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Thread: More discusion about copyright issues

  1. #1
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    More discusion about copyright issues

    I recently bought a book of craft patterns and saw one that I thought I would like to make and sell on etsy. The book had the usual "copyright" statements and that you needed permission for whatever. I though that this meant pernission from the the pattern designer to make and SELL her item. I contacted the the designer and was told NO I could not sell her item on etsy since she also sells this item.(I could make for personal use) I did not make this item to sell on etsy. Questions- Could I have sold this item at another place since designer would not know?. Should I have made it anyway since copyright rules may not apply? Or could I have altered the pattern slightly and still claimed it as my own design? Comments? I am not exactly sure what the copyright statesment were since I returned the book to Amazon since I was not going to use it.

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    Copyright is very technical and very tricky. I like to stay completely on safe side. I think you did the right thing.
    One time in surfing the net, I ran across a finished quilt that was for sale on a private website. It was an exact replica of a famous designer(Nancy) in her Landscape Book. I wrote to Sewing with Nancy and gave her the website. She wrote back and said it was violation of copyright, and thanked me. The private website, removed the Replica Quilt.

    Traditional Quilt blocks are not copyrighted, to my knowledge, so they can be created and sold, at least this is my understanding.

  3. #3
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    I don't know what to tell you. It's such a complicated issue and there are conflicting stories depending on who you ask. This was just recently discussed on the board, search for copyright and see if those threads are any help to you. Personally I think if you alter the design some, you should be okay but don't know if that's legally correct.
    Heather

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    To me I feel that if it was published then the copyright was no longer valid. Once you make something pubic then it is yours to do with as you please. Telling you not to sell on Etsy because she sells it on there is like you telling me not to sell my stove in a yard sale because you have a stove in a yardsale, Just my thoughts.
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    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Sounds like this is one where the pattern is copyrighted, but pattern designer cannot dictate what you do with items made, unless you are mass producing. However, I agree with being safe and would have not kept the book either. If she wants that much control, she needs to not publish her patterns! Why should we let her make that $ by buying her book if we cannot do as we want with the items made????

  6. #6
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    If you change something about a pattern, then it becomes your original, right? Why not make some minor difference in the pattern, like an appliqué and make it yours? I do that with recipes all the time. I seldom ever go exactly by the recipe.

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    I always read the copyright BEFORE I buy any pattern or book.... and never buy any with copyright that is restrictive--can't sell items at craft fairs, etc.... Another set of patterns to avoid are the Atkinson's.... can't make and sell these either....

    If your pattern came from somebody else's pattern you saw it is still theirs--is the way I understand it. The IDEA came from 'their hard work....' or that is the way I understand it...

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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsister63 View Post
    I recently bought a book of craft patterns and saw one that I thought I would like to make and sell on etsy. The book had the usual "copyright" statements and that you needed permission for whatever. I though that this meant pernission from the the pattern designer to make and SELL her item. I contacted the the designer and was told NO I could not sell her item on etsy since she also sells this item.(I could make for personal use) I did not make this item to sell on etsy. Questions- Could I have sold this item at another place since designer would not know?. Should I have made it anyway since copyright rules may not apply? Or could I have altered the pattern slightly and still claimed it as my own design? Comments? I am not exactly sure what the copyright statesment were since I returned the book to Amazon since I was not going to use it.
    Copyright aside, did you really think a designer that's selling an item would actually give permission for somebody to sell the same item? If she really doesn't want somebody making and selling her item then she shouldn't have sold the pattern. Once the pattern is sold she relinquishes all control over any product made from the pattern she sold. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    This copyright stuff is horrible. I'm glad I don't sell my quilts. I even heard you can't give them away without permission. Do they expect us to keep all the quilts we make? So, if you add an extra border or make the border a different size, would that constitute a different pattern and then you can sell it?
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    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    The question is "is each pattern copyrighted?" Or is the book copyrighted (words, phrases)? I would have asked the designer for the copyright #. I am wondering if their is a lawyer quilter who can shed some light on this. I am not a scoff law - but I would ask for more clarifying information from the designer to see what legal tool covers her words. If I use sequins to make a design/pattern, and market the design in my book without legally copyrighting the design but the book is copyrighted, who am I to restrict free trade? If the book gives directions on how to make the pattern isn't that implied permission to use their design? Then any fabric store that sells a copyrighted fabric is breaking the law. They are profitting from the copyrighted design.

    Gee I am confused.
    Quote Originally Posted by bigsister63 View Post
    I recently bought a book of craft patterns and saw one that I thought I would like to make and sell on etsy. The book had the usual "copyright" statements and that you needed permission for whatever. I though that this meant pernission from the the pattern designer to make and SELL her item. I contacted the the designer and was told NO I could not sell her item on etsy since she also sells this item.(I could make for personal use) I did not make this item to sell on etsy. Questions- Could I have sold this item at another place since designer would not know?. Should I have made it anyway since copyright rules may not apply? Or could I have altered the pattern slightly and still claimed it as my own design? Comments? I am not exactly sure what the copyright statesment were since I returned the book to Amazon since I was not going to use it.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

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    Junior Member Hemlock Tea's Avatar
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    My thinking- and I'm no lawyer- is that it's the wording, pictures, etc that are copyrighted- so you can't make a photocopy of a book or pattern and sell or distribute them. The final product of those directions, however, is yours to do with as you please, whatever disclaimer they may want to put on the pattern. It's like a recipe- you can't copyright a recipe, you can only copyright the way it is written- that's why companies like Coca Cola and KFC are so secretive of their ingredients- once the exact formula is out there, there's nothing they can do about competitors using it, and why you can find recipes from books, magazines, etc on websites like food.com, as long as they are not copied word for word from the original source.

    I'm not interested in selling things other people have designed, so it's not a big deal to me one way or the other, but I do agree that if they don't want you selling things, they shouldn't publish the pattern...

    Again, I'm not a lawyer.
    QMFAO

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    If no credit is given to the designer when selling a quilt made from a copyrighted pattern then that's a violation of copyright as I see it. If the designer says I can't display or sell the quilt, that's only a rule. Rules are not copyrights.

    If I was going to sell ten of the quilts then I would buy ten patterns. That way the designer gets what she is entitled to by law.
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    Junior Member JMCDA's Avatar
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    You buy ONE pattern = you can make ONE of whatever the pattern is for your own personal use and enjoyment/enlightenment/education... or a FEW of each item as long as they are intended for your own personal use and enjoyment.

    For your own personal use and enjoyment and/or education is the key here - the designers are not selling the patterns for you to turn around and create income from them - they are selling you the right to make a copy of the item that they probably put years of hard work, time and creativity into the making of the original.

    The purchase price of the pattern is your cost to be allowed to share in their hard work...to be allowed to enjoy their creativity and make whatever they made to enjoy for yourself.

    Yes you may give your finished copy away without permission!
    Yes, you may sell your finished copy if somewhere down the road you decide that you don't like it, don't need it or for whatever reason it no longer fits into your life (just the same as you can sell or give away any other possession that you own)

    However:
    Purchasing a pattern with the intention of creating for resale/income and then selling the items you create from the pattern is an infringement of copyright...only the copyright holder has the legal rights and ability to create income from her/his intellectual property.
    Last edited by JMCDA; 04-13-2012 at 11:54 AM. Reason: spelin miztak

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    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    A copy right only protects the copying of the written words. Once a pattern is purchased the owner who purchased the pattern has the right to do with the finished product as they see fit.
    Intelectual property would be covered by a patent, if what was developed was indeed so unique , patient laws would be used.

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    Talking

    @ JMCDA and Lori S :
    I'm very interested in this issue of copyright when it comes to creating items to sell on Etsy, etc., and after reading both of your posts above, I was curious if either of you have documentation for your statements regarding copyright (i.e. do your statements reflect what you've read about copyright law, and if so, could you direct me to a link where I could read up on that info), or were your statements based on personal opinion/personal experience?

    In my own personal experience, I've contacted a pattern designer in the past, asking for permission to sell items made from her patterns on Etsy, and I was told 'Yes, and thanks for asking. Just remember to credit me as the actual designer of the pattern when mentioning it on Etsy, and I'm fine with that' (paraphrase =) However, I'm still looking for a good resource for researching copyright law, so that I can make sure that whatever I do is on the 'up and up', and if either of you could point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

  16. #16
    Junior Member JMCDA's Avatar
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    I draw on a career of almost 30 yrs as an artist and art teacher. I am an award winning published fine artist by profession who also teaches and sells design packets to the Decorative art industry. The copyright laws that protect my intellectual property in the art business are the same laws that protect anyone in any industry that creates intellectual property - which is automatically protected at time of creation btw. Patents are not required to protect intellectual property from infringement.

    I have more than a few friends who have spent years in court fighting infringement claims against companies that thought they could make and sell items with the artwork of the artist on it without permission - every time the big company lost. (think cute snowmen on gift items and a big national store) I have many times had studios teach my designs without permission and without even purchasing the patterns for each student in the class - each time I have found out about this I have confronted them and been compensated for my lost income.
    Many times I have had painters submit a copy of one of my paintings to a juried art show representing it as their own work (yes they painted it but it is NOT their own work...it is a copy of my work)

    For all of those reasons I went into limited retirement a few years ago and rarely teach or sell packets...although I have a class of 17 tomorrow that I should be preparing for. :-) I am a life long sewer and quilter who now has more time to enjoy my hobby....but I still do my own thing and rarely buy books or patterns.

    "only the copyright holder has the legal right to derive income from their own intellectual property" is the accepted legal ruling.

    If the copyright holder wishes to give permission to someone else to derive income from their pattern then they may do so if they wish - but you have to get specific permission outlining your intentions in writing for it to be valid...and to protect yourself!

    The eventual selling the "one off" copy that you made from the pattern that you purchased is not the same as selling items from a pattern that you purchased for the intention of using to make items to sell - the intention or motivation for the intitial purchase is totally different.

    In your experience, the copyright holder decided that you would be allowed to derive income from her pattern by selling items on Etsy...
    ...the next time you contact a designer - and please do so in writing not verbally for your own protection as a phone call is just a phone call- she may say no and you must respect her wishes, no way around it.

    if in doubt always ask for permission! Ignorance is not the best defence in any situation. Creative people deserve every chance they can find to create income from their creativity - otherwise they may have to give it up and get a real job...and then there won't be any pretty patterns for anyone to enjoy.

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    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    With all due respect, JMCDA, you are comparing watermelon and grapes. There is a world of difference between the copyright of a painting and the copyright of a pattern. True, neither can be duplicated beyond personal use, for profit or otherwise, but in the case of the pattern, it is only the written instructions that are copyright protected, not the resulting items made by following those instructions.

    Look at it this way. If you published a book of "How to Draw Crickets", you would have full copyright protection on the book. No one could copy your book and sell it...or even give it away for that matter. You would not, however, have any right at all to prevent legal purchasers of your book from drawing crickets just like you taught them and then selling those drawings however and whenever they wanted within the limits of reason (i.e., not setting up a factory in China to mass produce them).

    The full intention of a set of instructions (aka, a pattern), is to teach someone how to make something. You cannot turn around and deny them the right to make it. The creator of the instructions has no claim over what is done with the resulting items. None. They received their compensation when the instructions were sold.
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    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Copyright laws are confusing, and where is the legal "teeth" to back up the laws. If designers have all of the quilters thrown in jail for violations, then who will buy their patterns. The way I look at it when you buy the pattern, the designer has control over the pattern itself from people photo copying their product, but controlzing the quilt that is made from the pattern is crazy, as long as you are not claiming the design. I do feel for the designers as they are trying to make a business just like everyone else. That is why when someone asks me for a copy of a pattern, I just politely give them the name of the pattern and where they can buy it themselves.

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    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Me personally I think if people want to sell there items they should sell them and not sell the pattern for that reason. We buy patterns to make items. There are copyrights even in books. To me it just borders on ridiculous, if you got your money from us buying your pattern then to me that should be where their control over it ends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltngolfer View Post
    If you change something about a pattern, then it becomes your original, right? Why not make some minor difference in the pattern, like an appliqué and make it yours? I do that with recipes all the time. I seldom ever go exactly by the recipe.
    oh heavens NO! that would be like putting a blonde wig on the Monalisa and saying it was YOUR art work...NOT going to happen...read up on copyright at the actual copyright site http://www.copyright.gov/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    NOT, refer to this site:
    http://www.copyright.gov/

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    With all due respect, JMCDA, you are comparing watermelon and grapes. There is a world of difference between the copyright of a painting and the copyright of a pattern. True, neither can be duplicated beyond personal use, for profit or otherwise, but in the case of the pattern, it is only the written instructions that are copyright protected, not the resulting items made by following those instructions.

    Look at it this way. If you published a book of "How to Draw Crickets", you would have full copyright protection on the book. No one could copy your book and sell it...or even give it away for that matter. You would not, however, have any right at all to prevent legal purchasers of your book from drawing crickets just like you taught them and then selling those drawings however and whenever they wanted within the limits of reason (i.e., not setting up a factory in China to mass produce them).

    The full intention of a set of instructions (aka, a pattern), is to teach someone how to make something. You cannot turn around and deny them the right to make it. The creator of the instructions has no claim over what is done with the resulting items. None. They received their compensation when the instructions were sold.
    with all due respect, this is NOT always the case. If that person sells a pattern for you to make her "doll" and says that you can not make that doll to sell, she is correct...IF the designer own the Pattent/Trademark for that "doll"!

    When there is a Trademark/patent on the item, then yes, the designer can tell you that making replica's for sale is illegal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok View Post
    with all due respect, this is NOT always the case. If that person sells a pattern for you to make her "doll" and says that you can not make that doll to sell, she is correct...IF the designer own the Pattent/Trademark for that "doll"!

    When there is a Trademark/patent on the item, then yes, the designer can tell you that making replica's for sale is illegal!
    take the famous "bow tuck" purse...should that designer suddenly decide to change her course of action and get a Trademark on that name, you could no longer make any purses using that name!

    Just ask anyone who tries to sell a Jane Stickle replica quilt by the name Dear Jane!

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