Questions

Sign in to participate in this discussion.

Copyright patterns

I was wondering how much you have to change on a copyright pattern for there not to be legal issues when selling items.

71 Responses

Crochet patterns is what I was wondering about.
There is actually no "how much" you have to change. People say there is a certain percentage you can change in any pattern to make it "yours", but that is not correct. If the pattern is still recognizable as another designer's pattern, you can be subject to copyright infringement. It's definitely a gray area, but why risk it? Why not just ask the pattern designer if you can use it to make items for sale? Sometimes, pattern designers will allow it, even if their TOUs say it's for personal use only.
The items made from the pattern are not copyright unless they contain original artwork.
I think there have been several discussions on this - all with varying information. Have you tried the discussions search option with "copyright"?

That will probably give you more than you actually want!
Best wishes.
Actually, that is not always correct, Samantha. And, regardless, if the pattern designer has terms of use that state the pattern cannot be used for anything but personal use, they CAN protect their copyright if someone violates their terms of use. Many sellers here like to protest this and say that is not the case, but I got that straight from my IP attorney's mouth. The wording in their terms of use makes a difference, but they can definitely protect their copyright with a cease and desist letter all the way to legal action.
Julie from missprettypretty says

Actually, that is not always correct, Samantha. And, regardless, if the pattern designer has terms of use that state the pattern cannot be used for anything but personal use, they CAN protect their copyright if someone violates their terms of use. Many sellers here like to protest this and say that is not the case, but I got that straight from my IP attorney's mouth. The wording in their terms of use makes a difference, but they can definitely protect their copyright with a cease and desist letter all the way to legal action.

---

Not according to the government's copyright website. I'm assuming the OP is referring to some sort of clothing pattern which makes it a useful article, which means it isn't copyright protected and the only thing that is is the pattern itself and any original artwork contained within it. They can write whatever terms they want on the pattern, but they don't stand much of a chance of enforcing any of it with regards to finished items. Crochet patterns are a lot more black and white than other patterns.

And, if the other threads on this subject are any clue, not all IP attorneys agree on it either.
Why would the assumption be that it's clothing, rather than a critter or a face scrubbie?
Okay, well, I prefer to listen to my IP attorney rather than people who hang out here in the forums. I specifically discussed this matter with my attorney AND another partner in the firm and they both agreed. My patterns all contain original artwork, but I specifically asked about other types of patterns, including the kind you find in McCalls, Butterick books, etc. But, you do what you want to do and I will do what I heard from the attorney.
Plus, I sure don't want to be the person that someone comes after because, you never know, despite what all the "legal experts" here in the Etsy forums say, I might lose if I copy someone or violate their terms of use.
Lol. You can go read the copyright website yourself. Like I said, crochet patterns for clothing fall under useful articles and can't be copyrighted other than unique artwork that can stand alone from the article and the pattern itself. I never said I was a 'legal expert' but I have informed myself on the government's website and that is exactly what it says.

Not all patterns are the same, nor do they have the same protection. So unless you went through every single type of pattern with your IP attorney then I wouldn't apply what he/she said to every single copyright thread.
I agree with you Samantha. I am a littler perplexed as why someone would sell a pattern to make an item and then try to restrict its use. After all a pattern does not include a license. If allowed only to make ten items I would have to return the pattern after I made ten. As to personal use, I would have to sign a license agreement to use it for personal use only before purchase.
A written statement on the packaging does not constitute a license as there is no agreement (signed) The legal advice I have is that the only valid part on a pattern is the c symbol, date, name of pattern and name of author.

Unfollow username?

Are you sure you want to stop following this person?

Report a post

Thank you for taking time to help Etsy! Please note that you will not receive a personal response about this report. We will review this post privately.

Why are you reporting this post?

Any additional comments?

Edit Post

Edit your post below. After editing, the post will be marked as edited and the date & time of the last edit displayed.

Edit Reply

Edit your post below. After editing, the post will be marked as edited and the date & time of the last edit displayed.

Enter at least 15 characters. 400 remaining.

Close

What is this?

Admin may choose to highlight awesome community posts that are friendly, answer questions, and offer informative links.

What does it do?

Highlighted posts are placed at the top of each page in a thread for greater visibility.