They sell licensed fabric with college logos, popular characters, and many more licensed designs, but I heard that a fellow crafter got a cease and desist order the other day? What’s the story? Get an overview of what all this means from Maria Nerius.
When walking craft shows, I cringe a little when I see a handmade Winnie the Pooh plush animal or a quilt with a college logo. These are licensed and trademarked characters or logos and selling them without permission and a legal agreement with the owner of the copyright or trademark is a big No-No for professional crafters. You can end up in big trouble, spending time, energy, and money if you aren’t properly licensed to sell this kind of work. By law, you are taking money out of the pockets of these companies, and when it comes to money, companies can get very serious.
Companies (and some artists) go through a complex and expensive process to copyright and trademark characters, logos, images, and designs. They are responsible for protecting their brands. Disney is famous for walking art and craft shows to make sure none of their licensed work is being used as part of a handmade item for sale. Disney immediately sends out a “Cease and Desist” order. In the end, they can legally confiscate the items and demand for payment from any items you have sold.
It is not worth the risk to mess with licensed designs, logos, or other copyrighted characters. Avoid using fabrics that include professional sports teams, cartoon characters, or branded images like a Coke bottle in items you’re going to sell. As a craft professional, use your own imagination to create — don’t rely others. You can create and trademark your own characters, designs, and logos! If you do want to create and sell items with your favorite college football team or even that silly old bear, contact the proper authority and negotiate an agreement.
Many creative people formally register their works and can then license a design in many ways — from fabric to napkins and greeting cards. It’s an excellent way to round out your portfolio and let a design bring in income for years to come. Have you licensed your work? Let us know your story.