View Full Version : copyright question

02-19-2006, 05:33 PM
If I were to knit a sweater with 'GAP' on the front, or use Tommy Hilfiger colors, or something like that, is that infringing copyright?


02-19-2006, 06:47 PM

Someone has to know!! Anyone????

02-19-2006, 06:50 PM
I think that if you knit something for your personal use, you can put anything you want on it. I'm not going to avoid, say, Sesame Street characters because they are trademarked. I think if you were to sell something with a logo on it, or sell a pattern with it on, I think then you'd be infringing on copyright laws.

That's just my opinion, based on common sense. I have no idea of the legalities.

02-19-2006, 08:14 PM
Unfortunately Ingrid, I have to disagree with you on this one. Even if it is for your own personal use it is still illegal. I guess one has to weigh the VERY slight risk of being caught versus how badly you need to copy.

02-19-2006, 08:18 PM
I don't know TH "logo"...but it is RWB isn't it??? Or would it be the specific pattern? and gap...you could be talking about the gap between your teeth or sumpin...:)

02-19-2006, 08:26 PM
Unfortunately Ingrid, I have to disagree with you on this one. Even if it is for your own personal use it is still illegal. I guess one has to weigh the VERY slight risk of being caught versus how badly you need to copy.

As I said, I don't know the legalities, but what about if I wanted to knit a sweater with Elmo on it? Does that constitute infringement? There are all kinds of patterns available for all kids of characters.

What if my name was Georgia Alice Pierce? :rofling:

02-19-2006, 10:19 PM
An interesting question...you'd think that if it were illegal, someone would be all over microrevolt for openly encouraging it. :roflhard:


02-19-2006, 10:23 PM
I was going to go over to their site and check it out, too, just to see if they had problems with the Nike symbol. ;)

02-19-2006, 10:30 PM
This is all very interesting. I was thinking of making a sweater for the boy I care for, and the parents are all GAP buyers, so my reasoning is that if I made a 'GAP' sweater, they would like it!!

More research is needed, I think.

02-19-2006, 10:31 PM
Very interesting question.

It would seem like marketing it would infringe on copyrights.

I wonder if there are copright police, pulling people off the streets checking lables. :roflhard:

02-19-2006, 10:44 PM
My guess would be that the word "GAP" when knitted in the same pattern as the logo, would be considered infringment. the TH colors, otoh, are hardly copyright to TH, so you could probably get away with it, as long as you're not copying an actual TH sweater.

However, if you're making it as a gift, I hardly think that you need to border on copyright infringement to ensure they like it. As long as you knit with care and feeling, I'm sure they'll like anything you make.

02-19-2006, 10:50 PM
According to
this site (http://www.geocities.com/jbtocker/copyright/copyrfaq4.html) it says that if you are making a one time gift, you shoudln't have to worry about it.

I want to design an item using a popular character. Can I?
Please be aware that characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Barney and so on, may be protected not only by the copyright on their image, but also by trademark registration. Use of a registered character can lead to problems, because the owner of the character has the right to control all use of that character, including reproduction on knitted garments and especially in patterns.

If you want to produce a chart of a character, you should contact the owner of that character first to be sure you may do so. If you are doing a one-time sweater for a beloved child, then you are probably in the clear. But, if you post the pattern on a website or sell copies, then you need to get permission or you can be in trouble for using the character's image without a license.

02-19-2006, 11:12 PM
Maybe you could contact someone from the company and ask? I doubt they'd have a problem if it were a gift, and not for sale. I'm sure they've gotten their money out of the family already. :p I've often wondered about this because I'm a fan of Hello Kitty, and I see patterns everywhere, but none for sale. I have no idea if that's copyright infringement or not, but I imagine as often as you see them, someone would have said something if they were.

Just my two cents,
Mienna :XX:

02-20-2006, 12:09 AM
There is an indepth article on coywrite in Vogue Knitting winter 2005/6 issue. Unfortunately it does not cover copywrited images.

But based on research I did when I had a soap buisness I would say that Ingrid is correct.

On the whole, if your use is personal and not intended for resale, and your use of that cp image does not deny the cp holder profit then its probably ok to use that image.

It is a really complex issue though. Because there are laws that govern every aspect - yet no one particular law that is black and white. Its very case by case.

If you are really interested in persuing the answers try www.copywrite.gov

02-20-2006, 12:27 AM
Isn't me using the Gap logo on a sweater rather like me signing Ingrid's name to my work? I'm not copying anything she made, but I'm implying that she made the sweater.

02-20-2006, 06:17 AM
I don't see you having any problem with it.

Iam currently knitting strawberry shortcake sweaters from a published book, and as long as I don't use them for profit its okay.

I think they should be happy, it's like free advertising for them.


02-20-2006, 11:03 AM
Well, I think I am going to take my chances....and if they want to sue me, so be it!

Thanks to everyone who replied. This was an interesting discussion!!

02-20-2006, 07:05 PM
If a company publishes a pattern book of their characters to knit, then go for it ( as long as you don't sell it)!!. If a comapny has a copyright and a trademark then there is absolutely no legal way for you to use their character. Even if it is for a beloved child, for yourself or your great aunt Mathilda you cannot use their characters for any other purpose than what they have intended. Knitting Mickey in your sweater (unless it is from a licensed pattern book) or the word GAP is a huge no-no! I love to do stained glass and this subject is brought up all the time on the forums I visit. One of the glassers is a lawyer and this is the gist of what she tells us. People often want to share patterns from their books and this too is a no-no.

02-20-2006, 07:17 PM
Its easier to ask for forgivness then to ask permission.

:roflhard: :roflhard: :roflhard:

02-21-2006, 12:29 AM
Thanks, Nina, for your timely reply. I had often wondered about that, but now what about the free charts and things that are online? Are they illegal to use too?

02-21-2006, 02:32 AM
As far as I know, if the person who wrote the pattern is the one who posted it then it's OK to use it (again, not for selling).

02-22-2006, 03:58 PM
This is an interesting conversation. How do copyright laws apply to copying patterns out of a borrowed book (for your own use), I wonder? This came up while I was at a knitting store, and someone seemed appalled that a person wouldn't buy the book (as opposed to look for a way to borrow it.) I did not chime in at the time, but thought to myself, Geez, those books can get expensive. On the other hand, I noticed that my local library has quite a number of knititng pattern books, so it must not be illegal to borrow a book and copy a pattern out of it.

Do people often share published patterns on this forum (say, if someone were looking for a specific pattern in a specific book, but did not want to spend $30 on the book)?


02-22-2006, 07:59 PM
Melissa, no, we don't share copyrighted patterns on this forum -- if someone does post one (usually by accident) the mods will remove it. It's considered acceptable to share, say, a few lines of a pattern if you're asking for assistance with it, but not the whole pattern. That's a no-no.

I do occasionally copy patterns out of knitting books from the library...I figure that's more considerate than renewing the book over and over until I get around to knitting them. ;) But I find that if I fall in love with patterns in a certain book, I usually end up buying it eventually. :D

02-23-2006, 03:11 PM
Yeah, I mean, I figured it was a no-no. It just seems weird that a library could carry pattern books, though.

02-23-2006, 06:26 PM
I think it's OK to borrow pattern books from the library, just not copy them. Hey! I am no angel...if I see one pattern in a library book that I have borrowed I might copy it. Like Julie if there are a lot of patterns I like I'll just end up buying it.