Copyright for Crafters and Artists

by thimble on 01/03/2006

in Resources

respect copyright Just to follow up on an issue that had been raised in the comments of an earlier post, copyright is a very difficult and confusing issue for crafters and artists, and I don’t pretend to understand it completely myself. But it is important that the copyright of crafters’ work is respected, because they make a living through the sale of their creative ideas and products. This has implications for the reproduction of patterns, the use of fabrics, using ‘found’ images in collages, and particularly the use of any of these in items that are intended for sale. I have put together some useful links that have a lot of information on the different aspects of these issues. Remember also that copyright laws vary from country to country, so be sure you are familiar with the copyright rules where you live.

Copyright for Collage artists

FAQ about copyright for artists

A really good guide to copyright for crafters and knitters from the girl from auntie. Includes information regarding Canadian copyright laws.

Susie ghahremani has been talking about a US senate amendment that would remove copyright for orphaned or unattributed works, which is being opposed by artists and graphic designers

Copyright Law and the Stitcher from Needlepoint now

Information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (both via inaminuteago)

Copyright and Patterns

Copyright for Quilters and Crafters

Using Copyrighted Fabrics and a discussion at Dioramarama

Some works are now published under a creative commons licence. Learn about that here.

The image above is from a campaign by the International Publishers Association.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 stevie March 1, 2006 at 11:29 pm

Thank you for this info! It’s extremely helpful.


2 Anne Norman March 1, 2006 at 11:46 pm

You might want to post about Creative Commons, a much clearer and saner (in my opinion, at least!) copyright system that many creative people are now using.


3 Briana March 2, 2006 at 12:33 am

Thank you for the VERY informative links. Great post.


4 meggiecat March 2, 2006 at 1:15 am

Thanks for putting this resource together. You know I need it. I especially enjoyed the clarity of Copyright for Collage Artists.


5 hilda March 2, 2006 at 3:30 am

vip=very important post. great information, thanks!


6 Roe March 2, 2006 at 5:31 am

I know I will refer back to this again. This is great information. Thank you.


7 larissa March 2, 2006 at 5:49 am

This is great. Thank you! I’m definitely bookmarking this post.

Also note, there is a thing called “fair use” which allows a writer, such as a journalist or blogger, to “quote” a copyrighted article or blog post in small part when writing about it in another forum. I’ve been advised in my line of work that fair use quoting can include quoting a photo from a blog post, as long you attribute and link to it. But I don’t know if this is true. This can be very touchy, since it’s not well understood. And very confusing for those of us who have craft blogs, and who write about other artists. Any thoughts or links on fair use would be wonderful, too.


8 Jennifer March 2, 2006 at 6:21 am

What about when someone uses a pattern from a craft book to make, say, a stuffed animal, and then sells those stuffed animals as their own creations, without even crediting the source? I see this happening A LOT, especially with the Japanese craft books.


9 Jeanne March 2, 2006 at 7:08 am

There was a great article a couple of years ago about copyright and fashion in the Christian Science Monitor that you can find here

Quote from above article
“Through fashion we have a ringside seat on the ecology of creativity in a world of networked communication. Ideas arise, evolve through collaboration, gain currency through exposure, mutate in new directions, and diffuse through imitation. ”

I found it interesting because it talks about the way fashion, especially, lives and thrives on inspiration and the reworking of design and the fine line between that and outright copying…


10 jen March 3, 2006 at 7:50 am

yes yes re: larissa’s comment – i would love to have this clarified as well re: what i am doing with the craft alert (an information sharing blog re: local craft stuffs) because i am pulling information from so many sources – sometimes press releases, sometimes word of mouth, and sometimes other mailing lists/blogs and i’m often not sure how much credit i should be giving, since i feel it’s just understood that i found out about this stuff somewhere else and it’s all for the greater good, right? if it’s a direct quote, that’s easy, but when it’s “information” the ultimate in ambiguous property – what to do?

such an interesting issue…thanks for addressing this, laural.


11 Jen March 3, 2006 at 11:48 am

Many people probably didn’t even notice that Heide was pointed out in the _comment_ section of that other entry. She made good with an apology over there, which I think is excellent. She didn’t even have to comment in that entry. She could have just handled it quietly between Jennifer Murphy and herself.

However, she is specifically being pointed out, on the _front page_ of and now EVERYONE can see it. Just doesn’t feel right to bring HER specifically to everyone’s attention in this entry! Just because someone mentioned her in the comments in another entry, as using someone’s work, doesn’t seem to me to be a reason she needs to be brought out in full light on the front page _now_. As if this entry was a followup to a full-blown entry previously, which it wasn’t

I’m sure there will be someone else who disagrees with me, & that’s okay. But I feel bad for her that her name is being specifically pointed out to the many who read this blog, when it is not necessary. YES, this entry is great in that it explains copyright issues. I truly mean that. I learned some things myself, and like the links. I’m just soley disappointed that this front page mention of Heidi was done here now. Really disappointed.

My point is: I would hope that someone wouldn’t stand up at a podium at a crafting convention or get-together and pubicly point someone out unecessarily. I see announcing it on the front page here, to be the same thing.


12 thimble March 3, 2006 at 8:52 pm

Hi all, Glad everyone is finding this information useful. Just thought I would respond to some of these comments

Anne – I did mention Creative Commons in the post, there’s a link near the end. But perhaps I should have made it more prominent, as I agree with you, its a really great way to share creative ideas!

As for fair use on blogs, I have no idea what the legal implication is. But, I think that if you are using the image to promote the work of another crafter and you attribute the photo to them with a clearly marked link, then that is most likely okay. I have never had anyone complain to me about my use of their photos. That being said, some people may not want you to use their photos without their permission, and may say so on their website, which we should respect. If they object even if it wasn’t stated on their website, they may simply contact you to remove the photo. You could also email for permission before you use the photo if you are worried about it.

Jeanne’s comment about fashion and creativity is an interesting one. I think that to some extent this is true in crafting as well, but it is important to know where that fine line between inspiration and copying really is!

As for patterns, please check out the link about copyright and quilting patterns. My understanding is that using a copyrighted pattern to produce something for sale, unless you have permission from the author, would violate copyright. But I’m no lawyer, that’s just my understanding. As an example, selling bags from amy butler patterns is a violation of copyright, you can see her policy here

As for Jen’s last comment, I’m sorry if you find it upsetting that I have posted about Heidi’s mistake. I did think about this issue before I posted, but I thought that some may have read the comment about her mistake without having seen the later update with the apology, which I think was really great of her to do. I think that is important that others learn from this mistake, as it seems to happen quite often in the crafting world. However, I do take your point, my intention was never to publicly embarass her, so I have edited this post to remove Heidi’s name, and have simply linked to the original post.

Thanks everyone!


13 Franci September 21, 2012 at 12:19 am

Very helpful links for someone starting up. Thank you


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