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Thread: Am I stealing? Or just borrowing?

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi

    One thing I see happening that bothers me is people claiming copy rights on old patterns. One in particular is the mock cathedral window, which I learned in the 70s, now being renamed and claimed as "owned" by several different individuals.
    This bothers me too, Moonpi. And I have done a lot of thinking about this one. Here is what I have decided about that...

    The designs of these old blocks that are in the public domain are just that, in the public domain. I can draft my own version of the design or even new techniques in construction and publish a pattern.. That pattern or instruction sheet is my work.. that is what is copyrighted, not the block or technique

    And people who take the original content and try to copyright it, I do not believe is legal.. I have seen that too.. but I will have to do some more checking on that,, it is like republishing the a literary work that is in the public domain and calling it yours.. not

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by babeegirl
    If I see a quilt either in a book, shop, online, or in a magazine and I go home, get out my graph paper, draw it up for myself, make it then put it on my wall or couch, I doubt the quilt police are going to batter down my door. What's at the heart of this discussion is intent. ]If what you want to make is for you and that's the intended purpose, then what "law" has been broken? none that I can think of. Let's face it, as quilters we are inspired by the work of others, whether it be a color scheme, a block layout, or a technique. Don't be scared to try out something new that you see, because in all truth, aside from art quilts, there's probably not one truly new block that hasn't been done already. Do you NEED to always buy the pattern? I say no. Just because something is published doesn't mean I'm obligated to purchase it when I'm perfectly capable of recreating it for myself. My intent just for me. Now, putting that same quilt I just made either on a website, or in a show, would obligate me to credit my ispiration or the original creator of where I got my idea. Then, the copyright scenario comes into play. If I did that, then my intent would be to gain recognition or credit for myself. Do you see where I'm going with the intent?
    Babeegirl, I believe that is what has been said here. As I said in my original post, drafting your own version of a block is not stealing.. or even putting the same blocks together into a quilt...or using the same coloring and values.. all fine in my book..

    The stealing comes in from copying original works, and some block quilts are very original, taking credit, free distribution of purchased patterns, and copying a piece of original art from another medium..

  3. #28
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    I agree, but I think we went way deeper than the original poster's posed question which can be very daunting. Heck, I sure don't post someone else's instructions claiming it as my own but I'm definitely not rich enough to buy every pattern I see. I'm not rich enough yet to pay someone else to do my thinking for me :)

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by shellyp
    Quote Originally Posted by Janeen
    he did say that if I wanted to SELL somethings with his designs we could possibly work something out.

    there are a blue gazillion patterns in the public domain, fabric manufacturers give away awesome patterns on their websites (free for the download)..
    I want to take selling out of the whole thinking. I know there is a thread on this board about copyrights and selling things. I'm just talking about making 1 or 2 things for myself, my family, or my friends.

    With that many patterns out there....how do I know that a design that I came up with isn't already out there somewhere? How do I know that its an original? I really don't. Whos to say that on one site its free but on a different site, in different colors (the ones I'd like to do), its a pattern their selling? This is where I'm totally confused!!!! :? :? :?
    shelly, if you are talking about any basic pieced block, you are free to draft your own, make the block , make a quilt, for yourself, friends, family and even sell the work.. I doubt you are going to get into trouble doing that. The real problem arises in original art and that is where the trouble begins...some things are obviously someone elses creation..
    I believe that there is very little in the way of pieced blocks that are original and they have been used, borrowed and reborrowed many times over..
    babeegirl is right we did get rather deep here, but that indicates that there are some serious issues with copying..do draft up all the blocks you want, but dont copy GKs clock quilt...its not a block but an original..

  5. #30
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    jstitch and moonpi,
    You two seem to be the experts on this, so I'll ask you to clarify something for me...
    You're saying that if I buy the book -- let's say I subscribe to Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine -- then I have permission to make the quilts, even for sale? Is that right? Or is it OK for me to make them for personal use/gifts only?
    I have much more experience in copyright with sheet music, so this is a whole new area for me. And it's not at all the same.
    Thanks for your patience and experience here.

  6. #31

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    Well, I for one am taking all my pics off this board and will no longer be a part of this forum if so many people think it's ok to steal!!

    Good by

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by justquiltin'
    jstitch and moonpi,
    You two seem to be the experts on this, so I'll ask you to clarify something for me...
    You're saying that if I buy the book -- let's say I subscribe to Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine -- then I have permission to make the quilts, even for sale? Is that right? Or is it OK for me to make them for personal use/gifts only?
    I have much more experience in copyright with sheet music, so this is a whole new area for me. And it's not at all the same.
    Thanks for your patience and experience here.
    Well, Id love to hear Moonpi weigh in on this too.

    The patterns are owned by the magazine. Most of the time, what is published in a magazine as a pattern is assumed for you personal use. If you want to make it for sale, they are protected by copyright law. Mostly this is to protect someone from taking the design and mass producing it for sale.

    If you make one for your sister, and charge her for your time, you probably arent going to get in trouble, but if you are making a dozen to sell in a craft sale, it begins to cross the line. If I want to make one to sell, or to make for an opportunity quilt, Ill ask permission. It is the right thing to do.


    However, many times a magazine will publish a picture of an inovative work and no pattern.. That is not OK to reproduce. As a matter of fact, many times you will find a comment in the magazine to that effect if you read the fine print.

    As in music,,,a traditional tune, in the public domain is free for you to use and create your own composition of the tune.. that composition is yours and subject to copyright law.. someone else cant record your version or composition of the tune without your permission.. Would you give it,, probably..maybe even get some commission for it...

    My opinion only

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by sspingler
    Well, I for one am taking all my pics off this board and will no longer be a part of this forum if so many people think it's ok to steal!!

    Good by
    I would hate to see you do that.. I made the comment about pictures on this board as an example of what could happen.

    And I think that the truth is, most of the people who have that opinion really couldnt reproduce your work anyway..

    I, for one, enjoy your posts and dont want to see you leave over a few mis spoken comments

    Most of the time, on this board, when I read people wanting to make a quilt they have seen, they are asking where they can buy the pattern..

    And this thread has served as an educational tool for those that really never thought about it in these terms before

  9. #34
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    If you want to display it or sell it, get permission. Most "serious" quilt shows will actually ask if you have used a commercial pattern and require you to obtain written permission to display a quilt made from that pattern. I have had letters from people to that effect when they made a quilt from a pattern on my website.

    Copyright law is a very interesting and complicated issue. Ebay has a HUGE problem with it! If you look up "custom boutique" little girls clothing, you will see literally HUNDREDS of Disney, Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, and other "character" outfits. And, unfortunately for the honest designers, those are the ones that sell for hundreds of dollars. I would never make one to sell. If I want to make my granddaughter a Minnie Mouse costume, however, I am not going to feel that I need to write Disney to get permission.

  10. #35
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    OK, one last comment from me then its back to work...

    If you are borrowing something, it indicates that you are going to give it back..

    So is it borrowing?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstitch
    Quote Originally Posted by shellyp
    Quote Originally Posted by Janeen
    he did say that if I wanted to SELL somethings with his designs we could possibly work something out.

    there are a blue gazillion patterns in the public domain, fabric manufacturers give away awesome patterns on their websites (free for the download)..
    I want to take selling out of the whole thinking. I know there is a thread on this board about copyrights and selling things. I'm just talking about making 1 or 2 things for myself, my family, or my friends.

    With that many patterns out there....how do I know that a design that I came up with isn't already out there somewhere? How do I know that its an original? I really don't. Whos to say that on one site its free but on a different site, in different colors (the ones I'd like to do), its a pattern their selling? This is where I'm totally confused!!!! :? :? :?
    shelly, if you are talking about any basic pieced block, you are free to draft your own, make the block , make a quilt, for yourself, friends, family and even sell the work.. I doubt you are going to get into trouble doing that. The real problem arises in original art and that is where the trouble begins...some things are obviously someone elses creation..
    I believe that there is very little in the way of pieced blocks that are original and they have been used, borrowed and reborrowed many times over..
    babeegirl is right we did get rather deep here, but that indicates that there are some serious issues with copying..do draft up all the blocks you want, but dont copy GKs clock quilt...its not a block but an original..
    I think babeegirl explained what I was thinking better than I did. Thanks babee! The quilts I was thinking about are just pieced blocks. Many times I only know the finished size. No directions. So I take pencil to paper and graph it out. I'll even change the size to what I want too.
    GK's quilt is WAY, WAY beyond my skill level. But I get your point.
    Thanks everyone.
    I just don't want to steal something, even inadvertantly.

  12. #37
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    The copyright issue is one reason I stopped teaching classes from commercial books or patterns. I had to make samples for all those classes, and I wanted to sell the samples afterward. (we're talking about at least 50 samples a year!) Now I just design and draft all the patterns for the classes I teach, and I don't have to worry about it.

    It's also hard to decide what is a copyrighted image/design. A flag bargello quilt? I've seen hundreds of them, all different. I could do one without a pattern if I wanted to make one. A colorwash quilt? A French Braid? I borrowed that book from the library and realized that it was just an identical pattern to one I've seen around for years. A baby quilt made in that "Mock Cathedral Windows" style? Fons and Porter have a copyright on it in their magazine. There is at least one website with a copyright on it (older than the F&P magazine). And I learned that pattern 18 years ago at a quilt guild meeting. It's not exactly a new technique, but people can publish patterns for it and claim they hold a copyright, even if it's identical to an older idea.

    It's all very complicated... I don't think anyone here plans to steal an idea and profit from it. If you have a quilt that you don't want anyone to copy, however, don't post pictures of it! That's not a legal issue... it's just common sense.

  13. #38
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    What an interesting topic!
    I rarely buy patterns for quilts, because I never get around to making them!! One of the few I have bought & made was Pagodas by Debbie Bowles. After showing it at Guild, quite a few people requested a workshop in doing it, so I emailed Debbie & asked if that would be OK, and how much her patterns were. She was quite gracious, and not only gave me permission, but also gave us a special price on the patterns!
    As has been said before, most designers are very good about that.
    I also know, from one of our past Opportunity Quilts, that the magazines do state what the terms are for using their patterns. We did use one from an old copy of Quiltmaker magazine & again, we wrote for permission, telling them that we wanted to use it as a fund raiser. They seemed happy to give us permission.
    When I was our newsletter editor, I was also a stickler for having permission to reprint items. I don't think I ever had anyone say no.

  14. #39

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    I too am a new quilter and now I am confused. Are you all saying that I can not look at a picture, make a quilt like it with my own fabric and colors and use it or sell it? That does not make sense because most of the ones i like are free so I am sooooo confused? Please help!!!!!! :?

  15. #40
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    Miss Tami, there are tons of free blocks without copyright issues at all. The problems begin when people take credit for designs that are not theirs. Early on, when I first joined the board, there were some very heated threads on the subject.

    I expect it to be a problem as long as their are designers, designs, and people who think just because they CAN do something, that they are entitled to. It is the same argument as movie performers have with bootleg Chinese DVDs, and musicians run into with downloads from certain websites. I have actually had a couple of people get snippy with me when they requested I send them a link to a pattern I used, when it was drawn out on a paper bag while watching my cat sit in a window. If I had the means to get it into a file for the person who requested it, how do I know that it will not be "unattributed" and become public property, or claimed as someone else's work?

    I think it will be even more of a problem going forward, as longarmers are producing some kick*ss designs on tops made by others, and sometimes designed by another party entirely. It is possible that a single quilt could have 2 designers and 2 people executing the designs. If another person custom dyed the fabric, or an artist embellished the final work, it could end up with a list of credits like a movie!!! I think that is one reason why -for good or bad - I do mine every step of the way. I have bought patterns and books over the years,, but use them more as technique tutorials and eye candy.

  16. #41
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    "Any artist in any medium should realize and accept that if they put their designs in a magazine or on the internet that they are going to be copied by anyone who likes them and chooses to try and reproduce them in a quilt in their chosen colors. "

    sooooo ... because i know there are muggers out there somewhere, i should never leave my house? and if i do leave, and do get mugged, it's my fault? interesting logic. :?

    ******************************************

    please follow these links to some very useful and informative articles on the subject of copyright.

    http://qnm.com/copyright/index.html
    http://www.phoebemoon.com/copyright_concerns.htm
    http://www.copyright.gov/



  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    "Any artist in any medium should realize and accept that if they put their designs in a magazine or on the internet that they are going to be copied by anyone who likes them and chooses to try and reproduce them in a quilt in their chosen colors. "

    sooooo ... because i know there are muggers out there somewhere, i should never leave my house? and if i do leave, and do get mugged, it's my fault? interesting logic. :?

    ******************************************

    please follow these links to some very useful and informative articles on the subject of copyright.

    http://qnm.com/copyright/index.html
    http://www.phoebemoon.com/copyright_concerns.htm
    http://www.copyright.gov/



    Let's leave the sound bites to the politicians please......LOL.

    I will also say this. Any artist in any medium should realize and accept that if they put their designs in a magazine or on the internet that they are going to be copied by anyone who likes them and chooses to try and reproduce them in a quilt in their chosen colors. It is a compliment for crying out loud. That is one aspect that I have never been able to wrap my brain around. They put their art out there for all to see and compliment and give them kudos for but by golly you better not make a copy of it even just for yourself.........selling for profit I can understand and agree with. Makes no sense to me. They should just keep if for themselves and be done with it and not tempt the rest of us who like to make nice things for ourselves.........sorry..........I'm off my soap box now.........LOL.

    If you would like to flame me for my opinion, please do it with a colorful quilt picture........LOL!
    My apologies if I offended anyone with my opinion. I certainly would not knowingly copy anyone's work without permission or giving them credit for it if I used it in anyway. Please don't think that I ever would.

    I was just pointing out ( rather badly obviously) that the above scenerio does happen, especially in the age of the internet and any artist that doesn't think that it does is really......well I'll keep that opinion to myself. I am apparently in enough trouble here for expressing my opinion.....LOL.

    My point is this.........there are not enough quilt police in this world to catch each and every copyright infraction in the quilt world so why not just enjoy our craft, give credit where credit is due and just have fun in the process.

    And yes patrice, if someone knew for a fact that there were muggers in their neighborhood and they went out of their house without a really big stick or some kind of protection and they got mugged........well......there I go with my opinion again.......LOL.......I got to learn to keep my sarcasm to myself........ :lol:

    I love you guys........I'll keep my opinions to myself in the future on these types of subjects.......at least the sarcastic ones........ :lol:


    Linda D.

  18. #43
    Senior Member Karenmay's Avatar
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    Strewth! I wish I'd never asked! One thing I have learned today is not to ask questions! I'm beginning to wish I'd stuck to dressmaking!

    Karen

  19. #44
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    A few thoughts as I read through this thread:

    Please remember that, unless stated otherwise, no one here is a copyright attorney. We can give layman opinions, but if it were me I would definitely consult a copyright attorney before jeopardizing my home or livelihood. (Have you seen the $$ penalty for copyright infringement? Yikes!) I wouldn't rule out someone coming after me either - designers are getting fed up with the attitudes of infringers.

    Copyright principles do not distinguish between different intents or monetary gain; the issue is whether the work was copied (medium doesn't matter either) plain and simple. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no personal use doctrine. Magazines, for example, may grant purchasers of the magazine the right to make a project for personal use, but that is their right to grant as the copyright holder.

    If I see a project I may want to make, I go ahead and purchase the pattern, magazine, etc. It is just so much simpler - no lingering questions and it doesn't cost very much. It is also a nod to the designer, putting a little money in their pocket so they can continue to wow me with their creativity. Flattery by imitation feeds no one; supporting designers who put their hard work and sweat into creating new patterns for us supports the industry as a whole.

    I've seen many discussions like this over the years, and I've come to a personal conclusion: Those that are genuinely interested in learning the rights and wrongs so that they can do the right thing will - those that offer tissue-paper thin excuses for doing the wrong thing will continue to do so.

  20. #45
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    Quilting is a textile form of creative expression. We use fabric, threads, tools, machines, patterns. All of which are protected in some form or another. The most important tools we have however, are our hearts, our minds, and our hands. We don't do what we do for glory, fame, or recognition. We do it for love, comfort, and simply because we love to create an item that embodies our imagination in a useful fashion that hopefully will remain as a legacy to our families of who we are. Do what you love to do however you can with the tools available to you and never forget that in the course of life, laws rarely govern the determination of the human soul and its expression. Abide by the rules set up to protect others wishing to share their souls' expressions, but never let that cause you to hinder or suppress your own imagination. There are no leaders and followers, only teachers and students. Learn what you can, where you can and take that knowledge beyond your own boundaries.

  21. #46
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    here's another way to look at it - if you make public domain pattern, most likely it will be recognized as such - for instance, a double wedding ring - you make it using your own fabric choices, color choices, quilting choices and you love it - everybody else says 'what a beautiful double wedding ring' and all are happy.... no problems

    ok, say you design a NEW block (hard to do in this day and age) and you LOVE IT.. and again, you agonize over the color/fabric/quilting choices and when finished you have a gorgeous one-of-a-kind quilt that you are so proud of, and every body who sees it says, 'WOW that's fantastic!'

    and you post a photo on here because, naturally you are tickled to death with it and so proud of it, and have never done anything quite so gorgeous in your life and are fit to burst with joy over the thing...

    and two weeks later somebody else who said, 'wow, I love that and I can do that' posts an identical quilt...

    that's what it's all about... are you going to say, 'hey, that's fine, I'm flattered' or are you going to say, 'wait a minute, that was MY personal design' ??

    believe me, just using 'traditional' patterns and all the new fabrics is about as creative as I get but I haven't seen any other quilts like mine...

    we did a block of the month in guild - everybody made their own fabric choices and sashing choices and final finishing choices - even tho we all used the same blocks (12) every single quilt is different....

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karenmay
    Strewth! I wish I'd never asked! One thing I have learned today is not to ask questions! I'm beginning to wish I'd stuck to dressmaking!

    Karen
    Karen, I think you are taking the content of this thread too personally. You asked a good question as is evidence by the lengthy discussions. I believe that this kind of discourse is good for all of us. You just happened to be wondering about an issue that is subject to a lot of interpretation.

    I would encourage you to keep wondering and keep asking..
    For every question you ask, you will get a variety of answers. All of them personal opinions and all valuable.

    You will read and use the ones most useful to you and your needs.

    Its a healthy thing to wonder, ask, discuss and learn.

    That is what is so great about this message board.

  23. #48
    Senior Member Karenmay's Avatar
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    Don't worry Judy, I'm not taking it personally at all! lol! I wasn't even talking about a quilt, and I did state that even if did create something, it wouldnt have been given away or sold. I was just for the pleasure of making it and to hang in my sewing room!

    Karen

  24. #49
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    I'm also kinda of scared now to and design a new block if I don't spend hours on line making sure someone out there hasn't already done the same block.

    I do a lot of rag quilts that are one of a kind, that are donated for charities. If someone happens to have done ths same thing before me am I stealing?

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgrhs
    I'm also kinda of scared now to and design a new block if I don't spend hours on line making sure someone out there hasn't already done the same block.

    I do a lot of rag quilts that are one of a kind, that are donated for charities. If someone happens to have done ths same thing before me am I stealing?
    I dont think you need to be afraid to design blocks, quilts, quilt layouts or any of these activities. And your rag quilts for charity are fine..

    What is a risk is taking something that is unique that you have seen and reproduce it.

    Most people do not fit into the "stealing" category. Just use your common sense..dont let this scare you into NOT being creative and enjoying your craft...

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