Thursday, July 14, 2011

Copywrite Infringement

I know this will probably cause some people to yell at me but here goes.
I just read an article on the copyright rules. I am not quite sure I agree to it all though. I have done crafts for many many years. I make things from pattern and sometimes make things of my own. I have bought a lot of patterns and the rules are always different depending on what the writer is expecting.
HOWEVER: For instance:
We all know we see a lot of similar creations, I have bought discs full of patterns from different artists and many of them look very very similar. Is that infringement on either party?
We all see different shelves, furniture, quilts, etc. They look very similar, is that infringement? Are we infringing on Laura Engalls?
Can I give the pattern away when I am done with it? Do I have to keep it forever? I have bought many a quilt book, or paint book and I don't even know what I did with them all. Some I actually donated to the library. Is that infringement?
I don't make patterns to sell so I just don't know how to feel about all this. Lots of people make patterns of pumpkins, plain, pumpkins with funny faces, witches hats with just a little bit of the decorations changed. Is this infringement? We do needlepoint and stitcheries from designs of the 1800s, and we sell the patterns, are these infringement? Who would the infringement be against? I am pretty sure that George Washington's furniture maker probably never thought to get a copyright, never thought that years later we would be copying his designs. Should his family be getting royalties?
I for one can look at most anything and make it. A God given gift I am sure. I do still buy patterns, and give people credit if I see something they made and I design one similar. Is that infringement if I don't use a pattern? If that is the case we are all doing a little infringing.
I have seen many designs that you definitely know who designed/patterned them.
So what are your thoughts on all this, as a designer or a creator of the items? And please don't bite my head off I am just asking.
My theory on this, and speaking only about the things that I make. If you want to copy it, print it off, stare at it and draw it out yourself, I don't care. Go for it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If however I made a pattern, and someone copied it, like photocopied the pattern and just added a different picture to the pattern. I would then be very upset.
Thoughts anyone???????? Don't sass me though, I am just thinking out loud. Sorry if this makes anyone mad I don't mean to...
I am on vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loving it already.


  1. Hi Kat,

    I have had some of those same thoughts run through my mind from time to time! I for one don't quite understand how copyrights can be obtained for items of such similar form. And for that matter, whether you are a quilter, painter, woodworker, doll maker.......we all try to replicate goodes made centuries ago. So in the end, none of it is an original idea, pattern or thought. Just a simple variation.

    I believe every artist no matter what their medium will put their own special touch on their work (or they ought to if they are a true artist) doesn't matter where their inspiration comes from..

    Blessings and Enjoy EVERY MINUTE of your vacation!

  2. anything written, drawn or made at the time of its creation is considered can have the copyright officially documented in the Library of Congress for a fee.
    Here's the link.....
    I did an extensive search about 1 1/2 yrs ago...very interesting info...
    I agree, If an original piece of work is changed even in the slightest...then yes it is copyright infringement...The painting/craft world has had many infringements unfortunately...but to fight it legally is very expensive.

  3. Copyright is a very tricky thing...Making an exact copy and selling can be a definite infringement and look at others who have got into trouble..they changed something small but the overall design is still the same and yep they are in trouble. Now I have a prob with lets say cloth dolls..I have a few old patterns and yep the body patterns are all very similar..I explained to someone else the other day, to just fatten, thin, change the shape somewhat, change facial expression, color, etc etc..that is how I think many get away with it. There are so many pattern designers out there that I do not believe especially with the folk art,
    country look, haven't bought, tweaked a pattern to then make and sell...I believe from that first pattern, is where they got their ideas. If salt dough ornies were ©copyrighted..can you imagine, it uses the same basic recipe but all the designs are different. The person who also designs a pattern..sells then, but then tells folk they can make the item to sell...first you created, you made it, that makes it soon as you sell that pattern..well Say no more. Boy long comment, am I babbling now. Just hope no one steals my ©

  4. Oh...Kat....You've opened the proverbial can of copyrighted worms....I am an attorney (not practicing at the moment, but a corporate one when I did), and copyright law still baffles me....I am a hooker (let me clarify a RUG hooker)....I can see an antique/vintage rug and copy that pattern to my heart's desire...I can even make a pattern of that rug and sell it; no problema....BUT...I BUY a paper pattern, and ask a friend to put the paper pattern onto background fabric so I can actually hook it (cuz she has an awesome table light and I don't), and, voila....we have a copyright problem....That is where the law and common sense/logic have taken seriously deviant paths....I, personally, think things have gone seriously wrong....Geez...just like the wonderful little journal you made me...there are two patterns out there that I've heard of (cuz, I was looking because, as suspected, my niece is trying to get all over THAT!) ~ ever so slightly different...but heck!! Give me a break....Just talking out loud....think we're in the same thinking field....ENJOY your vacation....just make sure no one copyrights it!! ;o) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  5. This discussion is to heated for me, my thoughts real quick is Oh nevermind....

  6. Intriguing discussion! It is hard to create and have to worry that you are offending someone,with your finished product.Most of the time I free hand draw everything and then worry if I will upset someone should they see it.Most of the time the things are not for ale but I may use them as a gift.Have a great vacation.Hug,Jen

  7. Morning Kat... Its a sad day that we wake up and find that something we created might have started in the mind of another 100, 200 yrs ago..but the fact is nearly everything we create in the Prim world was created long before we were even born and somehow we have infringed on the 1st creater. Take a Shelf how many variations can be made to the creation of a shelf..A shelf is a shelf and the infringement laws are way out of control. Take a hand crafted doll they all have a head, a body, arms and legs. Those are a simple fact. Like humans they all look different but its an infringment any time we create a doll but who is the infringement on the first creater of a doll..How can infringement laws play a roll in the creation of a doll since the orginal creater of dolls is long gone and in reality it is the materials used to make new dolls that has changed not necessarily in the prim world but in general. So I agree that the infringement laws have gone way to far and it depends on how muchmoney you have as to whether or not you can fight any battle created by another when it comes to infringement.
    Personally speaking in the craft handmade world we are the makers and keepers of the past, present and future and without us many of our worlds treasures, history and memories would be forever lost and somewhere in that treasure and ability to recreate the past to share with our children today and in the future there should be no infringement laws.
    And any hand crafter should be happy and proud to have another crafter copy with variation there ideas so that the children of the future can experience the past threw the eyes of all those talented people who created those things. If not then our history and past will simply slip away..spoiled by the laws if infringement.
    If someone copies something I created i consider it the highest compliment and honor that they felt I had created something worth repeating...
    Now if anyone yells at you Kat thent hey to yell at me.. so be it they must not be proud of there work in the proudest since of the word pride where you sign your name on the work you do and Smile!!


  8. I think it's helpful the subject is discussed Kat, because it can get confusing. I just read a good post by Brenda at (an older one) concerning the same. Some designers allow tweaking if you get permission, some are very, very strict. Each seems to have their own rules. I think the best bet is to read the pattern's copyright info carefully. I think it's possible for people to have the same idea too, but when you get into the more intricate designs or how they are used/displayed, that's when you can detect copying. Communiation with the designer is a good thing if there are questions. Keeping the subject open for discussion in a safe place is a great way to learn about a topic that can get sticky. Thanks for posting about it! ~*~Lisa