Sunshine Quilts

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Copyrights! I am Rambling . .

The copyright discussion has taken over many of the quilt lists I'm on and I'm sick of it already! It seems that every designer has their own version of what copyright should be. Heck, I don't have a clue what it all really means and the more I read, the more confused I get. First, I definitely agree that no one should purchase a pattern and then make copies to hand out to her friends. The guild here was awful about doing that and I hated it. I am no longer a member but whatever justification anyone can come up with for copying a design and sharing it . . it's just wrong! I think that part of the copyright law is pretty much settled. On the other hand, there are designers who say you cannot sell a design made from their quilt. I heard about one designer who says that if you make a shop sample from their pattern, you cannot even sell the shop sample when you're finished with it. I think that's a bit much. I don't have a clue what is right or wrong on this aspect according to the law but here's how I think of it. Suppose the quilt shop wants to make a sample of one of my patterns and hang it in their shop for a year or two. You know that having that sample there is going to cause that pattern to sell probably a dozen times better than it would sell if the pattern was sitting there on the shelf all alone, with no sample. So, the shop stands to sell maybe 6 patterns in one year without a sample and maybe 25 patterns in one year with the sample. Would I expect the shop to make the sample and keep it forever? No! They can sell it or do whatever they want to do with it. It has served its purpose by selling more of my patterns (I hope!). Then there's the designers who make pantograph patterns for longarmers. Some say that every time you use the pantograph, it goes with the quilt. You buy one pantograph every time you want to use it. Some say you can use the pantograph 5 times and there are little circles to mark off. What are they going to do . . audit me? No . . not me because I buy NONE of those type patterns. Some designers say you have to get their permission before entering a quilt in a show made from their design. Some go so far as to expect part of the prize money if you win! Think I'd be making any of those designs? NO! Think I'd even buy a design with such a limitation? NO! It would be nice if someone made a prize winning quilt from my pattern if somewhere there was a credit so others could find the pattern if they wanted to make one but if I see one of my patterns made up at a show and being exhibited with no credit given, am I going to track that person down and issue a reprimand? NO! I'd rather spend my time quilting! OK . . so why am I so fired up about this copyright issue? Last night I was talking to someone who has all these requirements about what can and can't be done with her patterns. Goodness, by the time we finished talking, I almost got the idea she wanted to approve fabric choices before someone used them on her patterns. Anyone see where I'm going with this? That black quilt I'm working on! I used stencils made by Pepper Cory which are distributed by Sten Source so technically, either could have rules that say I have to get permission before I can even enter this quilt in a show. I was pretty much frustrated because I have the whole quilt marked and half the motifs quilted. I wrote Pepper Cory an e-mail and then called her this morning. She was so very, very nice and was thrilled that I was using her stencil and had no problems with a quilt being entered in a show. I was beginning to think the whole quilting world had lost their senses. I look at the quilt groups and I think of how much time and effort some people are putting into writing these long and drawn out regulations about what can and can't be done with their patterns and then . . what? Are they going to start policing the quilting world? It would be nice if everyone would play by the rules but everyone is not going to play by the rules. I will do my best to respect copyright rules (but if I'm not even sure I understand the limitations placed on designs by copyright, that's kinda hard) and copyright restrictions/violations will not consume me. After all this (anyone still reading?) I want to say a huge thank you to Bonnie Hunter for all the work she does to create free patterns for everyone to use. It is a lot of work and for those of us who really, really appreciate what she does, don't forget to let her know you appreciate her work. Back to quilting the black quilt now that I can quilt without fear of going to jail for copyright violation! Judy L.


  • I'm with you. Some people just take themselves WAAAYYY to seriously.

    By Blogger tami, at 5/09/2006 10:06:00 AM  

  • Hope your feeling better getting that off your chest! I think no matter how hard you try you never are going to get everyone to agree to what the rules are! I can't wait to see the quilting on your black quilt!

    By Blogger Dawn, at 5/09/2006 11:32:00 AM  

  • I just remember all the hooptoorah over the lady who had the Jane Stickle quilt for sale on eBay. Mz. P sure raised a ruckus but then posted a retraction to her position on her DJ site. In that instance she was demanding a percentage of the sale of the quilt.

    Three things came out of that for me:

    1) I always refer to it as the Jane Stickle quilt now and never use the name of the book;

    2) I decided that if I ever finished that blasted thing (not likely), decided to sell it on eBay (again, not likely), and bumped heads with anyone over my right to do so, that I'd just look forward to my day in court with them; and

    3) I'll never be good enough to ever have anything accepted into a quilt show, so the whole copyright issue for me is moot.

    But good for you for thinking it all through before you submitted the quilt. That would have been heartbreaking if someone had said no!

    By Blogger Vicky, at 5/09/2006 02:40:00 PM  

  • Wow. I never really paid attention to copy right issues (please don't hit me!) I learned the basics from quilt books and since then I've set off on my own.

    I don't own very many quilt books - maybe a dozen? I get most of my inspiration from pictures (eBay) and sites that give free instructions - like Bonnie's, Keryn's and Quilter's Cache.

    I've heard one quilter say that there's not very much new under the quilting sun. I completely agree with her. Cuz somewhere in a quilter's home is a pattern that another quilter is going to "invent" and sell. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a month, maybe in 10 years.

    So I'll make it easy for me. I won't buy books and patterns, and then I won't cross so many lines. If somebody asks, I'll just say I made it myself. I'll gladly share it for free too. Quilters are known for there kindness and generousity - I don't want that to be stopped.

    By Blogger Leah S, at 5/09/2006 04:28:00 PM  

  • Hip Hip HOORAY!!!! I could not agree with you MORE!!!!! I have had this discussion with lots of people, and I am to the point where I only buy about 2 books a year, I don't buy patterns, (my hubby bought one),because I might make something that looks like someones' copyrited pattern. I am thrilled to personally know Bonnie Hunter, and have her available at a moments notice if I need her for anything, and I appreciate every thing she has done for quilters, with her website. The ONLY things I would think that could be copyrited are the precise directions, because no matter how hard anyone tries, they will never ever make a quilt the very same way a book or pattern states, so maybe you should not copy the directions without compensation. But, nobody ever better tell me I can't sell a quilt I have made, because it resembles the one they did. EVER. Different fabric, maybe you sew the seam different, maybe you skipped a step, whatever, will always make quilts different. No 2 quilts will ever be the same, unless the same supplies are purchased at the same time, and each person mimics the other's every stitch and move.

    I have also never purchased the Dear Jane stuff, precisely because the author did throw such a fit, and I will never purchase any other book or pattern like that, because of the author of the Dear Jane stuff, so, other authors, take note. We customers did, and I know many more like me did not buy the book, just because the author demanded money.
    Gee Whiz.....

    By Blogger aikentoquilt, at 5/09/2006 04:51:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your great ramble. I am about to say I will create my own patterns but then if they are similar to someones else's who's to say which came first. To much litigation. What about our foresisters and their pattern's? I wonder if their families own the copy rights. To much to confussing. I loved your blog today.

    By Blogger dot, at 5/09/2006 05:54:00 PM  

  • I feel the same way. I know copyrights are meant to protect the creator. We copyright all our data and reports in my company. But, sometimes, people get over zealous over having a copyright. I don't mind asking for permission to use someone's design and if I get it then OK, if not, oh well.

    I've only been quilting a short time and even in that short time I've only followed a pattern to a "T" once. Patterns and pictures are my source of inspiration and every time I show a picture of one of my quilts to someone I give credit to the inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you speak for a lot us who are confused by the copyright issues.

    By Blogger Sweet P, at 5/09/2006 06:18:00 PM  

  • How nice of God to let us use His colors and copies of His flowers etc : ) without asking for permission ! One thing I always think is, there is nothing new under the sun.
    It gets way out of hand with all this stuff of " it belongs to me !" what egos some folks have.
    Judy, I am with ya 100% of the way. You said it good girl !

    By Blogger Patty, at 5/09/2006 07:43:00 PM  

  • yep--you got it right! I didn't hear the Dear Jane buzz, but correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't SHE copy Jane Stickle's quilt? And who did SHE pay? I think there is a need for legitimate copyright laws, such as copying patterns, etc. But if we buy the pattern and make it (and usually make changes), they should be thrilled! too many lawsuits and not enough plain ole sharing!

    By Blogger Passionate Quilter, at 5/09/2006 09:41:00 PM  

  • Well, actually Mz. P DID get permission (and I think some money may have changed hands) from the Smithsonian, and she states that everywhere in the book. BUT with that said, I too am pretty sick of all of this. I've always believed you should credit where your inspiratin came from - if it's a quilt book, or a quilt you saw at Sturbride, or your garden. That is plain courtesy to the designer - and yes, acknowledging that your garden was your inspiration is a thank you too. But to list everyone/everything on your label? Get real! I'd never fret about the backing for my quilt because it could become my label with all those acknowledgements! The pattern, the stencil, the thread company, the batting, the fabric designer, the store that sold me the fabric, the machine manufacturer that I made the quilt on, the electric company. You see? How silly is all of this? I do agree that you shouldn't buy a pattern and make 100 of them and sell them without permission of the designer. Simple copywrite and courtesy says you buy a pattern for personal use. Other than that, you should ask permission for more. Easy to remember, easy to do. But, here we go, doing exactly what started this great rant - but it's a good one!

    By Blogger Sharon, at 5/10/2006 06:02:00 AM  

  • Amen.

    By Blogger Audrey, at 5/10/2006 06:15:00 AM  

  • Well... as a free pattern designer myself, my main focus of the copywrite statement that I have on my site and patterns is pretty much don't copy without written permission. I also have included basically don't directly link to the pattern file. While not a necessity, it is my one little vanity point... I don't get compensated monitarily for my patterns - I would like to know how many times it has been downloaded.

    Though, thanks to your post, I have removed the line "don't sell the quilts at a craft bazaar". I realize I was being a little unreasonable and If I had the gumption to make a pattern more than once for purpouse of selling, then well... I would want to make money off of it myself.

    I could go on and on about the copywrite debate till I am blue in the face where some designers are unreasonable with their terms that are a mile long - I will spare you :)

    By Blogger computerpeach, at 5/10/2006 08:53:00 AM  

  • Very well said !

    By Blogger Hanne, at 5/10/2006 08:53:00 AM  

  • very well posted, and totally inspiring me to add my thanks to Bonnie and all the others who share so wonderfully!

    By Anonymous Samantha, at 5/10/2006 03:24:00 PM  

  • I think sometimes greed takes over with people. I am a freebie girl myself. I like to get free patterns... lol!

    By Blogger deputyswife, at 5/10/2006 08:36:00 PM  

  • I don't understand the issue myself. Can't sell a quilt made from that pattern/book? Rather extreme.

    I just know it's something I have to watch out for when thinking about doing a book. And I HATE that.

    By Blogger Tonya R, at 5/11/2006 04:21:00 AM  

  • I hear ya - unfortunately some of it (copyright) is on a slide rule...

    I tend to agree about the copying and sharing being wrong...

    Over all I am a bit confused over the whole thing too. (But with some luck in a few years I will be in Law School & will get to figure it out.)

    One thing I do know is that it sucks to be on a group that is all high and mighty (right or wrong) about copyright when they are supposed to be a quilting group!

    By Blogger The Calico Cat, at 5/11/2006 08:34:00 AM  

  • Beleive it or not, copyrite and quilting have joined hand in hand over the last few years, and we all have to worry about it. The discussion was not high and mighty, it is true feelings. I just hope no one ever has to deal with being on the wrong end of a copyrite issue, it is expensive, hurtful, and draining.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/11/2006 12:30:00 PM  

  • I agree with you. No copying the pattern; that is unfair, rude and illegal.
    The whole point of making a pattern, though, is that you expect others to be able to make what the pattern is of. If I start mass producing the thing using your pattern and making mega bucks, I understand that would be fair to share. But if I make a few (I usually get tired of a pattern after one anyway), even if I wind up selling them, giving them away, throwing them in the trash, I think they are my quilts and therefore my choice.

    By Blogger Shelina, at 5/15/2006 03:47:00 PM  

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