Another copyright post - a VERY touchy area

toomuchglassOctober 20, 2007

I submitted a painting to a magazine once. I used a picture off of a greeting card as the "inspiration" .

When I told the company lawyer about that - he told me as long as there is a 20% difference ,it's ok . Talk about a grey area ! How does one tell 20% ?? Sheesh. It got published with no lawsuits showing up at my door ..... LOL . I remember I wanted to do some Harley Themed stained glass. So --- I went right to Harley to show them my ideas and ask if I could use them. WELL --- I Was told

"Don't even think about it" . Everything at Harley is copyrighted - right down to the color of their motorcycle paint. I'm not making anything even REMOTELY similar now ... they have a whole law team in charge of "Copyright Infringement " ! *gulp*

Nope - don't wanna mess with Harley !!

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I haven't sold much , but I refuse to mess with stuff like that too. Even the Harley copyright has it's limitations. I'm now a lawyer, I think it would all depend upon the theme of what you were doing and how you phrased it. For instance, if you were trying to sell your works as 'Harley' works of art, you'd have a problem. If you had a guy sitting on a Harley with a mountain in the background and you titled your work "Rest Break in the Shadows", you'd be fine.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 12:10AM
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Go to and there's a FAQ section. This area is touched on in that section.
A Federal Judge once said that if he can have the two items in question side by side and see a "distinct difference" between the two, there's no copyright infringement. So maybe a 20% difference might be enough. Is it worth the risk?

As far as Harley Davidson having copyrights, it's true. They even tried to copyright the SOUND the bikes make. The "potata, potata, potata" sound. Because other bike makers wanted to imitate it.
They weren't able to do it. So now Yamaha has a bike that sounds like a Harley.

Another one we never mess with is DISNEY. They WILL go after the smallest crafter selling Disney imitations at craft fairs. We don't mess with the Mouse.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 7:36AM
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That's true Christopher - it's not worth the risk . Adella - even the picture you describe is infringment. Anything with the harley word or symbol is protected. They enforce EVERYTHING because they make money off of their image. The Harley lawyers told me if you want to sell Harley stuff - you have to apply for a license every year ... it's big bucks,too ... and then be accepted. THEN -- you pay a percentage off of what you sell too ! They told me that ANY picture of a motorcycle has to be a Generic picture. They even have "Scouts" that go around and check. ( I'm sure Disney does ,too ) There are people that do it - but they've been lucky. I wouldn't want to be them if they caught !
**** Thanks for the link Christopher!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 11:45AM
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Went to a craft show a couple of weeks ago. Alot of booths had things made out of licensed fabric and weren't worried at all about selling them. One lady told me she bought the fabric, it is her's to do with as she pleases. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 5:23PM
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I really don't know ! Maybe once the fabric design is licensed - you can do what you want with it . You bought it on the up & up ... I guess it's up to the mfg. to worry about it ! If you ever see pattern books - ( like tole painting ) there is a statement in the front that usually says "nothing in this book can be mechanically reproduced
unless it is for your personal use. Teachers may copy one pattern each for their students". I took a book to Kinko's once - and I just wanted the pattern turned around for my own use. They said no . The manager was called in and after much discussion - he made me sign a release form that Kinko's was not responsible. Sheesh ! So much Red Tape !

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 6:24PM
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Almost all fabric had the copywrite sign on it and say it is for personal use only = NOT for resale...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 9:11PM
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I need to ammend my last post. Alot of the flannel do NOT have the copywrite sign. I sell to the general public and do not want to risk hsving my booth shut down - there are too many other fabric to use. It is a very complex and confusing subject - I just try to abide by it...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 7:34AM
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