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Fabrics and producing products.
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:36 pm
I have purchased some fabric with the intention of producing a product for resale. The material has copyright notices and I would like some advice about possible copyright infringements.
I'm aware of the tabberone copyright and trademark battles in the USA and how they successfully defended themselves using the first sale doctrine.
Obviously the designers are selling this material in the knowledge that people will make cushion covers for example and resell them.
I do not want to risk damaging my online auction accounts with copyright removals, so would like to know where I stand? The products would not contain any reference in the titles to the copyright holder, but would possibly credit the designers in the item description. Would this be necessary or would this association draw unwanted attention?
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:59 pm
You will not be infringing any copyright by using the fabric to make products such as garments or soft furnishings because neither of those uses involves copying the designs printed or woven into the fabric. The copyright is there purely to stop another fabric manufacturer reproducing the designs on their own fabric. This was at the issue at the centre of an important case known as Designer's Guild v Russell Williams
The law in the UK does not require that you include the copyright notice for the fabric in any end product which you make, especially where this would be impractical. US law does include a prohibition on removing copyright notices, but I am pretty sure that would also not apply where it was impractical. Clearly when you cut up the bulk fabric to make your products, any notice which might be printed on the selvedge will be lost. If you are in any doubt and you have the details of the fabric manufacturer, you could contact them for their policy on this. But in my experience of the fashion industry, I have never heard of any copyright notice being insisted on in the final product.
Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:22 am
Thanks for the information.
I had an idea this morning to use the famous Burberry fabric on a product. I'm confident that the material is genuine, but I'll assume that I could not use the word Burberry in the item title?
Eg. Cushion Cover Cream Tartan Burberry Fabric for Chavs.
I would assume that Burberry is trademarked, left, right and centre and any mention of the word would result in an auction being pulled? I know that Next were forced to remove all Burberry styled products from their stores, but that was cheeky copyright infringement from a company who should have known better.
Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:57 pm
As you suggest, Burberry have a number of registered trade marks and they protect their intellectual property fairly rigourously. So I agree that it would not be a good idea to use 'Burberry' in the description of your product without permission.
Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:15 am
The original company got back to me about using their fabric for producing products. They didn't mention the fabric I enquired about, but stated this for one of the fabrics in the range:
"MANUFACTURERS MAY NOT PURCHASE the Flower Fairies Collection.
THIS IS A LICENSED COLLECTION AND MAY NOT BE USED IN MAKING PRODUCTS FOR RESALE."
They are a US company.