Thursday, May 29, 2008

Copy Right or Wrong ?

I have a moment on a gorgeous (almost) summer evening to leave a message that will resonate with more than just Barn Quilters, but also with quilters in general. I have only recently been introduced to the world of quilting, yet I was quick to see that there are millions whom have enjoyed this pastime, hobby, avocation, vocation and passion for years. Even for a relative newbe, I sense that there are two (tho not mutually exclusive), camps of fiber artists that quilt. There are the quilters that will do what feels and looks right, and because they are creating projects for themselves alone, they have no need to consider that by using the patterns created by someone else, they may actually be infringing on the rights (copyrights) of another. Then there are professional crafts artists. These are quilters that sew in groups, or individually for profit or as competition. By entering their quilts in local or regional shows, county fairs or even using the art as a church raffle, they will need to consider copyrights and the law.

Certainly, every artist would like to think that their art is an original, but in the world of quilting there is sharing. A lot of sharing! That is how people learn, and get better, and sharing is one of the reasons for the groups, societies, quilt circles and magazines and the quilt shops selling patterns along with a bazillion different fabrics. In fact, if there wasn't sharing and copying of quilts and quilt patterns, I doubt that there would be the number of quilts (and quilters), that there are today. I have been keenly aware of discussions that I have come across describing the rights of individuals to copyrighted patterns and quilts. It is nice when someone plainly states that this pattern is an original (with copyright protection), but for many of the individual patterns that are being used, they fall outside of the copyright protection... I am not an attorney, but there is a lot of interesting information on the internet, and a well written site provided by the
Library of Congress, and the U.S. Copyright Office.

On the
Ning Social Network - Barnquilting, I do believe that there is enough to question the rights and legality of copyrighting a Barn Quilt pattern. The majority (but by no means all) of the Barn Quilt patterns are based on traditional quilt block patterns, usually from before 1900. These quilt block patterns, in and of themselves can not be copyrighted, but what about the Barn Quilt ? Are there adequate protections for the artists, organizations and individuals that have created or claim ownership ? What do you think, and what protections have you taken ?

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