Sunday, March 12, 2006

This week: reader questions

If y'all are getting sick of talking about copyright and knitting, please let me know. However, my in-box suggests that you guys are not, because you are filling said in-box with your usual excellent comments and suggestions. This week I will traverse some of the topics raised by YOU.

Today's question -- forgive me, dear readers, we are slated to see the Curious George movie today so I can only answer one -- comes from loyal reader and fellow bunny-lover Mindy, who wants to know whether it violates copyright to knit a garment from a pattern for someone else for money. The scenario looks something like this: Jane buys a pattern and the appropriate yarn to make a sweater but she can't knit (poor soul), so she hires Mindy to do the knitting.

I think this would probably be considered acceptable and fair use by most courts. The pattern is being purchased by Jane, the ultimate owner of the sweater, for the knitting of one sweater. Mindy is being paid for the services of her knitting. The pattern has been validly purchased, once, and the sweater will be knit only once, for the purchaser's personal use. The designer is getting full compensation for the design. I don't see how a designer could object to this (or why they necessarily would): more to the point, even if a designer did object to this, I don't see how they could make a claim for damages because they haven't lost anything.

I believe Mindy's concern was triggered by the "not to be knit for resale" language that so many patterns have at the bottom, along with their copyright language. This is a whole 'nother topic for a whole 'nother day (and I will talk about it soon) but I think in this scenario, Mindy has not purchased the pattern and she is being paid only for her knitting. She is not mass-producing the sweater, and she's not creating some kind of cottage industry whereby she purchases all the supplies and sells the end product; she's only contracting to sell her services as a knitter. Once.

Now, of course, you all know that I am just opining in a very general way about these issues, and I am NOT giving any of you specific legal advice about your life (including Jane [not her real name] and Mindy [her real name]) and all of this stuff is very hazy, so if you have any questions about how to govern your own conduct, you've got to find your own lawyer to talk to. Right? Right.

By the way

Thank you for your input about hand-dyeing yarns. If you've got any more comments, please feel free to share them with me. So far, the comments I've been getting suggest that "a little bit of everything" is the way to go...

10 comments:

Liz K. said...

I have always found copyright issues interesting; I was a librarian before I started staying home with the kids. I appreciate the information you are giving other knitters about this important topic.

Karlie said...

As long as you're not selling the sweaters though, there's no issue with making many, many projects from a a pattern though right? It seems a silly question to me, but I sometimes wonder! Like I have the pattern for Rogue, and I know I'm going to be making quite a few of them - but not selling them.

Although, in the situation where someone can't knit, if they bought the yarn and paid for your time, are you then not allowed to use a pattern you already have and have knit before? So I've already knit Rogue, and someone wants me to make one for them - do they have to buy another copy of the pattern as well as the yarn and my time?

Mindy said...

Thank you so much Carol! Now I'm really interested to hear the answer to Karlie's question... (by the way, if I beg shamelessly can I have some orangey peachy roving????) Oh- and a review of CG please.

Kathy Merrick said...

Yeah, Caro, did he and the Man visit a brothel?
Or Al Swearingen's saloon?

Pam said...

A different scenario...I knit a sweater for myself. For one reason or another I don't like the finished product, style, fit, color etc. After spending a season or two in the closet, not being worn, can the sweater be sold to a friend to compensate me a little for the price of the yarn vs. trashing it?

Thank you for your wonderful, informative blog.It's always a good read.

JoVE said...

On the subject of hand-dyed yarns, I recall that you were looking for places to buy yarn to dye. I have recently discovered these folks: www.wool2dye4.com. Haven't tried them yet but probably worth a look.

Duvy said...

I look forward to hearing your response to the question of whether or not you can sell the end-products of patterns not of your own creation. I knit a lot of toy and bears and am hoping to sell them online, but the patterns I use are from books written by others. Would I need to ask the publishers' permission first before selling?

the hanged man said...

So how was Curious George?

Michelene said...

Carol, is that brothel version going to be on the special edition DVD?

Michelene said...

Carol, is that brothel version going to be on the special edition DVD?