Joined: 29 Jan 2010
|Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:28 am Post subject:
One of the rights which owners of copyright are granted is the ability to determine the details of any licensing provisions. Usually these terms will cover such things as the length of time a licence may operate, in what territory and in what specific media, and so on. So to that extent, the owners of the copyright in the characters shown in the fabric are acting perfectly legally if their terms of business include this particular provision, which the fabric makers are duty bound as licensees to pass on to their customers. There are sound economic reasons for this. It quite likely that a fabric maker (Company A) will have been given an exclusive licence to print fabric, say for curtains and bedlinen featuring characters popular with children, while another company (Company B) may have obtained an exclusive licence to make children's clothing. If A starts making clothing, or selling to customers who do so, then Company B's licence is no longer exclusive and they can rightly complain to the licensor (say Disney, for instance).
Unfortunately for you, personal use and non-commercial use are not the same thing. I think it would be argued that making these items in the way you describe would undoubtedly fall outside the personal use category, even though there is no profit motive involved. That said, your charitable status should count for something, if only in terms of goodwill, if you were to approach the licensors directly for permission. There's little point in going to the fabric makers because they won't have the authority to make exceptions. Only the licensor has that power.
If you find you need to contact several different companies for permission, don't be afraid of using shame tactics to get what you want. Say for instance, Disney says yes, you can then contact E1 (the owners of the Peppa Pig franchise) and say you are sure that they would wish to match Disney's generous gesture (or vice versa of course!), and if both companies seem reluctant to help, I'm sure a newspaper like the Daily Mail would be happy to take up your cause and shame them into agreement. And if you have a social media presence, don't forget to drum up public support that way too.
Good luck with your project.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007