Licensed Fabrics and How They Can Be Used

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What is a licensed fabric, and are there restrictions on using these?

A licensed fabric is one where the manufacturer has a legal agreement with the creator of the artwork or design printed on the goods. For example, there are some fabrics that showcase Disney characters or other movie studio heroes, or a particular brand of candy, just as examples. In these instances, the fabric company has to pay the owners of the trademarked icons a fee and/or a royalty for the use of their imagery.

There may be restrictions on the use of the fabric printed with these images. Most common is that you cannot use the fabric to create something and sell it, like at a craft fair or bazaar. Restrictions are often printed on the selvage of the fabric with phrases like “for personal use only.” Other times you’ll need to read the end of the bolt to check on any usage restrictions.

If you don’t adhere to the licensing terms, you can find yourself entangled in a lawsuit for copyright violation, depending on how seriously the company wants to pursue its rights.  It’s best not to take the chance; honor the agreement.