Copyright Laws: Selling Finished Projects

This subject is going to set tongues wagging as my grandmother would say. However, this is an extremely important topic for anyone considering selling their finished projects. It is also one that I have had a struggle with. I want to thank Joan Elliott for posting a pdf document, Copyrights Information, detailing copy right laws in her Facebook group.

You now have finished project, it is stunning and gorgeous but it no longer fits your personality or your home decor. You could give it away as a gift but you need the extra money to support your addiction. After all it is yours, you created it right? Wrong, the artwork is still copyrighted by the designer. You may not sell a finished project for profit period not on ebay, Etsy, garage sale day, etc. period and end of story.

There are two exceptions to this hard rule. First exception, you have stitched a project to raise money for charity. For example, I stitched ornaments to be bought at November Fest 2012 for Embroidery Central. All the proceeds went to Sub for Santa. Second exception, you have contacted the designer and received their permission to sell the finished project. I need to contact Teresa Wentzler because a friend of mine wants to sell The Castle Sampler that I had stitched.

Honestly, I thought she could sell it without problems. I figured that since I had stitched it and it was hers, we didn’t have to worry about violating copyright laws. We probably could have sold it without getting into trouble. We probably could still sell it without anyone saying a word. However, my conscious is now involved and demands that I get permission from Teresa Wentzler before selling this particular piece.

My recommendation, if you are stitching anything and want to sell it, please contact the designer for permission. It is better to ask permission then to beg forgiveness and pay whatever penalties are associated with copyright laws. Happy stitching!


Copyright Laws: Selling Individual Magazine Patterns

Today’s topic is patterns in a magazine and it is more my opinion then actual fact.  I do not know what the legality or rules in regards to magazines so I am hoping to get tons of responses.

The topic destroying a needlework magazine to sell the individual patterns on eBay.

I not only stitch patterns but I also collect them.  I collect specific designers and specific magazines.  Sometimes the only place to find the items I am looking for is to go through an online auction such as eBay.  Recently, I found a pattern that I would dearly love to have by Joan Elliott for one dollar.  Her patterns normally run ten to twenty dollars so I was excited; until, I clicked on the picture and read the details.

The details stated that it was a pattern from a magazine.  Let me state that again, it was a pattern from a magazine.  No big deal I thought, I ‘ll just skip dealing with this individual and find something different.  Almost every pattern I thought about purchasing had been ripped out of a magazine.  This is when I got frustrated.

The patterns out of a magazine are absolutely useless to me as a stitcher and as a collector.  I like to see how stitching trends have changed over the years.  I enjoy the different articles.  I even check out the ads.  However, the most damaging aspect of destroying a magazine is you ruin other patterns in the magazine.

Most patterns are not printed back to back.  You are selling a Joan Elliott pattern but whose design on the other side did you destroy a Teresa Wentzler, Passione Ricamo, Mirabilia.  Was it a new artist or designer trying to break into the field?  Was it an article about new techniques, tips, or tools? Was it an article about a charitable organization looking for support?

This might be one of those grey areas when it comes to copyright laws; but to me, no one one should rip a magazine apart and then sell the patterns individually.

Copyright Laws: Copying

In this series, we explore the Copyright laws and how they apply to the world of needlework. Copyright laws affect what you can and cannot do with your patterns and finished projects.  I am not an expert in this area, this is just information I have picked up from 20 years of stitching.  Hopefully, I can get stitchers, designers, and store owners to comment. We will begin with copying.

In needle work, a copy is a printed duplicate of the original design known as a working copy.  No, it does not do the stitching for you, sheesh!

Imagine you are half way done with your project and the pattern was twenty dollars.  You are sipping on a drink while stitching.  Then all of a sudden, so and so (insert name here) spills your drink on your pattern.  You might be able to save it but you might be buying another pattern for twenty dollars.  Yeah!

What, you don’t want to buy the exact same pattern for twenty dollars?  A working copy allows you to scribble, highlight, make notes, eat, drink, or whatever you do when you are stitching without damaging the original pattern or denting your stitching budget.

As far as I know, designers do not mind working copies.  This does not mean you can make a copy of a pattern and sell it on eBay or to a friend.  I have seen this happen.  You may make a copy of a pattern for someone else or let them borrow your pattern so that they can make a working copy.

Just remember, every copy means a designer does not get paid.  If you have any questions, you can always ask the designer or your local needlework stores.  After all, if they don’t make money, they will stop creating designs and we won’t get the patterns or the product.