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Thread: Ethical question?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

    Ethical question?

    I recently saw a quilt that really sparked an inspiration. The quilt is part regular piecing, part paper piecing. Although the paper piecing portions are very nice I would like to do the quilt with raw edge applique and use different designs in those blocks. I figure the quilt would be about 50% original layout and 50% my design.

    My dilemna is ... should I buy the pattern? If it was just $10 I probably would not even hesitate and just never open it, but its pricey at $25 and its very, very detailed as it includes patterns for all the paper-piecing which I would never use. The basic layout is 5 large HST (16") with paper-piecing in one half of the triangle - that's where I would applique and 3 nine-patch blocks (16") and one blank block.

    This is not a copyright issue, I have no intention of selling my version as a pattern. I would be creating a quilt to be auctioned at a fundraiser.

    I feel like I would be paying $25 for a simple arrangement of 9 blocks of HST & 9-patch. But I feel conflicted since the pattern designer's hard work obviously inspired me to take the quilt in a different direction.

    Thank you for any input.

  2. #2
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    I draft alot of my own patterns that I have gotten inspiration from quilts I have seen. I drafted it , so I feel no obligation to purchase a pattern. If that was the case ... it would be a long and hard search to find the originator of the log cabin block.. as there are so many patterns out there that "got inspiration" from the original. Same goes for nine patch .. the list goes on.

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    It sounds to me like the parts of the design that you wish to "copy" (or incorporate into your design) are not original elements. IMHO, using this quilt as inspiration is not unethical. We all use other quilts for inspiration. It would be a different matter if you were going to copy an original design.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    Blog Entries
    inspiration comes from everywhere- without guilt! if you have no intention or need of using the pattern there is no reason to purchase the pattern- make your quilt as you envision your quilt- it is not an ethical/non ethical situation. you do not plan to copy her quilt- so- carry on. crossing that line comes into play when you see a quilt somewhere- take pictures of it then go buy the fabrics & copy it- making one just like it...it does not sound as if that is your plan at all.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Knot Merrill, Southern Indiana
    I agree with the others ... no need to buy the pattern unless there are elements in it that you want to use, that you cannot recreate. So many blocks are "common domain". If you know how to make the block she used in the pattern (not the PP part) then use that block and design your own quilt.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.


  6. #6
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Canadian in Minnesota
    We all use other quilts for inspiration, and you shouldn't feel guilty. Think of it as a compliment to the original designer. My avatar received its color inspiration from a quilt I saw online that had a totally different pattern. I decided on the checkerboard border because I saw one on a beautiful appliqued quilt done in autumn colors. I decided on the stars when I saw a lovely christmas table runner. As long as you aren't making an exact copy, selling it and claiming it as your own, you are just fine.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  7. #7
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    It sounds to me like the parts of the design that you wish to "copy" (or incorporate into your design) are not original elements. IMHO, using this quilt as inspiration is not unethical. We all use other quilts for inspiration. It would be a different matter if you were going to copy an original design.
    Ditto for me. If I want to use someone's original design element, I'll buy the pattern, but if I'm just using a layout of traditional shapes or blocks and adding my own original elements, then I consider it "my" design. If it's close to someone else's design that I have seen, I'll state "inspired by..."

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Maine-ly Florida
    Would someone look at it and say that's Susie Designer's work right away?

  9. #9
    Super Member starshine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I agree, if you aren't making the exact same pattern it isn't infringement.

  10. #10
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Piedmont Virginia in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns.
    Let's look at it this way......
    If you were in love with Jinny Beyer's MoonGlow quilt, say you saw it here, http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...n-t211614.html, and knew you could draft it and make it yourself without a pattern, and you wanted to enter it for winning into a judged show where there was a monetary prize for winners, would you/could you do that without problems? I doubt it.

    Say you made a Judy Niemeyer paper-pieced quilt that your local quilt shop had sold the pattern for and offered many classes in, but you’d chosen all your own colors and pieced it all without using papers and even changed up the center and borders on your own. Could you sell that quilt or teach it independently without requiring your student to buy the pattern from Niemeyer? I believe the answer is no.

    The law that I have read on the government site http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap13.html#1301 says:
    1301. Designs protected2

    (1) In general. — The designer or other owner of an original design of a useful article which makes the article attractive or distinctive in appearance to the purchasing or using public may secure the protection provided by this chapter upon complying with and subject to this chapter.
    (2) A design is “original” if it is the result of the designer's creative endeavor that provides a distinguishable variation over prior work pertaining to similar articles which is more than merely trivial and has not been copied from another source.
    1308. Exclusive rights

    The owner of a design protected under this chapter has the exclusive right to —
    (1) make, have made, or import, for sale or for use in trade, any useful article embodying that design; and
    (2) sell or distribute for sale or for use in trade any useful article embodying that design.

    This why I design my own patterns and don't use for inspirations those designs that are well known, easily recognized, or seem to come from well known quilters. It's just plain safer and smarter, and certainly more respectful of the designer.

    "It's not a matter of right or wrong, but what is the wise thing to do."

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

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