February 20, 2012,
M.Q. asks from Perris, CA on February 19, 2012
Can I Make Something w/Disney Fabric, and LEGALLY Resell It??
I have a great idea for a product I'd like to create/sell, and after reading around alot about fabrics and what i can and can't use I;m TOTALLY confused/lost. Does anyone have experience using and reselling copyright/trademarked fabrics? Could someone explain to me in simple words what can/cannot be used and how it can/cannot be used? TIA!!!
K.L. answers from Medford on February 20, 2012
Having been a craft fair vendor for several years and my craft being sewing, I have come across this probem a lot of times. I almost never buy licensed prints because of this law, and find it so much easier to just avoid making anything from those prints. I know the "copyright police" rarely appear at the small craft shows I worked, but they can. I warned a few other vendors who embroidered Betty Boop, Walt Disney characters, and super heros on items, that this could cause them a lot of trouble. The only way around using these prints I have found is to have a customer buy the fabric, and let me make the item, and charge them for my labor. That way I didnt make a profit off the print, since it wasnt mine in the first place. I also will only used licensed prints in items I donate, or give as gifts. No money is involved so it is legal. (I made bean bags for a game at a super hero party, and of course used Superman and Batman and Spiderman prints. Each kid got to take home a few bean bags, so I didnt make a profit.) I put John Deere tractors on dishtowels for a friends birthday, but I use generic prints for the towels I sell. I can use Cinderella prints in baby quilts that are donated to the local hospital for kids to take home, and the hospital isnt allowed to sell them in the gift shop. So that is the only way I have found to use those cute popular prints but not break the law. I have been told that Harley Davidson and Budwieser are very stern when they find someone breaking the copyright laws with thier printed items.
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K.M. answers from Chicago on February 19, 2012
Hope this helps
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M.L. answers from Houston on February 20, 2012
Nope you cannot use ANY licensed fabrics. You can use most fabrics though, just stay away from Disney/Sports/Pixar that sort of thing. I have been an online crafter seller for about 4 yearr now, adn I have seen MANY shops selling simple little Disney inspired things get sued and shut down. Even if it's just a burp both made with Tinkerbelle fabric or a bow with a Minnie Mouse button... you can legally be sued. You can tell when a fabric is licensed... any big company, but it should also state such on the selvedge edge.
Same goes with licensed patterns. You can buy a pattern and make the item (bag/purse/skirt, whatever) and keep it or give it as a gift, but you can legally not sell it. This information is usually included on the package (for home use only, not for commercial use"... that sort of thing. For example, Amy Butler fabrics and patterns are free for commercial use, meaning you can use her patterns and fabrics to resell a design. Not all lines are like that:
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R.K. answers from Appleton on February 20, 2012
NO--NEVER--- ABSOLUTLY NOT!!!!
The fabric is stamped **for private home use only**. A customer can purchase the fabric and pay you to make something. They are paying for your time.
All Disney characters are copyrighted. As are NFL-MLB--Harley Davidson -- John Deere ect.
Several years ago I worked in a fabric store and a couple of my co-workers made and sold things at flea markets. At that time the buy in to sell items with the logo for ONE NFL team cost $20,000 + royalities and the NFL and the Team had to approve the item you were selling. Disney is even more difficult. If you try to sell copyrighted or trademarked items you will get one letter asking you to cease and disist and then they will sue. Not only will you lose the lawsuit but could be fined over $100,000 + have to pay back royalties. The 3 companies that will come after you the fastest are Disney, the NFL and Harley Davidson. All it would take is one call to the corporate headquarters from someone who didn't like you or the products you are selling and you will be in more trouble than it is worth.
Contact a copyright attorney. You can get permission from Disney to sell their products. But it involves a lot of money and you have to pay royalties on each item.
Side note --- you also can not play DVDs --CDs--Videos or even a radio in a business or as part of a business. Only if you are selling a CD for example can you play it in your business because then you are demonastrating the CD --DVD ect. The way it was explained to me is **when you play a CD ect in a business that CD is inhancing your business and attracting customers -- so you are making money off the work of the artists who created the CD-DVD ect and they have to be paid royalties.
I am not saying I agree with the laws on this but this is how it was explained to me by people who know.
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S.B. answers from Dallas on February 20, 2012
No, not without Disney's permission. They have a large team of lawyers that will protect the rights of all of their characters/parks and will bring suits against anyone who tries to tamper with those rights. Good luck with your product idea!
S.W. answers from Amarillo on February 20, 2012
Not a good idea to sell the copyrighted item. If you can come up with something that the company like Disney does not have and present your case to them, they might allow you a short run of say 20,000 and then you probably have to pay royalties.
Sorry, it's part of the way business keep their identity. Another stickler is NASCAR. I made my grandson's room up in NASCAR only because he was younger at the time. Five years later and almost 14 he still drags around his bedspread that has become his comfort blanket when he travels.
Read the fine print and error on the side of cautious. Not many of us have $100,000 or so just laying around for the lawyer.
The other S.
B.C. answers from Dallas on February 19, 2012
I think that as long as you pay for the fabric, you can sell it as such.