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Thread: Copyright/NFL fabrics

  1. #1
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    We've discussed copyrights before and I've read definitions on legal sites but I still have some questions that I hope someone here can answer. I made my grandson a quilted throw with Steeler fabric-so far this is okay. A couple of other people saw it and requested I make and sell them one. If I read the law right, this is not okay. Last week I was at a craft show and every other booth seemed to be selling NFL sstuff (mostly Steelers in this area). There were table runners, scrub tops, dog collars, dog coats, you name it, they were selling it. (Around here you could paint a rock black and gold and sell it.) My question: is this legal? Who would stop them? What happens if they are "caught"? Thanks so much for all you help.
    Peace-Jan

  2. #2
    Super Member CajunQuilter2's Avatar
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    I was explained that you can not make it and market it as a business as though you represented the particular team. But you can make things with it and sell as home made items at fairs & such. I see this everywhere.

  3. #3
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Sell items if you wish it is legal to do so.

    Check out Precious Moments vs. La Infantil where the First Circuit Court ruled that the copyright owner's right to distribute the work is limited by the First Sale Doctrine, which permits the owner of a legally acquired lawfully made copy of a work to sell that particular copy without the consent of the copyright holder".

    What the First Sale Doctrine means is that when the rights-owner sells rights (licenses) a company to manufacture fabric, and that fabric is distributed into the open market, the copyright holder loses control over what is done with the item.

    The court rejected the copyright claim made by PM, stating, ""bedding items manufactured with lawfully acquired, authentic fabric with copyrighted design were not infringing derivative works."

    You can not however make a claim that the finished product YOU make from this fabric is licensed, unless you obtain that license. You can use the licensed fabric you bought and make things for sale.

  4. #4
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    There are significant differences between copyright, trademark, and licensing laws and what you con legally do, and/or get away with, in each case. Check here for starters http://www.quiltingbusiness.com/quilting-copyright.htm
    http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/...edFabric.shtml
    The Steelers and all "tradesmarked" organizations, have invested huge amounts of time, money and effort in the creation and marketing of their trademark images. They are understanably quite concerned with how that image is represented to the public.

  5. #5
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    The Steelers and all "tradesmarked" organizations, have invested huge amounts of time, money and effort in the creation and marketing of their trademark images. They are understanably quite concerned with how that image is represented to the public.
    Doesn't matter, those corporations sold rights to have fabric made for sale to the public and can not under existing law stop people from making items for sale with that fabric. Those items can not be represented as licensed, however the use of the fabric, and statements that they were made from licensed fabric is perfectly legal.

  6. #6
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I am not disagreeing with you at all, merely stating the corporate reason for going after people they believe will not fight them in court. If you read the information on the links I posted, it backs up your statements fully. 8) Look before you leap...

  7. #7
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Sorry, I wasn't trying to start a disagreement, I was contemplating your comment ...

    "They are understanably quite concerned with how that image is represented to the public."

    I should have worded my response more carefully. What I wanted to convey, is that those corporations gave up that control, so it doesn't matter too much what their concerns are. They certainly realized that they could not control what is made and whether that is sold, gifted or what. And I imagine any attempts to make trademark claims would fall short since trademark laws only apply when the seller deliberately claims that the item is an original (such as a knock off).

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    You guys are great-I knew you'd have answers. I interpreted this the same way--I'm not saying NFL-endorsed or Steeler-endorsed so I'm okay. BUT--one of the legal sites (can't remember which one) said someone posted items made with NFL fabrics on Etsy to sell and the NFL presented them with a "cease and desist" order. Is this a case of "going after the little guy"? Another question: can I post a picture of my throw on this site (not to sell--just to show)? I'm so sorry if I seem dumb about this. I just want to do the right thing but if I can make a few dollars selling these to friends I'd like to do that without problems. Seems silly but I'm always the one who "gets caught"!! Thank you so much for all the time and information you've shared with me.

  9. #9
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    I'd say do what you want and if you get a "cease and desist" then you make the decision whether you want to fight it or stop making that product. I believe the opinion stated that you can sell it, but not as a licensed product is the correct interpretation of it - you have the right to make/sell your products as those fabrics were put in the stream of commerce. The manufacturer pays to get the license to use the team name as they are the first buyer. You can do what you want with it. Believe me, they have better things to do than come after a home quilter selling individual quilts!!

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would love to see what you made!!! Ofcourse you can post a picture of any quilt you make in the Pictures section of the board!!!
    I would be careful of advertising them using the word "Licensed." Even if you just said using "Licensed fabrics"....that may be the words that trips a switch somewhere and would get you unwanted attention :wink:

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