Discussion on Copyright

At the May meeting there was some concern that members were not submitting pieces for the NEWs awards. I am acutely aware of the writings by a frequent contributor and Handwoven Staff member about articles submitted for shows and how they are blatant copies of designs posted in magazines. When I reviewed the NEW’s requirements, I read the same message with a ban on “receipe” based designs. All it takes is for a judge to share the same opinion and virtually all pieces are eligible to be thrown out as copies or violating someone’s copyright.

I am not faulting NoBo or the senior members, Margaret has encouraged me to submit items I have woven. Submitting any article opens up the very real possibility of the article being thrown out as a copy or close modification of some thing already published. I am not prepared to take that risk. My latest designs are from scratch but the weave structures are common techniques, shadow weave and twill. I have not done an extensive search of the literature to ensure I am not violating someone’s design who can then cry foul that in some previous publication a close facsimilie of the design was featured.

I will happily present our work for the memories section, both our memories are unique and the inspiration of the wave design was completely derived from my past.

I work in a world of patents and copyright, I have seen what happens when patents and copyright are supposedly violated. For me, weaving is something I enjoy doing and I will continue to weave items. I am not prepared to have an article scrutinsed for copyright violation or as was stated in Handwoven, he changed a thread here and there but the aricle is identical to one in Handwoven xyz which is a blatant violation of copyright and should never have been submitted. Hand weaving is an ancient art and it takes skill to weave an article with high quality but that is not enough for NEWs, it has to be unique which, given the history of weaving, is virtually impossible. In my work world we conduct extensive literature searches to ensure we are not violating patents and copyrights, I neither have the resources nor the time to perform a rigorous search of the literature to guarantee that my designs are unique.

This is why I am unwilling to present pieces for the NEWs Gallery Show. Comments

2 Replies to “Discussion on Copyright”

  1. I agree that all this talk about copyrights can be intimidating, so I did a bit of research. It appears that though an actual written pattern can be copyrighted, the actual item made using the pattern cannot be copyrighted. Here is a link to some information about that: http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml
    The link discusses items made with commercial sewing patterns and is very interesting.
    By the written pattern being copyrighted, that means you cannot photocopy the pattern and sell or distribute it for money (i.e. to a class). You either have to get permission to do that or you have to buy multiple copies of the written pattern. But, it appears that the copyright never extends to the item that is made from the pattern.
    For more discussion check the comments on Weaving Today: http://www.weavingtoday.com/blogs/ask-madelyn/archive/2011/11/25/copyright-and-weaving-patterns.aspx One commenter cites Supreme Court rulings (which my link above also does).

  2. Hello Terry,

    I expected you to reply 😉
    I agree with you that selling articles made from a published threading, tie up etc. can be sold and does not have to pay royalties or even acknowledge the copyright holder. There are many gray areas, for example weaving an article using a logo from another company, for example Disney (who are most aggressive in going after copyright and trade mark infringements (along with Apple).
    This is not what Madelyn is against, which she has stated in writing, and that is the submission of articles for shows such as the NEWs gallery which uses designs from Hand Woven even with modification. One of the stated forbids in NEWs is to use a receipe design. Madelyn is regarded as a “mover and shaker” in the hand woven world and most probably has considerable influence on people doing the appraising. This introduces a massive gray area, I want my articles to be appraised for the weaving quality not that it was similar to an item in some back number of a magazine.

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