Category Archives: Hell in a Handbasket

Let’s talk about copyright

Copyright is a hot topic with crafters and likely to raise the hackles of some of my readers but I feel compelled to share my views on the matter after an incident at Knit Night yesterday.

One of the regulars, I’ll call her Twit because sharing her real name here would not be nice, was showing off a hat she’d knit and discussing making more for sale. One of the other regulars, who knits and sells her own hats at craft faires around the area, questioned the origin of the hat pattern.

“It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Cute, right? Everyone loves it so I should be able to sell a bunch of them!” Twit was quite pleased with herself.

“Uh…just because the pattern is free doesn’t mean you can knit up a bunch and sell them…” began T.

“Oh, come on! You sell hats, don’t you?” Twit asked.

“I do sell hats, but each one is my own pattern and I would never even consider selling a hat made from someone else’s pattern – it’s a violation of copyright,” T responded.

At this point my ears perked up and I zeroed in on the conversation. I design, write and publish knitting patterns, so I have a vested interest in what people think about this subject.

“It’s not a violation of copyright because I’m not selling the actual pattern,” replied Twit, a smug smile on her face. “I won’t be selling the pattern, just the hats, besides my nerd husband deals with open-source software and he says it’s just fine…” or words to that effect. WTF her husband’s hobby has to do with copying a published pattern (whether offered for free or not) is unclear.

T was dumbfounded. Her mouth was actually hanging open and this is a woman who is rarely at a loss for words. The whole room was electrified, all eyes darting between the two. Or maybe it was just they could all feel my hackles rising.

“True, the actual pattern is the copyrighted item,” I said, “but making hats from someone else’s pattern and selling them as your own with no credit, attribution or payment to the author is a violation of my understanding of Fair Use. It also depends on the copyright notice on the pattern itself…”

“If a pattern is offered for free on Ravelry I can do whatever I want to. It’s not like I’ll be making a million dollars from it!” Twit retorted.

“No,” I said, “you won’t be making a million dollars, but why should you profit from someone else’s hard work? Personally, I offer free patterns that clearly state on the copyright notice that they may not be used for profit but may be copied so long as the copyright remains intact. I also state that if the knitter has any questions they can email me. I’ve had people write that they wanted to knit 5 items and sell them at a church fundraiser and I’m happy for them to do it. I’ve had people ask to use my pattern to teach a class and I give permission for that. I DO NOT give permission for someone to knit 50 items from my pattern and sell them for their own personal profit and I doubt you’ll find another designer willing to do it but you could always email the author and ask,” came out in a rush because I could see she was winding up to defend her position.

For the record, the pattern is Regina (Ravelry link) by Carina Spenser and has a copyright notice that reads: “Copyright 2011 by Carina Spenser | www.carinaspencer.com* | Not for commercial use” at the bottom of each page. This, IMHO, is very clear – this author does not give you permission to use her pattern to make money for yourself. As if that weren’t clear enough (and it’s obviously not clear to a certain Twit) there’s a box at the end of the pattern with the following (bold mine):

TERMS & CONDITIONS
© 2011 Carina Spencer. All rights reserved. Pattern
is not to be reprinted, reproduced, or distributed
without permission from the designer. Items
created from this pattern are not to be sold for
profit without a license, but are always allowed for
use in trades and craft swaps.
LICENSING
If you are interested in knitting this pattern for resale
or charity fund raising information on cottage
industry licensing is available.

But back to the conversation last night.

“It’s a free pattern and I can do whatever I want!” Twit insisted.

“It’s just not right,” T replied, “no matter how you look at it, it’s stealing and you won’t find me selling hats designed by anyone but myself.”

“Oh, that’s just ridiculous…my husband…”

“Right!” I interrupted, “it’s only a MORAL crime, so it doesn’t matter!” Oh, I was fuming. Sadly, this went right over Twit’s head but shut up the rest of the room. We had a little discussion in one corner while Twit went on and on about how many of these hats she was going to make but I knew if I didn’t step back I would likely cause a scene that wouldn’t soon be forgotten and I really like most everyone in the room.

All that being said, here are my views on copyright and fair use:

I will knit an item for another person, for pay, from a published pattern, but only if they buy the pattern. Before y’all start flooding my inbox with requests, be warned that I have many conditions when knitting for others that have nothing to do with the complexity of the pattern and I don’t come cheap 🙂 I have knit for cash, but the first stipulation is that the item is not being sold and the pattern was acquired legally. No exceptions. Ever.

I have a clearly worded copyright notice on all my patterns. If you buy a pattern from me, you are welcome to knit up the item as many times as you like for yourself, friends and family, so long as you’re not making money doing it. If you are knitting for cash, I ask that you purchase the pattern for each item knit for sale. It’s only fair and right.

If you’re knitting items for charity or fund raising (not your Vacation Fund raising, mind) please drop me a note and I’ll likely give you permission.

If you want to use my pattern to teach a class, please drop me a note and I’ll likely give permission.

If you want to buy one of my patterns and make a dozen copies to sell in your shop, I do not give permission and hope you get shingles.

If you buy one of my patterns, make 50 items and sell them for a bunch of money in any venue I will be very angry when I find out (and the knitting community really isn’t all that big) and will use every resource at my command to force you to see the error of your ways. Yes, I will take you to court, I will shame you in the knitting community, I will destroy your reputation. If you’re going to make money selling knitted goods, get permission or use your own designs.

If that makes me a hardass, so be it. I put hours and hours into each design. I have 20 years of knitting & designing experience. It’s not just my hobby, but a real side-line that I hope to turn into my main job some day soon. You wouldn’t let me come into your office and steal cash from you, so why should I sit back and let someone steal from me?

Rant over.

* Do follow the link – Carina’s designs are just lovely!

Studio T’s New Resident

Meet Revy the RV cat:

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First glimpse of the little ping pong ball

Not a bit shy, the little girl (we had been told) came right up to be petted and played with. She appeared in the wee hours of the morning at my son’s apartment door, demanding to be let in and fed. Being his Mother’s son, he went out and bought supplies, fell in love and started calling her Revy after a character in an anime show he watches.

His apartment complex does not allow pets, so it was Mom to the rescue. The house has been very quiet the past two years, no feline paws kneading me in the middle of the night, no purring pillow warmer to lull me to sleep, no demands for food at unreasonable hours. Life had become, in a word, dull, but I was unwilling to go in search of a new kitty, waiting instead for the Universe to drop a worthy companion into my lap.

Awana, Sabu and I drove North to The Big City to pick up the new bundle of joy early Saturday morning. A was worried that Sabu would be too rowdy and rough for a kitten, but five minutes with Revy convinced me that she would be able to hold her own against Crazy Helper Dog.

The trip home was uneventful, Revy flopping around inside the carrier like a fish, playing with her tail, totally unconcerned about being confined for the better part of two hours.

Upon arriving home, Revy was let loose while Sabu was tied outside under her bushes until everyone could be fed and worn down with a bit of play. Revy proved to be the most self-assured, easy-going, confident kitten that I have ever met. There was no slinking around on her belly, cautiously sniffing every corner, jumping at the slightest sound moving-in routine that I have usually observed in a cat being moved to a new house that reeks of dog. It was a bit startling to say the least. She was immediately at home.

Even the first introduction to The Dog went well –

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“Neener-neener, I’m on the couch and you’re not allowed!”

It appeared that Revy had never seen a dog before, but her disdain was obvious. Sabu wanted to get up close and personal, but we were afraid of what she might do, so she was kept at arms length. Sabu knows the difference between Her Kitty and Other Cats and has never been violent towards Her Kitties, but ya never know, and caution seemed to be a good idea.

We needn’t have worried. Within minutes Revy was off the couch and playing with Sabu’s ball (SABU’S ball, much to Sabu’s amazement and consternation) and romping up within inches of the big dog. Okie-dokie then.

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“All balls are belong to ME!”

Sabu was released and they spent the remaining time before bedtime getting to know each other. Awana slept with kitty in the back room while I kept Sabu in the front with me, just in case there was an Incident that we were too slow to respond to. Revy showed absolutely no fear, or even trepidation, about her new, very large playmate, not even when Sabu snapped her teeth closed an inch from Revy’s face. Have no fear – it was Sabu’s way of continuing their game and she was smiling the whole time. Revy was unimpressed, but I was freaked out a bit until I saw it happen several more times. Sabu could easily bite little Revy in half, but she’s being very gentle.

Color me surprised when Awana said the next morning, “I’m not positive, but I don’t think this is a Girl Kitty. You should take a look…” Yep. Seems little Revy grew a pair overnight! Ahem.

Sunday was a whole new ball game, with Revy racing up to Sabu, throwing herhimself down and pawing at Sabu’s face (claws politely in, thankyouverymuch) and running away, Sabu in hot pursuit. This game is played strictly by Revy’s rules and it appears Sabu is willing to be trained. I confess that I’m just a little worried about what those two will get up to in future.

Thank goodness Revy slept Sunday night –

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He kept Awana up all night on Saturday exploring the room from floor to ceiling before crashing at dawn, curled up in Awana’s blankets

Revy is alone for the day in Towanda and god alone knows what he’s getting up to while we’re gone. Hopefully he hasn’t learned to start the stove today and burned the trailer down. Updates soon…

Capitalism

An oldie but goodie –

Once upon a time in a village, perhaps in India, a man announced to the locals that he would buy monkeys for $10. The villagers, seeing there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 but, as the supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their efforts.

The man then announced that he would now pay $20 each. The villagers renewed their efforts and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate was increased again to $25 but the supply of monkeys became so depleted that monkeys were rarely seen, let alone caught.

Now pay attention, for this is where is gets interesting. The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50, however, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now act as buyer, on his behalf.

In the absence of the big man, the assistant told the villagers: “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and, when he returns from the city, you can sell them back to him for $50.” The villagers gathered together all their savings and bought all the monkeys for $35 each.

They never saw the man, his assistant, or their money ever again … only monkeys. Everywhere. Welcome to capitalism!

Copied from Permaculture in Brittany, Who had it from someone else. Discuss…