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Clara
queen bee

USA
4398 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  2:30:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message
I just got my copy of the fall Vogue Knitting (I placed a KR ad for the first time, woo woo!), and Trisha Malcolm's editorial was very interesting. It discussed the often-debated issue of copyright, and one of her statements was that you cannot sell a knitted item made from someone else's pattern. Period.

My logical mind knows that this is fair and just - and I certainly know and respect how much work goes into creating a pattern. But my "other" side still has some questions. Restaurant chefs use other people's published recipes for their food, and they don't have to request permission or pay the book publisher. How is knitting different?

Agreed, it'd be pretty bad for me to take a very specific pattern, mass produce it, sell copies to the department stores, and retire early from the profit. But what about the smaller folks who want to sell baby booties at fairs and public markets?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this...

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher

Hello Knitty
Permanent Resident

1069 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  2:52:37 PM  Show Profile Send Hello Knitty a Private Message
I have two answers. The first is, what does the US or Canadian copyright law actually say about this issue? and that should answer the question.

My second answer is, like Clara says, it's like recipes. Some things are so basic, beanie hats, booties, mitts, scarves - how can they possibly be under copyright? It seems to me there must be a distinction between these basics and knitting say Kaffe Fassett or Alice Starmore sweaters and selling them.

Which I guess leads back to my first answer. Any copyright lawyers out there?


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Hello Knitty
Permanent Resident

1069 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  2:52:37 PM  Show Profile Send Hello Knitty a Private Message
I have two answers. The first is, what does the US or Canadian copyright law actually say about this issue? and that should answer the question.

My second answer is, like Clara says, it's like recipes. Some things are so basic, beanie hats, booties, mitts, scarves - how can they possibly be under copyright? It seems to me there must be a distinction between these basics and knitting say Kaffe Fassett or Alice Starmore sweaters and selling them.

Which I guess leads back to my first answer. Any copyright lawyers out there?


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liebekatja
Chatty Knitter

USA
262 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:00:45 PM  Show Profile Send liebekatja a Private Message
I was wondering about this too. What if you alter the pattern slightly-- change the colors or correct a mistake? Theoretically, it's still the other person's pattern, but it's become partly yours too. It wouldn't have to be mean-spirited-- I think many of us customize our patterns. What if you're improvising off another person's pattern? Any thoughts?

Also, I was wondering-- what about yarn stores that sell completed sweaters as well as yarn? Their patterns come from somewhere, and they often seem to come from the most recent pattern books/magazines. Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

Just some thoughts...

Katie

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liebekatja
Chatty Knitter

USA
262 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:00:45 PM  Show Profile Send liebekatja a Private Message
I was wondering about this too. What if you alter the pattern slightly-- change the colors or correct a mistake? Theoretically, it's still the other person's pattern, but it's become partly yours too. It wouldn't have to be mean-spirited-- I think many of us customize our patterns. What if you're improvising off another person's pattern? Any thoughts?

Also, I was wondering-- what about yarn stores that sell completed sweaters as well as yarn? Their patterns come from somewhere, and they often seem to come from the most recent pattern books/magazines. Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

Just some thoughts...

Katie

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Leanne
Gabber Extraordinaire

Canada
384 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:23:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Leanne's Homepage Send Leanne a Private Message
As a new knitwear designer, one year, I am no doubt wet behind the ears. However, it is rather obvious that a knitted item sells a pattern far more than a picture does. I am interested in designing something new. I am not interested in knitting the same item repeatly. Once made I want to go on and discover something else. Even if I was interested in mass production the number of people who could be exposed to what I knit would be seriously limited. However, if I said "Here's a pattern. Knit it ... how can you change it? ... give it to friends/family ... sell the finished item." This would no doubt increase the visibility of my designs; it would encourage more knitters to log on to my web site; it would built excitement for my designs as more knitters are inspired to manipulate them; it would encourage me to design more as I hear about knitters having fun with my designs. I would be one happy knitwear designer. The only thing that would bring me down is a knitter changing my design slightly and claiming it for their own. Otherwise, I'm happy. I'm not designing in a vaccum. I want my designs to be enjoyed by knitters and non-knitters alike. However, as I stated earlier I may be a little wet behind the ears.

http://www.oknitting.com
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Leanne
Gabber Extraordinaire

Canada
384 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:23:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Leanne's Homepage Send Leanne a Private Message
As a new knitwear designer, one year, I am no doubt wet behind the ears. However, it is rather obvious that a knitted item sells a pattern far more than a picture does. I am interested in designing something new. I am not interested in knitting the same item repeatly. Once made I want to go on and discover something else. Even if I was interested in mass production the number of people who could be exposed to what I knit would be seriously limited. However, if I said "Here's a pattern. Knit it ... how can you change it? ... give it to friends/family ... sell the finished item." This would no doubt increase the visibility of my designs; it would encourage more knitters to log on to my web site; it would built excitement for my designs as more knitters are inspired to manipulate them; it would encourage me to design more as I hear about knitters having fun with my designs. I would be one happy knitwear designer. The only thing that would bring me down is a knitter changing my design slightly and claiming it for their own. Otherwise, I'm happy. I'm not designing in a vaccum. I want my designs to be enjoyed by knitters and non-knitters alike. However, as I stated earlier I may be a little wet behind the ears.

http://www.oknitting.com
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RooKangas
Warming Up

99 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:31:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit RooKangas's Homepage Send RooKangas a Private Message
And what about when someone who doesn't knit wants you to make them a sweater, buys the yarn and pays you for your time? Is that against the law? Or, for that matter, has a dressmaker sew a wedding dress from a Vogue pattern. Is this situation different from making the item to sell without having been commissioned to, or mass producing it for future sale. The whole point of patterns - sewing or knitting, is that you'll make something out of it. If you've paid for the pattern, it seems like you've, in effect, bought the "license" to make the item, and do whatever you want with it. The pattern could be seen as a tool, like word processing software. If you write a book using Micorsoft Word, you're not restricted from selling the book. Or is that the difference between an art (literature) and a craft - knitting?

What would designers who sell their patterns directly to consumers, like Bonne Marie Burns, say about this issue, I wonder. (I know what Alice Starmore, or her attorneys, would say, I think.) Would Bonne Marie be upset to see Lo-Tech Sweats at the local street fair? Would it make a difference if she was credited with the design?

Carol

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RooKangas
Warming Up

99 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  4:31:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit RooKangas's Homepage Send RooKangas a Private Message
And what about when someone who doesn't knit wants you to make them a sweater, buys the yarn and pays you for your time? Is that against the law? Or, for that matter, has a dressmaker sew a wedding dress from a Vogue pattern. Is this situation different from making the item to sell without having been commissioned to, or mass producing it for future sale. The whole point of patterns - sewing or knitting, is that you'll make something out of it. If you've paid for the pattern, it seems like you've, in effect, bought the "license" to make the item, and do whatever you want with it. The pattern could be seen as a tool, like word processing software. If you write a book using Micorsoft Word, you're not restricted from selling the book. Or is that the difference between an art (literature) and a craft - knitting?

What would designers who sell their patterns directly to consumers, like Bonne Marie Burns, say about this issue, I wonder. (I know what Alice Starmore, or her attorneys, would say, I think.) Would Bonne Marie be upset to see Lo-Tech Sweats at the local street fair? Would it make a difference if she was credited with the design?

Carol

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chris
Permanent Resident

USA
2462 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  5:00:52 PM  Show Profile Send chris a Private Message
This is such a sticky wicket! This same discussion used to come up regularly on the rubberstampers circuit. I don't know if anyone ever came up with a definitive response.

Luckily, I barely have time to knit for myself and my loved ones, let alone to sell. I tend to agree with your other side, Clara. I mean, gee, does this mean I can't yard-sale all the shirts I made my husband that no longer fit him?

My feeling on knitting copyrights is that one should not photocopy or otherwise mechanically reproduce the patten itself to give away or sell. What exactly does the copyright protect? The pattern or the finished product? IMNSHO, it's the pattern, not the product!

chris (who is NOT a lawyer...but has a FIL who is....maybe I should ask him!)

Keep on knittin', mama, knittin' those blues away!
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chris
Permanent Resident

USA
2462 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  5:00:52 PM  Show Profile Send chris a Private Message
This is such a sticky wicket! This same discussion used to come up regularly on the rubberstampers circuit. I don't know if anyone ever came up with a definitive response.

Luckily, I barely have time to knit for myself and my loved ones, let alone to sell. I tend to agree with your other side, Clara. I mean, gee, does this mean I can't yard-sale all the shirts I made my husband that no longer fit him?

My feeling on knitting copyrights is that one should not photocopy or otherwise mechanically reproduce the patten itself to give away or sell. What exactly does the copyright protect? The pattern or the finished product? IMNSHO, it's the pattern, not the product!

chris (who is NOT a lawyer...but has a FIL who is....maybe I should ask him!)

Keep on knittin', mama, knittin' those blues away!
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Summer
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
581 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  5:18:55 PM  Show Profile Send Summer a Private Message
I asked a similar question here awhile back so if I'm quoting someone else here, my apologies. Someone said (not sure if it was here or not) that making one or two of the items seemed ok but that the copyright was more to prevent companies from mass producing the knitting item. I tend to agree with that.

quote:
My feeling on knitting copyrights is that one should not photocopy or otherwise mechanically reproduce the patten itself to give away or sell. What exactly does the copyright protect? The pattern or the finished product? IMNSHO, it's the pattern, not the product!
I agree with this also, but I've also seen alot of patterns (free on the web) that say you may not make this item to make a profit off of it. Being repaid for my yarn purchased and my time spent, is that a real profit? I don't think so, I think of it as being reimbursed. But a large company may feel the same way so it's kind of sticky there.

What Leanne said makes sense too. If I were to sell a sweater and stated it was designed by Leanne, that's good advertising for her and she'd probably get more sales. I'm guessing that it doesn't happen that way too often though.

If I were the designer of a knitting pattern, I wouldn't mind if people sold the finished object but I wouldn't want them making photocopies of it and mass selling the pattern itself. Of course, it's easy for me to say that because I can't design worth a hoot

That's my

Jill
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Summer
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
581 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  5:18:55 PM  Show Profile Send Summer a Private Message
I asked a similar question here awhile back so if I'm quoting someone else here, my apologies. Someone said (not sure if it was here or not) that making one or two of the items seemed ok but that the copyright was more to prevent companies from mass producing the knitting item. I tend to agree with that.

quote:
My feeling on knitting copyrights is that one should not photocopy or otherwise mechanically reproduce the patten itself to give away or sell. What exactly does the copyright protect? The pattern or the finished product? IMNSHO, it's the pattern, not the product!
I agree with this also, but I've also seen alot of patterns (free on the web) that say you may not make this item to make a profit off of it. Being repaid for my yarn purchased and my time spent, is that a real profit? I don't think so, I think of it as being reimbursed. But a large company may feel the same way so it's kind of sticky there.

What Leanne said makes sense too. If I were to sell a sweater and stated it was designed by Leanne, that's good advertising for her and she'd probably get more sales. I'm guessing that it doesn't happen that way too often though.

If I were the designer of a knitting pattern, I wouldn't mind if people sold the finished object but I wouldn't want them making photocopies of it and mass selling the pattern itself. Of course, it's easy for me to say that because I can't design worth a hoot

That's my

Jill
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lizzi
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
553 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:08:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit lizzi's Homepage Send lizzi a Private Message
I'm very interested in this topic, as I am currently knitting many one-of-a-kind or small runs of similar items to sell at fairs, though I haven't yet sold any.

So far, all of my items are either of my own design or from the few copyright-free patterns available online, most notably the lace doilies from Yarn Over, which were originally published without copyright, then translated by the wonderful Nurhanne, who only asks credit for the translation if the pattern is transmitted. I don't think I'll have to give her credit if I sell, though, just thank her in my heart a million times for translating those gorgeous patterns!

Anyway. This means that all of my stuff, so far, is legal. But I love making shawls out of doily patterns, either knit or crochet, and there are many free patterns available that are copyrighted by their designers. Fine. But can I sell something derived from that pattern, a) if I only make one or a few, b) if I change the pattern (like enlarging it from a 12" doily to a 60" shawl, adding an edging, changing the yarn)?

Plus, in several publications of shawl patterns, I've seen pieces based on other people's patterns--for example, the "A Rose is a Rose" shawl from A Gathering of Lace, which is based on Marianne Kinzel's "Rose of England", and the "Candlelight" wrap in Best of Knitter's: Shawls and Scarves that is the exact same pattern as the "Candelight" bedspread, also by Ms. Kinzel, the only change being that the wrap is only 1x4 repeats, where the bedspread is many repeats larger. Now, both of these are credited, but they're also pretty direct knock-offs. If I am inspired by a pattern already in existence and create my own project out of it, I wouldn't then turn around and market it as different pattern that I designed even if I do credit the original designer. It seems too close to copyright infringement.

I realize this doesn't answer any questions, just brings up more, but maybe someone out there can help.

Lizzi
http://amimono.blogspot.com

Amimono wa daisuki desu.

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lizzi
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
553 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:08:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit lizzi's Homepage Send lizzi a Private Message
I'm very interested in this topic, as I am currently knitting many one-of-a-kind or small runs of similar items to sell at fairs, though I haven't yet sold any.

So far, all of my items are either of my own design or from the few copyright-free patterns available online, most notably the lace doilies from Yarn Over, which were originally published without copyright, then translated by the wonderful Nurhanne, who only asks credit for the translation if the pattern is transmitted. I don't think I'll have to give her credit if I sell, though, just thank her in my heart a million times for translating those gorgeous patterns!

Anyway. This means that all of my stuff, so far, is legal. But I love making shawls out of doily patterns, either knit or crochet, and there are many free patterns available that are copyrighted by their designers. Fine. But can I sell something derived from that pattern, a) if I only make one or a few, b) if I change the pattern (like enlarging it from a 12" doily to a 60" shawl, adding an edging, changing the yarn)?

Plus, in several publications of shawl patterns, I've seen pieces based on other people's patterns--for example, the "A Rose is a Rose" shawl from A Gathering of Lace, which is based on Marianne Kinzel's "Rose of England", and the "Candlelight" wrap in Best of Knitter's: Shawls and Scarves that is the exact same pattern as the "Candelight" bedspread, also by Ms. Kinzel, the only change being that the wrap is only 1x4 repeats, where the bedspread is many repeats larger. Now, both of these are credited, but they're also pretty direct knock-offs. If I am inspired by a pattern already in existence and create my own project out of it, I wouldn't then turn around and market it as different pattern that I designed even if I do credit the original designer. It seems too close to copyright infringement.

I realize this doesn't answer any questions, just brings up more, but maybe someone out there can help.

Lizzi
http://amimono.blogspot.com

Amimono wa daisuki desu.

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teripittman
New Pal

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:25:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit teripittman's Homepage Send teripittman a Private Message
Copyrights in the U.S. are totally out of control. Think about this; you have rights to a patent for 10 years. Copyrights to an idea are for 70 years! Does this make any sense at all? Everyone seems to think this is to protect the rights of the designer. That's not true. It's to protect the rights of publishers and corporations to whatever ideas they've bought up.

Most importantly, it has had a chilling effect on crafts. You cannot have a discussion about knitting or crocheting without having to talk copyrights about every month. Both of these crafts are built on designs and stitches that were developed prior to copyrights and were shared freely. Now we have people who try to tell us that we are somehow violating someone's copyright somewhere if we produce the simpliest designs.

Someone needs to point out to Trisha Malcolm that, although they've tried hard, copyrights DO expire. You have every right to reproduce and sell an item from a pattern that has expired.

The Founding Fathers of this country intended for copyrights to expire after a fairly short time, so that works would go into the public domain. Their thinking was that people would build on these ideas and new works would be created. Their vision has been destroyed so that corporations like Disney can continue to milk money from things that were developed in the 30s. It's high time that we had some rational thinking about copyright law. It needs to be brought back in line with what was originally intended, so that all of us can benefit from the new ideas that will be generated from the things entering public domain.

new and improved!
http://www.xws.com/terispage/
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teripittman
New Pal

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:25:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit teripittman's Homepage Send teripittman a Private Message
Copyrights in the U.S. are totally out of control. Think about this; you have rights to a patent for 10 years. Copyrights to an idea are for 70 years! Does this make any sense at all? Everyone seems to think this is to protect the rights of the designer. That's not true. It's to protect the rights of publishers and corporations to whatever ideas they've bought up.

Most importantly, it has had a chilling effect on crafts. You cannot have a discussion about knitting or crocheting without having to talk copyrights about every month. Both of these crafts are built on designs and stitches that were developed prior to copyrights and were shared freely. Now we have people who try to tell us that we are somehow violating someone's copyright somewhere if we produce the simpliest designs.

Someone needs to point out to Trisha Malcolm that, although they've tried hard, copyrights DO expire. You have every right to reproduce and sell an item from a pattern that has expired.

The Founding Fathers of this country intended for copyrights to expire after a fairly short time, so that works would go into the public domain. Their thinking was that people would build on these ideas and new works would be created. Their vision has been destroyed so that corporations like Disney can continue to milk money from things that were developed in the 30s. It's high time that we had some rational thinking about copyright law. It needs to be brought back in line with what was originally intended, so that all of us can benefit from the new ideas that will be generated from the things entering public domain.

new and improved!
http://www.xws.com/terispage/
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joyce
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:26:07 PM  Show Profile Send joyce a Private Message
Why would anyone want to buy expensive books if the designs are limited to own use knitting? I can understand going after commercial knitters who use the designs to mass produce but I think knitting big wigs should rethink this warning.

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joyce
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:26:07 PM  Show Profile Send joyce a Private Message
Why would anyone want to buy expensive books if the designs are limited to own use knitting? I can understand going after commercial knitters who use the designs to mass produce but I think knitting big wigs should rethink this warning.

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teripittman
New Pal

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:33:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit teripittman's Homepage Send teripittman a Private Message
And.. way more than you ever want to know about copyrights and knitters:

http://knittingbeyondthehebrides.com/copyright.

Unfortunately, Jenna's Girl from Auntie site seems to be down. She is a copyright attorney and has had a lot of discussions on this on the Knit Flame list at Yahoo.

new and improved!
http://www.xws.com/terispage/
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teripittman
New Pal

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2003 :  6:33:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit teripittman's Homepage Send teripittman a Private Message
And.. way more than you ever want to know about copyrights and knitters:

http://knittingbeyondthehebrides.com/copyright.

Unfortunately, Jenna's Girl from Auntie site seems to be down. She is a copyright attorney and has had a lot of discussions on this on the Knit Flame list at Yahoo.

new and improved!
http://www.xws.com/terispage/
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