Friday, April 27, 2012

Copyright Questions ???

There has been much discussion on blogs recently regarding copyrights and what is copyright infringement.  I guess I’m confused (though it doesn’t take much to confuse me . . . lol!)  I understand if I’ve bought a pattern already on backing that I am not allowed to copy it.  I understand that I cannot post someone else’s pattern on the Internet to allow others to copy it. 
BUT . . . What if I’ve bought a paper pattern.  Can I use it more than once?  Am I allowed to sell it once I am done with it?  What if I’ve never used the pattern?  We’ve all bought patterns that we’ve decided we’ll never hook, stitch, etc.  Can it be passed on or sold?  Am I legally allowed to share it?  What about patterns found in magazines and books?
I’ve read that there is no copyright protection on rugs hooked before 1923, I believe, yet some pattern designers indicate they have the right to it.  Many people sell Magdalena Briner Eby patterns.  Does everyone have the right to do that since they are pre -1923?
What about a simple design such as a flag?  I don’t know how anyone could say that is their pattern and you can’t copy it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is confused.  I’d love to see someone post on this topic.
* * * * *
A post wouldn't be complete without a picture, so here is the progress I've made on my rug.  It was taken with a flash so it's a little on the bright side.  I was hoping to have half the background hooked before tomorrow's hook-in.  Close, but no cigar :)  I'm not sure about the eyes.  I may need to work on those.

Hopefully I will have LOTS of rugs to share with you from the hook-in.
Pug hugs :)


  1. Technically if you buy a pattern to use, you are not supposed to share it, especially a rug pattern. But, if it is a pattern that comes in a package or a book, you have the right to give it away or sell it. Epatterns cannot be shared or sold. Most books have the copyright in the front cover, most designers allow you to make copies to sell, within a limit. Some will not, so you just have to read the copyrights and just be fair to the designers by not sharing.


  2. I agree with you that there is a lot of confusion on this copyright pattern issue. I'm so glad that I have been designing my own rugs although I don't have many so I don't have to worry about offending some designers by stealing their designs.

    You are coming along nicely on your rug and I love the background colors. That puppy wants to play.

    Enjoy your hook-in tomorrow.
    Hugs, Julia

  3. First, cute rug. I love what you're doing with that background. On the copyright thing, I don't totally get it either. You hear so many different things. I'll be anxious to read your responses.

  4. Your puppy rug is adorable!! The biggest issue is people make copies of the pattern they bought and sell it to others for profit or they make a copy of someone elses pattern and put it on a site for everyone to download for free. Thats not fair to small business trying to make money. In truth anyone creative can look at someone elses work and make there own version of it.

  5. Love the way your rug is coming along!
    Goodness so much confusion on the copyright issues...such a fine line of do's and don't. I have bought way too many patterns that I will never get around to using!!!

  6. Ummmm, I hesitate to respond here....You are my blog buddy - but I am an attorney and I need to make a disclaimer: I am NOT giving legal you or ANYONE - just putting in my two cents (which likely isn't even worth that), ok??

    Anywho - starting with the basics: A "copyright" is an intangible property right granted by federal statute to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions. Works created after 1/1/1978 are automatically given statutory copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years. (For copyrights owned by publishing houses, the copyright expires 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is first.) Copyrights CAN be registered with the US Copyright Office in Washington, but don't need to be to be protected. A copyright owner no longer needs to place the word "copyright" or that little "c" with a circle symbol around it to be protected. Chances are that if somebody "created" it, somebody owns it....And it can't be "shared" without their permission (i.e., a license).....

    And, yes, copyrights apply to patterns.....It gets a little trickier here though.... Technically, if you purchase a pattern, it truly is a one-use thing - you cannot make bunches of the item the pattern is for for resale, etc. However, some designers are very generous and expressly allow patterns to be used for a limited number of items to be made from it for personal use and/or for resale (e.g., at craft shows, on EBAY, etc.) - but none that I know of allow for mass production and sale of products made from a single pattern purchase. Most designers also are generous enough to allow you to "share" a pattern use with a friend (I trade you this one for that, etc.) - but many find even this objectionable. Yes, you can purchase a pattern and resell it if you change your mind and find it is no longer to your liking. You should not, however, use the pattern, then turn around and sell it. (Fine, murky, line here....) Other pattern designers are much more strict about their copyright rights - for example, read the warning on Mccall's patterns - they explicitly say that if you want to make more than one finished product from one of their patterns, you need to buy more than one pattern. It is important to read the designers/owners' terms.....Unless they grant you more "liberal" usage, you're bound by the more narrow interpretation of the copyright protection laws.

    There are exceptions under the copyright laws for things in the "public domain" (i.e., that's why certain older images, designs, etc. can be reproduced) and for "fair use" exemptions - (i.e., an exception for liability for use by reproduction in copies for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.....Determining whether something falls within the fair use exception, however, is done on a case-by-case basis and various factors are considered in deciding whether it fits within the exemption or not.

    Ok....that's your law lesson for tonight.....I'm sure I probably confused you more than I clarified things for you - but it simply is not simple. I have fits about what people are doing with Pinterest - they seem to think that if someone posts something on the internet (e.g., your blog), it's fair game to "pin" it. Not not so....Unless you have asked, and received, the permission of the person who's photo, etc. it is, it isn't "ok....."

    Love your new rug - that background is wonderful!!!


    Smiles & Uncopyrighted Hugs ~ Robin

  7. Lauren, Your rug is looking awesome! I love the way you are hooking the background! And thank you for posting your questions about copyright... and I super thank Robin for taking the time to comment all of the details. She stated everything so clearly! :-)

  8. I LOVE your rug Lauren.... awesome color choices and great background!
    I too want to thank Robin for taking the time to comment as she is versed in the law and I think has spoken in terms anyone can understand who takes the time to read and contemplate. As time goes on I hope more education about these issues can be made readily available so we as purchasers, designers and sellers of works created by using patterns can rest easy that we are doing the right thing!
    Thank-you Lauren too for asking all the right questions!!
    Big Hugs!!
    Cathy G

  9. Love your rug Lauren!!!

    And I was going to make a remark about copyrights, but I see that Robin has it covered.

  10. Loving this new rug you are working on....stellar background!

  11. love your rug and colors. hope you had fun at the hook in! cant wait to see some pictures and sallys doing better!! enjoy your evening!


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