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Thread: ??s re: Original Patterns, Submissions to Mags, etc.

  1. #1
    refibered's Avatar
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    How do you know you've created an original pattern/style?

    If you do create something original, and you think it's marketable, how do you go about marketing it?

    I've got something "special" and I'm not sure what's the next step. Part of me thinks: "share it with the world!" Another part of me thinks: "my precious" :lol:

    I haven't found any threads about these particular questions (and others that may come up during a discussion about them), if I've missed it/them, please let me know. Thanks!

    rf


  2. #2
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i hope somebody really knows the answers to your questions because i would also like to know.

    i considered submitting designs to magazines but i won't do that until i have a nice healthy inventory. for one thing, if a magazine publishes your pattern, they will almost certainly require you to sign over all copyrights and it's no longer yours. for another, if it's a hit you'll want to be ready for the customers it draws in search of your other patterns.

    the only way i can think of to "test" for originality is to spend a lot of time searching the internet and browsing through books and magazines to see what's already out there.

    i'm sure somebody here will know more than i do about this. i can't wait to read. :-)

  3. #3
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    Could you do a copy-right search?

    http://www.copyright.gov/

    Thats the web site for the U.S. Copyright Office, there's search copyright records resource there.

  4. #4
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Searching may be tough. I collected antique quilts for years, and see some patterns coming back as kits that were done in the 1800s. Some of my own quilts were inspired by the old ones. I love designing, but have always hesitated to copyrite. Too many names for the same block, too many variables. Even if a quilter from 1880 had copyrighted a pattern, can elements of that design be copyrighted today?

    I'm bookmarking this thread, hoping someone knows.

  5. #5
    refibered's Avatar
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    I did scroll through the copyright stuff, but copyrighting is for patterns and such, not the finished product (not necessarily anyway; it's a very complicated thing that copyright stuff....)

    Speaking of which, how do you go about writing a pattern or instructions in my case, since it's more of a method than a pattern?

    Patrice, as you suggested, I've spent (wasted? :lol: ) quite a bit of time searching google images, various websites, books, etc., and haven't found anything quite like "my precious" so from that viewpoint, yes, it may be an original thought (who knew I could have one of those?! :lol: ).

    I think I'll just save it for a bit and submit it to a magazine contest or maybe try entering it in a quilt show. It's not actually finished yet, just a top now, so not sure what I'm worried about.... :roll:

    Hopefully these and other related questions can continue to be discussed and we'll ultimately get some answers.

    rf

  6. #6
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
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    If you have something special that many quilters would like, drop me a line via PM and I might run a broadcast on the newsletter featuring it. I would do it for a cut of proceeds, not an upfront fee. So there is less risk for you, and at the same time it helps pay for the costs of running the board and the newsletter.

    But it must be something good. I never posted an offer like that in public because I'm worried that a lot of people might contact me asking to promote stuff of questionalbe quality/value. If you have some other members of the board who could vouch for you and the quality of your pattern, that's even better.

  7. #7
    refibered's Avatar
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    Thanks for the offer! I've sent you a PM.

    I haven't had anyone else test the method, so unfortunately no one to vouch for me.

    Is testing the next step after developing? Writing out the pattern would be, I suppose, since you'd need a pattern to have others test..... :lol: How would one go about getting testers (on this site or elsewhere)?

    rf

  8. #8
    SandraJennings's Avatar
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    ...ask trusted quilters of divergent methods to try the pattern and see what develops...they should quickly be able to "edit" for any clarifications and present you with alternative colorways if applicable. Patterns usually become standards because of ease of use and flexibility of color applications

  9. #9
    refibered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandraJennings
    ...ask trusted quilters of divergent methods to try the pattern and see what develops...they should quickly be able to "edit" for any clarifications and present you with alternative colorways if applicable. Patterns usually become standards because of ease of use and flexibility of color applications
    I am planning to get a 'pattern' drawn up soon so I can ask for testers and get some feedback.

    Thanks!

  10. #10

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    take a picture of your quilt and instructions, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself, when it comes back put it in with your valuables and don't open it. It's the same as putting a patten on it, if someone publishes it with out your consent you have proof it is your patten. A man in our area does this all the time.

  11. #11
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
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    huggyface, it won't be of much help if it ever comes to going to court.
    You can mail an unsealed envelope to yourself, and then put whatever you want in it at a later time, and claim that you've mailed the contents of the envelope to yourself at an earlier date. So most judges aren't likely to be persuaded by such "proof".
    Filing for copyright is the only sure way to protect yourself.

  12. #12
    BarbC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huggyface
    take a picture of your quilt and instructions, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself, when it comes back put it in with your valuables and don't open it. It's the same as putting a patten on it, if someone publishes it with out your consent you have proof it is your patten. A man in our area does this all the time.
    The key is NOT to open it... even if it ends up being published by someone else. That UNOPENED mailed copy is your proof.

    Barb C

  13. #13
    quiltmaker101's Avatar
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    Refibered:

    I know you are ways from publishing/copyrighting your new idea, but it sounds like you are on the right path.

    I agree that you should have some quilters test your pattern. You could have them sign agreements not to duplicate or share your pattern outside of testing.

    If you want to get a foot forward on the marketing part, I would email some of the fabric makers that feature patterns on their websites, like Robert Kaufman, to see how they select patterns or pattern makers.

    You also might try emailing people like Eleanor Burns or Jennifer Chiaverini. I know they are well known now, but they started from scratch at one point too. They might just write you back with how they got started, and could give you advice for the next part of your adventure.

    Good Luck!

  14. #14
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    The problem is, it's not "really" copyrighted that way unless you have actually published it somehow. I mean, if I just draft a pattern for a block and mail it to myself and then see an identical one somewhere a year later, I can't claim I have a copyright on it because I came up with it first - I didn't DO anything with it. On all of my class handouts, articles (print and online, etc), I put a copyright date. (c) 2007 Catherine Timmons for Glory Quilts. But honestly, it doesn't really protect me. A sympathetic judge might recognize it as a valid copyright, but a legally registered patent, trademark or copyright (depending on what you are doing) is your only true protection.

    Even then, it's expensive and frustrating to try to prove that you have an exclusive right to distribute the idea or pattern. Especially in something like quilts. I recently took a pattern off my website because I got a letter from a pattern company claiming I had "stolen" their pattern. Well, I hadn't. I had drafted it all myself, taught it for at least 6 years, taken all my own pictures and wrote the html page myself. I hadn't even SEEN their pattern. When I did look it up, I saw that mine was much more "developed" anyhow. The writer claimed that my pictures were very similar to ones they had used for a TV show. (Even though my pictures were older than the date of the shows I found online.) But it was easiest for me to just remove it. I have neither the resources or the inclination to fight over it.

    Copyright law is very complex. I have pretty much stopped teaching classes with commercial patterns for that reason. It's not worth the bother.

  15. #15
    refibered's Avatar
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    This website (http://www.lostquilt.com/CopyrightYourQuilt.html) is a good one for copyright-quilt info.

    Says the "mail it to yourself" copyright isn't enough. Lots of other interesting info, too.

    The wheels of justice grind slowly, so do my wheels :lol: I'm still in the "thinking about it" stages, but getting closer to writing out pattern info. quiltmaker101, I like your ideas, thanks for the "no compete" agreement idea!

    cathe, I totally understand the frustration you must have about the other pattern company. ugh. QFOD to them! :twisted: (uh, that's "Quilter's Fist of Death" to them --- just shaking my fist at them, not really wishing them death, it's just an expression folks!)

    cathe, do you copyright your patterns? the ones you teach?

    rf

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