Thursday, 14 May 2015

(Copy) Right or Wrong

As a quilt designer/pattern writer, copyright is a subject I've spent quite a bit of time looking into and thinking about. To try to make it clear what I expect with regard to my patterns, I wrote a page on copyright which you can access by the FAQ tab at the top of this blog.

Since writing that page, I've been thinking more and more about it. Everything there holds true, but lately I've been wondering... what is important to me? Why do I write patterns? Why do I want people to buy my patterns? There's the obvious answer (income!) but there is a bit more to it than that.

I want you to buy my pattern because you want to make a quilt from the design. I want to show you how I do things and for you to feel confident trying them for yourself. I want you to enjoy the process, to love your quilt, and to feel like it is exactly that - your quilt.

Yes, your quilt. So that means you can do what you like with it. Sell it, give it, auction it, exhibit it, donate it... it's up to you. You made it, you put all that time, thought, money, effort and love into it, who am I to dictate what you do with it next?

You know what else I want? I want you to share. If you like the pattern, if you think a friend would enjoy making it, then please tell them about the pattern. Show them your quilt, show them the pattern. What the hell, even give them a copy of the pattern.

I know! That's a bit of no-no, right? Your friend should buy their own copy, really, and that is definitely the right thing to do. But you know what? I'm not going to jump on you and call you nasty names if you share with a friend. Please, please, please tell them how they can buy their own pattern, suggest that they do so (it's what I'd prefer, obviously), but don't feel guilty if they choose not to. I understand.

For me, making a quilt is about doing something I love. Writing patterns is about sharing what I love, and selling patterns is about doing that in a way that helps buy food and pay the mortgage. I hate that there should be guilt associated with quilting in any way, shape or form. I know that if you give someone a copy of my pattern you're not trying to deprive me of income, you're not being mean or nasty. You're not a bad person. You just want to share, right? And that you want to share my design, my pattern? That is a compliment to me, for which I thank you. Do remember though, that this is my income source!

Having said all that though, do keep scale in mind. One or two friends is very different to a whole quilting group or guild, and different to a class of students. No mass distribution, please! And if you fancy yourself a designer do NOT, under any circumstances, take my designs or anyone else's and rewrite them and sell/distribute them as your own. That is not acceptable, and it's incredibly inappropriate and inconsiderate. (Yes, it has happened to me!) Also keep in mind that what I have said relates to my patterns, not quilt patterns in general. If in doubt, ask. That's the safest and most respectful way to do most things, I think.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. :)

Hope x