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Thread: Licensing Question

  1. #1
    Loriann's Avatar
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    I got into a discussion with someone today about fabrics that were Disney or the Beatles, for example. Do you treat these as licensed products and therefor not for resale? What is your interpretation of the rules regarding making say a Beatles pocketbook or a Mickey Mouse quilt and selling it? Is it for sale or charity only, in your opinion? TIA!

  2. #2
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Once they (Disney) license a company, such as Benartex (example) to create fabric such as this, Disney can not control what the end user makes with the fabric, or if whether what they make is is sold, given away or whatever... to be best of my understanding.

    They have no license with you, you have agreed to nothing. However you can not then claim that the product you created is Licensed by Disney (for example). I'm pretty sure that you could say that Disney-licensed fabric was used in the making of the product, but check with your own legal counsel before taking my word! In essence, Disney can not tell you what do with your fabric any more than General Motors can tell me where to drive my Tahoe.

    :-D

  3. #3
    Loriann's Avatar
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    Thanks, exactly what I thought. I was kind of caught off guard with this person's statement so I second guessed myself for a minute and wanted to get other thoughts.

  4. #4
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    You can look up the "First Sale Doctrine" to get an overview of what the laws say on this topic. So, while you can use the fabric any way you want to, that does NOT mean that you won't attract (negative) attention. Have a look at http://www.tabberone.com ... warning, some of the reading is pretty acidic!

    So... if you want to use licensed fabrics, and then sell the items on the web (particularly on eBay) you may be inviting trouble. You have to be very careful, and include some wording along the lines of ... this is not an officially licensed (Disney) product nor are we affiliated in any way with (Disney).

    And... you can get in trouble even without trying to, and even if the fabrics aren't licensed! Let me explain. A few years back, about five different fabric companies made "Red Hat" fabrics. And, since the whole "red hat" theme was quite popular that year, we carried most of the fabrics. One of the fabrics had a design of red hats on a purple background. So, we named it "Red Hat" fabric, to sell on our website. And, as a result, I got threatening letter from the Red Hat Ladies and a threatening e-mail from The Red Hat Society, saying that we were in violation of the Lanham Act and we were creating customer confusion etc. etc.

    The thing is, none of the "red hat" fabrics were officially licensed. And, at that time, neither the Red Hat Ladies or the Red Hat Society had trademark protection for merchandise featuring red hats (though they were both trademarked as social groups). So go figure. When there's money involved, things can get ... umm... nasty.

    In the end, nothing happened... except that every one of the fabric manufacturers "blinked"... and re-named their collections things like "Fifty Plus" and "Ladies who Lunch" and "Hats and Heels". And now Marcus has just released a little new group with a "red hat" theme... and they call it "Sassy".

  5. #5
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Loriann: I had this same question awhile back and got a lot of feedback from people on this board, some attorneys, etc. If you are interested, go up to "Search" and try Copyright/NFL fabric. I found everyone here very helpful.

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