Got an email from a long-time eBay seller who makes her crafts using material from a major brand name company. Apparently, the company is forcing her to discontinue making her crafts with their stuff.
Unfortunately, many crafters are under the impression they have the right to use brand name materials when making their crafts to sell. I don’t know who is telling crafters they can use copyrighted materials in this way, but it isn’t completely true and potentially costly advice. There is a provision in the copyright law for “fair use” of others’ designs, but it is easy to go past the point where “fair use” protects you without knowing it. You are safer by just using your own original designs and get them copyrighted.
An exception to using others’ designs would be when a pattern or design is from a book, website, or other source that specifically says you have permission to use the design for resale.
In most legal cases involving copyright infringement, typically the party who holds the earliest registered copyright is more likely to win. However, every case is different based on the facts. Another factor to think about is the amount of money required to spend on legal fees in a court case. Legal fees are substantial and the lawyers win regardless of who wins the case so they have nothing to lose by encouraging you to go to court.