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shaldna
08-08-2012, 12:23 AM
Strange question, but if there are any fashion folks out there I would really appreciate help, or pointed to where I could find help.

When you buy fabric to make a dress etc with, that fabric has been made by someone else. Let's say you found some really nice fabric with a nice print on it and you wanted to use it to make dresses to sell in your shop.

Is that breaking any copyright laws? Is there copyright on the prints on fabric that would stop someone buying a load of it from a retailer and using it to make stuff for their own business?

WeaselFire
08-08-2012, 12:33 AM
Is that breaking any copyright laws? Is there copyright on the prints on fabric that would stop someone buying a load of it from a retailer and using it to make stuff for their own business?
If you think about it a little, the answer is pretty clear. You can't violate a copyright by using a product with a copyrighted pattern. You're not copying it.

If it worked as you describe, do you think any dresses would ever be made? :)

Jeff

benbenberi
08-08-2012, 02:42 AM
Copyright, no. But esp. if the print is highly identifiable there could conceivably be trademark issues.

Alessandra Kelley
08-08-2012, 03:01 AM
If you think about it a little, the answer is pretty clear. You can't violate a copyright by using a product with a copyrighted pattern. You're not copying it.

If it worked as you describe, do you think any dresses would ever be made? :)

Jeff


Copyright, no. But esp. if the print is highly identifiable there could conceivably be trademark issues.

I'm sorry, you're both wrong.

Yes, it is a violation of copyright to use someone else's printed fabric to make dresses to sell in your shop.

Fabric print designs are indeed copyrighted. (http://www.foxrothschild.com/htmlemail/pdfFiles/fashionLawPracticalAdvice3.pdf)

Some have "sold for non-commercial, home use-only" printed on the selvedge (http://raevenfea.com/learning/copyright-ip-and-fabric-oh-my/). But even if there is no copyright notice printed on the fabric, you cannot use it for commercial purposes without permission from the copyright holder.

Think about it this way. Suppose you bought some Star Wars-themed fabric, or some Disney-themed. Would you really feel comfortable that you can make things with it commercially and sell them in stores or on Etsy?

In fact, fabric print patterns are copyrighted, but clothing styles are not, leading to some weird shenanigans involving "knock-off" clothing. (http://jezebel.com/5822762/how-forever-21-keeps-getting-away-with-designer-knockoffs)

shaldna
08-08-2012, 01:15 PM
Thanks Alessandra, that's what I thought.

Mac H.
08-08-2012, 02:03 PM
Yes, it is a violation of copyright to use someone else's printed fabric to make dresses to sell in your shop.I'm sorry - but this statement is wrong.

Yes - fabric print designs are covered by copyright. But that doesn't mean that you are breaking copyright by buying it, cutting it up into a dress and selling it. A newspaper is covered by copyright. If I cut it into paper dolls and resell them it doesn't make it a breach of copyright !

If you want an example where it has gone to trial, just look at 'Precious Moments, Inc .v. La Infantil, Inc' (http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/PreciousMoments/PreciousMoments.pdf) where the judge stated that "items manufactured with lawfully acquired, authentic fabric with copyrighted design were not infringing derivative works"

Remember - you can still have trademark issues (or possibly even patent issues if the fabric is uber-special!) but there is no reason to expect copyright issues.


Think about it this way. Suppose you bought some Star Wars-themed fabric, or some Disney-themed. Would you really feel comfortable that you can make things with it commercially and sell them in stores or on Etsy?
That is about trademark and endorsement issues rather than breach of copyright. They are *very* separate issues. It is a huge mistake to conflate the them.


Some have "sold for non-commercial, home use-only" printed on the selvedge (http://whipup.net/2006/10/23/fabric-copyright-and-licenses-oh-my/).That is a contract issue - if person 'A' buys the fabric and promises to only use it for home use then person 'A' is in breach of contract if they use it commercially.

But if person 'A' sells it to person 'B', and person 'B' creates dresses .. then person 'B' may have no obligation to honour the contract that person 'A' agreed to. It does mean, however, that the manufacturer may be able to sue 'Person A'.

Not only that - but simply printing such a statement on a web site or on a copyrighted article is not enforceable without consent before the purchase. That is why 'shrink wrapped' licenses have to be careful in their implementation.


But even if there is no copyright notice printed on the fabric, you cannot use it for commercial purposes without permission from the copyright holder.

I believe you are wrong on your understanding of copyright. To quote the decision in "Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. Lanza Research Int" (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/IP/1998%20Quality%20King%20Abridged.pdf):


The whole point of the first sale doctrine is that once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory right to control its distribution.
-----

To answer the original question for the purpose of story research:

The characters in the story could get in trouble for 'passing off' or 'trademark' issues if the pattern is distinct to a product brand. For example, if there is a supply of cloth used to make Louis Vuitton products then even if I obtained it legally I would get into trouble if I sold handbags that clearly show the markings. But that wouldn't be about breach of copyright on the fabric - it would be about deceiving consumers or diluting the brand for genuine Louis Vuitton handbags.

Mac

shaldna
08-08-2012, 03:19 PM
Okay, now I'm confused. Okay, let give an example:

Someone has to design fabric prints, right?

Say my character bought that fabric legally from a shop - that's for her own use, as I understand it.

Now, lets say she uses that fabric to create her own line of dresses, or whatever, that she sells.

Although the design might be hers, the print design is someone else's.

Is there a difference between using that fabric to make something for yourself and using it to make something for commerical gain?

sciencewarrior
08-08-2012, 03:44 PM
Is there a difference between using that fabric to make something for yourself and using it to make something for commerical gain?

No, there isn't. Some manufacturers may try to claim additional restrictions to what you can do with the cloth you bought, but as Mac H. pointed out, they have never stuck in court.

Using that print to produce your own cloth would be another matter entirely. In that case, specifically, you would be infringing copyright.

Alessandra Kelley
08-08-2012, 04:12 PM
I'm sorry - but this statement is wrong.

Yes - fabric print designs are covered by copyright. But that doesn't mean that you are breaking copyright by buying it, cutting it up into a dress and selling it. A newspaper is covered by copyright. If I cut it into paper dolls and resell them it doesn't make it a breach of copyright !

If you want an example where it has gone to trial, just look at 'Precious Moments, Inc .v. La Infantil, Inc' (http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/PreciousMoments/PreciousMoments.pdf) where the judge stated that "items manufactured with lawfully acquired, authentic fabric with copyrighted design were not infringing derivative works"

Remember - you can still have trademark issues (or possibly even patent issues if the fabric is uber-special!) but there is no reason to expect copyright issues.

That is about trademark and endorsement issues rather than breach of copyright. They are *very* separate issues. It is a huge mistake to conflate the them.

That is a contract issue - if person 'A' buys the fabric and promises to only use it for home use then person 'A' is in breach of contract if they use it commercially.

But if person 'A' sells it to person 'B', and person 'B' creates dresses .. then person 'B' may have no obligation to honour the contract that person 'A' agreed to. It does mean, however, that the manufacturer may be able to sue 'Person A'.

Not only that - but simply printing such a statement on a web site or on a copyrighted article is not enforceable without consent before the purchase. That is why 'shrink wrapped' licenses have to be careful in their implementation.



I believe you are wrong on your understanding of copyright. To quote the decision in "Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. Lanza Research Int" (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/IP/1998%20Quality%20King%20Abridged.pdf):


-----

To answer the original question for the purpose of story research:

The characters in the story could get in trouble for 'passing off' or 'trademark' issues if the pattern is distinct to a product brand. For example, if there is a supply of cloth used to make Louis Vuitton products then even if I obtained it legally I would get into trouble if I sold handbags that clearly show the markings. But that wouldn't be about breach of copyright on the fabric - it would be about deceiving consumers or diluting the brand for genuine Louis Vuitton handbags.

Mac

I defer to Mac H. on this. I suspect I have Dunning-Krugered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect) myself about copyright.

It would appear that copyright (and trademark, thanks, Mac H.) and licensing and intellectual property issues for fabric and garments and sales are more complex than I understood.

This blog post (http://raevenfea.com/learning/copyright-ip-and-fabric-oh-my/) (which I erroneously linked to above when I intended to use another) discusses that somewhat.

My apologies for charging in with mistaken information.

shaldna
08-08-2012, 06:03 PM
Seems this is actually way more complicated than I thought - which is kind of good for the story.

veinglory
08-08-2012, 06:47 PM
Um, if she is making "a line of dresses" that implies making new cloth carrying the old design. That would be a very clear cut violation of copyright just as if you were selling new prints on paper of someone's illustration from a book. I cannot see how a whole line of (multiple) dresses could be made from a single original dress without some reproduction--which is the infringing act?

skylark
08-08-2012, 07:39 PM
Seems this is actually way more complicated than I thought - which is kind of good for the story.

It's also different in the US and UK. As I understand it, in the UK there are different rules depending on whether an item is mass produced or not, while in the US there aren't.

(My understanding is at the level of having been told at work in words of one syllable that if I ever find myself trying to interpret this law, DON'T and call the corporate lawyers.)

shaldna
08-08-2012, 11:01 PM
Um, if she is making "a line of dresses" that implies making new cloth carrying the old design. That would be a very clear cut violation of copyright just as if you were selling new prints on paper of someone's illustration from a book. I cannot see how a whole line of (multiple) dresses could be made from a single original dress without some reproduction--which is the infringing act?

I'm not talking about making dresses from another one, I was talking about going into a fabric shop (haberdashers) and buying fabric on the roll.

I suspect, from what I've been reading all day, that unless she has permission to use the fabric commercially that she can't do it.

Layla Nahar
08-08-2012, 11:44 PM
I suspect I have Dunning-Krugered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect) myself about copyright.

Better than Freddy Krugered...

Orianna2000
08-09-2012, 02:54 AM
If you can't use fabric from the fabric shop to make dresses to sell, then where are you supposed to get your fabric from? Surely they can't expect at-home dressmakers to have custom fabrics made up?

I have a related question. Suppose there's a costume from a theater production or movie that uses custom-printed fabric. Or custom embroidered fabric. And suppose you want to sew a replica of this costume for your own, personal use. Must you change the design of the embroidery so it's not identical? Or if you use Spoonflower to create custom-printed fabric to make the replica, must you alter the design so it's not identical?