merchandise that you can make and sell through its service. For example:

  • NO UNOFFICIAL MERCHANDISE, such as professional sports teams, videogame, or Olympics merchandise.
  • NO use of names, logos, pictures, or other intellectual property of musical groups or musical artists. For example, you cannot make Britney Spears merchandise simply because you run a fan-based Britney Spears website or just because you downloaded her image from an internet website. You also cannot modify the name or other intellectual property of a musical group to avoid infringement, (e.g., using You Two instead of U2, Share instead of Cher, or MegaDeath instead of Megadeth).
  • NO use of names, logos, pictures, or other intellectual property of sports teams, colleges/universities, clubs, or organizations, such as the Boston Celtics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or the Lions Club. Modifications may not avoid infringement.
  • NO photos, logos, caricatures, or other artwork depicting celebrities, such as Michael Jackson or Elvis, or other third parties. Just because you take a photograph of a celebrity does not give you the right to use that photograph on merchandise, even if you digitally manipulate the photograph. Political figures are permissible because there is an exception to the general rule for political figures, see 4.12 Do Political Figures have a Right of Publicity below.
  • NO use of trademarks, names, or logos of companies. For example, you cannot use the name of a company such as MacDonald’s or company logo such as the MacDonald’s “double arches” trademark.
  • NO pictures or photographs of products (such as toys). Even if you own a product, trademark laws may still prohibit you from selling merchandise that features pictures of it. For example, you cannot take a picture of your Star Trek model and sell merchandise with that picture. Similarly, you cannot take a picture of someone wearing a Storm Trooper costume and use that on iDesign Street products. Not even for your private use.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

4.1 Does iDesign Street own the rights to my content?
4.2 If it does not have a copyright notice, is it ok to use?
4.3 If I do not mark up the selling price of my products, is it still infringement?
4.4 Is it ok to use an image I found on the Internet?
4.5 Is it Fair Use?
4.6 If I took a photograph of a celebrity or a company logo can I use it to make merchandise?
4.7 Do I have to obtain a copyright registration for my creative work?
4.8 I based my artwork on the artwork of a third party, is that ok?
4.9 It’s parody, is it ok?
4.10 I am using Clip Art, is it ok?
4.11 The First Amendment protects my freedom of speech, so I can use whatever images I want.
4.12 Do Political Figures have a Right of Publicity?
4.13 Do I need a lawyer to register a copyright?


4.1 Does iDesign Street own the rights to my content?

No, you retain all rights to your content, but grant a non-exclusive license to iDesign Street to allow iDesign Street to print and ship your products to your customers. For more information on the license you grant to iDesign Street please review the TOS and DCOSA.

4.2 If a Design/Content does not have a copyright notice, is it ok to use?

No. Almost all works are protected by copyright, even if they do not have a copyright notice. Therefore, you should always assume that you need to obtain permission to use any material that you did not create.

4.3 If I do not mark up the selling price of my products, is it still infringement?

Yes. If a product is not marked up from its iDesign Street base price, that sale can still be considered an infringement, even if you are buying the product yourself. Merely posting an image in your Store, whether it is on products or not, may be considered an infringing use of the image. In fact, even giving away products for free with that image can be considered an infringement.

4.4 Is it ok to use an image I found on the Internet?

No. Simply because an image is found on the Internet does not mean that it is in the public domain or available for commercial use on merchandise. You should assume that you cannot use the work unless the author of the work has explicitly granted you a license to use the work or it is in the Public Domain. Further, a person who posts an image on the Internet and claims that you are free to use it may not have had the right to post the image in the first place. Thus, your use of the image may violate the rights of the actual copyright owner. It is up to you to determine if an image you found on the Internet is Public Domain or not. Saying “He lied to me when he said it was okay” is not a viable defense.

4.5 Is it Fair Use?

Usually not. Fair Use of a work for merchandise is treated very differently than for use for informative purposes or for commentary. A claim of Fair Use of a work when used on merchandise usually fails to hold up in court, especially if the merchandise is sold for profit.

4.6 If I took a photograph of a celebrity or a company logo can I use it to make merchandise?

No. Simply taking a photo of a person, company, brand, or logo does not afford you the right to sell merchandise featuring that photograph. There are two distinct intellectual property rights in a photograph: (i) the rights in the photograph itself and (ii) the rights in the subject of the photograph, such as the product or person shown in it. For example, if you take a photograph of Tom Cruise, you only own the rights to the photograph, but not the right to use the photo to create and sell Tom Cruise merchandise. In order to sell merchandise with the photograph, you will need to obtain explicit permission from the celebrity.

4.7 Do I have to obtain a copyright registration for my creative work?

No, but there are advantages to registering your copyrights. Current copyright law does not require you to register a creative work in order to hold a valid copyright for that work. However, registration is required before you can file a lawsuit for damages for copyright infringement. In addition, if you register your work within 5 years after the initial release of the work, you will have stronger evidence of the validity of the copyright. Essentially, that means that it will be easier to prove that you own the copyright in the work.

4.8 I based my artwork on the artwork of a third party, is that ok?

Maybe. Artwork derived from the previous work of another may violate the copyright of the owner of the previous work. If you are creating a design that is based on the work of someone else, you may need to obtain permission from the original creator prior to creating your own work. You should consult with an attorney before using works based on the work of another through the iDesign Street Service.

4.9 It’s parody, is it ok?

Parody is one form of fair use (see “3.1.5 What is Fair Use”). Parody may qualify as fair use only if it draws upon the original composition to make humorous or ironic commentary about that same composition. Whether something falls within the fair use parody exception depends on whether the parody reasonably could be perceived as commenting on the original or criticizing it, to some degree. Parody, like Fair Use, is a difficult and murky concept, even for experts, and you should consult with an attorney before using copyrighted or trademark material in connection with the iDesign Street Service. In most cases, it is necessary to prove your Design/Content is a parody in court.

4.10 I am using Clip Art, is it ok?

Maybe. Most clip art, photo collections, or graphic programs contain a license agreement. The license agreement sets forth the specific permissible uses for the clip art and usually reserve any rights not explicitly mentioned in the agreement to the seller of the clip art. In most instances, the license does not grant you the right to use the clip art for the sale of merchandise by yourself or via a third-party such as iDesign Street. You should consult the license agreement and your attorney to determine whether you can use the clip art images on iDesign Street. If you cannot find anything specific in the instructions with the clip art, you should assume that you cannot use the clip art on merchandise at iDesign Street.

4.11 The First Amendment protects my freedom of speech, so I can use whatever images I want.

Wrong. Freedom of speech is a constitutional protection that guarantees that the government will not oppress your right to self-expression, it does not stop trademark and copyright laws from preventing your use of protected images or content. If a company says you cannot use an image, that is within their rights to do so and it is not a violation of the First Amendment. Only the government can violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

4.12 Do Political Figures have a Right of Publicity?

Maybe. While the right of publicity law varies state to state, generally, political figures, like any other person, have the right to control the commercial use of their name, image, likeness or any other distinctive characteristic. However, certain uses of political figures may rise to the level of protected speech given the fundamental First Amendment principles of unfettered debate and discussion on public issues and governmental affairs. However, slander and libel laws (see “3.5 Defamation” above) can be used against you by those political figures if you stray from the truth, or even if you strictly tell only the truth, so be careful what you say and/or imply with your Designs/Content.

4.13 Do I need a lawyer to register a copyright?

No. To register the copyright for a work, you may file an application with the United States Copyright Office. The application must include copies of the work and the appropriate filing fee. For more information, you can access the Copyright Office website at http://www.copyright.gov.