When I published What is a Copyright and Is Blog Material Copyrighted? on my blog, yesterday, I was smart enough to stay with the general concepts of a copyright as it pertains to published materials (with only mentions of quilting and quilt patterns) and smart enough to not tackle the far more complicated arena of quilt designs, patterns, class techniques, quilt shows and the photographing of them, etc. etc.
Hopefully, I am still smart enough to be careful as I share additional links today, that Mary posted in my blog's comments, yesterday! Thanks to Mary for sending along: http://qnm.com/copyright/index.html from the Quilters Newsletter.
If you are curious about this topic, they have published in their online newsletter, a series of three QN articles written back in 1998 by Janet Jo Smith, a quilter and practicing attorney. She addresses many of the most often asked questions about copyright as it relates to these subjects.
The gist of them, as far as I could interpret, still follow the basic copyright rules as I previously understood them. The basic concepts of a copyright for poem, or a book, or a musical score, also apply to original, published (i.e. already created in tangle form such as a finished quilt).
Interestingly enough, Jo An states that no cases have been recorded in the case law involving quilts, but embroidery works and fabric designs have been accorded protection under the Copyright Act. This only shows how complex the concepts are to actually file suit over involving quilts and quilting.
The basics I pulled from the QN article are, and I quote:
- A copyright exists from the time an original design is fixed in a tangible form. Registration is not required to create a copyright.
- A copy is a substantially similar reproduction of the original, or any pan of the original, in any medium.
- The copyright holder has the exclusive rights to copy, distribute copies, and to publically display the original work or copies of it.
- Permission to reproduce, distribute, or display a copyrighted work is called a license. Licenses should be in writing.
- In general, reproduction, distribution, or display of the protected work of another, without permission, is an infringement of copyright.
- When a copyright holder publishes a pattern of the work, permission for the purchaser to make a copy is implied.
- Fair use is the exception to copyright that allows copying for non-profit education, news and commentary, and scholarly research
- Copyright protects original design or text. It does not apply to techniques.
- A copyright holder may give, sell, or bequeath all or part other rights.
- After a fixed period of time, copyrights expire, the design moves into the public domain, and it may be freely used by anyone.
- The basic rule of copyright is: Always ask permission before you copy the protected work of another.
- The most important facts still remain, no copyright violation can be claimed unless the original quilt was registered at the Copyright office.
Again: go to http://qnm.com/copyright/index.html for info on published patterns, artists and the rights to their class work examples etc.
More for our use or info:
Once a design enters the public domain, it cannot be copyrighted again. It enters the public domain through the passage of time and expiration of the copyright. Traditional quilt patterns dating before the 1930s are available now for anyone's use.
Confusion arises with copyrights claimed on published patterns that are based on a traditional block design. In that case, it is not the design that is copyrighted, but the text of the pattern and any new design elements which may have been used in the quilt, such as an original border or quilting design. The traditional design remains in the public domain.
So, the book or magazine publisher may freely print the block, and the quilter may make as many copies of the block as she wants for sale, exhibit, or teaching samples. She can publish her own pattern of the same design. She just can't photocopy the pages of the book or pattern, or copy the words as her own.
Ahh, now we are to scanning and xeroxing of books and magazines.
Run, ladies, run.
For my list of well over 2,000 free quilt patterns that are all available from the public domain for free downloading, check out: Free Quilt Patterns