Tag Archive | copyright

Copyright… From the Horse’s Mouth

It seems there are some out there that didn’t like my post regarding designers thinking they can dictate what you can and can’t do with an item you completed from their pattern. You’ve bought the pattern, you paid for the materials, invested your time. Yet they think they can tell you that you’re not allowed to sell YOUR work or can dictate where you sell it? That’s like my LYS saying you can use the fleece you purchased here to make your own yarn, but you can’t sell that yarn locally or online because we want to reserve the right to sell ours there.

So I decided to send an inquiry to the U.S. Copyright Office to get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth. Sure, I did my homework and researched the subject thoroughly online. I just wanted to make sure all my “t”‘s were crossed and my “i”‘s were dotted.

This is the message that I sent to the U.S. Copyright Office:

Can you sell an item you have made from a pattern? Can pattern designers dictate what you can do with an item you have made from a pattern they have written? I purchased a crochet pattern and nowhere in the listing did it say that it was for personal use only. It was only after I was 3 rows from being finished that I discovered this. Am I legally allowed to sell this item?

This is the response I received:

Generally, you may do what you wish with your own personal copy.

The first-sale doctrine is a limitation on copyright that was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1908 and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 109. The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. This means that the copyright holder’s rights to control the change of ownership of a particular copy end once that copy is sold, as long as no additional copies are made. This doctrine is also referred to as the “first sale rule” or “exhaustion rule.”

If you have additional questions or need further assistance, our contact information is listed below.


U.S. Copyright Office
Attn: Public Information Office-LM401
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20559-6000
Email: copyinfo@loc.gov
Phone: 877-476-0778 (toll free) or 202-707-5959
Fax: 202-252-2041
Website: http://www.copyright.gov

There it is. Don’t believe me or don’t agree? The information is right there to contact them yourself. Nowhere did they say that I’m not allowed to sell the finished item regardless of what the designer says in the listing or on the pattern.

As I had mentioned before, I won’t purchase a pattern from somebody who states their wishes in the listing that they don’t “allow” items made from that pattern to be sold. Even though I don’t always buy a pattern with the intention of making the item to sell, I do need to have that option in case things don’t work out the way I had planned. I want to respect peoples’ wishes. I would also much rather support a designer that supports their customers. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. If a friend sees an item I made and asked where I got the design, you bet I’ll send them to the designer. BOOM! Another sale for the designer. I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. I’m sure there have been a few sales generated from my finished pieces for those designers who encourage sales of finished items. That fuels their business and allows them to keep writing patterns. They help us help them help us help them…

Happy stitching.


Misguided Designers and the Gifts they Give

After buying a pattern last week where the designer had stated that “you cannot sell the items made from this pattern”, I have decided to create my own shrug. I’m actually going to send “thank you” vibes to this designer because if they had have stated their wishes in the pattern listing, I wouldn’t have bought it. And I wouldn’t have got angry when I saw the fine print at the bottom of the pattern, trying to dictate what I can do with MY work. I’ll respect your wishes and not sell MY work made from your pattern (with the one exception I made before seeing this statement). I’m coming up with a prettier, better-fitting item that I can call my own. Thank you for your narrow-minded thinking and misguided perception of power. You’ve forced me to reach into my creative toolbox and come up with my own thing. That alone makes the money I thought I had wasted worth while! And if I end up writing the pattern out and selling it, well, I’ll be sending you even bigger “thank you” vibes.

Yes, I was very angry and frustrated at the time. But I ended up getting an even greater gift. I took my anger and turned it into creativity. This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on without a pattern. And by golly, I’m going to make it pretty!

20130106-143730.jpg From the pattern

20130106-143759.jpg My OWN design

For those who are unfamiliar with the in’s and out’s of patterns and your rights v.s. the designer’s rights…
When you purchase a pattern, you are purchasing directions to make an item. You cannot legally claim it as your own, copy, sell or share the pattern with anyone else in any form (unless you have some sort of agreement directly with the designer). You CAN sell the items that you have made from the pattern regardless of what the designer says. You own YOUR work, you’re the one who bought the materials to make it and you’re the one who put your time in to make the item. They don’t own the item, they own the pattern. Many think that they can tell you that you can’t sell your work online. There are even bigger rip-off artists that try to sell you “cottage licenses” for various periods of time which they claim give you the right to sell the items you made from their pattern. THIS IS A SCAM. You’re not even legally required to provide a link back to the designer (although it is good Karma to do so).

I was 3 rows out from being finished this project when I noticed the designer’s “wishes.” Had this designer listed their wishes in the pattern listing, I would never have bought it. While it is a beautiful design, I will not support people like this. What was even more frustrating was that the item I worked on turned out to be a little too small. There is NO WAY I’m going to rip out all that work and start from the beginning. I also don’t have anyone that I could gift this item to. Nor should I have to. I am going sell this item because it is my RIGHT to do so. I’ll even provide a link to the designer, but I will also include a note regarding their wishes.

I think most stitchers who do this for a living are on the same page. I’ve found that this is quite a sore spot in the crochet community. Many who I’ve talked to about this issue have felt the same way. It’s one thing if the designer states this up front. We have the option to purchase it knowing their preferences. But when it’s not put in the pattern listing, that is just plain dirty. I will NOT respect their “wishes”, I will exercise my rights. I have a family to feed and I buy patterns to make items to sell to feed said family. Why would I buy a pattern where I can’t sell the finished items from?

If you design patterns and you don’t want people selling THEIR creations from your pattern, then don’t sell your patterns! It’s that simple. People are going to do it anyway regardless of what control you think you have over THEIR finished items.


Patterns And How They Are Affected By Copyright Law

Selling Goods Made From Patterns – Copyright Infringement?

New Crochet Pattern Review Blog (and a bit of a rant)

I don’t know about you, but I am soooo sick and tired of poorly written patterns! I ran into ANOTHER one yesterday. Thank goodness it was free. This time. With the way it was written, I certainly won’t be purchasing the ones the designer has up for sale.

I’m almost to the point where I’m reluctant to buy patterns from a designer that I haven’t bought from before. I’ve wasted so much time and so much money on patterns that are just garbage. A missing gauge. A pattern that doesn’t match the gauge and comes out the wrong size. Missing stitch counts. An OBVIOUS copy-and-paste job from another size of the same pattern without that size being tested. No measurements. That’s only a few of the issues. I don’t know if these people just don’t care as long as they’re making money? It is costing ME (and everyone else who is buying these) time and money to work from these patterns. When you have to tweak a pattern, that takes away from your productivity. If you’re depending on the work you stitch to pay the bills, you can’t afford to take that time. Is buying a pattern not supposed to SAVE you from doing this? Is that not the whole point?

I know I’m not alone with my frustration. So much so that a friend of mine has now started a blog that reviews crochet patterns. If you’re interested in saving yourself time and money, check out Crochet Pattern Reviews. She is going to be working on bringing attention to the POSITIVE aspects of each pattern that she reviews. It is NOT meant to trash talk designers, it’s nothing personal. It is a resource to help us all save time and money by pointing out whose patterns are worth spending your money on. I’m really excited about this!

For designers, I think it’s going to be very useful too. You will get feedback straight from the horse’s mouth. I’m sure you’ll quickly find out what the crochet community is REALLY looking for, what we like, what we don’t like. I think this will be a very effective tool to compliment your business.

A subject that came up amongst a group of stitching friends is how some designers are so out of the loop with the rights that they think they have to their patterns. There are quite a few out there that say that you not allowed to sell the finished product from their pattern. WRONG. And don’t even get me started on cottage licenses. Seriously, if you see a pattern requiring you to purchase a cottage license in order to sell the items YOU make, save your money and walk away. Once somebody buys/obtains a pattern, they are free to do what they want with the finished product. They do NOT have the right to sell the pattern itself. Technically, you’re not even legally required to put a link back to the designer. With that said, it is professional to do that and just plain good Karma. Aside from that, I know I wouldn’t want my customers to think that I designed something and that my designing skills are stronger than what they are.

This misinformed attitude will cause me to sail right past a listing. Why would I BUY a pattern if I can’t at least make my money back from it? Technically I COULD sell the item made, but I really don’t want the headache of having to fight with somebody who has no idea what they’re talking about. I’d rather give my money to somebody that has put a pattern out there that encourages you to build your business. It’s only helping them too.

Another attitude that amuses me is how there are some designers out there that are designing character hats, charging money for a pattern of a copyrighted image they DO NOT own, yet they go after other designers that come up with a pattern based on the character they don’t own the copyright to in the first place! Seriously? Go ahead and take that one to court. I’m sure Disney would be okay with you making money from their characters and not getting a cut LOL

For more information about copyright laws and patterns, check out Tabber’s Temptations.

—-End Rant—-