Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Groundhog vs. Copyright

Ladies and Gentlemen....let's get ready to RUMBLE!

In the near corner:  the furry, the sleep deprived, the ever-popular February Sweetheart....GROUNDHOG

In the far corner: the tenacious, the cranky, the often-misunderstood.....COPYRIGHT

So I suppose all of you are thinking that the polar vortex has finally gotten to me and I have lost my mind.  What does a ground hog and copyright have to do with each other?  Well, my friends, they both seem to poke their heads up out of their little lairs at around the same time every year.   And I got your attention, right? 

I have been trying to wean myself away from Facebook for a time but I have noticed a recent buzz about copyright again so I am going to address two things that were mentioned.  You are dismissed if your eyes are glazing over.  No, wait, you'd better stay.

Public Domain
Any works (artwork, designs, etc) that are prior to 1923 are in the Public Domain.  This means there is no longer any copyright and it is free to use by anyone.  Yes, Public Domain can be your friend.  For rug hookers that means that any of the old, old rug designs can be drawn by anyone ... even YOU if you have the desire to do so.  It has been pointed out that the same pattern has been offered for sale by several different pattern designers.  Yes, we can all do that and we are not in violation of copyright.  Sometimes designers avoid certain antique designs if it is being reproduced by another.  But it is certainly not an insult to anyone nor is it wrong if two designers are reproducing the same pattern.  I, for one, do not know every single antique adaptation out there and if I see one I really like, I will most likely draw it, hook it, and sell it.  I will, however, take a little more care about writing on the pattern that it is an "adaptation from an antique" so there will not be folks who think I am trying to pass it off as a Kris Miller original.  Never would be my intention anyway.  Let me tell you one more thing before I move on:  if you are going to draw your own antique designs from Public Domain, please do not copy the antique design from the pattern designer.  Sometimes they add extra flowers or animals or a fancy border to the adaptation.  You would be copying these extras as well.  Please use a picture of the original antique rug or take your own picture.  Then you'll have a clean conscience.
Saundra Porter sent me a link for Public Domain and it is interesting to see that as the years go by, the dates for Public Domain will get adjusted.  For instance, in  2020 it will be 1924.

Selling finished hooked rugs from a commercial pattern
I may not be popular for pointing this out but it is part of copyright law.  A pattern designer cannot prohibit you from selling your finished product.  You must purchase the canvas from the designer and then after that, you may do what you want with it, except of course make more than one pattern from it.  A while ago, I received an email from a copyright attorney and this was part of his explanation:

Copying the pattern to resale is a no-no but the design copyright does not extend to the physical product made, or in what manner or material, in which an item is made from the instructions. And it never has. Contrary to what designers wish to claim.

You still have to buy the pattern but no one can prohibit you from selling the finished work.  I don't see anyone mass producing hooked rugs using commercial patterns because it would ring up quite the sales receipt!  But if you have a rug or two that is just not your favorite anymore, rest assured that you are allowed to sell it to a new home.

OK, one last disclaimer...I am not a legal expert so visit or contact a legal professional for the best advice.  There ARE gray areas in copyright but I think we can still stick to the basics and do the right thing.

I've got to do last minute preparations for a show so I'll see you later!

Please be kind to each other today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Off The Ocean Rug School-Jacksonville

Well, friends, I am going to try to get back to blogging...not making any promises as to how often I will post because of my travel and teaching schedule...but I have realized what a happy little place the blogosphere is and I think I'd like to dwell there a while.

I taught at the Off The Ocean Rug School in Jacksonville in mid-January.  I had a wonderful class!  I adored them and the rugs they were working on.  Thanks to everyone who made the week very successful and enjoyable! 

The rug "throw-down" was in a hallway of the hotel so there are some unavoidable shadows. Sorry about that.

 Kay was working Big Bird, a pattern by American Country Rugs.  Her tulips were the color of yellow ware and I LOVE that red background!  Now I want to hook a red background!

 Emily hooked and finished the Caswell Couple (above) and then started on a fraktur design.  Her angel is perfection.
 Starr was working on my pattern Have Ye Any Wool. This one always has a place in my heart because my own wooly critters were models for the sheep (Emma) and goat (Zack).
 Nancye was working on this pattern from Red Barn Rugs.  We tweaked a few things and this is going to be spectacular.  So many things to love about this rug but the cabin/chimney and pine tree are outstanding.
 Leah was working on this pattern from Sally Kallin.  Oh my, I LOVE all the neutrals in this one.  It was basically just "play time" when Leah was hooking...just shifting the neutrals around and not getting too serious about values.

Kudos to Ken for working on Trout.  Ken is a fairly new hooker and this is a huge pattern.  He has a good start!  So proud of what he did during rug school.

 Silvie is a fairly new rug hooker too.  She finished the Honey Bee Chair Pad and then started working on Binx.  I think if she had another half day, she would have finished Binx as well.  I don't think I've ever had any student who finished TWO projects during rug camp.  Bravo, Silvie!
She sat next to Emily at the end of a table so I called them the "over-achievers corner."  Ha ha, fondly, of course.  I am in awe of what they got done.
Karen was hooking Antique Hearts. It's hard to teach the corners because it is just a series of close values hooked in to make it look like the fabrics have faded.  You don't want them to look like stripes, just that the fabrics from long ago wore out and mellowed.  I think Karen nailed it.

There were two other students who had to leave before the throw down.  I wish I could have gotten photos of their projects too, but let me assure you, they were wonderful.
Enjoy your day and stay creative!