Quilting and the copyright right laws which apply to the subject come up every now and then in magazines and online. Each attempts to summarize and explain the law often with different interpretations. If you are anything like me, it just takes a little bit of “legalize” for my eyes to glaze over. Protecting the rights of others is important but sometimes it is a little difficult to figure out what it all means. A recent post found on the internet brought this all to mind.
Ginger Davis Allman came up with this wonderful chart of copyright guidelines. http://thebluebottletree.com/copyright-guidelines-polymer-clay-artists/
Just as a lawyer would, I will start this with a brief disclaimer. I am not a lawyer, never dreamed of being one and know very little about the law. Nothing I am about to say should be construed as legal advice. I simply want to talk about what is fair and considerate to others.
A copyright is a form of legal protection granted by the legal system to protect the original work of individuals. According to the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), “Works eligible for protection under copyright include patterns, diagrams and instructions for making quilts, written materials that talk about quilts and the making of quilts, and quilt designs, regardless of whether those designs appear in a pattern or diagram for the quilt, in a software program that lets the user make the quilt, or in the quilt itself.”
Many of us design our own quilts whether we do it professionally or just for our own enjoyment. Let’s use my Lotus quilt as an example.
The center of the quilt consists of a large Lone Star. This is a traditional design and I certainly can’t lay claim to that. I carefully chose each fabric making sure they shaded nicely to get the effect I wanted. Around the Lone Star is appliqué which I also designed. This is my own creation.
If you make my Lotus quilt, I would hope that you let people know it is my design. If your friends want to make one, you can let them know where they can obtain a pattern or a kit. It is not alright to take the pattern, make copies and distribute them whether for free or certainly not for money.
If you want to take parts of this design and incorporate it into a work of your own, give credit. If your work includes anything for profit, you should ask permission of the designer.
I would hope you would stop and think for a moment of all which goes into the creative work of others—endless hours of design, pattern writing, pattern testing and copying costs. There is an old saying about giving credit where credit is due. Let’s always try to remember this.