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Could someone tell me where to go to find a detailed summary of what you can

Text legally do if you want to make and sell finished quilts? I think ordering a kit and selling it is wrong but what about a pattern I've purchased or have seen in a magazine. What about some of the free ones that can be found online?

HELP! I want to do things right.

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There was an article some time back in one of the quilt magazines - I'll have to look for it - maybe someone else remembers? But always if in question - get permission in writing from the designer of the pattern or quilt!!! And you should always give credit to them when putting it out in public - (quilt show, etc.)...

Your best bet would be to ask an attorney?

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If a pattern is copyrighted, then the owner of the copyright determines the use. To be completely safe, unless the pattern you are using is NOT copyrighted, or explicitly says it is okay to sell items made using that pattern, you should contact the owner of the copyright for permission. Often, a book or a pattern will describe what are allowed uses. Most explicitly prohibit being used to mass manufacture copies. Most designers will respond quickly, and appreciate the fact that you have asked.

As an example, a few years ago I made a baby quilt from a very cute pattern. I didn't give it to the baby for whom it was intended, so I decided I would donate it to sell it at a craft fair my guild participates in. I wrote the designer and asked if I was allowed to sell a quilt made from the pattern. She replied that it was okay to sell it at a quilt show or air fair, etc. but not in a shop.

There was a very complete discussion of this topic in McCalls Quilting in the September/October and November/December 2010 issues.

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I don't mean to agitate this subject, but there was a lot of discussion (on other forums) after the McCalls Magazine articles came out and many felt that there was misleading information there. Specifically that you can't show a quilt you made from someone's pattern (at your guild, on your blog, at a show) without getting the designer's permission.

Here is a link with debunking info: http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/HallOfShame/PatternCompanies/PatternCompanies.shtml

Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville.com later had a blog post that she was tired of people wanting persmission for the above type displaying.

I absolutely feel we need to honor the creativity and craftmanship of designers and artists, and like others I want to do what is right. However, I get depressed when I see things that are overly and unjustly restrictive.

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I agree with giving credit, where it is due. We complain when a piecer puts a quilt in a show and doesn't acknowledge the quilter. I think the same can be said for designers. However, when does the quilt become theirs or yours expecially if you use different fabrics, different quilting motiffs etc. You paid for the pattern or bought the magazine with the pattern included. I ponder several questions, all quilt blocks were designed by someone. If you design a quilt or pattern using traditional blocks like log cabin, autumn star, bearclaw, various stars, even the half-square triangle, flying geese who does the actual design belong to the pattern maker or the orginial block designer? Is there a chance two quilters living accross the country or world could design the same quilt? I can see "art quilts" being specific, but geometric designs I'm not so sure who really owns them. This subject just gets me thinking, what's really fair to all? Do you live in fear, that "your" quilt design may have already been made by some other quilter. Hummmmmmmm??????????????? What are the right answers? :o:o:o

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Originally posted by Farmland Quilter

....but what about a pattern I've purchased or have seen in a magazine.

If you plan to "sell" or "make a profit" or copy their instructions in your publication or your instructions, you must get permission from the owner. Contact the magazine, or if there is a name of the designer in the magazine, contact them directly. Google is a good way to find people. Send an email asking permission.

What about some of the free ones that can be found online?

Even free designs can be copyright protected, so you have to be careful. "Free" means you can use it for your personal use. I would contact the owner for permission with free designs, too.

In my experience, be careful what you ask for ... because you just might get it! :) It's always nice to ask first. Most designers are flattered you even asked them inthe first place.

All of the uproar about getting permission to show a quilt you made at a guild or quilt show? Seriously? Get real. That is ridiculous. That is so blown out of proportion. Why do people spin things up so much? Use your logic and common sense when it comes to stuff like that.

So........using your logic: Think about it... Most designers would want you asking permission if you were to make a bunch of their quilts, gain a profit from their designs, or if you were going to use any of their instructions or patterns in your own publication. Think about it... just use common sense here ladies. No need to spin up the silly rumors and get everyone in a tizzy of showing a quilt at guild. ;)

And one more thought: Don't believe everything you read on an internet web site. A lot of it is overblown false rumors made to make people upset over nothing at all.

Bottom line: Don't get caught up in the rumor tornado. Keep things simple. Contact the designer via email or phone. Ask for permission. Mention you will reference their design and web site on your quilt label. I've done that. :)

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Originally posted by Gator

.....If you design a quilt or pattern using traditional blocks like log cabin, autumn star, bearclaw, various stars, even the half-square triangle, flying geese who does the actual design belong to the pattern maker or the orginial block designer? ...

I don't think you have anything to worry about here.

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Office of the Administrator for Policy and External Affairs: Copyright Basics

A Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the

>> 'Library of Congress' Copyright Office <<

This topic is raised every so often and it is interesting to have this discussion. What is misleading is the belief that you can change 5% of a pattern or item and it isn't covered anymore! This is incorrect! And Designer Fashion Houses are fighting and winning this belief in the courts at the very time we are sitting here discussing this topic.

Shana, as always, is our lovely, dependable, level headed and knowledgeable little Bee. Copyright exists to protect someone's creation and it cannot be changed and then be called your own. However, it does not protect anyone from someone else coming up with an independant creation or similar work. Neither does it have to be registered to be deemed your creation. If you can prove through drawings, records etc etc how you came up with your creation. It is yours. Take the ever so humble half square triangle. How many patterns are out there utilsing this humble creation. You cannot breach a copyright in using it. However, you can be in breach of copyright for Intellectual Property if you are trying to pass on a method for creatingthe HST that is not your very own. In other words, you have to give credit where credit is due. If you do want to use someone else's ideas or patterns for personal gain you should - not only as a common curtesy - contact the "creator" and find out what their expectations are in regards to royalty payments. These will vary widely and may not even have been thought of by the "creationist";) I have been in classes teaching methods where I had to purchase the pattern or book by the creator/author of that specific method. That was what the "royalty payment" expected for these classes to be run, was.

Remember, what is online is considered written work and as such is covered in the same manner by copyright as books or magazines.

A few weeks ago, there have been various news articles in regards to copyright breaches for fashion items on our TV over here. There seems to be a plethora of actors/actresses who copy designer dresses and put them in their collections as their own designs. The backlash now is that a lot of designers and fashion houses will take on obvious breaches of copyright and they are winning large amounts of money.

I have attached a link to the US Library of Congress' kids section on explaining copyright and what it does.


As far as purchasing kits and making them, then selling them............. how is this different to purchasing a pattern, choosing fabrics, making the quilt and then selling it? In both cases, the need for acknowledging where the ideas stem from and the distribution of royalties needs to be discussed with the owner of the pattern. In our hearts of hearts, we all know what is our idea and how we were inspired to create it (whatever IT is;))

I think that I will finish this tome here. Like I said before, I find this topic very interesting and hope that one day I will be in a position of actually having to have indepth knowledge of this subject in regards to my own patterns.:cool:

Cheers to all,

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THANK YOU!!! for the link to Tabbers Tempations - Trademarks

I have often wondered about the 'real' legality of making something from a pattern. I have been critisized often for 'using someone's design' to make something. After all - isn't that why it is for sale? ( a pattern or design etc.) especially with fabric. I mean for heaven's sake, why would anyone simply buy fabric to just sit?? Well perhaps for 'insulation' purposes...LOL Lord knows, I live in Colorado and simply have to have A LOT of 'insulation' in my sewing room :P

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Every time this copyright thing comes up, I always wonder about both sides. I see how a designer doesn't want their pattern reproduced and sold. Designing and writing a pattern is hard work. I can also see that if someone buys the pattern , why should the designer have any say in what happens to the finished product? The designer got the money they asked for in the pattern price. If you go to an Architect and buy a set of plans, build a house and then decide to sell the house, do you have to get permission from the Architect? Probably not. Can I copy and sell the plans? no way! But the house??? Similarly, does the author of a cook book have control of the meals produced from the recipies? Maybe if they would help with the dishes :)

It seems that the part that is protected is (or should be) the instructions- the part that says "cut this a certain size, sew here, cut and assemble like this" We all know there are lots of ways to get a piece to look a certain way. Do you use 2 HSTs or make flying geese? regular piecing? Foundation piecing or even applique?

Just my two cents worth

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  • 2 months later...

This is always an interesting topic. I think you ladies are the best, sweetest and most thoughtful people I have ever heard of, and I'm so proud to be part of this group. But... sometimes, we might be TOO nice.

I've always tried to make my sewing hobby pay for itself, especially when I was doing alot of smocking and heirloom sewing for the public. I, too, always thought I could not use a purchased pattern to make articles to sell. I was leary of using even a McCall's or Simplicity pattern for this purpose.

I was SO HAPPY to find the Tabberone website and read of this lady's experiences. Now I buy alot of patterns, make and sell what I like and don't worry. I do try and always give credit to designers.

How sad that some pattern designers and manufacturers will try prevent the sale of articles WE have made. Copyright protects the actual printed pattern, not the articles made from the pattern.

Karen in La.

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