Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Copyrights and Licensing Patterns

UPDATE 6/16/2012:  Oh, and one more quick note that I... you guessed it... hope to go more into depth later with, here is a great blog post I found about the whole copyright/licensing debacle I posted about such a LONG, LONG, time ago. Over at Speckless, she has posted her Thoughts on Making and Selling, and I feel like she was in my brain! :) I completely agree with her post, and I must say, over a year later from posting my initial thoughts on copyrights and licensing for patterns, I have gained much more experience and my original thoughts have changed. I offer most of my patterns to buyers letting them know that they are responsible for their finished items, meaning they can do whatever they wish with the items they put so much time and effort into. However, a small selection of my patterns are offered with the understanding that you cannot sell the items you make from the patterns online. I chose to list those patterns that way because I am a WAHM (work-at-home-mom). My husband supports us solely and is constantly working 10-15+ hour of overtime a week to ensure my ability to stay home with our little guy. The money I make from my Etsy shop is our only extra income, and most of that money comes from the sales of custom items using the select patterns I do not allow sales from. I know that legally, I have no rights to prevent people from making sales. That is why I have asked in the listing that you not purchase the pattern if you cannot agree not to sell the finished items. I am happy to answer any questions further regarding this policy upon request, but I just wanted to make a quick update. People change and grow, and their opinions change and grow. That is really all this update is about. :)

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

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Bearded Lady!

Ok, So I'm not really a bearded lady, but it sounded pretty good. I got this idea after my younger brother called me few months ago begging me to make him a "beard beanie." My first question was, "What in the world is a beard beanie?"
He told me all about them, but he couldn't find a pattern online. So, for awhile, I toiled away on my computer searching for a pattern... to no avail!
He was saddened, and I must say, I was a little bit annoyed. I have rarely come across an idea that I found NO pattern for, but I can now say that I have.
All this is to say that this particular beard beanie is my own original design. I am playing around with the idea of publishing the pattern, and I am also playing with the idea of selling licenses that allow people to sell the items they make. This is something I have never tampered with. Usually I just sell my patterns and allow people to sell what they make, but with this particular product, I am trying to respect another seller. She is selling these things like hot cakes in her Etsy shop, and I assume if she wanted lots of other people to be able to produce them, she would have published a pattern herself.
Can anybody give me any info on selling licenses on patterns?

Otherwise, these beard beanies are available for sale in my Etsy shop, which you can find in the side bar of my blog.