selling items made from copyright patterns?

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Original Post

If this has already been posted and dealt with, sorry for reposting it. I've tried to search the forums and haven't found anything, so bear with me! :P

I've noticed a few vendors have been selling items made from copyrighted patterns. Specifically, folks that sell knit or crochet items; the only reason why I recognize these is because I'm an avid knitter and crocheter myself, and am generally familiar with the patterns available out there.

If a pattern is copyright, the copyright also applies to the item you make using that pattern. Just because *you* made it, doesn't make it yours to sell, if you've used someone else's design.

I've convo'ed with sellers who do this, and some aren't aware of that, and take their items down. Some others don't think that they're breaking the law or violating a copyright, and go right on doing it. Part of their rational of continuing it is because Etsy staff are either letting them post it, or aren't taking it down after it's been posted.

I've written to Etsy staff, and was told that unless the designer themselves flag the item - since they are the ones who hold the copyright - Etsy's hands are tied.

I can totally understand that, *but* at the same time, not every pattern designer has hours on end to riffle through every single etsy shop to see if their patterns are being sold.

I was wondering if any one else feels as strongly as I do about this issue? Or if there's any way that Etsy could revise their policy in how they handle vendors who violate copyrights?

Posted at 1:44pm Feb 26, 2009 EST


Since you do feel so strongly about this, your best bet is to contact the owner of the copyright, since they're the only one who can really do anything about it.

Posted at 1:47pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

unless they have the creators permission. Some items are in books but the instructions/pictures are copyright protected the actual pattern (byzantine in the case of chainmaille for example, or a fan stitch in crochet) the technique is not copyrighted. The instructions are the property of the person who wrote and photoed the steps. I checked with the Feds on this one as in the case of crochet, knit, chainmaille, etc some of the patterns are far older than any known copyright laws.

Posted at 1:49pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

WoodNGoods says

KnitsYoursKnotMine says:
If a pattern is copyright, the copyright also applies to the item you make using that pattern. Just because *you* made it, doesn't make it yours to sell, if you've used someone else's design.


Not necessarily - The person would have to check the copywrite on each pattern to see if they are able to sell a completed item. I've used many painting patterns as well as many woodworking patterns that specify it is OK to use the patterns and sell the items.

Posted at 1:49pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

PussDaddy says

A pattern designer should know what can be made out of their patterns, so finding it should not be that big of a deal. If I felt that strongly though, and had time to convo people, I would instead google the pattern maker and hit the email me or contact us link on their site and provide them the link directly to the offending item that you saw. I wouldn't hold my breathe, though, as out of 7 copyright holders I contacted all said oh my goodness that gouged my eyeballs right out of my head and thank you so much, and then didn't do a thing about it. So if they want to find them they can find them themselves as far as I am concerned.

Posted at 1:51pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

I think it depends on the patterns in question. There are a lot of similar patterns out there and how do you know which one they are using? There are even FREE patterns, if you google them.. that they may be using.
For example, I have seen 3 different patterns sold for the same style skirt, just different names. Not all copyrighted patterns care if the product is sold.
Some say you can sell products that you make from the pattern and some ask you not to.

Posted at 1:52pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

I check with the artist also however, the feds say that some techniques can not be copyrighted they would have to be patented and if the techniques existed before patent laws they can not now be patented. This entire topic is so complex and gets convoluted sometimes. Pattern instructions/pictures/and some techniques are protected under an intellectual copyright.

Posted at 1:55pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

Ozknits says

I see it all the time on here. Interweave mag hits the shelves and patterns from that issue show up as finished, unattributed,items.

I did contact a pattern designer once. Not only was her design being sold, but the picture of her pattern (with her knitting)was listed too. The shop was closed and she was very appreciative of knowing.

Posted at 1:58pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

And no, I don't feel that strongly about it because they aren't hurting anyone if they aren't selling the copyrighted pattern. And I love crochet/knit items, so thats more for me to buy from. :)

Posted at 1:58pm Feb 26, 2009 EST

I don't sell any knitted items on Esty but if I see a hat or bag on the bus that I like then I go home and knit it without any instructions. My "version" may be quite similar but as I haven't used anyone else's instructions I'm okay. You can't copyright an "idea", that's what patents are for. You can copyright written words (instructions) and photos.
So, if I were to sell one of my "creations" on etsy there might be people who think I've pinched someones else's design...but have I?
It would be a courtesy to give credit to the designer if you've used their pattern but on the other hand I think that most designers know that when their patterns are featured in knitting magazines that people are going to use them.
I think there's a big difference to someone selling a few hats than to mass producing an item.
Just my thoughts on the subject.

Posted at 2:02pm Feb 26, 2009 EST