Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Copyright Discussion (Part 4)

This is another post about copyright...one that is based on a conversation I had with a couple of attorneys several years ago.  Remember, I am not a legal expert so if you have legal questions, please contact a copyright attorney.

When I taught myself rug hooking about 18 or 19 years ago, I purchased the book Basic Rug Hooking by Alice Beatty and Mary Sargent.  One of the things that really appealed to me was the rug on the cover of the book.  I thought the colors were gorgeous and I wanted to hook that rug some day! I made a few phone calls and eventually found a rug hooking store that sold this pattern, New Hampshire Antique, so I bought it.  The description in the book said it was "too intricate for a beginner's first," so I saved it for when I would be a better hooker, but I never did anything with it.  Lately, I've been thinking about digging the pattern out of my closet and finally hooking this rug.  I still love everything about it!  But way back when, it was only available on burlap.  It's not even the really nice premium burlap, more of a flat, slubby angus burlap.  So I worry about the age of the burlap (probably more than 20 years old) and the weight of the rug when it is finished.  You see, it's a very large 42" x 81" size.  It is too big to be hung on a wall so it will have to be used on the floor.  I do not think the burlap can take the weight of the wool nor the wear and tear of walking on it.

So what can I do?

My best option is to retrace the pattern again on a piece of linen and hook it for my floor.
Wait! you say...you can't do that!  What about copyright laws?

Actually, yes, I can redraw this again on a different backing and then hook it.  Or I could use the original pattern for a template for a bed-size wool appliqué piece, if that is what I desire. Remember, I purchased the pattern and the obligation to the designer ended when I paid for it
BUT   
I can only use it for one time/one use only,  regardless of how I use it (remember in one of my previous posts, I mentioned that patterns drawn on backing are for one-time use only).
Here's the catch:  if I decide to redraw it on a piece of linen (or use it for wool appliqué or any other medium), I am obligated to destroy the original pattern.
Why?  Because I paid for one pattern and I can only use it once.  In essence, to keep the original  and the copy would mean that I have created two patterns.  I only paid for one.  I cannot resell the original, I cannot donate the original, I cannot hook the original for personal use as a second rug, I can't gift it to my guild, I can't use it as a door prize.   That is where the copyright violation would be.  You can't create two patterns from a single pattern and use both. Period. Amen.

I know this could be confusing and I have tried to explain it as best I can.   Just remember:  one pattern = one use.

I've been thinking about advice for rug camp again and I think I'll go back to that for my next post.  Cheers!




6 comments:

Nancy D. said...

You are doing the stitching and art world a tremendous service…thank you for doing this...

louise said...

Love all this info. Tell me your opinion on this: I purchased a book with a hooking pattern, copied it onto linen, put it away for a while and then decided I did not want to hook it. Can I sell the linen with this pattern on it? Usually I would just flip the linen over and use the other side. However, I have already traced a pattern on it...another one I decided I did not want to use. I know I could use a d
ifferent color of marker, but.....

Kris Miller said...

Hi Louise, I think this is a case of personal use vs. commercial use, which I talked about in my last blog post. Books with patterns are usually meant for personal use only. Therefore you cannot sell the pattern you have drawn out, because you are turning it into commercial use. It would be best if you flipped it over and used the backing again for something different.

kelley said...

thanks again Kris, these posts have been very enlightening...

Debra Cline said...

Thanks Kris this topic has come up in conversation before I like the clarification

Pamela Tasker said...

Great example ! Thanks, Pam