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Thread: Question about copyright

  1. #1
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Question about copyright

    I was hoping someone might be able to help.

    I saw a fairly simple geometric design on the internet and thought it would make a great quilt. I found lots of pictures with the same design but I can't find anything about who might have designed it. I googled copyright free designs and it comes up on numerous sites but you have to pay for the digital copy but it says it is "royalty free".

    Even with my basic art skills LOL I have drawn out the pattern, can I use that design? If I enter my quilt in a show do I put it down as my design? I am fairly new at this and would hate to get this wrong.

    Thanks for your advice
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Good Question. I'm curious to see what others have to say. If you were just going to make a quilt for personal use, i would say there's no problem. I've made quilts where I've drafted the pattern from a quilt I saw online, so I hope this is the case!

    If you were going to market the pattern, or sell the finished quilt, you would probably have issues.

    Don't know about using it in a show.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    A fairly simple geometric design in itself probably can't be copyrighted. Imagine what would happen if somebody had copyrighted a square.

  4. #4
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    Why are you asking for legal advice here? I mean, half of us aren't from the your country, and I can't imagine the other half has a clue? If it's something you're that worried about, you really should be asking a lawyer, right?
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  5. #5
    Member masimmons's Avatar
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    If the image is as common as you say and it is located on several different websites for different companies or different things and the diagram does not have a registration mark (r with a circle around it), TM in one of the corners, or some other mark to indicate ownership, then it is not trademarked. In the US, searches can be done by the general public on the federal website. There is bound to be a government entity in your country that issues trademarks and copyrights. I would look there under the FAQs. If you are still uncomfortable after reading the information on these websites, then you may want to check in with a lawyer that is licensed to practice in you country. (My education in law does not reach as far as Australian law)Best of luck!

  6. #6
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    You can use the design in anything you make but can't mass market it or claim it as your own if you use a bought pattern. If you drew your own design that looks the same then say inspired by the designer. I don't fret over copyrights as long as I don't claim the pattern as my own or reproduce the pattern for sale.
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  7. #7
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be overly concerned about it Woody. In most quilt shows they just want you to give credit if you used someone's pattern. There was a big bru-ha-ha about a year ago with McCalls quilt magazine publishing inaccurate info on copyright issues and entering quilt shows. It cause many shows to go into a tailspin demanding quilters who made a quilt from a pattern they did not design themselves get written permission from pattern designers that they could in fact enter the quilt in competition. In fact it caused untold amounts of grief for poor Bonnie Hunter, she was inundated with requests. She finally put something on her website that anyone is free to exhibit a quilt they made using her patterns and to please quit emailing her as it was completely overloading her in box.

    It later came out that McCalls was dead wrong in their article but I don't think they ever printed a retraction. If you enter a show there with a pattern you drafted yourself but inspired from a picture on the net I think that is ample information to submit with your entry application and it is doubtful you have infringed on anyones copyright.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 04-08-2012 at 06:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    I wouldn't be overly concerned about it Woody. In most quilt shows they just want you to give credit if you used someone's pattern. There was a big bru-ha-ha about a year ago with McCalls quilt magazine publishing inaccurate info on copyright issues and entering quilt shows. It cause many shows to go into a tailspin demanding quilters who made a quilt from a pattern they did not design themselves get written permission from pattern designers that they could in fact enter the quilt in competition. In fact it caused untold amounts of grief for poor Bonnie Hunter, she was inundated with requests. She finally put something on her website that anyone is free to exhibit a quilt they made using her patterns and to please quit emailing her as it was completely overloading her in box.

    It later came out that McCalls was dead wrong in their article but I don't think they ever printed a retraction. If you enter a show there with a pattern you drafted yourself but inspired from a picture on the net I think that is ample information to submit with your entry application and it is doubtful you have infringed on anyones copyright.
    And this is precisely why you never ask strangers (or even faaaabulous friends) on quilting board questions that should be sent to an attorney. Those who try to help (with good intentions of course) will most likely be wrong... even McCalls magazine was off their rocker, by a long shot.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  9. #9
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your advice, I think I will just go with it, as it is a geometric design that anyone could draw themselves, I will check with my guild when I finish it if there are any issues with entering it in a show.

    I really don't think I would bother with the expense of asking an attorney for advice like this, when there are so many helpful, friendly and knowledgeable people right here on the quilting board, I did check the design and there is no "R" in a circle, so I should be OK. If not, then I will make myself a quilt that I will love!

    Thanks again everyone!!!!!!
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  10. #10
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I think you'd be okay as long as you didn't try to make money from it.

  11. #11
    QM
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    Simple patterns are generally also public domain, having been designed a century or more ago. If you invest in something like Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, you will find that most of the patterns in quilting magazines are really the same old things. If you are hunting for free well written patterns, there are lots of sites allowing you to download without cost. I like www.quilterscache.com There are lots of patterns posted here that are available. If you are not sure, you can PM the person who posted it.

  12. #12
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QM View Post
    Simple patterns are generally also public domain, having been designed a century or more ago. If you invest in something like Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, you will find that most of the patterns in quilting magazines are really the same old things. If you are hunting for free well written patterns, there are lots of sites allowing you to download without cost. I like www.quilterscache.com There are lots of patterns posted here that are available. If you are not sure, you can PM the person who posted it.
    Thanks for the help QM but the pattern isn't a quilt pattern just one I would like to make into a quilt, it has cubes in it, and I love the 3D effect of cubes but is nothing like any quilt I have ever seen. Unfortunately I can't find who designed it.
    I think most everyone has given me great advice. I am only starting to think about quilt shows so I just wanted to make sure that what I wanted to do wasn't against the rules.

    Thanks for the the name of the quilt book, I will keep an eye out for it
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  13. #13
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    Woody, good luck making the quilt. I think asking your guild is an excellent idea.
    Heather

  14. #14
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    I find it both difficult in some cases and impossible to give even an opinion about such an open ended question.
    If the design is everywhere on the internet it should at least be pictured here so we can see what is being asked about. Post a picture and perhaps someone will have an informed answer
    Last edited by Holice; 04-09-2012 at 05:18 AM.

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    my understanding is traditional blocks cannot be copyrighted. Like Triple Rail, for example

  16. #16
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    This is the picture I am talking about Name:  opus1.jpg
Views: 413
Size:  63.0 KB
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  17. #17
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    Looks like something from MC Escher.......he was big on optical illusions.

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    That makes my eyes hurt. LOL
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  19. #19
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    That's the Penrose Triangle.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_triangle
    Pretty old in design. Still, the only one that would get you is the original designer, a mathematician, and I don't think he cares.

  20. #20
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if the design is 'royalty free' you can use it - you could include the source of the design on your label- there are tons of 'copy-right free' designs out there---and geometric shapes are something that would be difficult for someone to (claim) as their own---when copyright restrictions come into play is when you are copying a commercial pattern and trying to claim it as your own.
    if using someone elses design you should always contact the designer and ask permission-
    but even copyrighted designs can be used without permission if the designer is marketing it for public use-...it would be (against the rules) for you to use it commercially---as in offering the design for sale somewhere.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  21. #21
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine- View Post
    Why are you asking for legal advice here? I mean, half of us aren't from the your country, and I can't imagine the other half has a clue? If it's something you're that worried about, you really should be asking a lawyer, right?
    do you for some reason believe a lawyer could not be a quilter? or a member of this board? this board is full of many many knowledgeable people, Lawyers, Doctors, Designers, Authors- there is no reason to not ask the questions here.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  22. #22
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Why pay $300+ to ask a lawyer and after he researches billing you for his time and a consultation fee, be told each copyright case is different according to factors. My neighbor is a lawyer, I just asked him. He said no lawyer can give you an exact answer on copyright, if you are sued then that's when it's hashed out in court who is right. He thinks you are okay not to be sued to design your own using the image as inspiration for personal use. Just saved you $300 +. LOL.
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  23. #23
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody View Post
    This is the picture I am talking about

    I'm thinking if you can figure out how to turn that into a quilt, more power to you!!!

  24. #24
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    thanks BellaBoo

    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    Why pay $300+ to ask a lawyer and after he researches billing you for his time and a consultation fee, be told each copyright case is different according to factors. My neighbor is a lawyer, I just asked him. He said no lawyer can give you an exact answer on copyright, if you are sued then that's when it's hashed out in court who is right. He thinks you are okay not to be sued to design your own using the image as inspiration for personal use. Just saved you $300 +. LOL.
    ♥ Craftybear♥ Google Goddess Surfing Queen of Links ♥
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  25. #25
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone !!!!!! You really are the most helpful bunch of people EVER!!!!

    Now for the next challenge, actually making it, LOL, this should be fun
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

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