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Old 08-07-2007, 10:45 AM   #1
Jan in CA
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~~~Copyright for Knitters~~~
~~Copyright for Knitters~~
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The subject of a raffle/donation/auction has come up recently so I thought I'd share this. It's important.

Recently it came up in the "Knit Baby Surprise" Yahoo forum asking about knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket for auction. The pattern owner/publisher (Meg Swansen) was contacted and she denied permission. Most patterns can be used for straight donation, but if there is an exchange of money, and even if that money is donated to charity, it was not acceptable. This particular incidence applied only to the BSJ, but other pattern writers may feel the same.

IMO... As long as the item isn't for personal gain I don't see a problem, but it's not my decision.

So bottom line is to contact the pattern writer for permission. It usually just involves an email. And to be on the safe side, save the email if permission is given.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jan in CA View Post
~~Copyright for Knitters~~
http://www.geocities.com/jbtocker/co...copyrfaq4.html

The subject of a raffle/donation/auction has come up recently so I thought I'd share this. It's important.

Recently it came up in the "Knit Baby Surprise" Yahoo forum asking about knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket for auction. The pattern owner/publisher (Meg Swansen) was contacted and she denied permission. Most patterns can be used for straight donation, but if there is an exchange of money, and even if that money is donated to charity, it was not acceptable. This particular incidence applied only to the BSJ, but other pattern writers may feel the same.

IMO... As long as the item isn't for personal gain I don't see a problem, but it's not my decision.

So bottom line is to contact the pattern writer for permission. It usually just involves an email. And to be on the safe side, save the email if permission is given.
Certain elements of the knit copyright issue really pi$$ me off. It is extremely disturbing that "copyright" denies me the right to sell an item that I spent hours, days, weeks, months or years making. The authors own the pattern; how is it fair that they own every single item made from the pattern?!!? I just don't get it. Based on the "ownership of materials used" concept, then what's to stop "patent" from denying knitters the right to sell even their own designs just because they've used Addi Turbos to physically make the item? While I understand copyright prohibits photocopying or otherwise replicating patterns for various intents, this "can't sell your knitted work" copyright thing is especially ridiculous when you take into account a "basketweave baby blanket" or "raglan sweater" or any other patterns that are quite generic in concept.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:31 AM   #3
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If you are making a basket-weave baby blanket, that's not copyrighted. Basket-weave is a stitch pattern, and is considering "public domain." If you were to write down a pattern and say "Use x yarn, y size needles, cast on z stitches, knit garter stitch for 7 rows, and knit a 7 stitch garter border on all rows, <basketweave instructions> for 49 rows, knit 7 garter rows, and bind off," that'd be a pattern.

But "basketweave stitch" and "raglan sweater" aren't copyrighted...they are techniques. It's the sum total that makes a pattern copyrighted.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:31 AM   #4
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I understand both sides of the argument here:

For one, pattern writers don't want knitters selling something that was really made from their work, and taking credit for it.

Second, knitters have made the item, why not get to sell it? The actual knitting is your work, so why shouldn't you be able to sell/donate/etc?

I've been in both of these situations, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn't worry too much about selling generic items, like, say, toe up socks, raglan sweaters/baby blankets, unless the designer has completely made up a new design concept or stitch pattern, because, who'll know? I've sold sweaters made from Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system, but just to make sure I could, I called Meg Swansen, and she said it was not only legal, but encouraged! So, don't worry about generic items, no one can tell if they're made from a pattern/percentages, etc. They're just plain items with no special concept behind them.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:36 AM   #5
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It's actually not necessarily an issue of copyright, but one of intellectual property rights. If you've spent months working out the perfect pattern for a sweater, how would you feel if someone else made a profit on it? It's like taking a Jane Austen novel, putting your name on it, and selling it on Lulu, or trying to pass off a Beatles song as your own. Even in cases where the authors are allowing the pattern use for free, it's still a matter of giving credit where credit is due.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wahlee View Post
It's actually not necessarily an issue of copyright, but one of intellectual property rights. If you've spent months working out the perfect pattern for a sweater, how would you feel if someone else made a profit on it? It's like taking a Jane Austen novel, putting your name on it, and selling it on Lulu, or trying to pass off a Beatles song as your own. Even in cases where the authors are allowing the pattern use for free, it's still a matter of giving credit where credit is due.
Copyright IS an intellectual property right.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:48 AM   #7
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How much would you have to change up something before it stops being their pattern and becomes your own creation? Like, if you took someone's very basic bag pattern, but put a fair isle or intarsia chart on it, it would become a very different bag. You may use their shaping, but if that's just like "CO 50 stitches, increase every five rows" or something, but then that's so generic it could almost be from any pattern. That's the biggest thing I don't understand. If you take someone's pattern for a basic baby sweater but add some cabling or something, is it still their baby sweater?
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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Maybe this section will help, Rachel.
http://www.geocities.com/jbtocker/co...copyrfaq7.html

Originally Posted by redheadrachel View Post
How much would you have to change up something before it stops being their pattern and becomes your own creation? Like, if you took someone's very basic bag pattern, but put a fair isle or intarsia chart on it, it would become a very different bag. You may use their shaping, but if that's just like "CO 50 stitches, increase every five rows" or something, but then that's so generic it could almost be from any pattern. That's the biggest thing I don't understand. If you take someone's pattern for a basic baby sweater but add some cabling or something, is it still their baby sweater?
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #9
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Thanks Jan! You always know the perfect websites to steer people in the right direction
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:55 AM   #10
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IMO if the pattern is completely unrecognizeable, then it becomes your pattern. If you use everything else, but just add some cabling or something, it's still theirs. But, if you changed it so drastically as to add a stranded/intarsia/mosaic chart, then I believe it's your pattern.
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