I wrote a lot in my previous blog about copyright laws and trademark. Unfortunately, thanks to my website host, that blog has been deleted and has been lost forever, along with all of my posts. I did find this post however, and thought I would share it with you, as I still see a lot of people making the same mistakes that I nearly did almost 3 years ago.
Business: Learning Along The Way - Copyright
If there was anything I could say that I know now, more than ever, it's that business is hard! And no matter how clever you think you are, you will never know everything you need to know about running a business. FACT. But you learn along the way and that's all part of the process.
Today I learnt a lot about copyright infringement. Last night I made myself a cute Swarovski crystal Hello Kitty ring from an old charm thing I had lying around and my beloved crystals. I loved it and thought it would make a great addition to the Diamonds And Daggers jewellery range but wasn't sure about the copyright issues involved in selling it. I've seen so many handmade Hello Kitty items on sites like Etsy and Folksy that I kind of assumed that it was OK but decided to email them to check instead as ignorance is never an excuse.
I tweeted out a picture of the ring this morning, and after seeing it someone else on Twitter mentioned that before I started selling them I might want to check that I wasn't breaking any copyright laws, so I followed up my email to Sanrio and started doing a bit more research online.
I came across this message on forum which pretty much answers all the questions in one simple post.
"If you are creating things to sell using a trademarked or copyright protected image, logo, or brand. Yes it is copyright infringement and Yes, you can receive a cease and desist letter""Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.""It's not the making, it's the SELLING. If you're making money from someone else's law protected idea - that's not OK. Feel free to make as many Hello Kitty hats to wear for yourself as you want, because you love the company. the minute you sell them to someone else, you crossed the line."
If you are any making money from someone else's design/logo/picture/photograph etc it is copyright infringement and the owner of said design has every right to take legal action against you. Even tattoos of artwork are classed as copyright infringement if the artist did not originally design the art themselves and legal action can be taken against the artist (not the owner of the tattoo).
So, I won't be selling the cute rings (I get to keep mine for myself! Hooray!), as I wouldn't ever want to break any copyright laws (purposefully or not), and thinking about it, if someone saw my design and started selling copies of it, I would be really annoyed. Sanrio and Hello Kitty might be a massive, worldwide recognized company now but originally it was just one person who drew that cute little cat, and nobody else should be making money from his/her great design.Here's some more really information on the basics of UK copyright law and the top 10 copyright myths from the UK Copyright Service.