General AdviceLegal

Selling Crafts Using Licensed Fabrics

What licensing steps do I need to take to sell aprons at craft fairs or out of my home? On the bolts of fabric it often says, "licensed for home use only" or "not for commercial use".

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By Jody H.

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October 19, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Actually, using the fabric to create items for resale is illegal without proper licensing from the company.

I teach sewing using commercial patterns and fabrics but am only able to get away with doing so because the patterns and fabrics are bought by the student for home use only. If I were teaching my sewing students how to craft for resale I would have to have a licensing agreement from the companies whose products I use, as would any of my students.

Disney is particularly harsh to people using their licensed materials to craft for resale, they will go after even someone as small as a local flea-market crafter. They will even go after people using 'likeness' as in an image or style they've copyrighted (Disney Princesses, Winnie The Pooh are two of the likenesses they've successfully sued over).

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Another company that will hunt you down is the company with the rights to the Charlie Brown Gang, especially on the Snoopy character.

So you have to be very careful about what you use for creating a craft item for resale. Read the following forum discussion regarding licensing, it's a very interesting discussion that starts off saying "Oh yeah, it's OK" but other posters quickly disagree and provide links to cases wherein the license holders have successfully prosecuted violators:

ask.metafilter.com/.../Copyright-laws-for-selling-homemade...

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

I believe the warning applies to the sale of the whole bolt or partial bolt of fabric, rather than a person using the fabric to produce something to sell. I don't think you need a license.

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February 6, 20190 found this helpful

I make Welding Caps. Some customers will request a certain team. Would I be able to use Sports Teams fabric to make them?

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February 7, 20190 found this helpful

Of course, you should always get legal advice from an actual attorney. But from what I and the other people have seen online, it doesn't look like that would be a concern. Worst case scenario, you might get a "cease and desist" letter from the NFL but it seems unlikely they would go to the trouble for a small operation like yours.

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If you have a business license, your city or county may have some resources for basic legal matters like this.

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October 19, 20110 found this helpful

I believe that means you can't mark the bolt up and sell it. Once you have used it to make items they are yours to sell.

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July 12, 20150 found this helpful

A company can't dictate how you use an item once you purchase it, which is surely a violation of your rights. You have paid for the licensing by buying the fabric. After purchase, it is yours. If you are not mass producing, their should be no issue. If this issue is keeping you up at night, choose fabric without licensed characters.

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February 7, 20190 found this helpful

A license is basically a (contract between YOU and the manufacturer of the fabrics).

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A fabric store, more than likely has a (contract or license) from the manufacturer they purchase their fabrics from.

That is how the manufacturer makes money, a percentage, by(selling to the fabric stores) and the fabric stores then make their money from the customers buying their fabrics.

To obtain a license agreement or (contract) to sell (existing fabrics)
you are better off (money wise, and legally) to contact the manufacturer and make a formal written agreement with them, then you will be "contracted or licensed" to sell that particular fabric to whomever you choose to sell it to.

But to use someone else's fabrics (from a fabric store) you are infringing on the fabric store that has an agreement with the manufacturer - which is "their" contract/license.

Also, you'll pay a lot less buying your fabrics directly from the manufacturer, but because you're not actually "weaving the fabrics yourself" which then you could sell to anyone, you will have to pay a percentage to the company that does make the fabrics.

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February 7, 20190 found this helpful

info.legalzoom.com/can-make-items-using-copyrighted...

Here's more on that subject, so now I'm at an (I'm not sure) place with the *details* of selling someone else's fabric. We'll have to read more on this, I'm very interested too for different reasons than yours.

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February 7, 20190 found this helpful

Ooops sorry, in my post, I should not of said (selling someone else's fabric) rather it is:

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"creating something out of someone else's fabric and then selling it".

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May 1, 2013

I have started making ornaments using licensed material, ie. Disney and college teams. Do I need to have a license to sell these ornaments and if so how do I go about getting one?
Thanks.

By June F.

Answers

May 7, 20130 found this helpful

We experienced the same concern using licensed duck tapes such as Hello Kitty, Spiderman, SpongeBob Squarepants. If you were planning to sell your ornaments made with licensed artwork ONLINE......DON'T! The law says you can't even show photos of the recreated items such as your adorable ornament.

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Hello Kitty legal went after someone selling duct tape accessories in her online Etsy shop and won! They actually closed down the shop and threatened further legal action. Harley-Davidson did the same with someone selling handmade purses and wallets made from their licensed tape.
So we can USE the licensed duck tape, logos, etc. in our crafts for our personal use (gifts, etc.) but can't photograph it or promote it online for sale. As crafters we don't have the millions and millions Disney does, so I believe buying your own licensing rights is not feasible.

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Anonymous
May 31, 20180 found this helpful

I had a friend who used The Nashville Predators as a theme for her shirts (even though she made the design herself and didnt just copy theirs) and they came after her for it. Id be very careful.

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Business and Legal Legal General AdviceOctober 17, 2011
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