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Thread: Copyright aggrevation.

  1. #101
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    OK. Talked to my neighbor, who is a lawyer and handles some copyright cases.

    This is for personal not business advice:


    If I buy a pattern and make the item from a pattern I can do what I want with the made item. If the design is not licensed the designer cannot legally tell me what to do with my made item. It's my item, not my design. He said it's very simple to be legal: buy a pattern for every item I make to sell from the design. If my made item is being displayed in public, the creator of the design should always be given credit.
    If the design is licensed (Disney, Coke, Sport Teams etc.) then I have to have permission to make a replica of the design and then the owner of the design has the right to tell me what I can do or not do with the item. If I buy from a retailer that has permission to sell a licensed design then I can do what I want with the made item. Example: Licensed fabric design with logos or characters.

  2. #102
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    thanks BellaBoo. That is the way I think it should be. I read the link to the copyright page (govt link I think) and let me tell you, that is about as English as Japanese to me.


    Any other people who know an attorney have any thoughts?

  3. #103
    Member tabberone's Avatar
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    I do a lot of research into court cases. If you consider the large number of patterns produced by McCalls, Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity, just the large companies, there is not one federal lawsuit that has gone to trial that involves the use of their patterns that I can locate. One reason is the lack of registered copyrights by them. Also, anyone who decides to get into commercial use of a design will have patterns done professionally for their machines.

    Quilting patterns require much more originality and effort than the clothing patterns marketed by the big companies. But it still comes down to what the copyright office says is a requirement for registration: originality. While arranging blocks may constitute some originality, the final design must be original enough to qualify for registration. I have not found a single federal court case where an unregistered design has won in court.

    This is the most polite board I have seen. Everyone here discusses the subject without getting personal. That is refreshing to see.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    What if I figure out Apple's "pattern" for the IPhone? Do you think I could sell it? Or is that that license/law thing? Doesn't it really boil down to ethics or manners? If you didn't create it, you should really ask permission to profit from it.
    Apple has a patent on the iPhone, which is very different from a copyright.

  5. #105
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mytwopals
    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    What if I figure out Apple's "pattern" for the IPhone? Do you think I could sell it? Or is that that license/law thing? Doesn't it really boil down to ethics or manners? If you didn't create it, you should really ask permission to profit from it.
    Apple has a patent on the iPhone, which is very different from a copyright.
    I agree, patents and copyrights are apples and oranges (lol I made a pun) But really, that's a lot easier to find the line than copyrights. I wish someone would just say once and for all this is how it is, and this is how it will be. Black and White, no Gray area. It's the Gray area that gets me.

  6. #106
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    JJs wrote:

    "I just checked the copyright information in the EQ7 book and I think I'll be using EQ exclusively for designing my own quilts."

    I feel the same. Magazines and websites exist for the advertising, so you'll see rehashes of patterns if you keep referring to them, and using patterns you found or bought just carries too many risks. As for the instructions, EQ7 gives you the cutting details and even piecing templates, so at what point are you using other peoples' work?

    At the end of the day, if I have a record of what I designed, I think it's really hard for anyone else to claim I "stole" it.

    My question is: What is the simplest way to find out what blocks/patterns are considered to be in the Public Domain?

    I did come across something else that might need its own thread: a fabric that had "Sold for non-commercial home use only" stamped in the selvage. I put it in the gift-quilt fabric pile, cos if I made something and sold it, Murphy's law says it would end up in front of the fabric designer for sure!

    (My great-great-grandmother was a Murphy, wonder if that's why it always happens to me?)

    Thanks to all for a very interesting discussion.

  7. #107

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    Isn't that like copying a painting and then selling it as yours? It's not your design, you should give credit.

  8. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuilterInVA
    Isn't that like copying a painting and then selling it as yours? It's not your design, you should give credit.
    thank you Va quilter, I agree!

  9. #109
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabberone
    I do a lot of research into court cases. If you consider the large number of patterns produced by McCalls, Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity, just the large companies, there is not one federal lawsuit that has gone to trial that involves the use of their patterns that I can locate. One reason is the lack of registered copyrights by them.
    Clothing designs and patterns are not subject to copyright. They are specificly not covered though that exception is often challenged.

  10. #110
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    I have to jump in here. I am a pattern designer and belong
    to a pattern designer's collective. Copyright issues are discussed
    regularly. The statement "My quilt instructor said that if a pattern is modified 40%, you can call it your own and sell it as your own and the items made" is completely wrong. When someone designs a pattern, provides the graphics and writes
    the instructions, that pattern is their copyright. It is a complete misnomer that you can legally change a certain percentage of
    the design and then call it your own. Also, the designer does have the right to say what can be done with that pattern and
    limit whether or not items made from it can be sold, and if so, how many can be sold. I sure would like to know where the person got her facts that made the statement 'the designer doesn't have the right to tell you what you can or can't do, no
    matter what they try to say'.

    The suggestion that you look at Sylvia Landman's site is a great one. She is an authority on copyright laws and it clears up a lot.

    Until you become a designer and try to make a living at it,
    it is hard to understand the 'why' to some of these things, but
    I can say that I have a completely different perspective on it
    now that I am on this side of the coin and not just merely
    someone who uses others patterns for my projects.

  11. #111
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    "My question is: What is the simplest way to find out what blocks/patterns are considered to be in the Public Domain?"

    A block/pattern has to be out there for 70 years before it
    is considered public domain.

  12. #112
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    My question always is "what part of the pattern is truly original" and copyrightable. If a pattern is of say a "Rail Fence" which has been in public domain for many many years, then what makes it copyrightable. I looked at one of the web sites mention that sells patterns and found many just old designs. So what is the copyright on.

  13. #113
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marciacp
    Also, the designer does have the right to say what can be done with that pattern and
    limit whether or not items made from it can be sold, and if so, how many can be sold.
    I would never buy a pattern that had this many don'ts printed on it. I haven't ever seen a pattern design I thought was grand enough to be so special. :roll:


    I haven't bought a pattern since I've learned how to use EQ7. :-D :-D :-D EQ design downloads are on hundreds of quilting groups and blogs and they are free!

  14. #114

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    The new issue of McCall's quilting was in my mailbox today and it has a very informative article on copyright law.

    A copyright lasts for 70 years AFTER the creators death. You cannot make a quilt and display it at a quilt show, etc. without the creators permission.

    Much more. Please read it! Quilters are notarious for breaking the copyright laws.

  15. #115
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    I agree that is not helpful for a designer to put all those
    do's and don't's in her copyright statement. I am not
    one of those designers that puts those kinds of restrictions
    on my patterns for that very reason.

    And, you are right - there are many free patterns now
    available, both for EQ and for blocks of the months,
    etc., which makes it really hard to make a living designing patterns because of those reasons.

    Then, there are many people that do have misconceptions
    about a copyrighted pattern, and some quilters, quilt
    teachers and even shop owners, think that they can take someone's pattern, photocopy it for the members of
    their class or even shop, and hand it out freely. Also,
    many quilters think it is fine to purchase one pattern
    and then pass it out to their quilting group for everyone
    to make - that is completely against anyone's copyright.

    I am on several yahoo quilting groups and they offer
    free quilt patterns quite often, usually designed by someone
    in the group. However, even the designers of those free
    patterns have copyright statements and strict rules on who
    can have access to that pattern and who can't.

    If it is a charity making quilts for say "Wounded Warriors",
    or "Quilts of Valor", I think most designers, if contacted,
    would be happy to give permission for a small group to
    use one pattern for that purpose - I know I would. But
    that has to be the individual designers decision, because
    it is their livelihood that they have to consider.

    Photo copying patterns and freely handing them out
    to classes, quilting groups, etc. goes on all over the
    place many times with no hesitation whatsoever.
    So, designers are forced to try and set some rules
    to hopefully make people stop and think at least.
    And, if they have it stated clearly on their pattern,
    then if a violation has occurred, they can legally
    take measures. This is a very tough issue for
    both the consumer and the designer. Like I said before,
    my perception completely changed when I got on the
    designing side rather than the consumer side.

  16. #116
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    Thank you for adding 70 years after the designers death.
    That is correct. And, yes, quilter's are notorious for
    violating copyright laws. Thanks for that brief, but clear
    note - I tend to be much too wordy - so sorry :).
    Marcia

  17. #117
    JJs
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    thank heavens I haven't bought any patterns...
    I do have books and magazines - guess I'll toss those because I paid for the patterns in them by buying them...
    so pooie poo on somebody claiming my work, my time, my fabric, my quilt..
    I'll design my own in EQ thank you very much

  18. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJs
    thank heavens I haven't bought any patterns...
    I do have books and magazines - guess I'll toss those because I paid for the patterns in them by buying them...
    so pooie poo on somebody claiming my work, my time, my fabric, my quilt..
    I'll design my own in EQ thank you very much
    I don't think you should stop buying patterns or using the ones you have...........the point is......if you make a quilt, etc from a pattern.........just give credit to the original designer......as I said before...........I'm thrilled to have someone use my patterns,
    but just feel better about it if I'm am given credit for the original design..............and also as I said, I really do get upset if someone teaches or copies my designs and distributes to others without my permission....that upsets me!
    Jacqu from the mountains......

  19. #119
    Super Member Luv Quilts and Cats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by knlsmith
    I don't know about patterns like that from magazines. All I know for sure is that each pattern has a copyright of some type, Ususally printed on the back or on their website, and the ones that i use you need permission to sell items made from the pattern.

    I see other people selling places without paying for the right to do so like I did.
    You actually don't need permission to sell things made from any pattern. No matter what the designers think or try to tell you.
    She is right. But if in doubt, you can always check with a lawyer or law clinic.

  20. #120
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    Whew...I'm exhausted reading about this...it has become too confusing. It is a far cry from using up your family's old shirts etc in the old days hasn't it? Nowdays it's all about money. So many people sewing, making patterns, the high tech quilt world has exploded and it's changed into a chance to make $$.
    I first ran into this issue when I would have my quilts machine quilted. In the old days...a whole group may have quilted a quilt, no copyright problem there. My quilters told me, it's your quilt, you don't have to put my name on it because I quilted it on my machine. But now there are awards for it (well deserved) and some famous machine quilters!
    My point? Uh, I don't have one. So I guess I'll go sew for awhile.

  21. #121
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    I agree with you 100%. There are too many patterns, too many of them done with a little difference and under someone else's name. We but it, we use it, we do whatever we want. It is ours to decide what to do.
    I do not have to advertise the company or any body's name.
    You said it very clearly.

  22. #122
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    My question is, how do I know if something I decided to do because I liked the look when I tried it is copyright out there somewhere by somebody else who had the same idea?

    For instance I took strips, stitched them together, cut into triangles and restitched with one of each color set to make a square,dozens if not hundreds of other people have done the same thing. It may even have a "name", but I'm neither claiming it as an original nor planning to look at every book, magazine and website to see who else did it. I'll most likely give it away anyhow, but this discussion is telling me I'd have to do all that research if I did want to sell it???

    Even if I buy a pattern for something, I rarely do it just like the original pattern. For me a pattern is a starting point, not a play by play description of what I'm going to make.

    And if I had to give credit for my inspiration for a given quilt, you most likely would say how on earth did that quilt come out of that picture of something with a totally different design and colors. (At this point in time that's the only one likely to be worthy of entering in a show once it's quilted) I'm thinking of my Around the World in shades of green that was inspired by a magazine cover that was shades of hot pinks, oranges and purples and the only similarity is the shading from one to the next.

    I just don't see how a copyright can cover anything other than the pattern itself, especially with quilt blocks!

  23. #123
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom-6
    My question is, how do I know if something I decided to do because I liked the look when I tried it is copyright out there somewhere by somebody else who had the same idea?
    In order to be guilty of copyright infringement, you must have had access to the original design. If you didn't see it somewhere, you obviously didn't copy it.

  24. #124
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I found out the pattern design may be copyrighted but the instructions how to make the pattern cannot be copyrighted! The law is confusing as to what is a useful item. Patterns for useful items cannot be copyrighted. The package the pattern comes in can be copyrighted.

  25. #125
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I found out the pattern design may be copyrighted but the instructions how to make the pattern cannot be copyrighted! The law is confusing as to what is a useful item. Patterns for useful items cannot be copyrighted. The package the pattern comes in can be copyrighted.
    I don't know your source of information, but the instructions are most certainly copyrightable. Anything you write, illustrate, or photograph is covered by copyright as soon as it is made public. The pattern, the design, and any quilt made from either do not fall under the "useful item" category for copyright purposes as has been demonstrated in court casess.

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