Author Topic: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise  (Read 20094 times)

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Offline dollmaker

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Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« on: February 14, 2010, 06:10:28 PM »
Patterns - I can make samples from patterns but the client has to purchase that pattern before I can make a garment from it for sale.

Books - if a book with patterns stipulates copies of patterns cannot be sold but states nothing about garments made from those patterns, and there are no copyright clauses/symbols/contact the author/publisher for stipulations, garments made from those patterns can be sold.

Magazines - only if the designer gives permission to sell garments made from those patterns.

***

Does everyone that sell children's or doll clothing make their own patterns? I put one pattern's bloomers up to another, or one simple pinafore up to another, and other than curves and hems being different I'd bet it was made from the same pattern.

I don't want to make any mistakes or justify using a purchased pattern if it is really wrong, or unethical, I just want to know how it's done.

Please also let me know if this is not the right place to ask these questions. I don't want to offend anyone here as I hope to be a contributing member of this group, I just want to enter the sewing-for-profit world with a clear conscience.

Nancy
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Offline Kathleen Fasanella

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2010, 02:11:39 PM »
I think this has been discussed quite a few times before.

This is a laymen's forum (nothing wrong with that) but opinion varies wildly. Not just widely, wildly. Many people confuse the idea that having an opinion is the same thing as meaning the opinion is valid.

I can't scare up the energy this morning to write it all out (again) -and then somebody else will likely come along and say so and so said such and such or this website says blank. Whatever. It's a laymen's forum, normally a friendly happy crowd, there's even a lot of good advice from time to time but be sure to conduct due diligence if you're staking the viability of your business on it.
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Offline Gorgeous Things

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2010, 03:06:17 PM »
Thanks for posting that Kathleen. I know of two people who got into big trouble for copyright infringement. Pattern companies are printing companies at their hearts, and it's always best to check with an IP attorney before starting on any venture. And don't fall prey to "fair use" excuses. Get real advice from someone who is licensed in your area.

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Offline jamesosews

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 05:47:47 PM »
I was in a boutique mall recently and noticed two booths stocked with handmade accessories in great fabric.  I recognized some of the fabric as Amy Butler and Micheal Miller.  This past weekend while shopping at my local, indie fabric store I noted recently displayed (or maybe I'd never noticed them before?) signs in the checkout area reminding the customer that the license for the fabric is limited to personal use.   Infringement of a pattern design and a fabric design would be a double whammy. 
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Offline ejvc

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 09:32:50 PM »
For heaven's sake!  We'll be facing infringement for *wearing* clothes next. 
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Offline dollmaker

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2010, 01:48:40 AM »
Thanks for posting that Kathleen. I know of two people who got into big trouble for copyright infringement. Pattern companies are printing companies at their hearts, and it's always best to check with an IP attorney before starting on any venture. And don't fall prey to "fair use" excuses. Get real advice from someone who is licensed in your area.

Ann

I don't know what an IP attorney is or what "fair use" excuses mean. Could you explain?

I have contacted one magazine about a specific pattern and they said as long as I alter it 60% it's okay to use as I want.

Kathleen - I understand that and visit your site quite often, but I thought since there were business owners here they may offer a little advice.

I'm getting the impression that I have to make my own paper to draft my own pattern and shear my own sheep to weave my own fabric. I'm sure it's not that complicated.

I'm also sure that all these fabric bowls and rag dolls and jumpers sold at craft fairs are not crafted by people who have taken patternmaking classes and shop in obscure places for unlicensed or no-name fabric.

If I sound snitty it's because I don't need to be told what not to do, I need to be pointed in the right direction. Thank you to those that were helpful.

Nancy
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Offline Kathleen Fasanella

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2010, 02:19:42 AM »
I don't know what an IP attorney is or what "fair use" excuses mean. Could you explain?
What is an IP attorney?
What is fair use?
This is what's meant by due diligence btw. You didn't ask what that meant but it means actively researching rather than polling for opinions.

Either way I can't win. I fail to deliver what you demanded so you get snitty. However, if I do tell you (it's on my blog and in my book), there will be ten others saying I'm wrong. Just because someone is a business owner (I'd say there's scads more business owners -and fashion IP attorneys!- on my site who would definitely know about this) doesn't mean everyone knows what they're talking about. If they did, I'd be out of business.
Quote
I have contacted one magazine about a specific pattern and they said as long as I alter it 60% it's okay to use as I want.
Boy, I'm sure their IP department would love to know who told you that! That's another old saw I'm tired of seeing bandied about. See The "30% Rule" Can Get Your Company Sued : Fashion Law. And lastly, isn't Stitcher's Guild a voluntary effort? Or did I owe you an answer?
Quote
I'm also sure that all these fabric bowls and rag dolls and jumpers sold at craft fairs are not crafted by people who have taken patternmaking classes and shop in obscure places for unlicensed or no-name fabric.
I'm sure they are not. You didn't ask what they were doing, you wanted to know what was legal and right. Two different animals.

Feel free to continue to poll the internet. I have no doubts you'll find the answer you want. Or enough of them agreeing with what you want to do that will allow you to justify to yourself that it's okay. Not necessarily the legal or morally right answer, just the one that will allow you to justify what you've already decided to do.
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Offline dollmaker

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2010, 02:56:02 AM »
As I stated previously I am new to the business world and posted here for answers and direction. I never took you as other than who you represented yourself to be and never thought you would jump to a conclusion of character until I read your last sentence.

It would have been more professional and I would have valued and continued to respect your business knowledge and experience had you stated the facts and kept your personal opinion of me, my decisions, and character to yourself.

Thank you for the links.
Nancy
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Offline Kathleen Fasanella

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2010, 03:24:53 AM »
It would have been more professional and I would have valued and continued to respect your business knowledge and experience had you stated the facts and kept your personal opinion of me, my decisions, and character to yourself

Ouch. That's fair. You're right. I apologize. I spoke hastily. Fwiw, thinking better of it, I came back here to revise my comment and hadn't realized you'd posted until then.

I intended to revise it substantively. More to the point, my site is dominated by businesses. We have a forum, somewhat like this one. There, this topic never would have come up. My point being that context is everything. This topic is discussed at length (with the usual range of mythinformation) all over the web. In the one place where people do know, people know all of this, that it's like I say it is. I'm getting old, too tired to debate these things anymore. That's why I didn't want to get into it and have to defend what I'd said or just abdicate altogether. I like stitcher's guild and I don't want to leave. I don't post much but it's a different crowd with it's own flavor. I posted in another thread explaining how things work and other people said "who cares" and just wanted to hurl ire etc and it struck me as uncharacteristic of SG. So I was thinking after your snitty comment (I think you could own up to that one) that the timbre around here has changed.

As a practical matter, gut feeling, I don't get the sense you need to take classes. I'll skip the lecture but if you sew and sew well, you know more than you realize. I also suspect I'm wasting my breath telling you that because you strike me as the sort of person who'd get into it and if circumstances permitted, would take classes anyway. There is one book I would suggest to you but I can't get the title right now, the book is packed (I moved recently) [and all at a time I need to come through if only to attempt to redeem myself] but I'll try to find it later.

This is the thing. If you take this venture further, your patterns will become increasingly valuable property. You will want to protect them, they're an asset. If you use patterns that did not belong to you, you have no recourse against anyone who would use your property to compete.

There is no such thing as a 10%, 20% etc. Everyone starts with a baseline, commonalities of every product. Those are the skeleton. What percentage is that? Some share features but are common and belong to many competing products, how much of a percentage is that? We all start with a skeleton, we build on that. Patterns are unique, like fingerprints. I think you should start with a skeleton and change it to suit your own purposes which you'd probably do anyway. I think it will be sufficiently unique that you won't need to worry about percentages. They're incalculable.

Again, you called it. I regret what I said. It was unfair and unkind.
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Offline ejvc

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2010, 12:56:29 PM »
Just to jump in as a bystander: I think Kathleen is fair when she says this is primarily a craft-related forum rather than a business-related forum (to put words in her mouth).  You'd probably get advice to go to Kathleen's site from us!  But boy, if you want an opinion on how best to finish a seam, you've come to the right place.  It's true that there are some people here who run sewing-related businesses, but that's not primarily what we do, I think.  I'm very sorry that either/both of you feel this discussion has not gone well, but we value Kathleen's contributions and hope to get to know you better, dollmaker, so I hope it doesn't put either of you off.
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Offline dscheidt

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2010, 02:58:31 AM »
I was in a boutique mall recently and noticed two booths stocked with handmade accessories in great fabric.  I recognized some of the fabric as Amy Butler and Micheal Miller.  This past weekend while shopping at my local, indie fabric store I noted recently displayed (or maybe I'd never noticed them before?) signs in the checkout area reminding the customer that the license for the fabric is limited to personal use.   Infringement of a pattern design and a fabric design would be a double whammy. 

what license?  Buying fabric isn't a "license".  It's a sale.  first sale clearly applies. 

Offline Gigi Louis

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2010, 01:38:54 PM »
Some fabrics clearly state that they are for personal use only in the selvage and/or on the bolt end.
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Offline dscheidt

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2010, 05:49:27 PM »
Some fabrics clearly state that they are for personal use only in the selvage and/or on the bolt end.

Rights holders routinely say untrue things.  Printing something on the selvage does not a contract make.  It's very clearly a sale.  There's an exhaustion of rights from the sale.  If it's merely a copyrighted fabric design, the rights holder can't tell you what you can or cannot do with the fabric.   If there's a real, recognizable trademark (like a team logo or a picture of a particular rodent, say, but relatively few fabrics), the mark owner retains some control.  But that's true regardless of what they've printed on the selvage. 

Online mcgintie

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 03:02:52 PM »
I was in an English county town recently and stopped by some craft workshops. One contained handmade clothes that were exact copies of an independent pattern company that I recognised. (If they sold anything I might have said something, but somehow the marriage of pattern and material was downright ugly and it is always empty).
 
In the UK there are a lot of craft shows that display handmade items made from well known fabrics such as Liberty and Laura Ashley (both of which have sold off their distinctive fabrics from time to time at rockbottom prices and in remainder shops). I guess they are not so hot on pursuit of fabric copyright here.

Purely observations in passing.............

Offline tkh1957

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 05:18:48 PM »
I recently asked an attorney about selling some items I've sewn on Etsy and this is what he told me:

"This issue of copyrights is an explosive topic in the sewing industry. In fact, the major pattern companies are aggressively defending their copyrights by hiring people to go to trade shows and craft fairs in search of violators. The fines for copyright infringement can be very steep, upwards of $60,000.00 in U.S. Funds. It definitely isn't worth the lawsuits, fines, and other legal problems that can result if you get caught. Most pattern companies, including the small independent pattern companies, have strict policies that prohibit the use of their patterns for manufacturing. It is a direct violation of copyright laws to manufacture sewn products from a commercial pattern and claim it as your own design. You can, however, sew custom garments for customers using a commercial pattern if you buy one pattern for each person. For instance, if you are making four of the same style of bridesmaid's dresses for four different people, you need to purchase four separate patterns, one for each bridesmaid. On the other hand, if you are making several pairs of slacks for one person, you can use the same pattern for all of the pairs of slacks for that person. Just be sure that either you, or your customer, provide a separate pattern for each person, and you'll be okay. Some pattern companies will allow you to license their designs for a small fee. Each pattern company has a different policy on this issue, so always ask for permission, be specific, and get the agreement in writing before you use their patterns."

Offline rainbow

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 08:24:21 AM »
I do own a sewing business and I have consulted with an attorney on this issue as well.  You CAN make and sell items from sewing patterns without it being copyright infringement.  The copyright applies to the pattern envelope/packaging, the photos and drawings that might be on it, as well as the actual printed direction and instructions.  Those elements are covered under copyright as artwork or expression.  This means you cannot resell the pattern itself or use the artwork that came with it without permission.  However, you can make the items of the pattern however you want, as many times as you want, and sell them for profit.  There is no copyright protection as applies to "utilitarian" items, which applies to clothing.  You cannot copyright clothing.  If, however, there is a very specific design element that is patented, you cannot use the patented element.  There is no "implied license" when you buy a pattern and the companies cannot make any terms of use upon their pattern they are selling to you.  Any sort of qualifications attached to the copyright are irrelevant and cannot be enforced.  They are not covered under any laws.  Just because you print something on there does not make it legally binding.  If a company decides to "enforce" their copyright, this usually involves threatening to sue small businesses that cannot afford the legal fight or who do not know the laws as they apply, resulting in them backing down and no longer using the patterns.  However, the few times this has been challenged in court they have lost. 

Offline tkh1957

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2010, 01:15:05 PM »
Wow, good to know.

Offline LauraS.

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2010, 03:44:15 PM »
I'm enjoying reading this exchange.

Offline Gorgeous Things

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2010, 05:56:47 PM »
Rainbow, I hope you are right (I'm skeptical, but I claim no knowledge of IP law). I would hesitate to broadcast the fact that one uses other companies' patterns for manufacture without express permission. I think that may be asking for trouble.

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Offline Kathleen Fasanella

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2010, 06:32:35 PM »
I think the whole matter is moot. I worked for a manufacturer who tried a home sewing pattern once, just to see. It was an unmitigated disaster. I don't know why anyone would want to use home sewing patterns in a for-profit venture. You are better off coming up with your own and tweaking it til it suits you. A lot of people who make patterns for the big 4 are fresh out of school and they don't have much experience and who knows what their training was like? I hate to say it but it's the "fine-dining" industry equivalent of hamburger flipping. It's not something you put on your resume if you break into the big leagues.

In a nutshell:
1. Make your own and tweak it. Tweaking is unavoidable. If professional pattern makers need to tweak their patterns, why would you have the unreasonable expectation that you shouldn't have to, that if you were any good you wouldn't need to? Give yourself a break, life is hard enough. Heaven forbid you discover how fun it is and find pleasure where you never expected. :)
2. Hire it out. If you get to the point where you're getting a return but the pattern is a hassle and could use a more practiced eye, hire a professional. A real professional. Not someone whose name you know, someone in the industry you've never heard of.
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Offline dollmaker

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2010, 11:04:25 AM »
This includes a link from an IP attorney which clearly states products made from patterns can be sold.

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

Nancy
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Offline Kathleen Fasanella

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2010, 02:45:04 PM »
I give up, unsubbing, good luck.
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Offline Gorgeous Things

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2010, 02:58:12 PM »
@Dollmaker

I'll say it again. Consult a knowledgeable IP lawyer. Don't go by what you read on the internet. Here's Tabberone's own disclaimer
http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/disclaimer.shtml

Note the wording in the first sentence of the second paragraph:
We are not lawyers.

Cover your legal bases with someone who can help defend you in court. Otherwise you are asking for trouble. I've seen two cases where someone was sued for copyright infringement. The legal costs of defense bankrupted both of them.

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Offline dollmaker

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2010, 03:37:46 PM »
Everyone -

I didn't start this thread to tick off anyone or to begin a crusade on who's right/who's wrong, or this-says-this that-says-that. We obviously all have our own interpretations of what we read as well as those we subject ourselves to listen to. I am also not promoting this or stating this is what *I* will do, but I sense that some are getting that vibe.

I was trying to find out if anyone knew for sure without being judged or attacked. Some have said no, some have said yes - Rainbow's post states she consulted an IP attorney but that doesn't seem for some to be enough to be believable, either.

I will no longer post on this issue as I feel it is now getting personal as opposed to what's acceptable or right. Thanks all for your input.
Nancy
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Offline NancyDaQ

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2010, 08:18:59 PM »
I was trying to find out if anyone knew for sure without being judged or attacked. Some have said no, some have said yes - Rainbow's post states she consulted an IP attorney but that doesn't seem for some to be enough to be believable, either.

There's a reason you're getting advice to consult an attorney yourself re: this issue. It's a legal matter With all due respect to Rainbow, I don't know her and her situation. Nor do I know the situations of some others who've posted here. I'd be hesitant to make such an important decision based on an inquiry on an internet chat board--essentially because it's just someone's opinion.

My opinion, because of course I have one too, is to err on the side of caution. Even if you're in the right, you could spend lots of time and money defending yourself. So even if you win, you lose, KWIM?

Offline rainbow

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2010, 09:29:51 PM »
About five years ago I was using a very simple pattern by a major pattern maker as the base shape of toddler tops. I did make a few changes in the way it was put together as well as eliminating a seam I found unnecessary. I embellished the the tops with applique and rhinestones. I had done consignment at a boutique to sell these items. Apparently someone (don't know if it was a regular customercor someone from the pattern company) recognized the similarity in the shape and size of the top. I received a cease and desist letter over the top and threat of a lawsuit. I had been certain I was in the right when it came to pattern usage as I had researched this beforehand. I consulted with an attorney on how to properly prepare a response to them as well as if I had overlooked something and couldn't actually use the pattern. He researched more as well and came to the same conclusion I had over it applying under First Sale Doctrine as well as the utilitarian item clause that applied to clothing. We sent a reply back refusing to stop citing what I just mentioned. They were still adamant that I couldn't use the pattern and continued to threaten lawsuit. We responded back that we looked forward to court and listed the reasons again as to why they were wrong as well as a few federal court cases involving clothing copyrights, patterns, and fabrics, all of which were decided against the manufacturers of said things. They backed down and no lawsuit was ever filed. I have heard nothing from them since! It's been at least five years since this occured.

Offline tabberone

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2010, 08:42:58 PM »
In 1879, the Supreme Court flatly stated that items made from patterns were not covered by any copyright the pattern might have.

In Kemp & Beatley v Hirsch, 34 F.2d 291 (E.D.N.Y. 1929), Hirsch directly copied copyrighted dress patterns sold by Kemp & Beatley. The court ruled the copyrights invalid because garments cannot be copyrighted.

In 1995, the Register of Copyrights sent a letter to a Mr Kretan, explaining why his request for copyright on some patterns was refused, flatly stating:

   "These patterns are intended to create templates for cutting layers of fabric. This makes the patterns “useful articles” which are not copyrightable under sections 101 (definition of “useful article”) and 102 (subject matter of copyright) of the Copyright Act."

I have unable to locate a single court case where a pattern manufacturer has won a case for copyright infringement for using their patterns. I have located two cases where federal courts have stated that using copyrighted/trademarked fabric to make and then sell items is not infringing. They are Precious Moments v La Infantil, 971 F. Supp. 66 (D.P.R. 1997), where Precious Moments lost the decision where La Infantil was making bedding from licensed Precious Moments fabric and the selling the bedding in its store, and Scarves By Vera, Inc. v. American Handbags, Inc,  188 F. Supp. 255 - US: Dist. Court, SD New York 1960. where American Handbags was making purses out of copyrighted/trademarked towels by Vera and the court said it was perfectly legal.


Offline Artemisia Moltabocca

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2011, 05:55:25 PM »
I called Simplicity Patterns this week, and thought I'd share the response I got from them.
 
Thank you for your recent inquiry about using our patterns and/or graphics for sewing and then selling them garments and/or crafts.
 
            Patterns and graphics are all subject to copyright laws.  On most envelope backs we mention "To be used for individual private home use only and not for commercial or manufacturing purposes". Treat them just like you would books or videos---you can share them with anyone but once you start making copies, and especially if you are selling those copies, you are clearly violating the rights of the author/designer.
 
            If you are sewing as a seamstress, the legal interpretation is that the customer requesting the garment owns the pattern and you are only selling your work or skills as a seamstress.
 
            If you are sewing clothes in mass production, for the retail or wholesale market, no matter how small the volume, you are selling the design-which in this case belongs to Simplicity.  You would therefore be in violation of the copyright laws, so it would be illegal.
 
            The reproduction and/or use of all graphics fall under the copyright protection as well. The Copyright last for 100 years. Pattern review sites are a wonderful tool for people in the sewing community.  Demonstrating how a garment is made does not infringe upon the copyright.
We hope this explains our standing in this situation. Thank you for taking the time to contact us, and we appreciate your inquiry.


I also called them, and this is what they told me:
You cannot profit from a garment made from Simplicity patterns. This violates their copyright. Basically, you cannot offer your services to make a garment out of a Simplicity pattern.
 
You can offer your services as a seamstress to make the garment if
- someone comes to you with fabric and a pattern they have already purchased.
- someone asks you to purchase the fabric and pattern. The invoice must show separate line items for services, fabric and the pattern.
 
That's the sticking point. Someone must come to you for your services as a seamstress. You can't go out and offer to make the garment, which is obvious when selling online. You cannot sell an item after it has been made, because you are still offering the garment and not your services. You can give it away as a gift or give it to charity, but you cannot profit from it.
 
You can sell a garment made from a Simplicity pattern if you drastically change the pattern. This doesn't mean adding trim or a lining. It means drastically changing or cutting into the paper pattern, and making a marked change to the pattern. In essence, Simplicity says you've made the pattern your own, and is now your property.
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Offline Lisa

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2011, 10:10:44 PM »
Thanks Artemeisia!

It's very interesting to hear their interpretation of the copyright law that applies to their patterns.  Whether or not it's the same conclusion that a court would reach in a dispute, it's great to know what they consider complying, so you can be comfortable that they will not complain of it. ;) ;D

I do think your interpretation of their e-mail, that the client must already have selected the pattern is a bit much.  I suspect most customers who come to a seamstress are more likely to say they want a skirt, not "Simplicity xxxx."  It's frequently up to the dressmaker to identify the pattern to be used and the fabric and make the garment.   I do know that the custom dressmakers I know insist that a separate pattern be purchased for each garment to be produced.  So a bride having dresses made for four bridesmaids would need to have four purchased patterns.

Their comparison with a book that you own makes me wonder if you can offer the original pattern for sale (just as you can offer a 2nd hand book for sale), along with the garment made from it, in an on-line setting.  Certainly books are sold all the time.  You would no longer have the pattern, having sold it along with the garment. 

I think the difficulty is if you make multiple garments for sale from the same pattern.  It seems to me that you should be able to sell as many as you like, as long as you sell an original pattern along with each garment.  I can't think that they would object if you said "I'd be willing to sew a skirt from Simplicity xxxx to order.  Your cost (including $_ for purchase of the pattern which will be forwarded to you along with the finished garment) will be $___."

If you talk to them again, you might inquire.

Lisa
Found: a favorite silver bracelet that I hadn't seen for a while.  On its four quarters it says "Welcome Introspection; Accept Wisdom; Seek Illumination; Embrace Innocence."   It's like a "magic 8-ball" on the wrist...

Offline Pipsy

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2011, 11:14:21 PM »
Indeed interesting.  As an adult educator I frequently ran into copyright issues when producing handouts or workbooks. Perhaps other schools do as well, but usually I see "free to use" notations on those publications. However, if I was quoting small sentences as long as I referenced the source it was OK.  If using diagrams or longer pieces of text, I wrote the publisher and had access to a college form (used by everyone) to request permission from the publisher to use whatever it was I wanted. This practice is seen in fiction when quotes are used.  Permission to use was practically never refused as long as the source was acknowledged.  I wonder if you requested, from Simplicity, a specific pattern be used for multiple garments, noting you would sew a label into each garment that is was a Simplicity pattern, they would give you permission to sell the garments.  They may require a small charge for it, but it would not be good public relations for them to request it.

Apparently, from another discussion somewhere, using fabric for profit is also copyright issue.  I wonder if the pattern and fabric police are out and about. ::) ..... and how many items they are willing to pursue ..... 2 -10 copies?  4000?

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml. This site has direct quotes from court cases - the outcomes of which become common law, the law used in future lawsuits.  On another forum there has been a discussion about the determination of an individual trying to sue people who use the concept of taggies on childrens' items -  it has been going on for years and has taken a almost comedic turn.  I realize that individuals do want to be recognized for their creative endeavors but sometimes it simply isn't possible, given the expansion of the internet and other communications.  Personally I am very very glad and appreciative of sewers, quilters and computer program designers who share their tips, hints, designs and concepts. Copywrite is a problem with writings and particularly music, especially when large amounts of money is involved.  The courts are full. I think Kathleen Fasanella is probably right in her interpretations. Don't forget it costs money to go to court and it also takes money to monitor one's designs.  I believe that those who pursue with threats are bullies.  There are bullies everywhere.  How one feels about bullies will determine who does what.  Action occurs on how and if one reads the small print....and has the energies to pursue an interpretation.  Note

  Patterns and graphics are all subject to copyright laws.  On most envelope backs we mention "To be used for individual private home use only and not for commercial or manufacturing purposes". Treat them just like you would books or videos---you can share them with anyone but once you start making copies, and especially if you are selling those copies, you are clearly violating the rights of the author/designer. Making copies of a pattern or product made from pattern? [/i]  These are the notations that make lawyers rich and some people think they can become rich. You can search out on line what is required to copywrite something, it is quite complex.  I really doubt that pattern companies copywrite each pattern. No, I am not a lawyer so these are my opinions, but opinions based on considerable reseach on copywrite - out of interest only.

Of interest I attended a rather big conference on the concept of copywrite on computer generated information when computers where coming into common use in education institutes. The outcome of the workshop was exactly 50/50 on whether copywrite on computer programs should be registered. As it has turned out the only programs that are truly not able to be shared are programs that have codes written into them to prevent copying, which I note is becoming more common but years and years later.

 
edited to add content
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 12:22:14 AM by Pipsy »
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Offline sewsy

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2011, 11:50:15 PM »
 :)

Offline SandiWahl

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2011, 05:08:34 PM »
Alright, my question is kind-of related to this thread - say I made Simplicity xxxx for myself, and hated the way it turned out for whatever reason.  Would I be breaking the law for offering this one item (not to be reproduced en-masse) on my Etsy store?  Not trying to sound dumb or dredge up any irritation, but all of what I sew for people (other than family members) consists either of a pattern they have purchased and sent to me to sew or something entirely original I put together based on their idea or sketch.  I generally follow patterns when sewing for myself, because I just don't have as much time when making my own clothing - and sometimes those patterns just don't meet my expectations.  Recouping my investment in materials doesn't seem like theft, but if it is I'd rather donate it to the Goodwill :)     

Offline Pipsy

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2011, 02:15:35 AM »
Put a flower on it and list it.  I think Simplicity has bigger issues to think about.
If I stitch fast enough does it count as an aerobic exercise?
My soul is fed by my needle and thread.

Offline Merl

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2011, 04:29:45 PM »
All of the cloth items I make, or intend to make, potentially for sale to the public are original designs or variations of existing items based on what I think would be the best way to make that item both in its construction and appearance.
I consider each of the final products to be my intellectual property but not something that could be patented ( unless there was something drastically different about it)
The only practical way I can see to show that I have not simply used an existing pattern or item made from a pattern ( in other words someone elses work ) is to make up a set of working drawings and construction directions and have them notarized to show the date they where completed. I suppose I could also swear out a statement indicating that the item in question was my original idea as well.
I also realize that neither of these efforts would probably hold up in court because they still don't show that I didn't actually just steal the idea from someone else but, I think if you carefully document your design process and show a history of consistently doing so along with a demonstrated ability to actually make your own designs "out of thin air", that a person might stand a chance in court.

I don't imagine that my work is so "cutting edge" that I will be chased into court every time I try to sell something but, I do suspect that bigger companies may try to protect their market share by actively discouraging competition in this way.

As far as making stuff for sale to the public from someone elses copyright protected pattern goes I'm not sure I see the validity of the copyright protection extending to this level.
After all it was pointed out that pattern companies are in the business to sell physical patterns of an idea for a garment or cloth item.
If I buy a companies pattern and reproduce the unaltered pattern (photo copy, etc...) and sell it, then I can see the copyright infringement.
But, if I buy the same pattern and alter it to fit myself or any one else then I don't see how the pattern company has any claim to what I do with the end result.
If I use someone elses copyrighted pattern to mass produce something and I don't get a license from the copyright owner (in other words "cut them in on it") then I can see a clear problem although, I do wonder how that would be presented in court, after all I think it would fall upon the claimant to prove that the idea was originally theirs and not merely a copy of .......
In reality I am only making the physical result of following their pattern NOT making copies of the actual pattern and selling them.
After all is said and done, this is still America where one is "innocent until proven guilty" so the burden of proof lies on the prosecution and the claimant.
I think if a potential defendant has a history of going on line regularly to see what everyone else is making and how they are doing it then, you might have a problem.
If you can demonstrate your ability to create original works and produce them by your own skill  then I would think you're all right.
If you follow patent infringement cases you will see this is the how things work during the trials.
Who can say that two competing companies didn't come up with the same idea at the same time. The one that wins the court battle is the one with the best process documentation and development history.

I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV but, the above is only my considered opinion and some may consider it to be from some other planet but, it gets me through the day... ;)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 04:33:39 PM by Merl »

Offline Bunny

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Re: Sewing from patterns for profit and copyright - please advise
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2011, 11:18:35 PM »
I am going to simplify this story a bit, but it makes the point. It just happened to a sewing friend who is a very talented designer of children's clothing and patterns. She does very well with her custom garments and original designs. OK, feature this and we will use an A-line skirt as an example. This style skirt has been around for years. My designer friend decides to make a crocheted a line skirt with a lovely crocheted edging, for a child. It is really cute and she puts it up for sale on her website. She immediately gets a nastygram from a well known indie child's designer telling her that she copied her design. When she asked, was referred to and saw designer number two's skirt,it was a cotton aline skirt, like you would see anywhere anytime. It was not crocheted and lined with a contrast lining. I have seen it. It is a cloth skirt. She is accusing and threatening my friend's business. My friend may have to get a lawyer to get her to cease and desist her harassment. This is all so ridiculous. It's a freakin' skirt that has been around forever.

People are just going to far, IMO, with this whole copyright thing. Where is common sense and where do they get off? I can't sell a garment from Amy Butler fabric, scuuuuussseeee me. This is just ridiculous. I just won't buy her fabrics because of this attitude.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 11:20:10 PM by Bunny »

 

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