Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Interesting Conundrum

I was just over at Stitchin' Sweet Sue's blog, reading her most recent post on blogging etiquette.  I have to admit that while I have posted about other people's blogs, I don't think I've lifted any of their pictures - and I am pretty sure that I have always linked back to their site or blog.   Sue's issue was that she prefers to be asked.  I admit, I really hadn't thought of it, and will attempt to do so in the future - or at least tell people when I have linked to their site or blog.  But, that's not what I'm writing about here.

One of the comments she received was from a woman who designs stitching and she made it pretty clear that she was really mad that people had stitched her design and changed it.  She was not specific about whether they changed the actual design or just the colors, but it was crystal clear that she wasn't happy about it.  I have to admit, I'm a little stumped.  I mean, someone apparently gave her credit for the design, but this lady is unhappy that it was changed.

Well, this is something that I do frequently - you all know that, because I've posted pictures here and also mentioned the changes.  Sometimes it's just a few elements, sometimes it's the whole colorway.  But I have always said that the design is by so-and-so.

This commenter indicated that she was going to look into copyright law - implying that if there was a way that she could legally prevent anyone from doing her design other than the way she designed it, she was going to do it.  I think she may be confusing patent and copyright laws.  I'm no lawyer, but I think you file a patent and no one can copy your idea - a copyright is on the way you've printed something.  But an idea, even if patented, can be built upon and a new patent can be filed.  For instance, Bill invents the wheel and goes running to show all the other cavemen who are sitting around the fire.  He rolls it around and around and is having all kinds of fun with it.  All the other cavemen are impressed.  But Ted is sitting there thinking.  The next morning he gets up and goes out and carves two wheels.  That night, when all the other cavemen are sitting around the campfire, in comes Ted.  He's copied Bill's wheel.  He's made two of them.  But he's also shoved an axle in between them and has put a basket on top.  While Bill invented the wheel, Ted has invented the cart.  Bob's nonplussed, but he can see that Ted has improved on his idea.  Together they join forces and open Bill & Ted's Excellent Cart and Wheel Shop.   The lawyer who invented patent rights came to the campfire the next night . . . .

Anyway, this all got me to wondering - what do you all think about that?  Update on The Chase coming soon - have a great weekend!


  1. Copyright is not a complicated law to understand at all.
    For charts it translates to:
    If you own a chart rightfully you are entitled to make a copy for your own personal use. You are however not allowed to give a copy of it to someone.

    You can however give your chart to someone, but then you are not allowed to keep a copy.

    There for you cannot give your electronic chart to someone. Because you cannot give the original - electronic charts are always copies.

    No where in the copy right laws is there forbidden to do with your rightfully owned item whatever you please. You are free to stitch it as you wish, and change whatever you wish.

    As long as you don't take parts of the design and pass them on as your own design you're good to go. The latter is btw plagiary and not copy

  2. Most freebie designers welcome people making a design their own. If I have made changes I ALWAYS give credit and a link to the designer and mention that I made a change.

  3. Speaking as a designer, I am always surprised how my patterns are interpreted by others and I like to see these interpretations. Some change colours, some stitch small sections, some remove a motif and insert one to their own preference. I have had some people ask me if I objected to changes but others just go ahead and do as they please. I do like a link back to my blog so that the original design can be seen but otherwise if you want to change a design then it should be entirely up to you - life is much too short to worry about a few changes to a design!

  4. The designers that I know take Carol's stance. Once you purchase their design, it is up to you as to how you interpret it--as long as (I am adding this last bit here on my own) you don't sell it. I know that some people put limitations on what you can do with the products made from a pattern. I know one blogger was very upset when she posted pictures of a finished sampler on her blog, giving credit to the designer, and the designer wasn't happy with the changes. I didn't see the finished sampler or exacty what the designer said, but the blogger was very hurt and offended and took down both the finished sampler and any mention of the designer. I do make sure to always credit a designer for their design that I'm stitching, and if I fail to do so, then it's a mistake. I will say that if I know a designer objects to any changes, I won't stitch their stuff. I can understand their desire to not have changes, but Lord knows my counting ability is hit and miss and I can't control human error. I wouldn't want to get faulted for that.

  5. I'm just wondering....I too have changed colors +/or added/changed names and dates - possibly even a motif or two, to really personalize a piece. But perhaps, is there a point in the eyes of some, where so many changes have been made, that the intent of the original design is wiped out.

  6. Gosh, Katherine, this post sounds quite negative. I really don't know what to say but that Catherine is probably understanding the way I look at copyright as well. I responded to Stitching Sue's blog as well as others to the topic, and wrote about it in my blog, as other designers have from time to time at their own will and I surely hope my comment is not being taken to exemplify this hurtful accusation here. Even if it is for someone else's comment, I would rethink making statements that are not true and be a little more respectful especially if you don't take the time to ask directly or know that person. But this is not the first time, I've heard 3rd party insults. I guess it makes some people feel better to spread untruth. It amazes me....LOL Girl, ask the person directly and you might get better answers.....
    Take care,



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