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Thread: Another Copyright Question

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kwiltr's Avatar
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    Another Copyright Question

    I just read this thread with interest https://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f...e-t298253.html in terms of someone looking for a particular pattern. Lots of people offered help about saving a copy of the picture, the fact that it was a log cabin block with a certain colour placement. Essentially, negating the necessity of purchasing a pattern for the quilt if it even exists out there somewhere. I gather the log cabin block is an old block probably beyond copyright law, but what about the colour placement. I’ve seen several threads where people have seen a quilt on Pinterest and said I just figured it out without the pattern and made it.

    So I have a couple of questions as I recently saw a FB post commenting about, sorry can’t remember the exact wording, but it was like intellectual property and the example quilt looked to me to be a Storm at Sea quilt where the pattern designer had used specific colour placement to create heart shapes and selling the pattern. Now to me, if I own an SAS pattern and I change the colour scheme, have I created an original pattern based on the colour scheme alone? Am I expected to buy this persons pattern because I liked their colour scheme?

    Secondly, if I also “figure out” a quilt and make it for my own personal use, without financial gain, and give credit as inspiration for example here on the forum, is that okay?

    i respect pattern designers and own lots of patterns, but once you make several different quilts it’s, not always rocket science to figure out some of these quilt designs and end up coming up with your own construction method without the aid of a pattern.
    Last edited by Kwiltr; 12-08-2018 at 10:40 AM.

  2. #2
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    Just my opinion, but it's all been done before in quilt patterns. Just because someone creates a pattern and markets it doesn't mean they are the first to ever, anywhere make this pattern. But, there are things like the Mondo bag and a few other art type patterns that a truly unique and new. Even the Wright brothers weren't the first to fly but, they get the credit.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Most traditional patterns have been around forever so no one has copyright over them they just have copyright over their directions on how to make it their way. You can't sell their pattern. That is where the copyright extends. Whether people pay for certain directions is their choice. Some people don't want to spend time figuring things out so patterns suit them
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  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Mostly, it is the instructions and diagrams made by the designer that are copyright. Nearly all blocks have been around for a long time. jmho
    Nancy in western NY
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  5. #5
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Every designer I know uses EQ software. All start with a block and then change up the units of that block to get a new look to it. Before software graph paper was used. Anyone can take a picture of a quilt block and figure out the units on their own. I honestly don't know why anyone would buy a pattern unless it's for the construction method that has been figured out to be the easiest way. That is the big part of copyright. If you have the new quilt software like EQ it's a piece of cake to redraw, resize, revise any quilt block. A designer rule is not a law and many think it is as it's always written right next to the copyright law on the pattern. I don't buy from any designer that has rules attached. They need to get over themselves.
    The new branding is to have a specialty ruler to go along with the pattern design. That's where the $ is.
    Last edited by Onebyone; 12-08-2018 at 11:31 AM.
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  6. #6
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    As I understand it, "Personal Use" allows you to take a concept even from a printed pattern and use it yourself so long as you don't intend to sell the pattern or the design.

    I think I first saw the heart design from the Storm at Sea block about 20 years ago in a copy of Quilter's Newletter. It isn't a new concept.

    For one of my projects next year I'm considering using a picture from another issue of Quilter's Newsletter. As I drew out the block, I changed the alignment from up/down to on the diagonal, I'm changing the usage of fabric, and other changes. I'm considering it as a completely original design even if "inspired" from another project. Other times I have designed completely original blocks only to find later similar concepts by others, I know mine came first those times but not always. As another example when I first started quilting back in the 70s, I had several on my to-do list. One of which was a Houndstooth which I had not seen in books, magazines, or shows/fairs until I was about ready to make mine. At the same time (around Y2K) M'liss Rae Hawley came out with a book of fat quarter fabrics featuring -- you guessed it -- a Houndstooth pattern. I put mine off for a few more years...

    I'm able to graph out patterns easily. I did so for both Labyrinth Walk and Hazel Hedgehog but I went ahead and bought the patterns because they are so distinctive and I do believe in authors getting proper credit and the only reason I did those was to copy someone else's original work.

    Short form: If you can design it, you can use it.
    Last edited by Iceblossom; 12-08-2018 at 12:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    I've read a lot about this subject. You can copyright a pattern. As I understand it, that copyright extends to the paper, the words and the photos. I cannot copy Suzy Smith's pattern for XYZ quilt and sell it. I cannot copy her photos and use them on my website (although it's often done). If I buy her pattern, I can make 500 quilts from her pattern and sell the quilts, but not the pattern.

    It's just like a recipe. I can use a recipe to make a dish and sell it if I wish. I can't copy the recipe book and sell it, though. I can make the recipe and take a photo (and copy the layout of the photo in the cookbook) and post it on Facebook and that is not copyright infringement.

    My own personal interest in this subject was spurred when I bought a pattern for a wheelchair lap quilt. The maker says on the pattern that you cannot make wheelchair lap quilts from her pattern and sell them. I had no intention to do that, but I sent the pattern back and asked for a refund anyway.

    bkay

    Also, many people don't know this, but if you post your own photo to Pinterest, it is then becomes public domain. Which means anyone can copy it and use it as if it's their own.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TheMerkleFamily's Avatar
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    I'm not an attorney and do not profess to know copyright law, at all. However, I do have a recommendation for anyone interested in the topic. I have been listening to a weekly podcast called Just Wanna Quilt by Elizabeth Townsend Gard. She is a law professor at Tulane and an avid quilter. She has interviewed many of the well known quilt designers and her intended purpose of these podcasts is for a (quilting) Copyright Research Project . I've listened to maybe 6-8 interviews and find it all very interesting - especially how the opinions and concerns vary amongst the well known designers. Elizabeth seems very well educated about the entire subject matter and her interviews are fun to listen to and quite informative. This weeks podcast is a 1 1/2 hour interview with Marianne Fons Here is her website https://www.justwannaquilt.com/
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Kwiltr's Avatar
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    Okay, cool. Sounds like My thinking is on the right track. It just kind of threw me when I read the post suggesting otherwise and I was confused yet again. Thanks for the feedback! I have listened to a couple of Elizabeth Townsend's podcasts, they are interesting if you can follow the dialogue.

  10. #10
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwiltr View Post
    Okay, cool. Sounds like My thinking is on the right track. It just kind of threw me when I read the post suggesting otherwise and I was confused yet again. Thanks for the feedback! I have listened to a couple of Elizabeth Townsend's podcasts, they are interesting if you can follow the dialogue.
    Just because it's on FB, doesn't mean it's true. In fact, I'd be suspicious of anything I read on FB
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    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    If you find a pattern that has rules do not buy that pattern. It's easy to spot. Read what all you can't do with the pattern and what you can't do once you made an item from the pattern. The rules will be right next to the copyright law. Never break the copyright law. Rules are expectations.
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    A designer cannot make up copyright law by publishing "rules" on their patterns. Laws are written by our elected officials, not individuals with a pen.

    It's enough for me to send a pattern back, though. I'm not willing to spend my money with someone who tries to run such a stupid racket on me.

    bkay

  13. #13
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    I design most of my quilts on graph paper, it's part of the fun for me. I may be inspired, and often am, by a quilt I see that someone else has made, but I also tend to make a few changes to make it my own. I will also often see a quilt similar to one I've designed later on, to just show that even when I think I've been original, the idea has been around. When someone likes one of my quilts enough to want to copy it, I am flattered and happy to share how I did it. If they give me credit, I'm even more pleased, and if not, I'm still happy they liked my quilt that much!!
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  14. #14
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkay View Post
    Also, many people don't know this, but if you post your own photo to Pinterest, it is then becomes public domain. Which means anyone can copy it and use it as if it's their own.
    i do not think this is accurate.
    posting most likely grants unlimited license to the folks who own and run Pinterest but it does not constitute complete surrender of copyrights.
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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ View Post
    i do not think this is accurate.
    posting most likely grants unlimited license to the folks who own and run Pinterest but it does not constitute complete surrender of copyrights.
    this was my thought also
    Nancy in western NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ View Post
    i do not think this is accurate.
    posting most likely grants unlimited license to the folks who own and run Pinterest but it does not constitute complete surrender of copyrights.
    It has to be true, I read it on the internet.

    bkay

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    I don't do much on Pinterest as I read their Terms of Service. # 3 Your Content, Section Bb. How Pinterest and other users can use your content

    You grant Pinterest and our users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, save, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using Pinterest. Nothing in these Terms restricts other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content, or change the way it’s used in Pinterest, for any reason. This includes User Content that we believe violates these Terms, our Community Guidelines, or any other policies.


  18. #18
    Super Member roguequilter's Avatar
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    to some of us, no, it's not rocket science to look at a quilt and figure out how to copy it. but however we copy, close inspection will find where the original & the copy differ. that area of "differ" is what, to my understanding of this frequently discussed and printed issue of copyright, is where the copier is not guilty of copyright infringement. also, there is at least one site i've found that gives all the instructions needed to do the heart thing with the storm at sea pattern. simple printed page of storm at sea quilt and color in the shapes you wish to create. unless specifically stated on someones page or pattern that they've "copyrighted" their pattern/block, quilt blocks are in the public domain. in the 90's there was a quilt designer, jeffery gutcheon, who started copyrighting common quilt blocks. one, deck of cards, or something like that, really stirred up a lot of controversy in the quilting community. nobody owns the copyright to quilt blocks. most have been in use & shared, passed around since beginning of 1900's.
    the rogue quilter - in from wandering in the sun and snow with camera in hand.

  19. #19
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roguequilter View Post
    unless specifically stated on someones page or pattern that they've "copyrighted" their pattern/block, quilt blocks are in the public domain.
    this is not accurate.
    if somebody designs a legitimately brand new, unique block that is 100% original (not a derivative) then they can claim copyrights to the design as intellectual property.

    the confusion about that stems from the fact that so many people play with/modify blocks designed by somebody else (usually blocks in the public domain) and then mistakenly believe they can claim copyrights to the result.
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    Re: color placement.. would this be like quilting with a kit where fabrics are predetermined? And instead of purchasing the whole kit, the savvy quilter buys the same or similar fabric and figures out the construction? And in the case of the latter, would that be considered problematic?

  21. #21
    Junior Member TAMARATJO's Avatar
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    MiniDoe, I hope not! I am not super creative, so almost all of my quilts are my takes on quilts and patterns I see on pinterest, or somewhere else. I don't buy patterns or kits. For me, some of the pleasure of making a quilt is figuring out how to piece the block, make the quilt, etc. It certainly has improved and stretched my skill set.

  22. #22
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    using a different selection of fabrics to construct a published pattern does not in any way violate copyrights - as long as you don't claim that you've created something new.
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  23. #23
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    yes if you are not reproducing the pattern for profit and for your personal

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