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Message Board > Patterns and Notions > Pattern Copyrights ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Pattern Copyrights
SewNikki
SewNikki
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Member since 10/29/09
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Date: 11/9/11 10:58 PM

I have read warnings at the bottom of many free patterns (as well as some commercial ones) posted on the web, "Do not use this pattern to make items to sell."
I kept thinking...how can that be right? Does a copyright really give someone permission to limit what I do with something that I make from their pattern? I pay for the materials, I spend hours and hours making it...and I can't sell it?So, I did some research, and I came across this website. I thought it might be of interest to everyone.

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

AdaH
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AdaH  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/10/11 0:05 AM

Great article. Thanks for posting it.
There is a lot of confusion about copyrights.

------
Ada

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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In reply to SewNikki


Date: 11/10/11 2:47 AM

Quote: SewNikki
I have read warnings at the bottom of many free patterns (as well as some commercial ones) posted on the web, "Do not use this pattern to make items to sell."

I kept thinking...how can that be right? Does a copyright really give someone permission to limit what I do with something that I make from their pattern? I pay for the materials, I spend hours and hours making it...and I can't sell it?So, I did some research, and I came across this website. I thought it might be of interest to everyone.



http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

Does a copyright really give someone permission to limit what I do with something that I make from their pattern?

YES! (U.S. Copyright Office) The copyright holder grants to you limited rights to use the copyrighted pattern for your personal use. The copyright holder is perfectly within her/his rights to prohibit the use of their pattern to make items for sale.

reference to the tabberone website

This website is full of bad advice and it just plain WRONG in many places. Every time someone starts a thread about pattern copyright (on any sewing discussion forum, not just PR), eventually this website is mentioned. In a recent thread, aguywhosews asked his cousin (cousin IS a lawyer) about this website. The cousin's reply:
aguywhosews' lawyer cousin comments on the tabberone website.

Just because someone publishes something on the internet, no matter how passionate or insistent they are in their arguments, that does not make their opinions legal. Opinion is not law.
aguywhosews and his lawyer cousin discuss the meaning of pattern copyright.

The entire thread was one of the more interesting discussion threads (on PR or anywhere) that I've read about copyright issues. Eventually, there was a happy and perfectly legal outcome for aguywhosews.

CMC
vilar
vilar
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In reply to SewNikki


Date: 11/10/11 5:05 AM

Quote: SewNikki
"Do not use this pattern to make items to sell."

If you change the aspect ratio, parts, technology, change the size of the customer,
It will be other patterns
You can transfer stitch at 0.5 cm and there are other patterns


and for other patterns warning does not apply
ValerieJ
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ValerieJ  Friend of PR
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In reply to vilar


Date: 11/10/11 9:48 AM

Quote: vilar

If you change the aspect ratio, parts, technology, change the size of the customer,
It will be other patterns
You can transfer stitch at 0.5 cm and there are other patterns
and for other patterns warning does not apply

I don't believe that under US copyright law that is correct. I believe that if you make modifications to a copyrighted item it would be viewed as derivative, and that is generally not permissible.

An example - for those of you in the US - remember the Obama posters with Hope and Change on them? My recollection is that the guy who made those posters started with a photo from a news magazine. He photoshopped them, and then sold them (and probably made a ton of money). I read later that the magazine publisher had sued for copyright infringement, don't recall hearing the outcome, though.

If you have any questions about something you are considering doing, and how copyright law applies, you really would do best to consult with a lawyer.
-- Edited on 11/10/11 9:50 AM --
nancy2001
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Date: 11/10/11 9:53 AM

If you want to make items to sell, don't start with a commercial pattern. Learn a little pattern drafting and make your own pattern from scratch. It's not that hard to figure out how to make simple items.

------
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

Trinity.
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Trinity.
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In reply to CM_Sews


Date: 11/10/11 10:56 AM

Quote: CM_Sews


Does a copyright really give someone permission to limit what I do with something that I make from their pattern?



YES! (U.S. Copyright Office) The copyright holder grants to you limited rights to use the copyrighted pattern for your personal use. The copyright holder is perfectly within her/his rights to prohibit the use of their pattern to make items for sale.


Sadly, if it were this easy, the question wouldn't continually come up with little resolution every time.

It is long established that selling the tracings of the pattern would be in direct violation of copyright -- that much everyone agrees on.

This conflict arises where one interprets the "first sale doctrine" with regards to patterns and fabric...after I have bought something, is it then possible for the seller to dictate what I can do with it?

Some people say that this concept requires a written, signed contract in order to be enforceable, and the simple purchase of an item does not fulfill that requirement. Others say that merely putting that statement on the article makes it so. Notice that when you buy software, as it is installing you must actively check a box that says you agree to the terms and conditions.

As far as I know, there is no case in the United States that has either verified or challenged the application of the "first sale doctrine" regarding this matter, which is why everyone remains unsure what is legal and what is not.

The reason tabberone is referenced so often is that she has challenged the fabric manufacturers of licensed fabric and she has won, thereby setting precedent -- something, as I said above, that hasn't happened in the pattern industry. I don't know whether there are things on her website that "are just plain wrong" as I don't presume to know definitively what is "right" on this subject.



------
Trinity

http://thimblesthreadsandneedles.blogspot.com/

petro
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petro  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/10/11 11:27 AM

Whatever the law says, the pattern companies who draft for home sewers will have to sell quite a few of each design to break even, so if we want them to stay in business it seems fair to respect their terms. If you are a manufacturer you will have to pay the full cost of the design development and drafting for the items you want to produce, not the part cost, which is what home sewers are paying to pattern companies. Pattern companies are making their profit from the design and pattern, manufacturers expect to make their profit on the finished garment or item. Pattern companies frequently include detailed instructions, which add to the cost, and form part of the deal. It can take many hours to get from a design to a pattern and prototype.

SewNikki
SewNikki
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USA
Member since 10/29/09
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In reply to AdaH


Date: 11/10/11 11:40 AM

Yes, there really is a lot of confusion, and a lot of propaganda out there about copyrights.

You are most welcome. I was glad I found it.

SewNikki
SewNikki
Intermediate
USA
Member since 10/29/09
Posts: 5
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In reply to CM_Sews


Date: 11/10/11 12:08 PM

I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree with you. I have read the information from the US Copyright page and lots of other Copyright information (before you posted it, lol) and it seems to clearly back what is being said at Tabberone.

The *design* is copyrighted. I do agree with that- that's what it clearly says. I would never sell someone else's design, or copy it and hand it out, or claim that I designed it. But what I make from that design belongs to me, and therefore, I can do what I want with it.

I also think they make the most clear statement of all, in this utterly sue-happy country, when they point out that no one has ever been sued (successfully) for selling things made from a pattern. If it could be done, it would be. When money is involved, people/companies do whatever they can.

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