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Thread: ??s re: Original Patterns, Submissions to Mags, etc.

  1. #11
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Blog Entries
    huggyface, it won't be of much help if it ever comes to going to court.
    You can mail an unsealed envelope to yourself, and then put whatever you want in it at a later time, and claim that you've mailed the contents of the envelope to yourself at an earlier date. So most judges aren't likely to be persuaded by such "proof".
    Filing for copyright is the only sure way to protect yourself.

  2. #12
    BarbC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by huggyface
    take a picture of your quilt and instructions, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself, when it comes back put it in with your valuables and don't open it. It's the same as putting a patten on it, if someone publishes it with out your consent you have proof it is your patten. A man in our area does this all the time.
    The key is NOT to open it... even if it ends up being published by someone else. That UNOPENED mailed copy is your proof.

    Barb C

  3. #13
    quiltmaker101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Pensacola, FL

    I know you are ways from publishing/copyrighting your new idea, but it sounds like you are on the right path.

    I agree that you should have some quilters test your pattern. You could have them sign agreements not to duplicate or share your pattern outside of testing.

    If you want to get a foot forward on the marketing part, I would email some of the fabric makers that feature patterns on their websites, like Robert Kaufman, to see how they select patterns or pattern makers.

    You also might try emailing people like Eleanor Burns or Jennifer Chiaverini. I know they are well known now, but they started from scratch at one point too. They might just write you back with how they got started, and could give you advice for the next part of your adventure.

    Good Luck!

  4. #14
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    The problem is, it's not "really" copyrighted that way unless you have actually published it somehow. I mean, if I just draft a pattern for a block and mail it to myself and then see an identical one somewhere a year later, I can't claim I have a copyright on it because I came up with it first - I didn't DO anything with it. On all of my class handouts, articles (print and online, etc), I put a copyright date. (c) 2007 Catherine Timmons for Glory Quilts. But honestly, it doesn't really protect me. A sympathetic judge might recognize it as a valid copyright, but a legally registered patent, trademark or copyright (depending on what you are doing) is your only true protection.

    Even then, it's expensive and frustrating to try to prove that you have an exclusive right to distribute the idea or pattern. Especially in something like quilts. I recently took a pattern off my website because I got a letter from a pattern company claiming I had "stolen" their pattern. Well, I hadn't. I had drafted it all myself, taught it for at least 6 years, taken all my own pictures and wrote the html page myself. I hadn't even SEEN their pattern. When I did look it up, I saw that mine was much more "developed" anyhow. The writer claimed that my pictures were very similar to ones they had used for a TV show. (Even though my pictures were older than the date of the shows I found online.) But it was easiest for me to just remove it. I have neither the resources or the inclination to fight over it.

    Copyright law is very complex. I have pretty much stopped teaching classes with commercial patterns for that reason. It's not worth the bother.

  5. #15
    refibered's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    This website (http://www.lostquilt.com/CopyrightYourQuilt.html) is a good one for copyright-quilt info.

    Says the "mail it to yourself" copyright isn't enough. Lots of other interesting info, too.

    The wheels of justice grind slowly, so do my wheels :lol: I'm still in the "thinking about it" stages, but getting closer to writing out pattern info. quiltmaker101, I like your ideas, thanks for the "no compete" agreement idea!

    cathe, I totally understand the frustration you must have about the other pattern company. ugh. QFOD to them! :twisted: (uh, that's "Quilter's Fist of Death" to them --- just shaking my fist at them, not really wishing them death, it's just an expression folks!)

    cathe, do you copyright your patterns? the ones you teach?


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