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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: lazyolazys
Date: 06-27-2007, 11:46 AM (1 of 10)
Hello all!! I have just started embroidering this year and am beginning to start a very small business on the side. I am so confused about the copyright thing...what is the basic idea on this. I noticed that some companies say that you cannot sell their items on the internet...does that mean any item with their embroidery design cannot be sold on the internet? Also, some say that you can only sell 25 items with that embroidery design. What do you do after you sell that many and how can you possibly keep track of that when embroidering so many items? I am a little anxious about it and don't want to make any mistakes with it. If anyone can give me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
User: lazyolazys
Member since: 03-04-2007
Total posts: 17
From: Pudge99
Date: 06-27-2007, 05:16 PM (2 of 10)
UUGH!!! Copyright!!!
Each company's copyright can and probably will be different. We have had a mutitude of discussions about this over the years. Threre are companies out there who design their designs for people to sell and there are ones who don't. And trust me many of those companies do keep track. Disney for one hires people who spend the whole day searching the internet for people selling their copyrighted items. This goes for fabric as well as embroidery designs. Your best bet is to pick a few companies who have copyrights you are comfortable with and stick with them for all your designs.

If an items says for home use only then you are not allowed to use it for items you are going to sell.

As for keeping track, if you are in a business of selling your items you need to keep track of what you make and sell so you know what works and what doesn't not. If you do this it would be easy to note how many times you used a design. You could also keep a journal where you make a hash mark each time you use the design. Once you reach that limit move the design to a folder that is clearly marked for home use only.
These are only some suggestions.
But please keep in mind that copyrights are good. Imagine if you made something and other people were making money off it. Wouldn't you think you deserve a piece of the profit?

I am sure others will come along with more info.
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User: Pudge99
Member since: 10-30-2001
Total posts: 1375
From: lazyolazys
Date: 06-27-2007, 11:29 PM (3 of 10)
Thanks for the info! It all makes me a little uneasy, so I wanted to get some advice from people that have been dealing longer than I have.

Here's another question...once I have reached the "quota" for a certain design, I could go ahead and purchase that design again...if it were selling really well and I wanted to continue making those items...right?
User: lazyolazys
Member since: 03-04-2007
Total posts: 17
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-28-2007, 08:22 AM (4 of 10)
If you are serious, I suggest you contact an attorney that knows something about copyright laws. People who work with textile art patterns of all types will argue this question forever but for the most part they just repeat what they've heard elsewhere -- from someone that knows as much about it as you do.
If you really want to know and are going to base a business on the information you get -- get the information from an attorney.

User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: Tom Land
Date: 06-28-2007, 09:53 AM (5 of 10)
I agree with Dorothy. These are questions for an attorney if you intend to make this a full-time business. However, most design packs will tell you exactly what you can or cannot do with those designs. We should abide by these. Otherwise its theft. Most design packs allow you to sell items that you have embroidered on but it is never legal to copy or even loan the designs to someone else. In the case of copyrighted logos... I will tell you without a doubt that Disney will sieze your equipment, put you out of business, and make you agree to never engage in the embroidery business again. Another thing to beware of is that you can be sued for purchasing a pirated design eventhough you thought you were purchasing from the legitimate owner. I would only purchase designs from the "known" digitizing companys
Have fun or don't do it, Tom
User: Tom Land
Member since: 09-21-2005
Total posts: 514
From: plrlegal
Date: 06-28-2007, 09:54 AM (6 of 10)
Good advice Dorothy. Copyrights are varied and most often complicated. Without the right legal advice, you can end up in a heap of trouble that you neither need or want.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: lazyolazys
Date: 06-28-2007, 11:38 AM (7 of 10)
Thanks for the advice everyone! I guess it is wise of me to be cautious and nervous about copyright info. I will be checking with an attorney, especially on any grey areas.

Here is one more do the big embroidery/screen printing businesses work out the copyright issues? I have seen the embroidery design books in their does this work for them? Do they have a contract with the company that makes the design?
User: lazyolazys
Member since: 03-04-2007
Total posts: 17
From: lazyolazys
Date: 06-28-2007, 11:42 AM (8 of 10)
One more question/idea....

Is it advantagous to begin thinking about purchasing the digitizing plug-in from Embird and design your own embroidery patterns? As this would end the issue of copyright laws, how feasible is it? Or how difficult and time consuming is it versus just learning and dealing with the copyright laws? I do have the Embird basic program and have thought about the other plug-ins, but do not want to get too deep into this without some advice on feasibility and success in doing so. Any thoughts....
User: lazyolazys
Member since: 03-04-2007
Total posts: 17
From: paroper
Date: 06-28-2007, 01:40 PM (9 of 10)
There are companies like OESD that have designs, tons of them that can be sewn onto someone and sold in any manner you wish. You have to be careful that the designs you are using fall into those catagories. Once you find a couple of companies that have a wide variety of designs that are used for that, I suggest that you stay pretty much with those companies where possible.

OESD actually has tiers of copywrite. Those that are stock and can be purchased individually or in packs or in do-it-yourself packs for X dollars and freely used, changed, and reproduced in mass, they have a tier of LICENSED designs that actually are not theirs, the designs belong to an artist who sets the copywrite on the deisgns. After a period of time, OESD will retire these. Licesnsed designs cannot be sold on anything....anytime, anywhere, even for charity. The only way to avoid this is to get special permission from the ARTIST. Since OESD does not really own these designs,k they cannot give the permission. The other catagory is Crafters' Choice which allows 25 items from the collection to be sold. This is to control marketing and to avoid mass marketing of these items.

Some companies have restiricts of different numbers and may specify that those designs may not be marketed online. This is to control mass marketing/mass production.

Other companies that will allow some free selling of their designs, Great Notions, Dakota Collectables, I think that Embroidery library ( or EL) allows their designs to be sold. You just have to check the copywrite. Some of these companies may very high quality commercial designs. There is a difference in the quality and look between different companies.

Be aware that some copywrites are so tight that even enlargement of the design or changing design colors is a violation. You also have to understand that just because a design came on your machine, it is not necessarily free for you to use to have to CHECK EVERYTHING and keep track of the copywrites on the designs. I keep those of mine that are in the computer divided in folders by the selling company so that I can go back and double check the copywrite on the designs.

As you work you'll get a lot of requests for company and school logos. YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL. Just because you digitize something, it isn't necessarily yours. If it is a copy of someone's trademark or logo, often it will be legally trademarked or copywrite protected. Many people think is it OK if it is "just for me"....that is not true. Trademarks and copywrite still applies. You would be amazed at the number of people that are out there looking too. I've known of people getting "caught" in the strangest places, small towns, air planes, all can't ever risk it.

As someone else said, if you buy from someone you think is a reputable dealer but they have purchased/digitized whatever and sold you the design, you can still loose everything pretaining to your, machine, EVERYTHING and face a hefty fine and jail time. It isn't worth it not to keep track and be extra careful, checking and double checking.

If you see it ANYWHERE and it is a huge collection that someone has for sale really cheap, run the other It takes a lot of time to digitize a design. It is not uncommon for a pack of 20-30 items to run upwards to $150. If you find 3000 designs for 14.95, RUN! Also, you'll see that most companies' designs have a "look". I can look at designs and almost know those from Embroidery library, Great Notions, OESD or Dakota. I've seen them so many times, and each company's designs look unique to them. After a while you get a feel for it. If you see a design collection with wildly different designs that "look" different in colors, sizes, suspicious!

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User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: lazyolazys
Date: 06-28-2007, 02:57 PM (10 of 10)
Thanks Pam! That information was so helpful! I am have several designs that I have already downloaded from OESD, Great Notions, and Dakota Collectibles. I will look into their information next week while I am on "vacation". Thanks again!
User: lazyolazys
Member since: 03-04-2007
Total posts: 17
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