Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crafting with licensed NFL logos?

It's Super Bowl Sunday, and it's almost time for the big game. It seems a fitting time to mention a little about crafting using NFL or college logos.

The fabric stores are full of licensed fabrics. Can you use it to make and sell crafts for a profit? It's a tricky question from what I can see. Back in the days when I had crafters on consignment, I had 2 crafters who made very nice crafts, using NFL licensed fabrics. I sold them for a couple years, but the question of whether or not that was legal kept coming up. It says on the selvage that the fabric is for private use only, (or something to that effect). There's no  question that it's ok to make your own personal things with it, the problem arises when you make things for sale.

At that time, my sister and I spent a few hours researching the issue. Some say you can use it for a profit, some say you can't. In the end, we decided it was too risky. The sale of a few wreaths etc. were not worth taking a chance on losing my business license. Do a google search on the subject, and you will find enough opinions, court cases, and law interpretations to make your head spin. When we researched it, most things said it can not be done. Just now I did a very brief search, and found several opinions saying it was ok. It seems to be very murky territory, and I personally am staying out of it.

The law is clearer on  painting a logo. That is a definate no-no. You can't legally paint a NFL logo. I live in the heart of the Steeler's Nation, and I see lots of Steelers crafts that are handpainted. I've been asked many times to paint Steelers or Pirates or Penguins things. I won't do it, those are all trademarks, and it's against the  law for me to copy them.

Same with WVU. I'm also in the heart of Mountaineer Country, and right next door to Ohio State country. Those logos or symbols belong to them, and I can't copy them on crafts to sell, no matter how innocent it seems.

I do  paint West Virginia signs, but they are saying things about the state itself, not WVU. As far as I can tell, that is ok.

If this issue is something that effects you personally, I highly recommend that you research it for yourself. You might want to have a bottle of Excedrin handy!

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