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Topic: Angel Policies - on more than just rubber stamps!  (Read 4354 times)
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1CraftyBunnyGal
« on: March 05, 2011 08:21:27 PM »

IMO, sometimes the pattern copyright issues have gone too far. The rules are so rigid from what they used to be, when you can't even, say, make Barbie or American Girl clothes from a Simplicity or McCall's pattern to sell at a craft fair. This goes for many patterns and things anymore.

Yes, I'm aware the people spend lots of time and money making these patterns. Yes, it might be wrong if a corporation was making bazillions of dollars when they should have their own design department, yada yada. But it seems wrong to penalize the humble home crafter.  Huh

Therefore. I am curious. Is there anyone else out there who, like me, would like to make "Angel Policy" patterns for all sorts of things just to show these corporations that they can't push us around?  Embarrassed I'm going to do it, as my time and abilities allow. Rubber stamp companies with Angel Policies make buying their stamps more worth it for the customer who wants to sell a few cards. They made their money off the stamp, and if it's a popular stamp, they'll make a reasonable amount of money.

So . . . I think there should be more Angel Policy patterns and instructions in many different areas of crafting. And I hope to help that become a reality. Anyone else feel the same?
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011 08:28:36 PM »

I used to only buy angel stamps from Angel Companies even when I knew I'd never use them for things I made to sell.  It just seemed a better customer service-y policy.  I could understand it better if the company was in the business of also selling the finished product, but that's never the case I've seen.

I keep waiting for Betty Crocker to say their cake mixes can't be used for things to be sold.
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Circlesofstone
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011 07:29:55 AM »

Just curious, where is it written that you can't sell items you make from a McCall's or Simplicity pattern? I'm not questioning it as I'm sure you are right, I'm just wondering how a craft person is supposed to know this. Is it on the pattern itself?

Lisa
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1CraftyBunnyGal
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011 08:21:07 AM »

There are several threads in this business forum about these issues; I will try to find the one I was looking at previously and any other pertinent ones and link-back to them.

If you look at, say, a name-brand pattern such as McCall's, you will see this phrase something like "For individual home use only blah blah blah..." And in how-to craft books the prohibitions (or in lucky cases, permissions) are found with the rest of the copyright info on the copyright page at the front of the book.

More later ....
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And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -- Colossians 3:17
itscribe
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011 01:41:56 PM »

I seem to remember that someone found USA legal precedent that said a manufacturer could not prohibit someone from selling items made from a particular pattern. It's just that the biggie boys try to bluff and bluster their way into getting small folks to fold under the pressure of receiving a letter from a lawyer.

There's a ginormous thread somewhere where licensing and fair use of patterns was discussed and there were links to the legal stuff. It was still a bit on the vague-ey side, if I remember right, but it did seem like using a product to make something to sell was totally within fair use. Enough years have passed that the law could be more or less clear by now. There's also a group of lawyers that work with artists when this sort of thing rears it's ugly head; often pro-bono.

About 10 years or so ago, some nasty piece of work fabric designer started suing crafters like crazy when they used her fabric in items they made to sell. She lost that one under fair use but did cost quite a few people a lot of money in the process. Can't remember who it was but at the time there was a hot and heavy boycott of her stuff around here.

The really sneaky laws involve trade dress - the packaging that we usually throw away. Bottle caps are in that category and technically, you are infringing on trademarks if you sell "Coke Bottle Cap Earrings", "Coors Bottle Cap..." There's a thread somewhere about that too. Several crafters reported small, regional microbreweries encouraged crafters to use their trade dress. One even agreed to put the handcrafted items in their stores.
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Circlesofstone
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011 06:17:04 AM »

Thanks for the clarification on the patterns. I still think it is odd that someone would have a problem with you selling items once you have bought the pattern or problems with using certain fabrics. I mean if you bought the fabric how can they tell you how to use it?
I do remember a thread a while back about "Cease and Desist" orders when someone was using a big name used bottlecaps in jewelry. You would think the company would be happy that someone was recycling their product and using it in a clever way. Just seems that it gets their name out there even more, but who am I to question that.

Lisa
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1CraftyBunnyGal
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011 09:20:12 PM »

I seem to remember that someone found USA legal precedent that said a manufacturer could not prohibit someone from selling items made from a particular pattern. It's just that the biggie boys try to bluff and bluster their way into getting small folks to fold under the pressure of receiving a letter from a lawyer.

There's a ginormous thread somewhere where licensing and fair use of patterns was discussed and there were links to the legal stuff. It was still a bit on the vague-ey side, if I remember right, but it did seem like using a product to make something to sell was totally within fair use. Enough years have passed that the law could be more or less clear by now. There's also a group of lawyers that work with artists when this sort of thing rears it's ugly head; often pro-bono.

About 10 years or so ago, some nasty piece of work fabric designer started suing crafters like crazy when they used her fabric in items they made to sell. She lost that one under fair use but did cost quite a few people a lot of money in the process. Can't remember who it was but at the time there was a hot and heavy boycott of her stuff around here.

The really sneaky laws involve trade dress - the packaging that we usually throw away. Bottle caps are in that category and technically, you are infringing on trademarks if you sell "Coke Bottle Cap Earrings", "Coors Bottle Cap..." There's a thread somewhere about that too. Several crafters reported small, regional microbreweries encouraged crafters to use their trade dress. One even agreed to put the handcrafted items in their stores.

Thanks - I'm a newbie to Craftster and I plan to look back through more of this section. That would be so cool if it were true about the patterns. I mean, I do have, for instance, doll clothes patterns that I can use but when I see something cute by one of the "big name" pattern companies it'd be nice to be able to buy that pattern and use it.

I can't believe that someone would try to be so controlling in how their fabric got used - but in this age of excessive litigation, maybe I can believe it.

The bottle caps and logos thing I suppose is like the licensed products thing, but still. You'd think there was no such thing as bad publicity in most cases. One thing I did hear of regarding licensed fabrics and other raw materials is that the licensor (hope that's the correct word) is trying to have a legal leg to stand on in case a crafter uses their product in a craft that is obscene or otherwise offensive. That I could see. But in the case of decent everyday crafts, I kind of think they're trying to milk it for every last cent.

I just stay away from licensed. But the pattern thing bugs me because most of us are creative enough that we don't have to copy a doll dress or knitted scarf or something exactly as it is on the pattern - our choice of fabric or yarn or whatever is usually already making the item unique - we just need the shapes and stuff for fit and/or inspiration.  Undecided Huh I don't know.
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011 03:15:36 PM »

Keep in mind that once you know how to make a general thing like, say, a skirt, you really don't need the pattern anymore. At that point you can easily make your own. A circle skirt is a circle skirt is a circle skirt.  Smiley
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1CraftyBunnyGal
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011 01:15:19 PM »

Keep in mind that once you know how to make a general thing like, say, a skirt, you really don't need the pattern anymore. At that point you can easily make your own. A circle skirt is a circle skirt is a circle skirt.  Smiley

True, and I'm getting a general ability to draft a pattern, but sometimes there are issues of fit and proportion for a given doll that it'd be easier to use the pattern for. Blouses or pants come to mind. And in the case of Barbie clothing, fit is important to make really nice-looking clothes. For both Barbie and American Girl, too, or any doll for that matter, sometimes there are garment features that require some oddball shaped pattern pieces to get the desired effect. Those are the kinds of things where I want to be able to just use a pre-made pattern sometimes. Sad
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And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -- Colossians 3:17
Maggiedoll
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011 04:54:15 PM »

102. Subject matter of copyright: In general28

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(Cool architectural works.

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

113. Scope of exclusive rights in pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works47

(a) Subject to the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the exclusive right to reproduce a copyrighted pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work in copies under section 106, includes the right to reproduce the work in or on any kind of article, whether useful or otherwise.

(b) This title does not afford, to the owner of copyright in a work that portrays a useful article as such, any greater or lesser rights with respect to the making, distribution, or display of the useful article so portrayed than those afforded to such works under the law, whether title 17 or the common law or statutes of a State, in effect on December 31, 1977, as held applicable and construed by a court in an action brought under this title.

(c) In the case of a work lawfully reproduced in useful articles that have been offered for sale or other distribution to the public, copyright does not include any right to prevent the making, distribution, or display of pictures or photographs of such articles in connection with advertisements or commentaries related to the distribution or display of such articles, or in connection with news reports.

A useful article is an object that has an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. Examples are clothing; automobile bodies; furniture; machinery, including household appliances; dinnerware; and lighting fixtures. An article that is part of a useful article, such as an ornamental wheel cover on a vehicle, can itself be a useful article.

Copyright does not protect the mechanical or utilitarian aspects of such works of craftsmanship. Copyright may, however, protect any pictorial, graphic, or sculptural authorship that can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of an object. Thus a useful article can have both copyrightable and uncopyrightable features. For example, a carving on the back of a chair or a floral relief design on silver flatware can be protected by copyright, but the design of the chair or the flatware itself cannot, even though it may be aesthetically pleasing.

I'm unsure to what extent doll clothes could be considered useful.  It appears that most toys that are distinctive characters are considered art.  However, a great deal of doll clothes are labeled more along the lines of being for a doll of X inches similar to such-and-such brand without actually saying that it's for that doll.  A doll in and of itself is a pretty generic object.   You could make your own doll of the same dimensions. 
IANAL..  the law just makes an interesting logic puzzle. 
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