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Topic: A question on copyrights/selling items  (Read 1173 times)
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« on: July 22, 2010 09:10:25 AM »

Before I post my question, please know that I am not being snarky or rude, the question is sincere.

I have seen on many blogs that people make tutes (which are wonderful, thank you) and then post 'for personal use only' or do not sell items made with this tutorial'.  Now, I completely understand not wanting anyone to copy your tute, there is a lot of time and effort involved.  My question is, how can someone make the claim on the idea?

I mean something general like a standard rectangular tote bag or a gathered skirt or a zippered pouch?  I seriously doubt they originated the idea.  These things have been around quite a long time.  Obviously, there are exceptions and some truly unique ideas out there (although I maintain that we are all inspired by something) which I can understand a bit more.  I guess the same question can be made for commercial patterns too really.

Please educate me on this.  Is there something I am missing?  How can someone lay claim to a very general idea like those I mentioned above that we see everywhere from craft shows to Wal-mart?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any insight you can offer.  I hope I didn't offend anyone.  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010 05:59:36 PM »

You really can't copyright a basic technique or style, you can only copyright your original twist on it or interpretation of it. For instance, I do beadwork, and the basic techniques such as loom weaving, peyote stitch, applique stitch etc. can't be copyrighted, they are too common and everyone uses them. Now when someone creates a pattern for a design that uses one of those techniques, that is their intellectual property. Now if someone comes up with a new stitch technique, they can copyright it, but it probably won't stand if they try to take legal action against someone and an older published version of the technique is found. Same in sewing, you can't really copyright "A-line skirts", it's too broad a style and very common. But if someone had a unique interpretation of it, then they could copyright that, such as an a-line skirt with vertical piping and contrast color yoke. Even that might be pushing it.

So to make a long story short, yeah, I agree with you, many people who claim a copyright on a general style or technique really don't have the right.

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010 03:13:20 PM »

If it's something you've seen before, and is nothing new, they couldn't prove you "copied" it, anyway. I've seen bags for basic totes, for example, with the "don't copy" wording. It's beyond ridiculous at times.

« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010 09:07:18 PM »

I agree it's beyond ridiculous.  You would think everybody that makes an item or a pattern is Einstein. 

I just make what I want inspired by what I see and keep it moving.  It's not a cure for cancer it's crafting!
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