Copyright Issues

I am sure you have seen this too, but I am so surprised by embroidery digitizers who openly sell designs that are obviously copyright infringement. Most recognizable are things like Mickey Mouse ears, Hello Kitty, or, recently, any of the characters from Frozen. They may call the design Mouse Ears or Kitty Cat, but the designs themselves are pretty darn close. If push came to shove, there would be a lot of people in a lot of trouble.

Here is a good read by an embroidery digitizer who also has a law degree.

Disney is very aggressive in this area, understandably so. So how do you stay within the law in regard to copyright? Be sure to read the licensing agreement.

You may have noticed this disclaimer on when you download a design:


Bunny And Carrot

© Copyright by AnnTheGran

By licensing this design you agree to these terms: This design is copyright protected by AnnTheGran and may not be distributed, altered or unaltered in any format outside of or directly from AnnTheGran. Items with this design sewn onto the product may be sold commercially with limitation. You must have written consent to mass market items using this design. AnnTheGran will not be held liable for any monetary losses or consequential damages as a result of using this design.


This article outlines what you can and cannot do with copyrighted materials, including embroidery designs:

You may not:

  • Make copies of the digital embroidery software to either sell or give away
    (no sharing with your friends)
  • Post a copy of the digital embroidery software on the internet for others to use
    (no sharing with anyone else either)
  • Modify the digital embroidery software and sell it as your own
    (no making changes and calling it your own design)

You may:

  • Make a copy of the digital embroidery pattern for your personal use
    (backup copies are permitted if you purchased the design)
  • Make more than one end product for personal use or for sale from the digital embroidery software (depending on the licensing agreement)

Mass production is usually determined by the design provider. When in doubt whether or not you can sell items you embroider, check with the manufacturer. Producing a spring line for a big box store— no, but selling a few at a local craft show— perhaps. It all depends on the agreement you make with the vendor when you purchase the design.

Debbie SewBlest


Comments (2) -

This is an important issue and knowingly or unknowingly use of a copyright item is against the law.

Microsoft is also aggressive, at last look, they charge $250,000 per incident per machine.  So, if your office has an illegal copy (1) on the server, each machine is guilty of copyright infringement.  

One thing I am seeing is digitizers from International areas doing this illegal work.  I am not familiar with the international laws, but I would bet it is a VERY bad idea to use these designs to sell.  

Consider if you were to write a beautiful poem or create an extraordinary painting, how would you like it if others were making money off your work?  

Respect is my feelings for deciding what is wrong.  

May you be blessed in ways you have not yet imagined.

Apr 4 at 9:40 AM
thank you so much for the information regarding copyright issues.   I am sure many people don't really understand some of the issues.  Changing color on a design and then selling it as their own is not correct.  They did not originate the design.

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