This isn't a post that I want to write but because of recent violations I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this subject and hopefully hear yours.
The following links will provide online reading to get more information to educate and protect yourself, and to act as references for what I'm going to discuss.
- The United States Copyright Office- let's start with where it all begins.
- Copyright Office Basics- a good primer to find easy to understand information. Important- a work does NOT have to be registered with the Copyright Office to secure copyright, it's secured automatically when the work is created.
- Circular 40- Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts- This is where my patterns fit in- Page 2 of this pdf states that Patterns for sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework are included in the list of examples of such works.
- Knitty's Copyright [a primer for knitters] though I'm sure crocheters will find this applicable as well ;)
- Copyright for Crafters was additionally written by Jenna Wilson who wrote the Knitty article above
- The old "I can share patterns if it's for Educational Use" excuse is addressed in detail here, a must read. The answer is a resounding NO by the way.
- Crochet patterns, knitting patterns and copyright law is an article provided by Purple Kitty Yarns which is fairly in depth.
- The duration of protection of copyrighted works begins at it's creation and lasts 70 years after the death of it's creator for works created on or after January 1, 1978, there is some variance for works created before that date which you can find the information on by referring back to the Copyright Office Basics.
- Are You Infringing on Another Person's Copyright? is a good article to read if you have any doubts as to whether or not you are violating copyright.
- 10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained also provides good coverage on explaining copyright myths that explains things in an easy to understand way.
- People are really being sued for Copyright Infringement as pointed out by this message board post, which goes on to give excellent information about patterns and copyright.
These are links that I found on my own doing basic searching for crochet, patterns and copyright, unfortunately I've dealt with a problem recently that has made all this reading very relevant. Hopefully this will not be a problem that you face, but in the event that you do, these will provide valid and useful information for your use.
I am not an attorney, all the attorneys that I do know have not dealt personally with copyright and crochet patterns, therefore I've gone to great lengths to find as much information as possible on this subject. I don't have all the answers and I suggest that you take detailed questions to someone properly qualified to answer your questions. My information mainly pertains to US law, but inasmuch as I've read, is applicable in most countries. If you know more about this than I do please comment and provide more detailed information.
I am a designer who is frustrated with coming across my patterns being shared without permission. I am the only person who can give that permission, and it bothers me that others see that as a right that does not belong to me.
I am very lucky to have loyal customers and fellow designers who respect copyright and creative commons licenses and alert me to offenses. I have been able to get them taken care of without having to take legal action, and as I want to repeat, 99% of the people who have purchased a pattern from me have been very respectful of my copyrighted works and I appreciate each and every one of you. I would like to thank you for supporting this endeavor, as the financial support provided by my pattern sales give my family more fiscal breathing room, and the ability to pay down debt, in addition to providing funds to purchase more supplies that allow me to grow this business.
I do hope to educate, or provide a means to educate yourself about this whole business about copyright infringement and pattern sharing. I do not mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but I don't know why that would be the case since I trust that you are not in violation of copyright, and if you are, then I hope you are educated as to why it is a violation and is wrong and why you should stop.
Thank you for reading this, and thank you to everyone who is respectful of copyright, because of you I choose to continue creating and providing access to patterns for the dolls and items I enjoy designing.