Sanrio Intellectual Property Info
Did an online site remove your content claiming it infringes Sanrio’s intellectual property (copyrights and/or trademarks)? Or are you curious if you can make product to sell using Sanrio’s character images? If so, please read on.
Sanrio Company Ltd. (“Sanrio”) is the creator and owner of over 400 properties--characters and their associated brands. Some of the more well-known properties include HELLO KITTY®, GUDETAMA®, MY MELODY®, CHOCOCAT®, and KEROPPI®. See www.sanrio.co.jp or www.sanrio.com for more. These character images and names represent some of the most highly recognized and adored characters worldwide.
Under U.S. and international laws, Sanrio is responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of its products and services. Therefore, only Sanrio and its authorized licensees can make or sell services and products that feature the names and/or images of Sanrio’s characters.
Under intellectual property infringement laws:
—individuals are not allowed to create and sell their own products featuring Sanrio’s character artwork or name, even if those items are “homemade”. This is true even if you redrew the characters yourself or if you added your own artwork (like changing “HELLO KITTY’s outfit or creating a “mash-up” where you combined Sanrio characters with non-Sanrio character images.
—homemade or customized products made from authentic Sanrio items are also illegal for resale. For example, adding rhinestones to a genuine HELLO KITTY cell phone cover or taking the components of a genuine MY MELODY necklace to create a chandelier.
—products made with counterfeit merchandise that you bought from another source are illegal. Even if you were unaware that the “Sanrio” merchandise you purchased was counterfeit, it’s still illegal to possess or redistribute them. (For example, hair accessories made with counterfeit “HELLO KITTY” ribbons are illegal.)
—creating and redistributing digital content with Sanrio characters are also illegal. These include SVG artwork files like those intended for crafting purposes, creating clothing or other accessories to be used by digital game avatars or creating digital icons or stamps for messaging purpose.
—it is also illegal to use any of Sanrio’s character names and/ or images to advertise or promote non-Sanrio products or businesses.
—some people believe that fans have a “fair use” right to create and sell home-made items using someone else’s IP. This is not correct. “Fair use” is a complex legal doctrine that involves balancing several factors, including whether the use is editorial or commercial in nature. Selling products, even one-of-a-kind home-made items, generally will not qualify as fair use. For more information on fair use, please see http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
Note: If you filed a counter notice to a DMCA takedown notice claiming the content was removed or disabled through a mistake or misidentification by Sanrio, unless we are able to convince you to withdraw the counter-notice, Sanrio may have no other option than to file a lawsuit against you to confirm that infringement took place. In addition to an order requiring you to stop the infringement, a court’s finding of infringement can require you to pay monetary damages as Sanrio’s legal fees.
Thank you for your understanding and for respecting Sanrio’s intellectual property rights.
Intellectual Property Department