Monday, August 30, 2010

Copyrights and Selling

Some things to consider before you sell at a show or on line.

You have seen the vendors who are making and selling items make from fabrics with NFL/MLB/Nascar/Disney and more. (they make fleece throws, scarves, blankets etc--The cotton tote bags). You might be one of these sellers.

I know-- the fabric stores sell it- so of course that means you can use it. You can use it-- You just can't make something out of it and sell it. Copyright infringement! Very popular- but unless you have a letter and most likely paid for the permission to use their fabric-- it is illegal to do so. On the edge of the fabric- it will say something about a copyright or you will see the words- "Sold for noncommercial home use only". The minute you accept money for it- You just sold it for commercial use.

I even have some examples of this. I have a friend who had a stamping/scrapbook store. She had Disney stamps in the store and made up some cards for display- then went to a craft show to sell her stamps and cardstock. And decided to sell some of her display items- Unfortunately- someone was here on vacation from her job at Disneyworld and took her business card and my friend got a letter from Disney lawyers to stop.

I had made some little stuffed cats and put them into cat food cans. I still call it recycling. After this Disney story, I first called my local grocery store to see how to see how they felt about me using their brand cat food cans... I got a letter from their lawyer- saying NO- copyright infringement. So- I also wrote to a brand name cat food company--same thing. Since then I have created my own label and use that.

And here is another consideration... Did you think about the Copyrights in a magazine or a commercial pattern?? Check the in the front of a magazine or on the side of a Pattern... Like Lazy Girl Designs or McCalls or Simplicity and of the quilt books out there. You can't use any of these patterns and make the items and sell them-- Can't do it.

What about the person who wants you to make an item out of say- Hello Kitty. Copyright.. can't do it.

That said-- there is a gray area. If your customer buys the fabric they can pay you to make the item. But that does not work for a craft show. (You can also make the item and then donate it for a charity raffle).

AND along this line-- there is ALWAYS someone at the show- be it a vendor or a customer- who you know is copying your work. They take a picture from across the way with their cell- they sometimes are just so bold to take out a paper and pen and make notes about your item, they ask a lot of questions about the making of the item- more than they need if they are thinking of buying it. Be careful. You took the time and energy to make this..if they are crafty- they can make something similar on their own- without your pattern. Let them buy the item if they are so interested!

Then there is a code of sorts at craft shows. If you are known to use other people's patterns- You can be black balled and not asked to do them- Your application will not be welcome. No one wants a copier there.
Is it worth it to you and your business? It is not to me. So, I don't use commercial patterns...Or I get the permissions in writing.

PS- Don't mistake another person just being crafty for stealing your work.. How would they- unless they have bought your things- and you can prove it- or they have been in the same show as you? You are not the only crafty person out there and there are just so many ideas. It is conceivable that two people making an item could come up with something similar.


  1. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I need to learn how to sew. I love all your work here. Im now following your blog too. Hope you are having a great weekend.

  2. i took a class on creating your own designs just to avoid this problem. i worry that our "gold coin donation" jars could be taken as selling. in australia, the $1 and $2 are gold coins. many people offer treats for a gold coin donation.

    i don't sell; i'm too pokey to finish. i just want to be able to know how to sell were i ever to find the finisher inside of me.

    found you via the hop.

  3. Hi -- thanks for visiting my blog and following! i'm now one of your followers -- love your work. Beautiful!

  4. Visiting from the Blog Hops! I love your site. I can't wait to get to know you better. Stop by when you get the chance. I have a Meet Me Monday blog hop and I would love if you could join in. Hope to see you then!

  5. Thanks for following me! I am your newest GFC follower!

  6. Following you now from Weekend Blog Hop! Please follow me back on my new Facebook fan page or blog:

  7. Hi..following from bloghop...would love to have you follow back!

  8. Hello! Following from blog hop....I'm love to have you follow back!
    Have a great weekend!

    Ruth :)

  9. Hi there! I'm your newest follower from the Sunday hops. Hope you can stop by and say hi. :)

  10. Thanks so much for this information about copyright material...I had no idea! I was one of those that assumed if a fabric store sold it I could use it!

    And I LOVE all your pet ideas!

    Thanks for stopping by and following Sew Super Sweet, I really appreciate it!

  11. Great post. I have been contacted by a college because a had the trademarked fabric bordering one of my quilts and was indeed told that it had to come off if I wished to sell the product.
    Better safe than sorry.