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1  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Anyone know where I can get a game board printed up? on: September 26, 2004 03:52:02 PM
I told my daughter that I'd sponsor her first venture by producing a board game, if she would get the product info ready.

Anyone know where I can get a new board game printed up?

TIA.
2  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Sales Tax on: September 26, 2004 11:49:00 AM
Sales tax is collected for the state/county in which you live.   Different states have different rules on *what* you collect the sales tax on.  For example, in some states, labor is taxed.  In others, labor is sales tax exempt.  You'll have to ask your accountant or check your state's sales tax website or office for info on what is correct for your own state.

You need a business license to operate in your city/county.   Those are local items and are enforced locally. 

Sales tax is enforced at the state level.   

How much you sell will determine how often you need to fill out the sales tax and use form.  Again, that varies by state.   If you owe more than $500 per month in sales tax, you most likely will need to file monthly.  Smaller amounts tend to need to file quarterly.  Check to see what the cut off limits are for your own state.

For web/online sales, you need to collect sales tax for sales in areas which you have a physical presence...that means an office building or other presence--such as anything that would need a business license in the area.   Some very large companies set up their websites as separate corporations, so that they didn't have to collect sales tax.   Awhile back, the Supreme Court ruled that you can't collect state tax across state lines.  That is why you don't collect sales tax from the buyer in Florida if your company is in California.  However, since they are missing out on a HUGE amount of revenues in tax dollars, they are working on this.  There was legislation passed so that no sales tax had to be collected for online out-of-your-area sales, just so there wouldn't be any confusion.  Government is working at smoothing out all the bumps to make it easier to collect and distribute sales tax regardless of where the buyer/seller are located.  So this may all change later.   

Also, some states (like Georgia) require you to collect *the county's sales tax from the buyer's county* for internet sales.   So, if I sell an item to any of the 100+ counties in GA, then I need to collect *their* sales tax, fill out *their* sales tax form, and do this over 100 times (if I have a sale in each county).    I don't just send the sales tax from Gwinnett county(buyer's resident county)  to Cobb county (seller's resident county).   I have to find out what rate Gwinnett charges (it may be more or less than my own county, due to local option sales taxes) and send that amount to their county.  Repeat for any other county in GA that I sold to.   So check with your own state to see if your own county gets any sales tax for online sales in your home state--or if the county of the buyer gets that tax.   It can become very complicated.

Also, a Sales and Use tax is made so that tax gets paid *somewhere.*   If I buy something locally, then I pay the retailer sales tax, and the retailer pays the state.   However, if I buy something online or through mail order (and the company doesn't have a physical presence in my state that would require them to collect sales tax regardless), then the BUYER is supposed to pay the sales tax in their own home state.  Most of the time, the  buyer is complerely unaware of this.  However, if you buy a larger ticket item, such as a car, then you will find out quickly about having to pay sales tax in your own home state.   So (for example) you would buy the car in GA and think you are getting deal because you didn't pay GA sales tax, and then your home county would promptly hit you up for the sales tax before they will register your car.

And if you do craft shows out of state, then check the other state's website and call their tax office to find out what the rules are.   Many states require you to file their sales tax forms very quickly after a craft show where you are an out of state vendor. 





3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Copyright Info / Using Other Peoples' Images / Etc on: September 10, 2004 08:26:38 PM
I think you are confusing trademark and copyright.   If the dog was a registered trademark, and if they found out about someone using that dog symbol and didn't sue, then they have a 'weak' trademark that may no longer be legally enforceable as their trademark. 
Logos are trademarks.  Now if I draw my own dog, then I wouldn't be violating their copyright, as their copyright covers their artwork (or phrasing of written work)...and I didn't use their copyrighted artwork.   

If their dog was a trademark, then if I did a *similar* dog on products to sell (even though I made sure that I didn't use their artwork), then I'd be violating their trademark, as the dog would be similar enough to confuse the consumer.   

Many companies mess up and don't trademark their logos or their unique product names or catch phrases.   Then others can parody them or make items with similar pics on them. 

 I can answer the pattern question though.   On home sewing patterns (Vogue, Simplicity, McCalls, New Look, Butterick, and the smaller companies that you don't find in big chain stores), they say that the pattern is for *home use* and not to be used for commercial sales.  When you buy the pattern, you are buying the 'license' to use their copyrighted material for your own home use. 

There are commercial/professional patterns out there that when you buy the pattern, you are buying the license to use that pattern *for profit* in commerce.   I have a professional pattern company.  The prices are higher, because you are also buying the license to use the pattern for business purposes. 

If you bought the original product, then you can alter it in any way you see fit for your own personal use, as long as you don't *copy* their logo or product. 

As to whether or not you can sell that object that you re-made with their logo showing--that is the part I am unsure of.   I do know that many clothing companies monitor ebay for knock offs.  They consider it a violation of their trademark if you list the item as "similar to X brand."   I've seen ebay auctions get pulled due to this.  You could resell their original item ("original Kate Spade purse in gently used condition" type of listing would be okay).   But you have to be sure you have an original.     

Anyone know about product licensing?  I want different levels of licensing--pattern includes license for X products to be made...and ask customer to buy a second license if they plan on using the product on a larger scale.   (Similar to software licenses...you buy the license to put software on 2 computers usually, and you buy a larger license if you need to put it on more computers...the price of the license depends on how many computers you want the software to run on.)

4  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: Want input on website on: September 09, 2004 04:46:27 PM
How are the colors now? 

The logo is new--so changing isn't a problem.   Ditto on the colors.  I had a black/beige color scheme that looked sharp with one of my pics, but then the pic wouldn't fit the site anymore.  So I chose teal/purple/beige color scheme that worked for awhile...then it got boring somewhere along the line.  So I added color and went too far the other way.

I'm open to new side bars--but haven't found one I like.  I'm still trying to brand my product in a way that I love...and still trying new things along the way. 

Any and all suggestions welcome.  Still tweaking everything...

5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: sewing machines? on: September 08, 2004 01:58:17 PM
Ditto.   The super small ones and hand held ones are a total waste of money.  You spend so much time fiddling with them, that they really aren't useful.   You won't sew with them because they wind up being too much trouble to use.



6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Re: ReadyMade call for submissions on: September 08, 2004 08:38:26 AM
One more bit to add: 

Patents cover manufacturing processes or products that are new inventions.  A patent only covers a few years, and after that once the patent expires, if the competiton can figure out how you make something, then they can make it too, as long as they don't copy your ads/label wording/etc--which would violate your copyright on those materials.   (For example, Tylenol had a patent, then it expired and all the generics came on the market.  The generics can copy the product all they want after the patent expiration period, as long as they come up with their own marketing materials to do so.)

So the actual articles in magazines are copyrighted.  The ideas in the articles aren't.   And the items you make from the articles aren't patented, as the majority of the time it isn't a new manufacturing technique or newly invented product.

For a product to be patented, it must not be something that someone in that field could have easily figured out by themselves.  It needs to be new and inventive. 

For more info, read the patent site:
www.uspto.gov

(p.s.  Above info gathered from reading the patent and copyright sites, due to needing to know for my biz)

7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Re: ReadyMade call for submissions on: September 08, 2004 07:57:55 AM
Re:  copyright

You can't copyright a craft idea.  BUT you can copyright the form that you created.   So, for example, when you write out the instructions, those instructions are your original work and are copyrighted.  People shouldn't scan in the article and post it or photocopy the article and pass it around.  That is a violation of the copyright.   Artwork is copyrighted--so you can't mass produce someone else's artwork.  And sometimes you can't take a photo of it and print it without permission. 

Information isn't copyrighted.  So you can read about a whole bunch of different ways to do something, then write your own instructions or make your own craft. 


I like to compare it to apple pie recipes.  There are 2 million apple pie recipes out there.  You can't copyright an apple pie.  BUT if someone takes your exact apple pie wording on your recipe and reprints it without permission or submits it as their own recipe, then they have violated your copyright.

If you do your own work in making your product/instructions/craft, then you are usually safe.   If you take someone else's photo and change it a bit, or if you rewrite someone else's instructions, or if you begin with someone else's product and just alter it, then you are usually in trouble.

So that is one way to determine if you are violating someone's copyright.

Also, with the magazines' I've dealt with, they ask if the piece has been published anywhere else previously--including online.  So I'd suggest posting excerpts for critique, but not the whole article. 







8  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: What is your bestseller? on: September 08, 2004 06:16:02 AM
I sell patterns.  What I've found out is that my best seller online is not my best seller at trade shows. 

At trade shows, people are looking for instructions and items that are new to them.   So my original stuff sells best. 

Online, I get a wider audience, including home decorating types, so my 'traditionals' stuff sells best.   The pattern that trade pros rarely buy sells well online. 

Lesson learned--keep your audience in mind!    Smiley



9  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Clothing display? on: September 08, 2004 06:11:18 AM
I bought clothing racks from a store that was going out of business. 

If you just want to display one or two garments at the back of your booth, then you can make a hall tree sort of rack (or just buy a hall tree), and hang one item at a time from the peg in the upright pole.  You can make the 'hall tree' from pvc or from lumber--just add 4 legs (or large shelf brackets) radiating out at the base for stability.

Or do what another booth did at my last show.  They took a cut down sheet of plywood, and added the shelf brackets to the base for legs.  Cover plywood with fabric or paint it.  Add coat hooks where you want to hang your items.  Then you just pick it up and go when you pack up.  This will give you a flat display wall to hang individual items at the back of your booth.



 

10  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Anywhere to buy smaller quantities of plastic shopping/merchandise bags? on: September 08, 2004 06:05:23 AM
I second Papermart.  I looked and looked, and they had the lowest prices on the items I needed.   

Associated Bag and ULine were both in my top 3 choices of places too.

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