I buy fabric from a retail fabric store that has NFL teams, Disney Characters, Peanuts and a few others and make handmade crafts that we sell at local craft shows. As I'm not manufacturing the logo or character mainly just using the material to make another item am I breaking any intellectual property/copyright laws? The fabric says its not designed for commercial use, however I was under the impression that we are buying the license when buying the material as such the material is always way more expensive. Also as I do not create the logo or alter it in anyway I am not breaking any of the copyright laws. I would like to know if this is in fact true and we are not breaking the law, though if we are how we might we get the licenses we need to move forward, thank you.
Unfortunately, this is infringement. That is the reason that the fabric states not for commercial purposes. What you are proposing is a commercial purpose whether you sell one or hundreds. The reason is that the license holder (NFL, DIsney, etc.) cannot control the quality of your products or ensure that they meet their high standards. Even though your products may have the highest quality, it is still not controlled by the license holder. So, if you truly want to do this, you will have to contact all of the owners of the Intellectual property -- NFL, DIsney, etc. and obtain a license.
Aside from "Logo" issues, involving Trademarks of teams et al, there are also copyright issues. The creation of a fabric pattern produces a work of authorship and thereby a copyright property. A notice of "copyright" may be found printed on fabric. The 9th circuit Court of Appeals has addressed the existence of a protectable copyright in United Fabrics Intern., Inc. v. C& J Wear, Inc., 630 F.3d 1255 (9th Cir. 2011). Thus buying fabric or cloth for the purpose of manufacturing or making crafts for sale will likely require a license. The Asker should contact the manufacturer of the fabric to determine their requirements for use of their fabric in making craft items for sale. See Intellectual Property counsel for additional guidance.
My comments have been made without discussion. An attorney client relationship has not been established. There may be conflicts which prohibit my providing you with specific legal guidance. Any contact with you beyond these few general words will start with a disclosure of opposing parties so that a conflict check can be made. You should discuss with an attorney.
The indication on the fabric that it is not for commercial use is a limitation on the license that you receive when you buy the fabric. You are licensed to use the fabric for its intended purposes with respect to non-commercial projects only. Commercial uses will require a separate license.
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