Yet another copyright question :-)
Sorry guys, you must get sick to death of these questions, but I'm so hazy on all the random laws etc that are out there, ie. what's law and what's just common courtesy etc.
So, my question is this : I saw the fantastic scarf Binary on knitty, and was inspired. I made a DS case for my partner, knitted flat instead of in the round, using black and green, but with a stitch pattern slightly different to the one on Binary that I made up. Essentially, I saw the pattern, thought it was cool, but made something quite different without a pattern that had green ones and zeroes on a black background.
Now, what could I do with the pattern for the DS case? It's kind of a hypothetical question, but it highlighted to me how little I know about this stuff. Could I :
a. not do anything with it except make gifts for my friends.
b. write out the pattern for other people to use free but with an 'inspired by ...' waiver.
c. write out the pattern to sell but with an 'inspired by...' waiver.
d. write out the pattern to sell as my own work.
It's just that stuff like this seems hazy copyright wise - I cast on a different number of stitches, stitched a different pattern, used a different graph set up, knitted flat and seamed to make something that wasn't a scarf. I know that stitch patterns themselves are in the public domain, but what about ideas, like green ones and zeroes on a black background to make a binary code? Where does the public domain end and copyrighted ideas start?
I hope this doesn't start a big heated debate, but I'd like to hear lots of points of view. I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to steal someone's ideas, I just want to know what the actual rules are about this stuff, *because* I don't want to step on anyone's toes. It just seems hard to create original things these days without being inspired somewhere or other along the way, so I'd like to know what our responsibilities are as artists?