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Topic: Copyright Question  (Read 486 times)
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Maryam Ovaci
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« on: March 02, 2006 10:02:32 PM »

So, I was in class today behind someone with a pretty neat knit hat, but there were a few things about it that could use definite improvement - it wasn't knit in the round, it was four flat pieces machine-sewed with little care to line up patterns, not that the patterns were adapted to the fact that they'd be sewn into something not a rectangle - and I did some sketches in my notes of how you could use the same motifs (saxon braid, opposing cables that were sewn to give a horseshoe cable kind of effect) to make a hat that's knit in the round and, you know, has patterns that line up and adapt for the shape of the human head, and I was wondering what the copyright rules for this sort of thing would be. I obviously derived my potential hat (since it's not yet knit) from this one I saw, but the construction is totally different and many pattern bits would change. Would this be a mine pattern, or a not-mine pattern? If I wanted to host it on my blog for others to make, would that be legal or shady?

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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2006 10:30:44 PM »

Well, I did it.  Heck, people do it all the time.  How many times have we Craftsters decontsructed a project from an Anthropologie sweater, or Urban Outfitters, or even Fendi?  And you know what?  We're not the only ones.  Designers deconstruct stuff from crafters all the time, too.  It isn't illegal to know how something is made.  It's skill.  If you go to Target, you'll see stuff that was obviously inspired by BCBG or another big designer but with the Cherokee brand name on them, and you have to know that Cherokee doesn't have a bunch of runway designers working for them.  The fact is, fashion feeds off itself.  Anyone can design something that looks like something someone else designed.  And they do.  This isn't a case of copyright infringement.  You aren't duplicating a copyrighted pattern and calling it your own.  It wouldn't be illegal unless you then put a label on it and tried to sell it as a whatever-brand it was.  As far as I know it's legal to make a bag that looks like an LV, as long as you don't infringe on the trademark by using the symbols or trying to pass it off as authentic.  There are certainly lots of lookalike bags with similar color patterns, etc., floating around stores, anyway.  The same thing goes for most garments and accessories.

So no, it's a fine line, and based a lot on personal ethics, but I'm pretty sure it isn't illegal.  It's inspiration.  Plus, yours will be better, right.  Cheesy

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