Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Copyright on the Finished Piece

I learn new things about copyright all of the time. This article about pattern copyright, is related to selling your finished crochet pieces upon completion, when the author says you may not sell your finished piece. The actual written pattern is copyright and may not be sold or redistributed, unless you have permission from the author. The only place I have seen authors do this is on the Internet. Copyright does not cover the finished work. You are not required to ask permission to sell your finished piece. If you have an opportunity to make some money from your crochet work, sell it. Before the Internet, I had never heard of a statement like that attached to crochet patterns. Maybe that is why the statement does not exist in crochet magazines. Copyright only protects your body of work like pictures, graphics, video, recording and writing that you have done yourself. It does not protect an idea or finished piece.

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

25 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this information. I've purchased patterns before and wondered about claims of not being able to sell what I make from someone elses pattern. I appreciate the clarification!

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  2. Very ineteresting read. I can see this applying to patterns that are sold. But, would free patterns found, for instance, online also be under the same guidelines? I've seen plenty of sites where free crochet patterns are offered and the designers ask that the finished items not be sold.

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  3. Kate,
    The Internet is part of the stream of commerce(e-commerce), even though the pattern is free. The pattern should be kept private, if the individual does not want people selling the finished piece. How is the pattern author monetarily damaged with a free pattern? The pattern author does not control the finished piece.

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  4. Wow Thank You so much,
    I hope this applies to knitting patterns as well, as I was told I wasnt able to sell my guinea pigs that I bought a pattern for, so had to find another pattern,
    Your such a help, Thank You,
    Hugs
    Angie

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  5. Wow! This is huge- are you ready for the backlash? I appreciate the information but I can see those peeps being very surprised at this interpretation ;o)
    You're the best, T!

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  6. Lilacanglia,
    This applies to any type of pattern. Sewing, knitting, crochet, woodmaking, quilting etc.

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  7. Angelica Bays, TygrLilies.com,
    Thank you. The website said everything pretty clearly and I learned some new things myself. It is a big shame for people to continue thinking that they can't sell their finished piece. I have heard from people in the past and wish this article was available. I hope everyone is very successful and sells everything that they want to sell.

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  8. Thanks for the information. I really appreciate you putting this out there for us to read. I have been taking some of my finished items to a consignment shop and didn't dare take certain things for fear this would be a problem.

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  9. I'm curious as to the author's legal credentials. I'm not being a smart-aleck but copyright law is a very confusing thing that takes lawyers to interpret and still cases go to court for a judge to solve. I wonder if this article will loosen up crochetville's blocking of archived websites???

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  10. I clicked on the 'Carolyn V. Peters, Esq.' link on that page. If I understood correctly, you would be safe NOT to mass produce an object from a purchased pattern and then sell them. This particular situation has not gone to court, so there is no legal precedence, so it is sort of a better safe than sorry situation. Based on this article, I think that the 'for non-commercial use' seen often on patterns means you may sell and distribute your finished objects, but not at such a large scale (i.e. commercial scale) that you have significant financial gain. Anyways, I am certainly not a lawyer, so this is just my two cents.

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  11. Sharon Marie,
    Websites are considered someones expression of work, so allowing archives will violate the copyright law. The archive website that does this on the Internet, is in violation of copyright.

    This interpretation in the article is related to selling the end piece. There are links in the article to the the US Copyright Website and to court cases ruled on by the supreme court. In 1908 the supreme court ruled that the owner of the copyright does not have the right to determine future sales.

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/210/339/

    http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/EULA/EULA.shtml

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  12. Whitney @ The Crochet Café,
    This is a 1908 case.
    http://supreme.justia.com/us/210/339/

    As end users of these computers, should we all be required to pay any future profits to Apple,Dell and Microsoft, because we sell crochet on Etsy or Ebay and make a profit? Something to think about.

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  13. Hi Teresa...
    I would have to say the 1908 supreme court case is a much better example of copyright issues with the pattern itself, not the end product resulting from use of the pattern. Looking into the full context of the case, it outlined that after practicing their right to vend, the owner of the copyright (the designer) cannot qualify or limit future sales of their book (for us a pattern). So the purchaser has the right to sell the original pattern for whatever price they want, but it was also clear that they will infringe on the copyright if they make copies of the pattern to sell or distribute for free.
    Very interesting, for sure...

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  14. Thanks for posting this...

    It has always been my stated position that I have allowed buyers of my patterns to sell their finished works. I've always considered it a compliment that they would even want to.

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  15. Thanks for posting this Teresa! I sell patterns for scrapbooking (paper piecings) and have always allowed customers to make & sell their items. The large majority of my customers are like me - stay at home moms with an online business. If I limited my customers to not sell what they make, I wouldn't sell near what I do. It only brings me more returning customers. There are some crochet patterns out there that I would have bought up in a heartbeat - BUT - the seller states that I'm not allowed to sell finished items, so I sadly passed. If she would allow me to sell what I make, I would buy & return to buy all of her patterns. (And she has ALOT!) I had even considered chainging over to a crochet business instead of scrapbooking if it weren't for that. I enjoy both crafts so much, but since I am on a budget, I have to stick mainly with the one I can make a little grocery money on. Sad that some have to be this way.

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  16. ahhhhh *hugs you* your the BEST! I've been looking for this information everywhere and I just couldn't get a clear answer or answers. I saw this pattern that I wanted to use SOOOOO badly..its very outdated and I figured I could make a whole bunch of them and sell them on etsy..now I CAN! *claps hands* yay! lol

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  17. How interesting, I never knew that.

    This calls for celebration! lol!

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  18. Awesome!! I always wondered if it were true when someone would say that they developed a sewing technique and that if I used it I couldn't sell the item I made. I always thought it was weird that they could say that.

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  19. Thanks for the info! I didn't know that.

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  20. This was in court. One reason you do not see court cases concerning the sale of finished products from patterns is because of Baker v. Selden, 101 US 99 - Supreme Court 1880. The Supreme Court commented on "a chart of patterns for cutting dresses and basques for ladies, and coats, jackets, &c., for boys", stating:

    It is obvious that such designs could only be printed and published for information, and not for use in themselves. Their practical use could only be exemplified in cloth on the tailor's board and under his shears; in other words, by the application of a mechanical operation to the cutting of cloth in certain patterns and forms. Surely the exclusive right to this practical use was not reserved to the publisher by his copyright of the chart.

    (They talked funny back then) What the Supreme Court was saying is the end product was not covered by the copyright and therefore not a right of the copyright owner and not subject to limit. The practical use of a copyright, such as reading a book several times, is not for the rights owner to limit.

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  21. Thanks for this information. So if someone puts "if you resell the finished project please put a copy of my website with it" do you have to put their website along side the finished project or is it more of an option to do so?

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  22. I have purchased a pattern on Etsy yesterday and the information on the pattern word by word says.
    copywrite notice:you do not have permission to sell the finished product locally or online without purchasing a cottage liciense. Rewriting, reselling, disributing or copying the pattern itself is prohibited. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation
    I looked at the cottage license it states
    Additional Policies and FAQs My patterns are for personal use only. Please contact me regarding questions about my licensing options. I currently offer 3 license options. 6-month limited license: Per pattern, sell only locally, not online. $20 6-month full license: Per pattern, sell local and online. $50 Full lifetime license: All patterns (current and future), sell local and online. $150

    I have been crocheting now long enough and gained information from crochet gurus such as yourself to know that this is wrong and I know I have the right to sell my finished work. Its unfair that the designer would like extra money to sell something that I have made , spent my time on and money on and my skills. I shall be selling what I make from it. Thank you Teresa and to all the other crochet gurus on the internet that continue to educate the crochet community. You are a star. Thank you Teresa, you have given me confidence, knowledge and brought something wonderful into life. I have meet some lovely people on line, I have created friendships and without your videos I know I would not be as far on as I am today. I believe I would not even be crocheting. Its easier to learn through watching than it is to look and read from a book. Thank you x

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    Replies
    1. In all fairness, the author should provide the licensing agreement in advance to sales so
      people know their licensing demands. Most crocheters want the option to sell their finished pieces. Realistically, individual crocheters are not going to be able to mass produce crochet fast enough that a licensing agreement is worth the time it took to write. Depending on what it is, thousands of other crocheters have done something similar or are able to
      reverse engineer their own pattern.

      Delete
  23. Perfectly stated! When you think about it, there very rarely are any 100% original creations anymore. They are all based on something else... But I HATE when I see a pattern I love and then the creator says not to sell finished products. I spend my money on the pattern, I expect to be able to make money with it. I am a mother to 4, I buy the patterns with my children in mind but so as not to constantly put my family out I use the creations to make a little extra money. That being said, I NEVER state their items as my own and I will gladly link back to the creator to give them credit for their products, but I don't see how they can say I can't do something with what I make. So I looked around and found this aricle...

    http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

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  24. @ toyboxplayground ~this is an extremely helpful link! Thank you so much for posting it.
    @ Teresa ~Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us! I am a "see & do" learner; books help but your tutorials are a fantastic way for me to expand my old-school techniques (yarn hooker for over 30 years). I have spent years looking for the facts regarding craft patterns and selling resulting product. Everyone I've contacted throughout the years either had no clue, were possibly insecure in their own abilities and didn't want the market competition, or were all about how many ways they can milk a customer's wallet.
    It has always been my philosophy that the materials I use to construct the pattern are not what is in the picture, so how can it be an infringement on the copyrights? It is a template to channel my creativity. Kudos to those that are able to produce a pattern design ~my talents lie in the skill to read and create. I can take an idea and run with it; 90% of the time, it only *resembles* the original anyway. And I have never passed the design off as my original ~I always share where I got the pattern or idea from!

    ReplyDelete

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