New Pieces has received a few bolts of fabric over the last few months with this statement (or similar) on the selvedge. It turns out the debate over control of the design of fabric that goes into your project is again warming up.
Here’s the history: There has always been an issue regarding the use of commercially licensed fabrics in quilts and other textile-based crafts. A few years ago there was a frou-frou about Amy Butler designed fabrics and others that were re-worked designs from a vintage collection, or from unknown vintage designers. The link above is to a summary blog post on that issue which includes many useful links about fair use and copyright. (The blog is called “True Up” and the blogger is listed as “Kim” – more information when I have it!)
So here’s the new issue: We are receiving fabric — currently from only one or two sources — that isn’t licensed or even very singular in design. Sharona has been asking our distributors for clarification, and I have been doing some research. For us it’s not sufficient that the manufacturers and reps “think” the statement is not a problem our customers need to worry about. The definition of “individual consumption” is unclear. It may be that personal use, or a gift given to a family member is not a problem — or that a few items on Etsy.com, or a few dozen for the church craft-fair. My personal belief is that it’s an unenforceable standard just intended as a warning or threat, and that a few years from now the issue will be clear and settled…
In the meantime: New Pieces has taken the position that we will not currently order fabric with this statement (or similar) because of the confusion surrounding this issue. If fabric so marked arrives in the store we will return it to the manufacturer. We confess to having a handful of bolts on the shelves already, and we can’t send them back. We trust in the intelligence and discernment of our customers to make informed decisions about what constitutes fair use, and will point out the warning when we see it.
If nothing else, we have the makings of an interesting discussion — We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and admit to the inconvenience it has caused us.