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Topic: Copyright Patten Question  (Read 1672 times)
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ladymizri
« on: April 16, 2011 06:20:49 PM »

On the topic of copyrights, I have a question...  Do the people on etsy (and other sites, I'm sure) realize the copyright infringement of buying fabric with a copyrighted logo/image and reselling it (ex- Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse, Cat in the Hat, etc)?  Or the people who post a picture of a McCalls/Butterick/Simplicity pattern envelope and sell the item on the pattern as a custom order?  The pattern envelope states on the front that it is for "individual home use only and not for commercial or manufacturing purposes."  Wouldn't that also be a copyright infringement and could be sued by the company selling the pattern?  I know a lot of people use these patterns for resale, but to be so blatant about it seems to be asking for trouble.  
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011 08:02:28 AM by kittykill » THIS ROCKS   Logged

SunflowerSmiles
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011 07:57:36 AM »

 I know that selling something on Etsy or elsewhere, that is made by a pattern such as Butterick, Simplicity etc. IS copyright infringement and the company CAN/WILL tell you to stop making and selling the product. If you Don't, you can be sued. It is clear on the pattern that you are NOT supposed to sell it.

I think if you make something with a copyrighted logo..THEN it would be infringement...but if your just reselling the material....I don't think that counts.  I'm not sure though.

Here's another link that talks about it.
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=2428.msg4070#msg4070


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« Last Edit: April 17, 2011 08:13:59 AM by SunflowerSmiles » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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ladymizri
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011 08:46:57 AM »

I think just reselling the uncut material as "supplies" wouldn't be infringement, but I saw one women who bought Disney Princess material, made vests out of it, and was selling them as "Disney Princess vest" in the description. 

My family owns an embroidery business and we have customers come in all the time asking to put "Cat in the Hat" or college logos on stuff and we turn them away.  I know that we hold the rights to a few college logos, but with restrictions, such as we can't produce more than x number of them in one year, but we have a letter from the school stating our rights to it.  We have the rights to the FORD logo, and for Tractor Supply Company.  I know most of these people on etsy don't have rights from Disney, Pixar, WB, etc. 

I heard from someone that Disney has a copyright on the name "Tinkerbell."  I don't know if that's true or not, I don't sell anything as a "Tinkerbell" costume, even though some customers have said that my green spring fairy costume looks like a Tinkerbell costume.
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011 08:59:21 AM »

I saw one women who bought Disney Princess material, made vests out of it, and was selling them as "Disney Princess vest" in the description.  


that's definitely infringement on copyright and once the company finds out...someone has to tell them...she's gonna be in trooooouuuuble.

I think that with your family's business...if the individual bought and brought in the embroidery template (I'm not sure what you would call that) you could do that.  I don't think that would be infringement.

example: if someone bought the pattern and I made it for them...charging them for labor..I wouldn't be breaking any copyright laws.


edit:  here's another good discussion
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=2414.msg16583#msg16583
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011 09:14:54 AM by SunflowerSmiles » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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ladymizri
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011 11:53:30 AM »

If a customer was to buy a file that was a copyright design and it is marketed as "for home use only" and my family charges them to stitch the file onto something, we are in violation.  We could do it, but wouldn't be able to make a profit.  Disney and Brother sell a home embroidery sewing machine with Disney copyrighted designs that you can stitch out at home.  It is for home, private use only.  If you were to use that machine/design files and used it to make a profit, you are now in violation.  If you put Mickey Mouse on a shirt and give it as a gift, then you're fine. 

As for someone bringing a pattern and just charging for the labor of constructing something, then you're not breaking any rules. 

I have heard that Disney has sent out "secret shoppers" to craft shows and buy items that are in violation of copyrights and then the company decides if they want to take action or not.  It's only a matter of time before they start buying from etsy sellers for this same purpose.
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2011 12:14:33 PM »

If a customer was to buy a file that was a copyright design and it is marketed as "for home use only" and my family charges them to stitch the file onto something, we are in violation.  We could do it, but wouldn't be able to make a profit.  Disney and Brother sell a home embroidery sewing machine with Disney copyrighted designs that you can stitch out at home.  It is for home, private use only.  If you were to use that machine/design files and used it to make a profit, you are now in violation.  If you put Mickey Mouse on a shirt and give it as a gift, then you're fine. 


I have heard that Disney has sent out "secret shoppers" to craft shows and buy items that are in violation of copyrights and then the company decides if they want to take action or not.  It's only a matter of time before they start buying from etsy sellers for this same purpose.

1)  good to know
2) I've heard of that too.
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ladymizri
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2011 02:09:13 PM »

So, I just did a little more research on the topic and found that you CAN buy copyrighted fabric, such as with Disney characters, and make something that you intend to resell, based on the "First Sale Doctrine" which is part of the current United States Copyright Law. Basically, the First Sale Doctrine states that when a manufacturer of a copyrighted item releases that item into the stream of commerce, the original owner of the copyright loses control of what happens to that particular item. 

I found this at : http://www.quiltingbusiness.com/quilting-copyright.htm
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2011 03:29:29 PM »

Wow!!  that's a whole new ball game then.

But I have heard of people asked to stop selling their product that was made under a licensed logo......  What grounds did they have, I wonder.

This is such good information because I'm planning, here in the near future, opening an Etsy.
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Maggiedoll
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2011 01:54:10 PM »

So far as patterns, read this thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=374815.0

So far as fabric and such, it's not a copyright matter.  Ladymizri is right about the first sale docterine part.  However, that only covers the copyright side of things-- copyright is exactly what it sounds like it is, the right to COPY.  The first sale docterine really just states the obvious fact that it's not a COPYright violation if nothing has been copied.  (Not to mention that you don't sign anything when buying so-called licensed fabric.  If you did actually have to sign a contract, you could certainly be held to that contract.  But if I go into a fabric store and buy fabric, I don't sign anything except perhaps the credit card reciept, which is just a payment agreement with my bank, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the company that made the fabric.)  The other issue is trademark.  It's completly legal to buy fabric, make something out of that fabric, and then sell that something.  But if that something is trademarked, you'll have to reword and make it very clear that you're not affiliated with the company that owns the trademark.  So to buy Disney Princess fabric, make something, and sell that something would be legal.  To buy Disney Princess fabric, make something with it, and sell it as a "Disney Princess whatever-you-made" would be a trademark violation.  Trademark is about recognition and branding-- the association with a particular company.  It's not about ownership but about whether or not a reasonable person might be led to believe that that item was made by the company that owns the trademark.  So to say "Disney Princess item" would be false advertising and constitute a trademark violation because Disney didn't make the item.  However, you could say "Item made with Disney Princess fabric."  You also have specify that you're not affiliated with the company and are simply using fabric that you've lawfully bought. 
Here's some info on licensed fabric: http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/LicensedFabric.shtml

The First Sale Docterine is the rule as created by common law (the system by which court decisions set precident for other cases) towards the begining of the 1900s, I believe.  That law was codified (turned into actual legislation) with the Copyright Act of 1976.  US Code Title 17, Chapter 1, Subsection 109 is the specific law that deals with the "Effect of transfer of particular copy or phonorecord."

If you did actually sign a contract that you wouldn't sell something, you could probably be sued on the basis of a breach of contract.  But in that case, again, it would be a contractual issue,  not a copyright issue.  Writing something on a package, envelope, fabric, etc, does not constitute a contract. 

Some companies, Disney in particular, are known for threatening litigation as a means of bullying people into doing what they want, even when they have no actual legal standing.  Most of the time, it works-- very few people actually want to fight a company like Disney in court.  (But it's wonderfully entertaining to read on http://www.tabberone.com/ all about how she did.  Without a lawyer.  And won.) 
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2011 03:21:37 PM »

 I'm sooo glad for this info...thanks for taking the time and writing it up.  Smiley
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