As a cross stitcher, I am a fan of several designers, and enjoy collecting their patterns. I have quite a large number of patterns to work from these days, as I offer stitched to order pieces from the Kats By Kelly range by Calico Crossroads, and the Amish Quilt series by Cross My Heart.
I was troubled by an email I received this morning from a lady asking me for copies of some of my patterns. This person is also a fan of the same designs, and wanted to stitch them too. The patterns in question are now out of print and hard to find, and she only wanted the pleasure of stitching the pieces herself which I can appreciate.
However, I had to refuse to send her copies as this would breach the copyright of the original designer. This, in turn damages the whole industry that we are trying to support. I explained my reasons for refusing to help, and asked her to respect the original designers of all patterns by not getting involved in sending or receiving illegal copies of such charts.
I will confess, there has been an occasion when I sent a copy of a chart to a stitching friend, in appreciation of one that she sent me. To be honest, I never really felt right about doing it. Now that I am a designer myself and have produced my own patterns, I know that I was wrong to pass on that pattern to my friend. After all, how would I feel if people were copying MY designs and simply passing them on their friends without paying me for the work I did? Sometimes you can’t stop people from doing it, and it is a difficult thing to regulate. After all, who would know?
I’ll tell you who: YOU would know.
The whole issue of design copyright is a complicated one and I do not profess to be an expert on the subject at all. There are, however, some rules that we must all follow:
Always credit the designer. When I sell my work online, and I have used someone else’s pattern, I will always mention that in the listing. “The item I am selling has been created by my own hands, but the design/pattern is not mine”.
If you happen to make/sell the same item as someone else, use your own photos and write your own description. Your customers want to see the actual item listed for sale, and hear about how YOU created it in YOUR words. They don’t want to see someone else’s words and pictures. You may be misrepresenting the item being sold by copying.
Use original patterns, and don’t get involved in sharing copies with your friends. This does irreparable damage to the crafting industry, not to mention the designer’s reputation. You can make a working copy of a design, so that you don’t damage the original by marking it, but please destroy that copy when you are done.
I hope that you all respect other’s work, and understand why I wrote about this today.
In closing, please do not ask me for copies of patterns, I will say no!
Stitchy Hugs to you all,