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Thread: Another copyright question

  1. #1
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    Another copyright question

    I've been making disappearing four patch blocks lately. Today, I wondered what it would look like on point, so I cut the corners off so the "middle cross" now becomes corner to corner "X". It would be easy to do by making an hourglass block and cutting it like the D4P. I thought I had come up with something unique but googled "disappearing hourglass". Bad idea as there is another block by that name. I googled "Disappearing half square triangle" and danged if someone hadn't already thought of it And she copyrighted it under the name "Arrowhead". From what I could find, she uses some kind of stack method, not the recutting like D4P. And then someone else made a similar block called a "Disappearing four patch with a twist". She didn't copyright hers but started it like the D4P and then made diagonal cuts instead of horizontal.

    Here's where I am confused on what exactly the first designer copyrighted. According to the copyright information I found at modern quilt guild: ", but if the original quilter’s work is still recognizable in your version, it’s a derivative." I recognized "Arrowhead" immediately as being a derivative of D4P. So is the copyright on the block itself or the technique used to make the block?
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-08-2018 at 02:23 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  2. #2
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Copyright is for original artwork or original written text. It’s not about shapes and templates. I don’t buy the legality of copyrighting a block. I doubt it would hold up in court.
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  3. #3
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Just do it. You are not trying to sell the idea as a pattern. You are just putting your own spin on it. Sleep soundly.
    Sandygirl

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  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    In almost every case the copyright claim on a pattern is for the pattern itself (the words and illustrations), not for the design of the quilt or block, and not for the name given to the quilt, block or pattern. A technique can't be copyrighted. The copyright only means you can't make copies of the pattern, not that the quilt or block design is original.

  5. #5
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    Question: If I pay for a magazine and photocopy a quilt pattern published in it, is that legal or am I breaking copyright law ?

  6. #6
    Super Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    Question: If I pay for a magazine and photocopy a quilt pattern published in it, is that legal or am I breaking copyright law ?
    I do this sometimes so I can make notes on the copy. I doubt there is anything wrong with that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    Leah Day recently interviewed a copyright lawyer who happens to be a quilter and posted it on YouTube. Very helpful! She debunks a lot of the copyright scare put out by some of the designers. The written instructions are copyrighted and can't be sold as your own. About making a copy of a magazine or other pattern...usually if it's for your personal use it is okay. Selling or giving away copies to friends isn't. Just like copying music or movies.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    As long as I don't claim a design as my own, copy a pattern to sell or give away, or don't go into mass production of making the pattern item to sell without a license then I don't worry about it.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  9. #9
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    The only time you MIGHT get into trouble is if you photocopied the pattern in large amounts and sold them as your design. It would be an extremely rare occurrence to even get in trouble for making an item from a pattern and selling it (you would have to be selling a huge amount to even be noticed). It is a courtesy and good form to give credit to the pattern maker if you are making their items - but it is not technically required. Most of us who make something we have seen on pinterest or in a magazine have put our own twists to it, be it color choices, small changes, something that has made it our own. And, lets say you were making and selling hundreds of an item that you originally saw somewhere and that person happened to see it. It would be on them to show that you actually took their idea or pattern to use. I would say that would be close to impossible to prove.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the responses. I thought I'd show how I made it on my blog. I did find the instructions for Arrowhead and it is totally different.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    A technique can't be copyrighted. The copyright only means you can't make copies of the pattern, not that the quilt or block design is original.
    I thought Betty Cotton has a copyright for her reversible quilts.

    Sorry, no, it is not a copyright, it is a patent.
    U.S. Patent No. 6696129
    So methods can be patented but not copyrighted.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  12. #12
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    Well, I guess it doesn't matter to me anymore. After I spent the afternoon making blocks, taking pictures, and writing down instructions, I found another website that made it exactly like mine. Oh well, it's still a cute block.

  13. #13
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartiToo View Post
    Well, I guess it doesn't matter to me anymore. After I spent the afternoon making blocks, taking pictures, and writing down instructions, I found another website that made it exactly like mine. Oh well, it's still a cute block.
    You have not copied the other website, so it is okay for you to post your instructions. It's very common to find the same way of doing something explained in multiple books, patterns, and websites. Some explain it better than others.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pagzz's Avatar
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    I agree post on your blog. you went to the trouble of getting the pics and instructions together. I love the sharing nature of quilters.
    Peggy

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