After almost 6 months of waiting, I was finally given access to Amazon Merch.
So it’s been a few days, actually, since I was given access. I tried to upload my avatar logo for my first test.
Everything went well, so it seemed. I uploaded, positioned, and described the t-shirt. I added all the information they wanted and hit submit. From there it seemed I had to wait a while before it got approved, so I started another one.
I decided to upload the drawing I did for the #dashfornewbies art contest a few weeks ago, which I won a nice honorable mention prize.
Followed the same procedure no problem and was stopped at the approval process. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. In a few hours, I should have received my links for the t-shirts.
Instead, a received an email saying the two drawings were in violation on a copyright infringement of some sort. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I made these drawings myself so where did they get the idea that there were copyright issues. Maybe it was the Dash Logo. I decided to try and upload one final drawing. It was the recent digital painting I did of a boat on the lake at sunset.
I know for sure that I was the one who took the picture that I used as a reference, and I was the one who painted the drawing. The other two had references that were taken from Google or the bitcoin and dash logo, so I could maybe see how they could think they were in violation.
Same process again and I end up waiting for the approval a third time. This time, the same thing. I was in violation of some copyright policy. I sent an email with a detailed explanation of how I made each drawing. It took some digging, but I was also able to give them the Dash and Bitcoin licenses that stated they were free to use under creative commons licenses.
You’ll never guess what their reply was;
Thank you for your email. The brand of your product implies that the t-shirt is published by or associated with a third party. Please provide:
1. Documentation demonstrating that you have the rights to use content related to Stephen King
2. Contact information from rights holder (email and phone number).
All that looking around to get them the information I thought they needed and it turns out I’m just not allowed to use my own name.
So this caused me to do some more looking around.
Can Stephen King (the author) actually trademark his own name?
From what I found — Yes and No.
Stephen King the author can trademark his name only if he can prove that the name has a “secondary meaning.” The argument might be when someone says the name “Stephen King,” almost the entirety of North America knows and thinks about the books.
I don’t think it would really apply because everyone still thinks about the author himself, or may think about their favorite book, but it doesn’t really give the name a “second meaning.”
I did a search on the trademark website and the only thing I can see that is trademarked is some of the books like, “Stephen King’s It.”
I decided not to argue with Amazon because there is just no point and it’s not even a big deal, just a funny story. They asked me for a brand name, I gave them my name, they didn’t like it because they could be sued, so I changed it to something else.
After I removed my name, everything was approved.
So I have two t-shirts up right now.
ctrl+click the shirt for the link.
More Bad News
So you’d think with all the headache of waiting to get access to even sell the shirts and dealing with Amazon’s silly policies I’d be able to order a really affordable shirt with my art on it.
Not A Chance!
It turns out Amazon Merch only sells their shirts in the US and I’m a whole 8 hours North of the imaginary cutoff line, in Canada. So for any Americans who want a sweet looking, original Dash shirt, you know what to do. For everyone else, maybe someday.
At least now that the whole application and testing process is out of the way, I can maybe think up some great t-shirt designs and build out my selection. I know for sure, the next one will be a steemit shirt; I just haven’t thought up my exact design yet.