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Copyright on patterns

Posted on 16 January 2011 at 8:57 pm
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  • Anonymous
    16 January 2011 at 8:57 pm #3495

    We have a supporter who makes quilts which she sells and raffles for us and other charities. She uses a pattern book but changes the colours and sometimes the layout. However, it has been pointed out to her that she may be breaching copyright, and someone has offered the following wording:

    The patterns, step-by-step instructions, charts and accompanying photographs are copyrighted. Any finished product made from a copyrighted pattern, step-by-step instructions, chart, or photograph is also covered under copyright law, therefore, you cannot sell any finished product made from a copyrighted pattern without first contacting the publisher or designer to request and receive permission to do so. There is much controversy over the fact that a finished product that you make is copyrighted. It is the law, nonetheless, since it is the author’s expression that you have reproduced and the fact that you have reproduced a copyrighted pattern does not eliminate the copyright protection. All of the patterns sold in this online store are copyrighted by the publisher and/or designer. Purchasing the pattern does not remove the copyright protection of the pattern, it merely gives you the right to reproduce the author’s copyrighted work for your personal or charitable use. You are free to make as many projects from your purchased pattern(s) for your personal use or for charity donations. However, you are not allowed to make items for commercial use without express permission from the publisher or designer.

    Does anyone know if the bold bit above would make what she does legit, or is there another way she should be using them to raise money for charities?

    Sorry if this is inappropriate for this forum, but I don’t really know where else to ask.


    17 January 2011 at 2:05 am #11294

    The wording seems clear to me, but it’s only as good as how well it would stand up in court, should it ever come to that.

    I’m loath to suggest it, given the income from this method of fundraising might not be too large, but you probably need to run this past a solicitor to be absolutely sure. Maybe you or your trustees have a contact who might do this for free.

    Alternatively search for pro bono solicitors who might do this at no charge to your charity.

    That said, how would you insert that additional sentence? Surely your supporter is buying the patters from a provider online. Is your supporter hoping the provider will change the terms of their sales with this wording? If not, then your supporter has to stick to the current terms.

    28 January 2011 at 12:42 pm #11296

    Thanks for this, Howard.

    Our supporter wrote to the authors (she uses two books mainly).

    One of the pattern providers has said she is delighted that her patterns are used, but would like a note with them (when sold/won) stating that she provided the pattern. T’other hasn’t replied yet!


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