After my previous post about The Bearded Lady, I was left with so many questions about how copyrights protect my patterns and whether or not there was any legal grounds for licensing my patterns. This question has been plaguing me since I began crocheting and using patterns out of magazines. Then I branched into using patterns online, and eventually, I stumbled upon Etsy and Ravelry where I began to hear terms and phrases such as, "You may not sell the finished items you make from my pattern." "If you wish to sell the items you make from my pattern, you must purchase a Cottage License." And yet others simply stated you could sell your finished items or said nothing. In all that time, I only ran across one lady saying you had total rights to your finished products because her copyright did not extend to the finished product.
I used her pattern and I graciously thanked her for allowing people to sell the finished products as well as offering the pattern as a free download. All of this was in ignorance, though, as I have now done my research and have found that no copyright extends to the finished product in terms of patterns. There has never been a case that has made it through the courts based on someone selling finished products from patterns, though some big name sewing pattern companies have tried. These same big name sewing patterns list on their labels that you may not sell the items that you make from their patterns, but it is unjust. They are misinforming you, and they are getting by with it because the general public has no idea that they can't enforce their "rules."
Now, I am not condoning purchasing a pattern and mass producing some items for your own gain. What I am saying is that I do not condone the sellers who insist you pay lump sums of money (sometimes quite large lump sums of money) so they can "license" you to sell a finished product that you have the full rights to anyway. Please, save your money and your integrity and do not buy into this. I have listed a handful of links below, some government websites and some I felt were just very detailed websites that I believe will greatly benefit buyers, sellers, and authors alike.
As an author and creator, I would love to be able to say, "No, you may not sell this item once you have finished it," because I would love to be the only one making money off those items. However selfish that may appear, it is illogical, and the laws are laid out before you. Please keep yourself informed.
Definition of Useful Articles
Copyright Law of the United States
A great animated video to help children understand copyrights. (I used it to help myself understand copyrights.)
A list of Examples of Visual Arts
Tabber's Temptations website featuring a detailed article on copyrights and pattern licensing.
Tabber's Temptations website featuring an article about Cottage Licenses and Angel Policy