Friday, September 24, 2010

Busy, busy, busy - and a word (or several) about Licensed Characters

It's been a busy last few days. I had some orders to complete and some designing and creating of new items on the agenda, too. Oh yeah, there were mundane things like grocery shopping, laundry and housecleaning to be done. (I think those good fairies that are supposed to come in and do those things while you sleep must've gotten lost.)

The Big Guy is off from work for the next two weeks and that so throws my routine off. I feel like I need to prepare for these weeks much like prepping for vacation because things just don't seem to get done while he's underfoot. He does cramp my production style!!

These are a few of this week's productions:

These Halloween baby booties are probably the only thing from this week's work that will make it into my Etsy shop. I hope to get them photographed and listed over the weekend.

It IS obvious I just took quick shots of these for this blog post. No time to edit and clean-up the pics tonight.

This little denim jumper was created especially for a special family baby coming into the world within the next few weeks. I'm busy putting together my "gift box." I feel bad because the new mama is far from friends and family and has just recently started a new job. There's nobody there to throw or attend a baby shower. A number of us back home are making an effort to get our packages there within a few days of each other to simulate the spoils of a good shower!

I really like the way this design turned out but I don't have a good, affordable and reliable source for the jumpers so I can't add it to my shop stock.

Finally, the new mama LOVES Winnie the Pooh, so I had to do something with Pooh bear. I like painting Pooh as he gets so much personality from a very simple facial design.

Pooh can't go into the shop because he is a LICENSED character. Unless you are a licensed vendor, you CANNOT make a profit from the character. You can paint a version of it for your own use but you cannot charge for any reproductions. Disney (the owner of Winnie-the-Pooh), Nickelodeon, BBC and the NFL are all entities (among others) that actively pursue their licensing rights. They DO go after the "little guy" who may just be doing local craft shows at churches, schools, etc.

I have addressed this issue a number of times in my blog. (See this post) If it something new to you and you are attempting to sell anything featuring such characters, perhaps you should research licensing and copyright laws before you find yourself facing a Cease and Desist Order that can be enforced immediately at a craft show that you may have paid quite a bit to participate in. Most show promoters, if made aware of such an order being served at their show will not only have you remove the offending products but will ask you to leave the show immediately. These companies usually also follow such an order with a law suit requesting payment for products already sold featuring their characters. Just for the record, ignorance of the law is NOT a defense acceptable by most Courts.

I have noticed quite a few items at "little" craft shows featuring Dora, Cars characters and, most recently, Marmaduke. Yes, people are sure to be interested in these items for the holidays but is it worth risking ALL of your sales?

On that note, I need to say "Good Night" and get some sleep!