handmade jewellery images

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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miss_cheivous
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handmade jewellery images

Post by miss_cheivous » Mon May 14, 2012 2:07 pm

Hi,

I currently sell handmade jewellery on ebay, bead bracelets, necklaces etc. I have seen a lot of people selling charm bracelets that have cartoon characters/anime characters and Harry Potter book/DVD covers for example stuck to mini frame charms, scrabble tiles etc. This is something I could be interested in making to sell but aren't too sure where I would stand with copyright.

Am I allowed to use pictures of film/animation characters like the sellers I have seen or it this copyright infringement? Obviously I aren't going to do this if it is.

If this is copyright infringement, how are these sellers getting away with it?

Thanks :D

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon May 14, 2012 9:26 pm

Hi miss-cheivous,
You need to consider two different aspects of intellectual property: copyright and trade marks.

Copyright will exist in drawings of cartoon or anime characters which are already in existence, such as say, Miss Kitty or Bart Simpson, but if you create your own new character then there would be no problem, but I assume that is not what you want to do. To be able to legally use copies of such characters you would need a licence from whoever owned the copyright, usually a big studio like Disney or a publisher behind the comics. That may well be what other producers of such jewellery have done, or of course they may just be hoping to escape notice. That is assuming that you are making copies of the characters. If however you purchased existing licensed images such as the sheets of stickers with the characters on available from newsagents and pound shops etc, you could use this artwork freely without infringing copyright as you would not be copying anything, merely using the original item which was already licensed (which it would be reasonable to assume was the case if you obtained them from a reputable source).

Trade mark restrictions are somewhat different. Most of the popular cartoon and anime characters will also be registered as trade marks, and you need to be careful that in using them in your jewellery you do not appear to be trading on the goodwill and reputation of the trade mark owner or passing your product off as a product originating from that owner. Of course, it could be said that the sole reason you would want to do this is to trade on the popularity of the characters involved, otherwise there would be no point in doing it, so that leaves you with a difficulty unless you get a licence to use the trade marks. You can read a bit more on this topic here: topic1166.htm

As for you final point, there will always be traders who chose to ignore the law and hope to get away with it, just as there are drivers who exceed the speed limit or park on double yellow lines!
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

miss_cheivous
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Post by miss_cheivous » Tue May 15, 2012 7:32 am

Thank you,

It all seems a little too confusing so will stick to using the patterned paper products I am currently using.

I'm only doing this as a hobby while I'm at home looking after my son so don't want any potential court cases when I am only really covering costs with my prices.

Thanks again. :)

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