Can Beading Magazine Claim Copyright in Geometric Pattern?

DR_BeadsQuestion: A beading magazine has lots of instructions for making beaded jewelry designs that are purely geometric. The magazine tells readers that they can only use these designs for gifts or personal use (but not to sell). Can the magazine stop me from selling jewelry based on these designs?

Answer: We think you can probably sell the designs without incident but our response depends on the uniqueness and novelty of the patterns. Continue reading

What Rights Does a Crafts Buyer Acquire?

carving Question: I sell original wood sculptures. What rights does a buyer get?

Answer: Assuming it’s protected under copyright law, a customer acquires the limited right to display the wood carving at home (though not in a museum) and to lend it, rent it, and re-sell it (and in some cases, to destroy it—although certain fine art crafts works such as sculptures and limited edition prints and photographs are exempt from this rule. The customer cannot make copies or otherwise reproduce it. You control all copyright in the work .

Do I Need a Lawyer to License Crafts

DR_FantasyANimalQuestion: I’m a crafts artist and I create fantasy animals and sell them as sculptures and prints. A company wants to license two designs for fabric for use in children’s products. They’re asking me to sign a license for three years. According to the contract, I can still sell sculptures and paper prints. I just can’t do clothing. bed sheets and similar fabric items. I think I understand the agreement. I’d hate to blow most of my advance on a lawyer if I don’t need one. But people are telling me I should see an attorney. What do you think? Continue reading

Etsy Pulled My Upcycle

DR_UPCYCQuestion: I just had some items pulled from my Etsy shop at the request of a band’s attorney citing intellectual property rights violation. From what I grasp the offense is taken mostly from the public displays of the bands name and logo in the picture listings as well the attorney’s assumption I am financially gaining off the logo and not my labor/seamstress skills.

Answer: We’re sorry to hear that your Etsy items were pulled.
As for your copyright question, not much has changed since we last discussed this issue. Repurposing legitimately-acquired t-shirts should not infringe copyright.  However, the trademark rules are not as clear. Continue reading

Can I Sell Clothing From © Fabric?

800px-Ribbon_loom_weaving_tubular_silk_neckties._Silk_industry,_South_Manchester,_Conn.,_U.S.A,_by_Keystone_View_CompanyQuestion: Can we purchase copyrighted fabric or ribbon from a store, make it into a dress or handbag and then sell those items legally? There is a “For personal use only” statement on the salvage of the fabric. My understanding is that First Sale Doctrine would cover the resale of the fabric along with a proper listing and disclaimer? Answer: You’re correct. Thanks to the first sale doctrine, if you bought copyrighted fabric, you’re free to make it into a product and resell that product. Continue reading