Friday, May 29, 2009

More Copyright Info

Here's a re-post from Amber's blog covering new information regarding, well...copyright issues. Thanks, Amber!


Another relevant copyright issue for the handmade movement is the topic of up-cycling products which have images/logos lawfully printed on them.

I've been reading through copyright law ( in order to research this topic. I've explained and quoted some information here, which should be helpful to persons involved in handmade/craft/art/photography. I've done some paraphrasing and rewording, and I advise you consult the law yourself (or a lawyer) to be absolutely certain whether your use requires permission or not.

Copyright law is appropriately named, as its primary concern is the RIGHT to COPY an original creation. Actions such as drawing, photographing, and printing are all considered "copying" and are therefore covered under copyright law. These are all exclusive rights which held by owner of copyright.

The exclusive right of the copyright holder is as follows: (this is paraphrased to refer specifically to two and three dimensional visual works and not to music, video, or other types of performance works)

"(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;"


There are exclusions to this right. They are as follows:

- cannot prevent sale or transfer of a legally produced and purchased copy of the work (IE I cannot prevent someone from purchasing a print of my drawing and then reselling it)
- cannot prevent photographs of copyright work from being published or distributed only if it is done for the purpose of commentary, advertisement, or news reporting. (IE I cannot prevent a store from photographing a print they have there for sale, to advertise in a magazine that it is for sale)


There is a section of the law called "Fair Use" and it refers to use of copyright material in certain circumstances as being legal and acceptable. This is not detailed to the letter, but is rather a list of considerations that will be applied when the use of a copyright material is called into question. Here are the considerations:

"(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

As you can see, provisions are made for what type of work is being reproduced/displayed, whether or not the reproducing party is doing so for commercial reasons/benefit, what percentage of the work is used, and the amount of impact the use of the work has on the original work and value thereof.

It also states that,

"The fair use of a copyrighted work ... for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."


Use of Legal Copies of Copyright Materials

As far as I can tell, by reading the law, it does not appear that use of a lawful copy of a copyright work is in violation. A lawfull or legal copy is one that was produced by, or under license of, the owner of copyright. That means if you have a box of candy, cut off the front of the box and apply it to the front of a notebook for sale, it should be legal. As with all situations involving copyright, it is best to consult a lawyer. Additionally, such actions as "tracing" around a copyright item can be an infringement. Example: Stitching around a recognizable logo on fabric could be considered reproduction of the logo.

Additionally, certain items will say "not for commercial reproduction" or "not for commercial use". I purchased Hello Kitty fabric one time that had such a statement printed along the salvage. Use of that fabric in any commercial item for sale would be illegal and in violation of copyright because they implicitly state it is not for such use.

Generally, use of fabric with a recognizeable logo, design or character is not advised. Someone could misconstrue such use as "official" merchandise, which can get you into legal trouble.

Please do share this information; it is really important that everyone be educated on this subject!! You have my explicit permission to link to / repost / copy / re-publish this article with the singular request that you credit me (Amber Hooper) and link back to my blog. (

Friday Favorites

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Intellectual Property Rights

Here's a great article by Amber Hooper from Etsy that covers copyright infringement. Below is the re-posted entry from her blog:


Bright and early this morning, I saw a well known product image that had been transfered on to a handmade product. I know this to be an extremely well protected logo & image, and if it were reported to the company who owns the image, the seller would definately get a cease & desist. (I find it ironic my awareness of that information is related to my husband's hobbies.)

It never ceases to amaze me how blatantly people will use a protected image for their own gain, and that is specifically what intellectual property rights and copyright laws were written to protect. I'm frequently on handmade sites, and I very often see use of copyright imagery in products that were clearly not made or sold by the holder of the copyright. I realize that it is possible to purchase rights to use a copy-written image, but I also realize how unlikely it is that many or most of these sellers have done so.

Intellectual property rights refers to the common sense idea that if someone creates something from their own mind, in a tangible medium, it belongs to them. If you didn't create it yourself it should be common sense that it is not yours to use. I am shocked at the lack of common sense I see, with products on handmade sites that have images of Gir, Pooh, celebrity photos, television and movie stills, etc!

(FYI: tangible includes electronic files saved to any type of hard drive, flash drive, or disk)

This is a sensitive subject for me, that is probably because I've had my artwork stolen before. Lucky for me, the instance I discovered was not being used for products. It was apparently to impress this person's friends by insinuating my (and other artists) drawings were this person's own art. Annoying as that is, its not financial gain. The idea that someone would take my art, place it on a product and sell it is infuriating to me. It's difficult enough for me to do so, why should anyone else benefit from my hard work?

Major companies spend millions each year in advertising, to get their products out to the masses. They use their logos and symbols to represent their company, and paid a lot to have these things designed and make them as recognizable as they are. They did not do all of this so someone can "hand make" something by slapping that logo on a product and then turn around and sell it. The product would not sell without the recognizable intellectual property of the major company, so the hand maker would not have had that sale without their illegal use of that image.

That is stealing. Producing anything with someone else's image, without their permission, is stealing. The internet has made this an epidemic, because it is SO easy to get access to these images and to sell them to a huge venue. The average consumer doesn't know that they are purchasing an item featuring stolen goods.

Here is where it gets tricky. If you take a photograph of a recognizable and copy-written (or trademarked) item, you own the rights to the photograph. You do not, however, have the right to sell that image for money or use it for profit in any way, because it infringes on the rights owned over the object/image/slogan that has been photographed. That means if you take a picture of a three window Ford hot rod at a show, you cannot sell that image. You would have to get permission from Ford first!

There is some debate whether the logo has to be the focus of the image for it to be in violation of copyright. It does not, and by rights it should be blurred if its present. We know that most companies will not go after everyone who happens to snap a shot with their billboard in the background. However, if you take a photo of a Coke can and then sell the photo or a product with the photo on it; Coke has the right to come after you for it. Even photographs of toys or certain commercially made products fall under this as well.

A good general guideline: If the item or image in the photo is recognizable by a lay person, it is subject to copyright law.

Below is a link to's list of what contributing photographers cannot include in photos they submit. It is a fantastic reference when trying to determine if something is out of bounds, because if it is not OK for stock photos, it is probably not OK to make a product from it! Copyright & Protected Items Training

One more note. I have also seen some confusion about copyright expiration. Here is a summary of this subject:

"Because of legislation passed in 1998, no new works will fall into the public domain until 2019 when works published in 1923 will expire. In 2020, works published in 1924 will expire and so forth. If a work was written by a single author and published after 1977, the copyright will not expire until 70 years after the author's death. If a work was written by several authors and published after 1977, it will not expire until 70 years after the last surviving author dies."

(source Copyright & Fair Use; Stanford University Libraries)

Please do share this information; it is really important that everyone be educated on this subject!! You have my explicit permission to link to / repost / copy / re-publish this article with the singular requirement that you credit me (Amber Hooper) and link back to my blog. (

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Infinity Dress

Summer's just about here, and since I'll be heading back to SoCal for a friend's wedding (as well as visiting a few other friends), I'm in dire need for clothing suitable for the warm weather. Jersey is one of my absolute favorite fabrics ever - it's versatile, soft and comfy. And since I'm currently unable to splurge on a whole new summer wardrobe, making my own clothes is basically my only option.

That's why I'm super-thankful for Rostichery's Infinity Dress tutorial. This type of dress has been around since the 1970s and offers a seemingly endless number of styles in one. The construction of the dress is very basic, with a circle skirt and two long straps that you wrap around yourself in various fashions. Rowena's tutorial walks you step-by-step on getting the proper measurements, which can be found in her FAQs near the top of the article.

I went to Jo-Ann's to get some 60" wide jersey fabric in a gorgeous eggplant purple. I intended on making my dress full-length. Unfortunately, all they had of it was just under 5 yards (I needed 5.75 yds). So some altering will be needed.

After cutting out the two straps, There wasn't enough width to cut out two half circles, let alone a full-circle. To keep the flowiness of the skirt, I made the hemline about 51" wide (per side) and had to divide the back panel in half to accomodate what fabric I had. I haven't sewn with jersey in a while, so it was kinda tricky stitching the pieces together without the fabric puckering at the seams. I lacked a roller or walker foot so I had to run back to Jo-Anns to get them.

I still need to do some minor alterations to said garment before my trip, but I'm quite satisfied with how it turned out. Forgive my headlessness in the pic - I was having a bad hair day. Regardless, I am in LOVE with the Infinity Dress and even bought more jersey fabric (with just enough yardage, luckily!) in teal.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Product Review Follow-Up: FitFlops

After trying the FitFlops for about a week, I'm disappointed to find that they're not quite worth the $50 I spent. I could walk around well enough with them, but the center strap of the thong irritated the skin between my toes. Also, due to the thickness of the soles, I had some difficulty driving around with them on, so I went barefoot during FitFlop days.

Ultimately, I got far more effective results from only thirty minutes on the elliptical (at a moderate pace) than a full-weeks worth of walking around in FitFlops. I'm not saying these sandals don't work at all, but don't expect that they'll contribute much to your weight loss if you work out 3-5 times a week. Personally, I prefer my $20 Adidas slide-in sandals (with the massaging foam soles) over the more expensive FitFlops.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Favorites

This is my first one, so let's hope I can get into the groove of making this a regular thing. :)

Every Friday, I will feature ten fabulous items from various crafty Etsy sellers on my blog. That's pretty much it!

(Items are in no particular order)

Blue Regent Skull and Damask Tote Bag Purse by Mercys Mark

The Every Dress Maxi/Floor Length by naKiMuli

Lapis Lazuli Pendulum Necklace by PianoBenchDesigns

Summer Dreams by strangefascination

Sheep in West Cork by CouterGallery

Multi-Hearts Chinchilla Hammock by loliecraft

Set of 6 Funny Love Notes by greencard

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies by whimsyandspice

Decoupage London Map Coffee Table by Bombus

The Nature of Pink by everydaymoments

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Product Review: FitFlops

Today, I caved in and bought myself a pair of FitFlops at Macy's (in brown). I've been wanting to try these out since their original debut, but was disappointed to find that they sold out shortly thereafter. Fast forward to today and I have them sitting next to my bed. These clunky, yet sporty-looking sandals certainly have a unique look to them compared to other thong sandals I've seen, so I'm somewhat iffy on wearing them out in public. Then again, one really shouldn't give a crap what other people think of them.

The Test Run

Typically, I wear a size 8.5, but the FitFlops were only available in whole sizes at the store, so I got an 8. Fits like a glove. I have wide feet, so the sandal's width is not a problem for me. After walking around the apartment for about ten minutes, I've noticed that my posture improved somewhat. I felt a bit of a "rocking sensation" from what other reviewers have mentioned, but it wasn't enough to throw me off. Plus, said FitFlops seem to support my low arches exceptionally well.

The Verdict So Far

After the test run, I've found the FitFlops to be surprisingly comfy to wear and they do help with posture. As with the "gym built in" spiel, as the official site says, I wish I could believe that were true. Everyone dreams of having nice legs and a tight arse from doing something as little as walking. So far I've only heard mixed reviews. I still firmly believe that the best way to lose weight is good ol' exercise and eating right. Plus, at the price of $50, I'm sitting on the fence on whether I should return my pair or not. Perhaps I'll give these a week before I finalize my decision.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wedding and Maid of Honor kimono

Tony and I are thinking the theme colors may be black or ivory (the dominant one), followed by blues and greens, with a hint of royal purple. I've been hunting all over the internet to gather the necessary garments and accessories. Since I'm making my own furisode hikizuri, I'm thinking of going with ro silk. It's one of my absolute favorite fabrics because of its crisp hand and It's easy to sew. Still not 100% sure on the motifs. Sea shells/starfish with sea grass? Sakura and wisteria? willow and carp? I'm torn! For Myriam, I was thinking of a light aqua ro iromuji with either an ivory nagoya obi with similar motifs, teal obiage/obijime and a simple ivory kanzashi hairpin. It'll also make a great gift that she can wear over and over again long after the wedding :) The guys will be wearing tuxes, of course. :P

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Shirts!

"I'll Have a Pint" Unisex Screen Printed T-Shirt (Available in Small and Medium)

Original illustration of "I'll have a Pint" screenprinted with black ink onto a golden yellow American Apparel Unisex Jersey T-Shirt. Made from 100% fine jersey cotton and is great for both men and women!


Small (Fits like mens small, womens loose medium or womens fitted large):
Chest: 38-42"
Length: 28"

Medium (Fits like mens medium, womens loose large or womens fitted x-large):
Chest: 42-46"
Length: 29"

Monday, May 18, 2009

More New Shtuff!

"Bubbly Chin" Scarf
(Click the pic to check out the listing!)

This is my original "Bubbly Chin" illustration screenprinted with black ink onto a light blue, American Apparel scarf. Material is 100% sheer jersey cotton, combed for softness, comfort and is super-stretchy. Wear it the traditional way, or as a belt, a cute summer top and more!

Measurements: 93x16" (2mx41cm)

"Bubbly Chin" Deep V-Neck T-Shirt (Available in Small and Medium)

My "Bubbly Chin" illustration is screen printed with black ink onto a baby blue, American Apparel deep v-neck shirt (unisex fit). This shirt is super soft yet durable and is quite flattering. The Yay For Fidget Art! logo is screen printed on the interior, next to the tag. Material is 100% sheer jersey cotton.

SMALL (Fits mens small, womens relaxed medium or fitted large)
Chest: 36-40"
Front Body Length: 29.25"

MEDIUM (Fits mens medium womens relaxed large or fitted x-large)
Chest: 38-42"
Front Body Length: 30.25"

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Scarf!

"Sakura Screen Print Jersey Scarf"

(Click the pic to check out the listing!)

This is my original sakura (cherry blossom) illustration screenprinted with black ink onto a light pink, American Apparel scarf. Material is 100% sheer jersey cotton, combed for softness, comfort and is super-stretchy. Wear it the traditional way, or as a belt, a cute summer top and more!

Measurements: 93x16" (2mx41cm)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Shirt!

(Click the image to head over to the listing!)

My sakura (cherry blossom) illustration is screen printed with black ink onto a baby pink, American Apparel deep v-neck shirt (unisex). This shirt is super soft yet durable and is quite flattering. The Yay For Fidget Art! logo is screen printed on the interior, next to the tag. Material is 100% sheer jersey cotton.

EXTRA-EXTRA-SMALL (Fits mens small, womens relaxed medium or fitted large)
Chest: 28-32"
Front Body Length: 27.25"

EXTRA SMALL (Fits mens x-small womens relaxed large or fitted x-large)
Chest: 30-34"
Front Body Length: 28.25"

Care instructions:
Dry clean, or
Handwash cold, hangdry, or
Machine wash cold, delicate cycle with like colors, hang dry

Sunday, May 10, 2009


"Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva.."
-The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride

Ho-kay, Tony and I are aiming to get married next summer, sometime between May thru August. Ireland's weather isn't too forgiving throughout most of the year, and summer is most likely to pitch a few sunny days. Regardless, we're having our wedding in one of those cute, little chapels that line the northwest coast, overlooking the sea.

There will be between 5 to 10 people attending (including me and the groom, of course), so the ceremony is going to be small and intimate. I prefer it that way because it feels more romantic, imo. Sure, I can have a big wedding, but all that will do is stress me out and ultimately ruin my day. I've made Myriam my maid of honor and she will be singing the opening song at the wedding. We joked about having her sing Queen's "Ogre Battle," complete with flashy special effects and jazz hands. Hehe, but really, I was thinking along the lines of Ted's rendition of "Hey Ya" (from Scrubs):

We'll just rent a photographer for a couple of hours and the rest can be candid pictures by our friends. The "reception" will be in two parts - dinner at a nice restaurant, and the following day, rent out one of the lounges/meeting rooms, set it up with cozy sofas and have an MST3K marathon.

One of the only few roadblocks is that having a Catholic wedding can have a somewhat lengthy procedure, depending on where you're married. If both the bride and groom-to-be are both Catholic (which Tony and I are), then said procedure easier to go through. One, it's mandatory that both couples have had their first communion already (which I didn't :X). I'm not entirely sure on this, but I think that the couple are also required to have gone through confirmation beforehand (which I also didn't do...thanks, Mom and Dad DX). Thankfully, I've been informed that one can go through an "expedited" RCIA program, which can be done in as little as four months. I need to talk to the local parish asap about this. Anywho, Tony told me that counties Dublin and Sligo are generally the most "lenient" places to have a Catholic wedding, so I jumped for Sligo.

Another drawback to having a wedding abroad would be cost of the hotel rooms. I'm not too familiar with the etiquette on wedding guests. I know if it's a big wedding, the guests damn well better pay for their own hotel rooms, but for a small number of guests?? Tony and I are going to cover Myriam and Anthony's rooms since they can't afford it. For the others, should I just book their own rooms and have them reimburse me for the cost? And what's a proper length of time for the guests to stay in town before they have to fly back?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I seem to have neglected this blog for almost an entire month now. Sorry!

The t-shirts I ordered just came in a couple of days ago, so I'll be screen printing new stuff for YFFA! I will also be listing some kimono fabric in my main shop, and hopefully be able to list some new kanzashi.