Saturday, 1 October 2016

We are back to the issue of copyright....

SIGH and SIGH again.
I really do find it hard to believe that people find it so difficult to understand that breaching copyright is theft.
A friend, who does understand copyright, called in earlier this week and told me that someone we both know wanted to run a workshop - by distributing copies of a pattern that is copyright. My friend hastily pointed out that this would be a breach of copyright - can't be done. Oops.
The other person did quickly acknowledge that and back down. Not everyone is so willing.
Far too many times I have had to say to someone who wanted to copy a pattern that, unless they intend to use it, then they cannot do it. It has often made me unpopular but I know, better than most people, how hard  it is to write a knitting pattern. I mean, damn it all, I write them! 
I do not like writing patterns. It is very difficult to write instructions of any sort. You can believe you have written something with the utmost clarity and some people will still fail to understand. "That's not what it says" they will tell you. It is no use telling them that umpteen other people have not had that problem. They have a problem - and it has to be explained for them.
So, when people simply copy something I have written....well, enough said.
And yesterday the issue came up again. Someone else is running a workshop. They want to use a pattern I have written. The pattern is sold by another friend of mine. Anything I sell raises money for a friend who runs a children's refuge in Africa. I explained this and the person who wanted to use the pattern was affronted. She couldn't see why I wouldn't allow her to simply use it. It was a "good advertisement" for me. 
Sorry, no. I don't need that sort of advertising. I don't need advertising at all. If people want to buy the pattern that's fine but, even though I don't go out of my way to sell it, I actually can't give it away. The friend who sells them has a say in this too. It helps her sell yarn and helps her support the refuge too. 
There are also plenty of free patterns out there but most of them are restricted to personal use. Some people are good enough to make them available for charity knitting. I don't think anyone just says, "You can use it to make money for yourself."
My answer is, "Pay for it - or write your own."
The same thing applies to books of any sort. 


Jodiebodie said...

I'm glad you keep on reminding people about copyright. It is totally theft if someone wants to sell someone else's intellectual property - that's what a pattern is: intellectual PROPERTY. Maybe people can understand the notion of copyright theft in terms of property. If people took any other property not belonging to them without permission, that would be theft too.

I wonder if these people would like me to take their car at any time and use it whenever I like wherever I like without asking or paying for it except maybe to tell others whose car it is...

If people insist on using a pattern even though they have explicitly been told not to use it, that's a crime.

Melfina said...

Amen! I've seen patterns that allow you to sell items made from the pattern (Bella Botanica Shawl comes to mind), which I appreciate, mostly because I do sell/trade knitted shawls I've made from time to time. I do try not to sell any that the pattern doesn't allow for sale, but I've made the mistake of doing so without thinking at least once. I have no idea if that's breaking copyright or not, I hope not, because I really try my best to respect creators.
I have been told (not sure if true or not) that I'd be okay because I almost never use the same yarn or colors as the original pattern and also because anything I make is a one-off, but that same person also thinks it's stupid that I've thought about this at all, that I put the countless hours into the shawl, I should be able to do what I like with it. I disagree mostly because I feel like the designer put a lot of effort into making the pattern so I should respect how they'd like their work to be used, just as I'd respect any other collaborator's wishes.
I'm slowly working towards making sure that the only shawls I will sell are ones I designed so it becomes a moot point, but I know you know far more than I do about copyright so if you know where the line's drawn between the rights of the pattern designer vs the rights of the actual item creator, I'd love to know!