Thursday, January 27, 2005

Copyright: Let's all Crochet -- Legally!

To recap: on January 12th I wrote an entry called "OH NO! It's stealing!" which discussed a journal/blog, I found, of violating copyright.  Then again, on January 17, due to overwhelming requests from my readers, I brought the topic up again.

A regular crochet journaler emailed me and asked the following question:
"I went to the craft store today and got the pattern for the poncho they had on display.  There is no author, nor copyright, nor manufacturer's name on the pattern.  Not even a little copyright symbol.  Can I post this on my journal without getting into trouble?"

I replied to this question in the individual's journal/blog, and thought, gee, let me address this question here too, because it's so terrific!  We can all learn from this!  So, my reply was:
"I would suggest that you call the store and ask where they got the pattern from.  Usually when a FREE pattern is offered and there's no reference to the designer the words COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT linger in the air, and I personally wouldn't touch it.

If you call the store and they hook you up (like the pun?) with the individual who provided the pattern, ask that they sign your copy (if it's their pattern).  If they cannot reveal the source of the pattern, in the future, don't take it.  Should it be
someone else's work that they stole the Right to Copy from (thus the term Copyright), you can get into just as much trouble.

It's better to play it safe.  Remember, there's no such thing as a "Free Lunch."  You might be getting it free, but someone, somewhere, is footing that bill.  Keep that person in mind when you receive something that "appears to be free."  I recommend that you get to know the source -- get to know who's "feeding you the free lunch" --because I wouldn't want to be unexpectedly served a bill (for aiding with copyright infringement).

And remember, if you cannot afford a pattern (book), check with your local library, or if you're a member of the CGOA (or one of it's chapters) ... see if they have the pattern available for loan!  Lets all crochet -- legally!  :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been crocheting for over 30 years. Many times I see a "new" pattern in a magazine and if I dig thru my old magazines, there's the "new" pattern from 1972.
It's not the same author and there are some variations. What makes a pattern "new"?

If I look at a granny square poncho in a photo & figure out the math for it, is that "stealing" or just knowing how things are put together? If I fool around with the yarn & make something similiar to something already existing, is that stealing?

I'm just curious because the issue of copyright comes up constantly and these matters are not addressed.