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Thread: Copyright questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    Copyright questions

    Our church has a christmas bazaar every year to raise money for their emergency shelter in our neighborhood. This is very important since we live quite a distance from town. My neighbor and I make things and donate them to the bazaar to help out.

    My neighbor and I were talking about making a quilt for next year's bizarre. I saw a wonderful pattern on the web that we decided we wanted to make. ....Plus I love the way and the colors that were used in the article. After looking at the pattern, I realize that the color scheme was the stores creativity and not the pattern.

    We have no problem in attributing the pattern design to the author of the pattern. We also don't have a problem with attributing the color scheme with the store who had it on display.


    What things do we need to do so that we are morally and legally giving credit where credit is due.
    Kathyj


  2. #2
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Try calling the store or email and asking. I can't imagine a shop not being thrilled to have free advertising.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I don't think there's any legal or moral requirement to give attribution for copying someone's choice of colors, especially if they were displayed on the internet with the pattern, but it would be a nice thing to do. If a quilt is going to be displayed, you technically need to get the permission of the pattern's author, but this permission is almost always freely given.

  4. #4
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    I wouldn't usually worry about the color scheme. There is only one case I know of where color scheme was involved in a legal case & upheld. The tricky part is whether you/the charity can sell a quilt based on someone else's design without their permission. You'll find loads of discussions on this topic here on the board. Honestly, there just isn't a whole lot of legal precedent so designers claim their designs are protected & people who use those designs without permission claim they aren't. To be clear, if a design were to be covered by copyright/patent, the US Fair Use law states "Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission." An IP attorney could best advise you on the issue. To avoid all the controversy, I always make sure to get permission from the designer before using either a design or a pattern to create a quilt I either plan to sell or give to charity for an auction. That may be overkill, but it's what I do.

    And by the way ... I think it's wonderful if you also want to notate the sources of your inspiration. Just because it isn't necessary, doesn't mean it isn't nice to do.

  5. #5
    Super Member nabobw's Avatar
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    There was a post here on the board saying that once a pattern is up for sale the byer can do what they choose to do with it.

  6. #6
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    I'm not sure whether or not you need permission from the designer legally but it would be nice to ask. I think it is likely that if you explain that you are only making one quilt, the quilt will be sold for charitable purposes and what that charity is, you will get permission.

  7. #7
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I don't think there's any legal or moral requirement to give attribution for copying someone's choice of colors, especially if they were displayed on the internet with the pattern, but it would be a nice thing to do. If a quilt is going to be displayed, you technically need to get the permission of the pattern's author, but this permission is almost always freely given.
    The color scheme...likely not a big deal. Email the Designer and ask permission to use the pattern for the raffle and give details. Give credit to the designer on the quilt label. Easy. Keep the email that grants permission. I still have my Pam Bono email granting her permission for ours! This should not be an ordeal. CYA
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  8. #8
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Very interesting information. I never worried about using a pattern and then selling the quilt. Most of my patterns then when I was selling, the company that has the copyright of the pattern knew that I was selling them and then even had my quilts photographed in their books.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  9. #9
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Visit the website of ( Intellectual Property of the Little Guy) he discusses the many situations dealing with copyright laws and shares the details of court cases, past, present and on going. Lots of good information to answer all those questions and to help you avoid becoming one of the featured cases.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  10. #10
    Senior Member NatalieF's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting article written by a lawyer who's also a quilter on just this subject!

    http://whileshenaps.com/2014/03/can-...g-pattern.html

  11. #11
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    The only time you could get in trouble (and I really doubt even then) is if you mass produced something and sold it in quantity. But, morally, it would be nice to print up a 5 x 7 sign saying pattern designed by _____ and original color ideas from store_____. This allows you to credit the person and perhaps lets another quilter start a new project. The exception to this is when you use licensed items. Example would be using disney images on quilts, totes or apparel items for sale. Disney is very diligent about attending large fairs and swap meets looking for their product. But, to make something that is raising money for a church or raffling for a charity is not something they would pursue.

  12. #12
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klswift View Post
    Disney is very diligent about attending large fairs and swap meets looking for their product. But, to make something that is raising money for a church or raffling for a charity is not something they would pursue.
    Respectfully, unless something has changed, I used to work for Disney & they absolutely would pursue infringement even if it was for a charity raffle.

    The difficulty is the cost of litigation. There are people who argue that simply putting a notice about copyright on a selvage is not sufficient to prove a binding contract. I don't know if that's true or not. What I do know is that I cannot afford to pay an attorney to defend me against a large, well-funded corporation for what would drag on for at least 2 years in court (likely much longer since corporate attorneys will often file for continuances in order to force the other party to drop the case or settle). As a result, Disney pretty much always gets their way when enforcing copyrights. The licensing agreement is between the fabric manufacturer & Disney, not the end users. Unfortunately, unless you have a few million dollars lying around for legal fees & court costs, you'll never get your day in court to prove anything.

  13. #13
    Senior Member NatalieF's Avatar
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    I'm really baffled by this. I can understand that if you say, make your own version of Mickey Mouse and tried to sell that, that it would be infringement of copyright. Can they really enforce copyright on a Mickey Mouse printed licensed fabric and you selling an item made with that fabric? What's the point of them creating and selling licensed fabric in the first place, if you can't do what you want with it? Or am I understanding this wrong? (my poor, poor brain! LOL)

  14. #14
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Natalie,
    I think that, legally, you are correct that we can use whatever fabric we bought legally in our quilts & can even sell those quilts (http://info.legalzoom.com/can-make-i...ric-21253.html) Unfortunately, not every lawyer is honest, and even those that are have an obligation to zealously represent their client's interest which can make for quite a headache.

    Of course, the design for quilts is a totally separate issue. If there's no pattern (i.e., you saw the actual quilt at a show) then you really do need to get permission to make a very similar quilt, unless the design is either in Public Domain or copyleft. If there is a pattern, it's anyone's guess. Seems like something as simple as making quilts should not be shrouded in so much complexity. I'm glad for copyrights since I believe it fosters new & innovative designs, but all the legal stuff is just plain frustrating!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nabobw View Post
    There was a post here on the board saying that once a pattern is up for sale the byer can do what they choose to do with it.
    The only thing they can't do is make copies of the pattern. You can make things from the pattern and sell them, and you can sell the original pattern you bought. You can loan someone the original pattern you bought, you just can't make a copy and give them that. No one has a copyright on a color scheme. If you buy a pattern you can make it in what ever colors you want. Even if a pattern claims you cannot make the quilt and sell it you still can because they can't do that. There is no law against selling something that is yours. If you make a quilt it is yours to do with as you wish. Copyright is the right to copy and it applies to the pattern only. You can't make copies of the pattern and sell them or give them away. Other than that you are good to go. Someone can file a lawsuit about anything they want, doesn't mean they are in the right.

    It's just like a book. They are copyrighted. If I buy a book I can loan it to someone else to read. I can sell it or donate it when I'm done with it. It's my book. I can cut all the pages out an wallpaper a room even if the author doesn't like it. What I can't do it make copies of it. I know no one does that , but its the same rule even though a book is not as easy to run off on a copy machine as a quilt pattern.

    Somethings that people think are copyright issues on here are just goofy beyond belief.

  16. #16
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zyngawf View Post
    The only thing they can't do is make copies of the pattern. You can make things from the pattern and sell them, and you can sell the original pattern you bought. You can loan someone the original pattern you bought, you just can't make a copy and give them that. No one has a copyright on a color scheme. If you buy a pattern you can make it in what ever colors you want. Even if a pattern claims you cannot make the quilt and sell it you still can because they can't do that. There is no law against selling something that is yours. If you make a quilt it is yours to do with as you wish. Copyright is the right to copy and it applies to the pattern only. You can't make copies of the pattern and sell them or give them away. Other than that you are good to go. Someone can file a lawsuit about anything they want, doesn't mean they are in the right.

    It's just like a book. They are copyrighted. If I buy a book I can loan it to someone else to read. I can sell it or donate it when I'm done with it. It's my book. I can cut all the pages out an wallpaper a room even if the author doesn't like it. What I can't do it make copies of it. I know no one does that , but its the same rule even though a book is not as easy to run off on a copy machine as a quilt pattern.

    Somethings that people think are copyright issues on here are just goofy beyond belief.
    No kidding.

  17. #17
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    Natalie,

    Of course, the design for quilts is a totally separate issue. If there's no pattern (i.e., you saw the actual quilt at a show) then you really do need to get permission to make a very similar quilt, unless the design is either in Public Domain or copyleft. If there is a pattern, it's anyone's guess. Seems like something as simple as making quilts should not be shrouded in so much complexity. I'm glad for copyrights since I believe it fosters new & innovative designs, but all the legal stuff is just plain frustrating!
    And that is the question that bugs all of us. If I have to get permission from someone to make a quilt I saw, then to whom do I ask. How do I know that that quilt wasn't derived from yet another picture or quilt. IOW, how is one to find the "original source" of any given quilt that they see?

    How does one kniw if a quilt pattern is in public domain? What about the blocks from which the patterns are derived?...

    Random thoughts...
    -As I understand it, no one can copyright geometric shapes, or specific colors.
    -There are some who would like to claim everything as "theirs".
    -If they want to be like that, and I know about them, I give them a wide, wide berth and avoid their stuff, and I actually prefer to not even know what they are doing.
    -Of course, I may inadvertently make something quite similar to theirs.

    I think I'll happily sink into my own little world.
    Last edited by justflyingin; 12-05-2015 at 05:20 AM.

  18. #18
    Super Member Annie68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    Try calling the store or email and asking. I can't imagine a shop not being thrilled to have free advertising.
    Best answer to OP's question!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    Respectfully, unless something has changed, I used to work for Disney & they absolutely would pursue infringement even if it was for a charity raffle.

    The difficulty is the cost of litigation. There are people who argue that simply putting a notice about copyright on a selvage is not sufficient to prove a binding contract. I don't know if that's true or not. What I do know is that I cannot afford to pay an attorney to defend me against a large, well-funded corporation for what would drag on for at least 2 years in court (likely much longer since corporate attorneys will often file for continuances in order to force the other party to drop the case or settle). As a result, Disney pretty much always gets their way when enforcing copyrights. The licensing agreement is between the fabric manufacturer & Disney, not the end users. Unfortunately, unless you have a few million dollars lying around for legal fees & court costs, you'll never get your day in court to prove anything.
    If you make fabric with disney images, yes that would be infringement. If you buy it and make quilts and sell them it isn't. Disney has the money to drag a court case on for years and make someone else miserable even if they are wrong and they would be. I don't like disney for a lot of reasons, now I have another one.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatalieF View Post
    I'm really baffled by this. I can understand that if you say, make your own version of Mickey Mouse and tried to sell that, that it would be infringement of copyright. Can they really enforce copyright on a Mickey Mouse printed licensed fabric and you selling an item made with that fabric? What's the point of them creating and selling licensed fabric in the first place, if you can't do what you want with it? Or am I understanding this wrong? (my poor, poor brain! LOL)
    No you are right. Unfortunately Disney is big can drag a lawsuit out and get their way even though they are wrong. Big corporations can do that even if they are wrong. I think all of us should consider never buying any disney fabric. Sometimes justice can be bought if you have enough money.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    Natalie,
    I think that, legally, you are correct that we can use whatever fabric we bought legally in our quilts & can even sell those quilts (http://info.legalzoom.com/can-make-i...ric-21253.html) Unfortunately, not every lawyer is honest, and even those that are have an obligation to zealously represent their client's interest which can make for quite a headache.

    Of course, the design for quilts is a totally separate issue. If there's no pattern (i.e., you saw the actual quilt at a show) then you really do need to get permission to make a very similar quilt, unless the design is either in Public Domain or copyleft. If there is a pattern, it's anyone's guess. Seems like something as simple as making quilts should not be shrouded in so much complexity. I'm glad for copyrights since I believe it fosters new & innovative designs, but all the legal stuff is just plain frustrating!
    No you don't need to get permission. If a design is so easy that someone can look at it and figure out how to do it I don't see the issue. No one can tell you what you can sew or create with the materials you buy. If the quilt pattern you create is such an easy one I think you're wasting money if you try to sue people. And I would think you would have to prove someone copied yours rather than it coming from their own head. How are you going to do that?

  22. #22
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    Thank uou everyone for the information and links. I appreciate the help.

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