Can I use images of athletes from google and put them on shirts to sell them?
3 attorney answers
Not lawfully. As for the athlete's images, you'd violate their "right of publicity" and as for the team logo's you'd violate their trademark rights. Even if you tweak them a bit. But you knew that already. Create something new. And then figure out how to make a business out of it.
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Doing this would get you sued, possibly 3 times, as my colleagues note.
Many, many people would like to figure out how to make money out of professional and college sports and the fans that are willing to shell out lots of money on goods and services related to those teams/players. Entrepaneurs ask if they change the size/font/name/image/mascot/colors/city by 10% or some other fraction, is that different enough to make it safe to do without fear of a lawsuit?
If a fan can recognize your product and will buy it because of that recognition, then you've committed trademark infringement, violated publicity rights of those athletes, and infringed those photographer's copyrights.
These major league businesses and players all have existing contracts and tie-in deals with merchandisers and manufacturers. While it's not impossible that you could come up with an idea that they haven't thought of yet and for which they'd be willing to let an unknown company have a license, the chances are very, very slim.
Certainly the way to begin to is have a very well-developed business plan, and an entertainment lawyer to make the pitch.
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Not without permission of both the athletes and photographers. Just because they are on Google doesn't make it legal.
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