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Thread: Copyrighting Designs

  1. #1
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Someone suggested that I copyright my quilting designs, but I don't know how to go about that. How would I go about getting my designs copyrighted?

  2. #2
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    Try going here
    http://www.copyright.gov/

  3. #3
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    this article is also a "must read". it includes information about things quilter designers can't legally copyright. i refer to it often.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/807.page

  4. #4
    Junior Member ChristineD's Avatar
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    Quilters Newsletter site has information on this subject here. Also information on other site links for this subject. Good luck. Love your designs.

    http://qnm.com/copyright/index.html

  5. #5
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    ...now I'm really confused and wondering if my designs are "original" enough to actually get a copyright.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_V_Goddess
    ...now I'm really confused and wondering if my designs are "original" enough to actually get a copyright.
    Generally, in quiltmaking (although there are exceptions) you copyright a "technique", a pattern, cutting and sewing instructions, etc. So if you develop a really great and unique way to put together a certain quilt, even if it is a fairly common design, you can copyright your pattern. You can not usually copyright the design itself.

  7. #7
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathe
    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_V_Goddess
    ...now I'm really confused and wondering if my designs are "original" enough to actually get a copyright.
    Generally, in quiltmaking (although there are exceptions) you copyright a "technique", a pattern, cutting and sewing instructions, etc. So if you develop a really great and unique way to put together a certain quilt, even if it is a fairly common design, you can copyright your pattern. You can not usually copyright the design itself.
    The Ninja Star and Tsunami quilt both use two common/traditional blocks and the Double Wedding Ring (which still remains nameless) is really just a cool twist on an old favorite...so what you're saying is, even if they use basic blocks, if I can make an interesting and unique pattern out of it I can copyright it?

  8. #8
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    I am saying that when you draft the cutting and assembly instructions and write it all up and publish it (the pattern for making it), you can copyright THAT. I don't know about the actual design/picture of the quilt.

  9. #9
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathe
    I am saying that when you draft the cutting and assembly instructions and write it all up and publish it (the pattern for making it), you can copyright THAT. I don't know about the actual design/picture of the quilt.
    Aaah, I get it now.

    Seems kind of dumb not to be able to copyright the design/picture your cutting and assembly instructions is going to make. At least that's how I see it anyways. Anyone here know if you can copyright the actual design of the quilt?

    And how do you copyright it anyways? I figure its not as simple as putting that little "c" somewhere on your work. I read through one of the links (the one from qnm.com) and I could not get an answer. A lot of it was scenario questions and my brain just turned to butter...and I just don't understand "legal stuff" to begin with.

  10. #10
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    your work, or that part of if that can be legally copyrighted is automatically copyrighted as soon as you publish it in tangible form. you can also register that copyright with the federal government. it takes a bit of time and money but is probably worth it if you plan to publish in large quantities.

    you cannot copyright techniques or methods. they must be patented, which is a separate, complicated and expensive process.

  11. #11
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    your work, or that part of if that can be legally copyrighted is automatically copyrighted as soon as you publish it in tangible form. you can also register that copyright with the federal government. it takes a bit of time and money but is probably worth it if you plan to publish in large quantities.

    you cannot copyright techniques or methods. they must be patented, which is a separate, complicated and expensive process.
    A tangible form? Like a book or magazine publication?

    Could you give me an example of a technique or method? (sorry that all this is going over my head...call it big a "blond" moment).

  12. #12
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    A technique would be a method of doing things, like "Sprinkle with pixie dust to ensure perfect points"

    Strip piecing, rotary cutting, and applique are all techniques.

    I see a lot of traditional patterns being sold, both as patterns or kits, whic are just combinations of classic blocks, dressed up in designer fabric. I really can't tell where the lines are. I used to colllect antique quilts, and see many of those blocks emerging as "new" again

  13. #13
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    in a strictly technical sense, as soon as you print/ something on paper another solid medium (like a painting) or post it on a website - assuming it's your original work - you automatically have the copyrights.

    most copyright statements are very vague. "copyright, blah, blah, blah - all rights reserved." in the case of patterns, the author retains control over what you do with the pattern and what you do with whatever you make from the pattern. (I think. I'm not a lawyer.) You'd even have to be careful about entering something made from somebody else's pattern in a quilt show.

    let's use mice as examples.

    Mice have been around for who-knows how long. They are everywhere. There are bazillions of different species of mice. so, if i want to draw a picture of a my own mouse, or write a story about him, or make a quilt based on himm or write a little book that tells you how to do those things yourself, nobody can tell me i can't - as long as the words are mine and i'm not copying somebody else's drawing or quilt, etc.

    Mickey Mouse, on the other hand, is Mickey Mouse. We know who thought him up; who drew him for the first time; who "brought him to life" and made him a part of our lives. The rights to Mickey Mouse are legally and ethically owned and controlled. I can't legally do much - if anything at all - using his image without Disney's permission. I also can't give him a moustache, call him Mikey Mouse and sell him as my own.

    The same goes for Jerry, from the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Or Mighty Mouse. Or, my favorite - The Brain - that hillarious mouse who keeps plotting to rule the world.

    Do you see the difference?

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