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Topic: Is there a Lawyer in da house?  (Read 2929 times)
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maritimah
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2006 02:37:22 PM »

It is possible that I'm wrong and that the work made from a pattern is a copy, not a derivative work.  Only the copyright holder has the sole rights to copies OR derivative works, but derivative works CAN be made illegally.  For instance, if you have a book, and someone reprints the book without authorization, that's a copy.  If someone writes a screenplay based on the book, that's a derivative work.  Both are illegal unless you have permission.  I guess what I'm saying is, the one is not the "legal" and the one the "illegal" version of the same thing.  I don't know whether a sweater made from a copyrighted pattern is just a 3D copy of the original or a derivative work, but it all prosecutes the same.

Sorry, I was getting too technical. "Derivative" is a legal term of art - the definition of derivative includes the notion that it is authorized. From the way I understand it, unauthorized works building upon the original work are prosecuted on the basis that the oringal work in reproduced in some way in the unauthorized work.
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oddtraveler
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2006 09:15:07 PM »

Wow - I'm getting really confused now.  By some of the arguments on here, seriously, it seems some people feel like anyone using any kind of pattern, original or not, to make a product for profit owes a cut.  If it's somewhat difficult or original I would consider it, but the vast majority of patterns out there are SO similar to other patterns, or outright universal constructions (like an a-line skirt or a tote bag) that why should I pay that company any more than the purchase price of the pattern?  I can wholy respect not copying the pattern itself, because it did take time to print and write up instructions.  But does it really cover designs like mentioned?  I mean come on, McCalls or Vogue can't have sole claim to inventing the a-line skirt or the tote bag, why should I pay them a percentage of every finished a-line skirt I do because I used their pattern to save some drawing time?  That seems out of line. 

I mean really, if the pattern is that original to warrant going after sellers of the finished product, why not just register the product, pattern and all and just make it themselves, rather than publishing the pattern and then trying to go after everyone who makes it?  Seems kind of odd logic to me...  Get paid for the pattern? Certainly, I would protect and defend pattern makers for that.  Get paid a percent for everything that results from the pattern (i.e. a-line skirt or tote bag)?  Come on.  The pattern may be original, but quite frequently what it's a pattern for is not so original to have a reasonable claim to that, at least I don't think so.  There are SOOOOO many craftsters on here who would wind up getting sued out of wanting to make anything if that were the way of things.  Guess I'll be drawing my own tote bag pattern now  Undecided
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elijor
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2006 10:15:35 PM »

If it's somewhat difficult or original I would consider it, but the vast majority of patterns out there are SO similar to other patterns, or outright universal constructions (like an a-line skirt or a tote bag) that why should I pay that company any more than the purchase price of the pattern?  I can wholy respect not copying the pattern itself, because it did take time to print and write up instructions.  But does it really cover designs like mentioned?  I mean come on, McCalls or Vogue can't have sole claim to inventing the a-line skirt or the tote bag, why should I pay them a percentage of every finished a-line skirt I do because I used their pattern to save some drawing time? 

On one hand you have a point - is it really original - well A-line skirts have been around forever. On the other that tissue paper you just cut out has not. They can't go after you for making and selling A-line skirts but they can go after you for making and selling THAT A-line skirt. Obviously a reasonably talented person could take measurements, cut some fabric, seam it up and have a skirt. Many people do just that. However a great many people understand things like grainline, ease, construction and the simple fact that they are trying to create something that is three dimensional and suppose to fit over curves so they decide to turn to experts to make things a little easier. Anyone who has ever tried to PROPERLY make/write patterns in multiple size knows that is not a easy as hitting 120% on the copy machine. Well maybe many of them do think that - that would explain why there are so many very poorly done patterns out there. If they make their original for their x-small body then get the idea that it would be cool to sell the pattern so they add X-number of stitches/rows all around, us x-large folks aren't going to be very happy. I can pretty much guarantee the percentage you have to increase the bust is not the same for the shoulder.

Then there is the whole written instructions - probably more relevant in sewing than knitting but still not the easiest thing to do. I have written quilt patterns that I thought anybody should be able to understand - then given them to 5 people to test and low and behold what I thought was crystal clear was really quite murky. I will say it has gotten easier with experience but still it takes longer than most folks imagine.

In reality it doesn't matter if it is a simple A-line skirt or a Vogue Designer Original people buy the pattern because it is easier, which means someone did some of the work for you so they should be compensated each time the pattern is used. It is not practical to make patterns that self destruct after a single use (maybe disappearing ink - x number of days/months and the pattern vanishes like trial version software - maybe that would be the answer to all the UFOs I have - I'd have to finish them - hahaha). Of course if it is a basic A-line how would anyone know which pattern you used. They wouldn't so they aren't going to "go after" anyone. If you advertise it as a Vogue Designer pattern then they will know and might go after you.

As to the earlier posts about Coke and trademark vs copyright it could be either. We are licenced for several colliegate patterns and they have to have the copyright symbol not trademark. We are also required to state that items made with the patterns are for personal use and may NOT be sold. This is partly because the university wants to sell their own items and also because they can not control the quality of the product made. Poorly made product could reflect badly on them because their name is on the item.

Wow this is longer than I expected.

My thoughts on my patterns are - if you can look at my garment/quilt and go home and make it yourself more power to you. I don't even really mind if you take a picture. People that buy patterns I have written praise the excellent instruction and that is where most of my work is spent. I do take exception with people that feel the need to state, "I don't really need your pattern. OH, do you have a pencil and paper so I can jot down the measurements and draw a sketch?" Yes folks, it really happened!

Bottom line - have I ever shared a pattern with a friend because we were both making the samething, yes I have. Have I ever given something away to the masses - NO. Have I ever copied a pattern from a library book - yes but only one pattern. I detest books because most of the time I like one pattern and hate paying for 15, if it was available individually I'd probably buy it instead. Can I live with myself for doing those things - YES, I sleep well at night. I don't think I am inhibiting anyone's livelyhood and I would not be upset if someone did the same with one of my patterns.

We ought to do what is fair to all parties concerned because it is the right thing not because someone might come after us.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2006 10:18:29 PM by elijor » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Lothruin
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« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2006 08:20:55 AM »

In at least one specific example, (McCall's Magazine, 1994) McCall's Pattern Company (Butterick, McCall's and Vogue) has clarified their implied license to purchasers of patterns:  Use the pattern for personal use or gifts as many times as you want during the course of the time you own the pattern, but under no circumstances is resale authorized for the use of ANY McCall's Company patterns.  Even for a simple tote bag or A-line skirt.  It IS a violation of copyright, even if that seems pretty silly.  Are you likely to get caught?  Probably not.  Does that make it OK?  Probably not.  In purchasing a pattern instead of making your own you are giving up your right to sell the item you make in exchange for ease.  If you really want to sell things, you should make your own pattern.  I'm not lawful good or anything, I'm a pretty neutral good kind of girl, but just because I'm not the first person to make a raglan-sleeve bolero pattern doesn't mean I think it's OK for someone to make a bunch of MY boleros and sell them.

As an aside, the letter in the McCall's Magazine also mentions that they hold copyright on their patterns for 37 years after the issue date.  (I've always wondered about patterns, and that's certainly a different number from other copyrights, so maybe patterns are different.)  What that means to us is, if you've got a pattern from before 1969... it's public domain!  Woohoo!
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frogsrock
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2006 04:18:22 PM »

Quote
It's unclear from the Tabbarone site whether they're talking about copyrights or trademarks. It's not a trademark violation (in North America at least) to recon a shirt with a Coke logo on it and sell it

actually you can get in trouble for that
my grandmom made and sold ceramics and one of her friends made snoopy things to sell, he litterally got taken away by the police for it during a craft show
but charles schwartz (spelling?) was very fanatical about useing his charactors

btw her friend made the mold and everything himself
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amey
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2006 04:37:13 PM »

Quote
It's unclear from the Tabbarone site whether they're talking about copyrights or trademarks. It's not a trademark violation (in North America at least) to recon a shirt with a Coke logo on it and sell it

actually you can get in trouble for that
my grandmom made and sold ceramics and one of her friends made snoopy things to sell, he litterally got taken away by the police for it during a craft show
but charles schwartz (spelling?) was very fanatical about useing his charactors

btw her friend made the mold and everything himself
Well, that IS a violaton.  Other people cannot make Snoopy things that look like Snoopy without authorization from Charles Schultz.  People still do it, tho.  Bill Watterson (sp?) who wrote Calvin and Hobbes REFUSED to authorize things with C&H on them (like t-shirts, coffeemugs, etc), but people still did it.  That Bob the Builder pinata in your grocery store - should be licensed by HIT Entertainment, but I bet it isn't.    Likewise, I cannot sew together a standing mouse shaped creature and call it Mickey Mouse.  That's a violation.

What I CAN do (according to Tabberone) is make pajamas from Mickey fabric I buy in Joann's and sell them.    I cannot go and have Mickey fabric printed myself, but I can make things for resale with the licensed fabric that I buy. 

Lothruin, Can copyrights be renewed?  One would assume so - and they often are on books, right?  Because if not, I could get a copy of Sense and Sensibility or something and self publish it and make some cash.  And I'm pretty sure I cannot.  Does the book have to be reissued or something to extend the copyright?

Aha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Bono_Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

Apparently, I can publish the Bible if I want!  it's public domain.  Honestly, this stuff makes my head spin. 

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maritimah
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« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2006 05:15:06 PM »

Quote
It's unclear from the Tabbarone site whether they're talking about copyrights or trademarks. It's not a trademark violation (in North America at least) to recon a shirt with a Coke logo on it and sell it

actually you can get in trouble for that
my grandmom made and sold ceramics and one of her friends made snoopy things to sell, he litterally got taken away by the police for it during a craft show
but charles schwartz (spelling?) was very fanatical about useing his charactors

btw her friend made the mold and everything himself
Well, that IS a violaton.  Other people cannot make Snoopy things that look like Snoopy without authorization from Charles Schultz.  People still do it, tho.  Bill Watterson (sp?) who wrote Calvin and Hobbes REFUSED to authorize things with C&H on them (like t-shirts, coffeemugs, etc), but people still did it.  That Bob the Builder pinata in your grocery store - should be licensed by HIT Entertainment, but I bet it isn't.    Likewise, I cannot sew together a standing mouse shaped creature and call it Mickey Mouse.  That's a violation.

What I CAN do (according to Tabberone) is make pajamas from Mickey fabric I buy in Joann's and sell them.    I cannot go and have Mickey fabric printed myself, but I can make things for resale with the licensed fabric that I buy. 

Lothruin, Can copyrights be renewed?  One would assume so - and they often are on books, right?  Because if not, I could get a copy of Sense and Sensibility or something and self publish it and make some cash.  And I'm pretty sure I cannot.  Does the book have to be reissued or something to extend the copyright?

Aha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Bono_Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

Apparently, I can publish the Bible if I want!  it's public domain.  Honestly, this stuff makes my head spin. 



First, the stuff you mentioned (Calvin & Hobbes, Snoopy) would likely be enforced by copyright law, not trademark. They're two different things. The reason that you can make pajamas from Mickey fabric is because the trademark owner has already gotten their due - you bought the fabric and paid the proper price for it. The trademark owner only has control as far as the inital sale of the item, after that, you can do what you want with whatever trademarked good you bought.

Second, copyright cannot be renewed. It used to be renewable, but then the international community got together and made the Berne Convention, which imposed minimum standard for copyright protection. Before Berne, in the US, copyright used to be for 28 years, with another 28 year period of renewal after that if the copyright owner chose to exercise it. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act only applies to those copyrights that were in force before 1978 (which is when the new US copyright term came into force). Otherwise, the term of copyright protection is 70 years from the death of the author (in the US. In Canada, it's 50 years from the death of the author)

I'm glad you brought it up, amey, because I think Lothruin might be wrong about all patterns published after 1969 being in the public domain. Because of the Sonny Bono Act, if the copyright holder exercised the right of renewal on the pattern before 1978, then the copyright might still be in force. McCall's might not have exercised their right of renewal, but other pattern companies might have.

As for McCall's assertion that the term of protection on patterns being different than what I said above, I'm not sure about that. They might have design protection that lasts 37 years (design protection is closer to patent than copyright), but the US Copyright Act gives the specific term of copyright stated above.

[all of this is not legal advice. but i have taken classes on this stuff.]
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Lothruin
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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2006 05:55:13 PM »

Yes, that's true.  Things subject to the different laws around at the different times could still be protected.  But I am sure that their letter specified that their patterns are copyright protected for 37 years.  That seemed strange to me as well, and maybe they just lumped design protection into copyright to make it simple on we laymen, but the most assuredly called it copyright.

http://www.tlcdoll.com/textdoc/sewamc.html
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anniefee
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2006 06:16:29 PM »

this might seem like a dumb question, especially since i'm joining in so late in the discussion and it isn't directly related to a pattern, but i just thought of it...

what about those stamps they sell in the scrapbook/card aisles of joann's or michael's? suppose someone bought a stamp, say of a bouquet of flowers, and a bunch of cardstock and some markers, then cut up and folded the paper and stamped those flowers all over the paper, wrote a witty saying inside, and sold the lot as greeting cards.

that was someone's drawing, an original design, that's being used and sold for profitable uses. does that count under copyright or trademark law?
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maritimah
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« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2006 08:26:14 PM »

Yes, that's true.  Things subject to the different laws around at the different times could still be protected.  But I am sure that their letter specified that their patterns are copyright protected for 37 years.  That seemed strange to me as well, and maybe they just lumped design protection into copyright to make it simple on we laymen, but the most assuredly called it copyright.

http://www.tlcdoll.com/textdoc/sewamc.html

Wow. That seems like it must be a mistake. I've got exams tomorrow and the next day, but after that I'm going to do a little digging around to see if I can figure out what they're getting at. I've never heard of a 37 year terms before. That being said, we didn't specifically cover copyright in sewing patterns in the classes I've taken, so there might be some weird rule that I'm not aware of.
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