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Is this copyright infringement?

Fayetteville, NC |

I have read up on selling items made from copyright patterns and understand the answers given. However, is it copyright infringement if someone is just selling the labor/time to make an item from a copyrighted pattern and asking the buyer to pay for cost of materials? Example: The buyer selects a pattern from my library of published patterns (or theirs) and supplies or pays for the necessary materials to make it. Can I sell my skills and labor time to make it for them?

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Attorney answers 3


Technically, you may still be engaging copyright infringement and may also be engaging in contributory copyright infringement. The scenario really does not change based on where the materials come from to create the infringing work. For example, suppose someone hires an artist to draw a Disney based mural on the wall of a pre-school. Also suppose that the pre-school bought all the materials for the artist and asked the artist to just show up and paint the mural. The resulting mural is likely to be considered infringing of a Disney copyright. Therefore, the artist that is making a living painting such murals cannot be relieved of copyright infringement based on the fact that he/she did not purchase the materials. Speak to a copyright attorney and give them a lot of details about what you are planning so that the attorney can give you the most appropriate advice for your situation.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and does not form an attorney-client relationship.


To expand on my colleagues remarks, which I agree with, I think you need to carefully consider the material you represent to make sure you are not directly infringing. Assuming that is not the case, you cannot assist someone else with infringement either. This is a concept known as "contributory infringement," as noted.

While it would be very unlikely that you would be held accountable unless you have a very large scale operation, it is certainly possible and would then not be worth the effort.

You should consult a lawyer in private before you commit to anything here. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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Short Answer: I agree with my colleagues.

You need to observe other's rights in their intellectual property, including copyrights. In the case of copyright, as opposed to patents, if you had independently come up with the same copyrighted idea, then you would NOT be infringing. In this case, however, you are infringing or at least contributing to the infringement of a copyrighted work. You should consult with an attorney before proceeding further. Good Luck

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