Copyright Law

Well if I was ever confused about copyright law before this really spun my head. Without understanding legalese and reading it all for myself it's hard to know who's in the right, though I tend to lean toward the rebuttal since they at least support their arguments by pointing directly to portions of the law whereas the magazine's author waves her hand around in big general sweeping motions. I did find the whole thing totally fascinating however, and if you have the time, it's completely worth the read.


Crystal said...

I agree. I've always been intrigued by this idea. Like, if I buy fabric and then make something to sell...I can't acutally sell it if it's made with licensed fabric? Or I can't sell something I made from a pattern. Or I can't let my friend borrow a pattern like she can borrow a book? They say these are all against the law but I don't believe it.

The Tulip Patch said...

As someone who has spent hours and hours just to write one pattern, I lean toward protecting the patternmaker. It is a LOT of work to even write the pattern and more to get it published. I'd be really hacked off if someone bought a pattern from me and then shared it with others freely...I don't care if they sell a quilt they make using that pattern...that's THEIR hard work and effort.

Just Jenn said...

Mary, I don't disagree with you. If you read the whole deal it appears to work a bit like this:

If you buy a pattern from someone, then you own a copy of that pattern.

You are allowed to use it to make your own goods which can then be sold with no recompense to the pattern maker (since you already paid them by buying the pattern). The goods themselves are your own "work" and so are owned by you and should be free to sell them or give them away.

The pattern itself however is still under copyright law and is protected as such. Meaning you can't make copies of the actual pattern yourself to share, sell or give away since it doesn't pay recompense to the original pattern maker/copyright holder.

The only exception to this is where you are allowed to sell the original copy you purchased once. Think of it like a book. You buy a book new, read it, then you sell it to a used book store. Your original copy of the book is now gone. Legally you couldn't make a copy of the book to keep while sending the original copy to the used book store. Same with a quilting pattern.

Just Jenn said...

Crystal, you bring up a lot of interesting questions.

I wonder about "loaning out" a pattern too. It seems like you should be able to but I think that's a bit of murky water. I know if you're teaching a class you have to have everyone buy a copy of the pattern. As an individual I know you can't legally make a copy to give to someone but I'm not sure about how it works with letting them borrow your copy.

The licensed fabric is another tricky bit. I'm sure the licensee would like a cut of whatever it is you make with their logo/character plus approval that it's appropriate to their brand. (No disney princesses on bondage gear for example!)

I used to work with a lot of licensed product and we were constantly having to confer with our legal dept. for approval to use various logos and things on the garments we manufactured. There were a lot of rules and regulations.

If it were me I'd avoid making anything for resale with licensed fabric. You could probably get away with it for a while but if it was ever brought to that company's attention and they didn't approve I'm sure you'd get a legal cease and desist letter from their legal dept right quick.