Did You Know - Copyright Concerns....
The subject of copyright as it applies to handmade items, is a subject dear to the heart of someone who is making a living through their creative efforts. A copyright protects an authors income, by giving them the exclusive right to control the reproduction of their work, whether they have created patterns, music, art, books or any other specialized design. For work to be copyrighted, it must be significantly original. An item or a technique so common it can be considered in the public domain, cannot be copyrighted. It must be something unique and distinctive, already in existence. Facts and ideas cannot be copyrighted, but the way they are expressed can.
Copyright infringement occurs when a person copies someone else's copyrighted item, without permission. To have a copy is not to have the copyright. For example, you can photocopy a pattern to cut up or mark, so you don't ruin the original, but not to give to a friend so she doesn't have to buy one. This would result in a loss of income for the author. It doesn't matter if the pattern is no longer available or if you do not charge for the copy.
You are free to use patterns from any book or magazine that you have purchased. However, if you make an exact copy or a close adaptation of an item from a pattern or book, the designer still owns the copyright on your work, and you must ask that designer for permission to publicly display it. Many books and patterns will give permission for personal use and non-profit use only. This means you can make an exact or a close item from the pattern and keep it, display it, give it to a friend or sell it. Some will tell how many you are allowed to reproduce and sell. You cannot mass produce items from the pattern and sell them commercially.
Changing the color scheme or size does not transfer the copyright to you. You would need to change the design enough so that it is not similar to the original. However, a technique cannot be copyrighted, so you may use another persons technique, to create a unique design of your own.
It is always best to give credit where credit is due. If you create a work based on someone else's design or technique, mention that in the label or display information. What goes around, comes around and who knows, someone may be inspired by YOUR work someday.
Permission is hereby granted to freely copy and distribute this article provided credit is given to the author,
Kris Driessen and the website PhoebeMoon.com