Friday, June 11, 2010


I am POSITIVE that you are sick of hearing about Smungkee!  Positive!  too bad!  Because he's getting to be a rather popular little creature and I have some new news on him.  But first, a note about copyright!  FUN!

Copyright, in regards to knitting (and I'm sure other things) is ridiculously controversial!  Like seriously knock down, drag out fights over who has the right to do what with what where.  For instance... if you knit something from a pattern you purchased (or got for free because it was free), what are you legally entitled to do with it?  Simple answer you think, right?  WRONG!  While you THINK that you should be allowed to wear it... give it away... light it on fire (okay, I did do that), or sell it, you would be WRONG WRONG WRONG!  Well, let me rephrase that!  You would be wrong as according to a good number of people who think that you have limited rights as to what you can do with your finished item.  I am not one of those people.  I feel that if I pay for a pattern the price the designer feels fair (since designers set their own prices), then whatever I do with the item I made with the pattern is mine for the whatevering!  I bought my own yarn, my own needles, my own finishing notions and used my own time and expertise to follow your pattern, which I paid for.  So why then would someone feel like they had a direct say over what I CAN'T do with it.  Because they feel that if I sell my 'thing', then I am essentially stealing profit away from them.  Rubbish!  If I sell my 'thing' to a non knitter for $50, what have I gained and what has the designer lost?  Let's investigate.

My shawl cost me $40 in yarn and the pattern itself cost me $5US.  That's $45.  Let's assume that the needles and notions have already paid for themselves and they're not needing to be calculated in.  That leaves me with a difference before knitting a thing, of $5 if I'm charging you $50 for it.  Let's assume it takes me 10 hours (I think it took longer).  That's 50cents an hour.  What exactly have I gained here?  Not much.  What has the designer lost?  Nothing, because the person wasn't going to knit it themselves (therefore, no $5 from the pattern regardless of my sale), and there's nothing in the law that states that I have to give her a percentage of my sale.  So I stupidly made $5 for myself, and she made $5 for herself.  Now.  What if I sold it for $500?  That's a good profit margin right there.  Does that then entitle her to money from me?  Why should it?  If she wanted $500 for her pattern, she should have asked for it.  Now, if we assume she DOES have a say over whether I can sell it or not, what ELSE does she have a say over?  Does she have some sort of legal right over the item?  Can she decide at any time that she doesn't want the pattern to be for use anymore and then run around the country and take back all the items made from it?  That puts us crafters on a shaky ground don't you think?  do you think people would spend hundreds of hours and dollars to make things, only to know that legally, someone else has a right to the finished product?  No, that's ridiculous!

The other thing that people have a terrible time with is trying to copyright their pattern for something that isn't original.  You can't copyright the knit or purl stitch or any combination of them.  You can't copyright icons, things that are already copywritten, shapes or textures.  That means that you can not copyright a teddy bear.  If you have a pattern that has a unique teddybear design, you can copyright that, but you can't say no one can ever make something even remotely similar or appearing to be a teddy bear.

The reason all this comes up is that I bought a pattern for Smungkee from a lady that was selling it.  And then when I got the pattern, I changed pretty much everything about it.  She wanted the pieces knit flat and seamed and I'm in no way ever going to seam that much knitting so I knit it in the round.  I changed the direction of the stitches, the method of the ears and mouth, the yarn and needle size and the finishing technique.  And then I wrote it down.  And I gave it to someone to make my version of the monkey.  I believe that my monkey pattern is completely different than hers, and while I will give her credit for inspiration, I will not acquiesce that my monkey pattern is the same as hers. And if someone takes my monkey pattern and finds a way to change it to make it their own, all the power to them.  If someone takes my upcoming hat pattern and makes it different enough to be considered a different item then that's fine too.  the one thing about copyright I do agree with is that the actual piece of paper pattern (or e version) is not to be given out with someone else's name on it, or handed around to your friends indefinitely.  That takes money away from the designer and even if it's free, it's rather rude.  I like to see how many people downloaded my free pattern... giving it to your friend, while not actually taking money away from me prevents me from being able to see who downloaded it.  I wouldn't say very strong words about passing free patterns around tho, because really, it makes little to no difference in the world.

Now!  The reason that I'm saying all this is because I am publishing my monkey pattern for sale and I am teaching (teachers assistant) a class on how to make him!  I'm so excited for this and I'm thrilled to be able to assist others in making one for themselves, because he's cool!

And yes, I did mention the hat pattern that I'm designing.  It's going to be awesome!


Penny Peberdy said...

I totally agree!