Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Copyright Confusion

If you are a member of Ravelry, you are probably nauseatingly aware of the numerous threads beating pattern copyright issues into small, but terrifying, legal molecules. I dipped into several of these bizarrely acrimonious exchanges and agree that, if you want a designer's pattern, you should buy it from the creator or publisher.

It's clearly a Bad Thing to post extant patterns on a photo- or file-sharing site so the general public can have them for free. It's also a Bad Thing to copy a design and slap your own name on it.

I do not agree that copyright violations fall into the same category as, say, homicide, arson, and lobbing bombs into elementary schools.

For those who have not had the experience of perusing the copyright discussions, I have, for your reading pleasure, distilled their essence into the following fleegleized Copyright Statement. Please make a note of it.

******
If you purchase this pattern, you may knit a single garment, but said garment may not be sold, loaned, donated, photographed, scanned, or sent to the dry cleaners.

You may not exhibit or wear said garment without a prominently displayed copyright attribution on the front, back, sleeves, and buttons (if applicable). If the knitted item does not have garment parts, the copyright attribution will need to be displayed on the front, back, sides, and interior of same.

You may not discard, give away, or lose either the pattern, or the garment/item, and when you proceed to the Great Knitting Emporium In The Sky, the pattern and garment/item must be incinerated in a sealed container. You may, however, choose to be incinerated with said pattern and/or garment/item, provided that you do not have an electronic greeting embedded in your urn, gravestone, or mausoleum.

If you find this pattern/garment/item in an airplane seat pocket, you may not glance at it. You must report the find to the pilot, who must immediately land the plane and incinerate said pattern on the runway before proceeding to the final destination. You will be further obliged to obliviate the flight attendants, passengers, and other crew members who might have glanced at said pattern while you were slipping it under the cockpit door.

And finally, should your house be distributed via tornado, hurricane, or explosive device, you are responsible for locating both the pattern and garment/item before it can be discovered, read, or worn by a third party.

******
If you think the above disclaimer is silly and that copyright law is unambiguous, ponder the following:

If you purchase a locked Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Lit e-book, you'll discover that the Reading Aloud feature is disabled. According to the publishers I queried, if the Reading Aloud feature were enabled for the sight-impaired, then a sighted person might overhear the audio, which is clearly a copyright violation. On the other hand, it is not a copyright violation for two sighted people to simultaneously read the e-book.

If you buy the audio version of the book, it's perfectly fine to play it on your stereo, where an entire family or group of friends can listen in. Furthermore, if you purchase a paper copy of the same book, it's perfectly ok to read it aloud.

You may read the e-book on a limited number of machines (in the case of an encrypted PDF, that means only the machine on which you downloaded the file), but the paper copy may be given away, donated, or loaned out until it falls apart.

If these scenarios leave you confused, then you might want to ponder the concept of public libraries, which allow you to read or listen to copyrighted material without actually paying for it.

For the record, here's how I stand regarding copyright of my own material, designs, concepts, and electronic/audio renditions of same, whether they appear on this blog, are inscribed on a marble stele, or delicately painted on the back of a hamster.

You may do anything you wish with any material of mine that you find on this blog--use it for classes; print out enough copies to paper the Great Wall of China; distribute it electronically; and sell, exhibit, or give away as many finished pieces as you like--all without asking my permission. The only thing I ask is that you credit me, where applicable. If you don't credit me, I won't go after you, but I will think of you ever after as a Really Rude Person.

I don't make any money from this blog or the designs and concepts contained therein. I am not going to waste my income or time pursuing Really Rude People. I would rather be knitting.

Speaking of knitting, I have nothing to show you this week. I am in the middle of three shawls and they don't look much different than they did the last time I posted pictures, except there's more of them on the needles than on the balls/cones.

I won't post the picture of Roy's half-finished socks, because they bear an uncanny resemblance to the current cover of Knitter's magazine, complete with lime green and hot pink stripes. The yarn doesn't look like that at all (it's a pretty, pastel rainbow blend), so I figure I must have left the socks on top of the cover and somehow, the virulent cover photo perfused the sock. Be careful where you leave your knitting.

49 comments:

be*mused jan said...

Bravo! The best take on recent copyright kerfuffles that I have read yet.

DomesticShorthair said...

Yeeesh, what silliness! Thankfully, I have not had the opportunity to partake in that discussion. Thank you for the synopsis. That's just crazy about the e-book Read Aloud feature! It's funny you brought all this up, because I've been pondering the library issue lately.

Sorry about Roy's socks, but with the bright colors, they probably glow in the dark so, on the bright side, you won't need a night light in your house.

Karen said...

Thank you! I have not even been tempted to dip my toe in those waters and the whole issue makes me want to xerox whole books and hand them out to passing strangers - something I would never have envisioned before this became such a hot topic. (and this being the expressionless medium it is, I'd better add "just kidding"!)

z's momma said...

Thank you for your levity on this matter. Crazy wacky stuff!

Also, thank you for warning us of the newest Knitter magazine, must keep that issue away from other knitting items.

Jenni said...

Very funny! I have thought the same thing many times!

BadCatDesigns said...

Thanks for the amusing take on the current state of copyright. Such a squirmy can of worms...

And thanks for the warning about the infectious nature of the new Knitters. I will put it in quarantine immediately! I don't think it has harmed my candy-colored Lyra, but my new sampler may be in dire danger.

Janice in GA said...

Heh. Doesn't that copyright stuff make you want to pull hair (not *necessarily* your own) and scream incoherently??? Ebooks are some of the worst. I speak as a frequent ebook reader.

Dave said...

Ya mean that if I knit it once and don't like the colour, I can't knit it again in another colour? Do I hafta buy the whole pattern again? What if I rip out the first one? Is it okay then? Or not rip it, but felt the heck out of it and turn it into a toilet paper roll colver thing? Is that ok?

Melly said...

Wonderful post and great statement on that "d**n" copyright issue!
Thanks for this!
love and hugs
Melly

Miss T said...

Thank you. It's gotten ridiculous.

DrLeonesse said...

You crack me up, girl!

Sophie said...

Great disclaimer ! I'm sure the guys at Monsanto would love that. They would just have to add something about not spreading your poo...
Thank you for the good laugh !
;-)

--Deb said...

I'm so glad you cleared this up for me! Now, if you'll excuse me, I obviously have to go update my Will....

Denise in Kent, WA said...

I don't read forum threads on copyright any more because they always end up getting hateful and absurd. I almost didn't read your blog post after seeing the subject, but I'm glad I did. What a hoot! Thanks.

Kristina B said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to summarise the debates on Ravelry. I made a concerted effort to avoid them as I despite any kind of "legal" chat on message boards, frankly.

I did, however, very much enjoy your take on it.

Regards,

Kristina

Hell in a Teacup
Bespoke by Brouhaha

Rosemary said...

Fleegle, you are a genius! Such a way with words. Yes, you are correct, the whole copyright thing is beyond ridiculous. Thanks for the chuckle.

Soo said...

I can't wait for the headlines the first time there's a police raid on a house where someone is reading al**d from an ebook!!!

travellersyarn said...

I love your satire -it made me giggle out loud. I agree with you, and wish that I could avoid reading some of the discussions on Ravelry.

Laritza said...

I stay away from copyright discussions as much as possible. You sure made a point here. I agree with you and my 2 cents:it is a technique that we all love and should be willing to share. How many make a living selling $5 patterns?

Jane said...

I try not to read any of the posts related to copyright on ravelry anymore either but I love your take ont he whole topic! Poor Queer Joe will be horrified about that part where the lace/pattern on the plane must be destroyed before landing. He just misplaced his work on a plane recently so I guess it's toast now(shudder). As for "new knitter syndrome" have you contacted the CDC yet?

Daryl said...

Me too!I wondered about that library issue, not to mention the loaning and reselling of paperbacks at yard sales and other venues of profiteering. So glad to have your permission to profit from your labor.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the finest summary of the copyright process and the said processes infringement on our ability to live sane (ie lawyer-free) lives.

This is my first ever repy to any blog (as far as I can recall- more legalese), but it is worth it for me to say 'hurrah hurrah hur ray!' Su

KarenK said...

Well said, Fleegle! Your statement should be posted on Ravelry, knitlist, and read aloud wherever knitters gather. Thanks.

Knitters magazine makes my eyes hurt.

2trees said...

Off to cover the great wall with copies of your bootee pattern...

Hege said...

You are so funny! I read somewhere that if libraries were created today, they would be illegal.

Carol said...

Yeah, I was amazed at the ridonkulous levels people were gibbering over the copyright thing. I figure, if you didn't do the design, you can't make money off it. end of story.

And I am going to call bad people RRP's from now on. (Really Rude People) I liek that.

gilraen said...

Wonderful description!! It made me laugh, a good start to any day, thank you :)

hooknneedle said...

too funny! love your take on the whole issue!

LittleBerry said...

haven't come across any of these issue on Ravelry (I obviously don't participate much if belonging to those forums) but I have come across it on other forums in the past.... and appreciate your take on it ;o)

Thanks for allowing free use of your work and ideas and it is only right that credit should go to the originator :o)

bookwoman said...

Is there an award for most coherent, lucid and lighthearted post on the c-word EVER? Cause if there is, you need to receive it. Better yet, they should invent one and name it after you.

Oh, and re: libraries...technically, they aren't free. Since they are publicly funded, they are an included benefit in your local and state taxes. So, you are paying for it...collectively.

Chris said...

Love it! Although I must admit to being puzzled that you weren't smitten blind simply from seeing the cover of Knitters... from what I've heard, at least. ;)

knittyvritti said...

love it. the whole thing makes me laugh. if copyright laws were followed to the letter, i would have lost most of my education---all those xeroxed articles left unread....
this kind of thinking leads to the idea that maybe we shouldn't be able to re-purpose anything--no passing down baby clothes, giving away your old tv, etc., etc., etc.,

Vicki Knitorious said...

Great take on it all. I can't imagine the heat in some of those forums (and I'm just fine not knowing). This was a great read.

Heatherly said...

ROFL! you mean i cant "accidently" loose my pattern at my LYS or a friends house?
the poor blind people! there are always sighted crazies over their shoulders trying to steal copyrighted materials. isnt that why headphones were invented?


thank you for your generosity!

Kay said...

You had me at "airplane seat pocket". Hilarious and totally on-point send-up of the tizzy about copyright. BravOH!

Kay
www.masondixonknitting.com

PS You may not print out this comment without my express consent.

knitnzu said...

Chappy'smom sent me over (there, is that ok for copyright??). Pretty funny! I wondered if my scanning a 1930-ish chart (to put squirrels on the cuffs of your socks) was copyright infringement, but didn't care to much!

qusic said...

coming from Jan I am totally with you, but I also see the other side of the medal. there are folks who are inventors/ creators/ designers, these are few and have a hard time to earn a living by selling their stuff and many more who crave to be inspired. So let's give credit to the idea giver and spread the good news of a striking design, color combo, pattern etc.

I am very fond of the Creative Commons ideas of different copyright statements and if someone copies my ideas they seem to be good, so what?

Just A Mom said...

Gosh this was so funny!!!!

I love your take on this all and I hope I never, ever fall into a "very rude person ever after" category...LOL

Now I feel I must go browse the magazine section at the book store to check out such mentioned socks in Knitters magazine...just to LOOK of course...[G]

Marji said...

Speaking as a librarian and a knitter, I think I just wet myself.
^_^

sydney said...

ROTFL! Great summary. I quit reading the copyright discussion long ago.

Romi said...

Hee. Heeheeheheheeheeeeeeeeee. :)

nosenabook said...

Thank you , Fleegle, for that clarification, I enjoyed it very much.

Batty said...

Who knew copyright could be this entertaining? Thank you!

twistedspinner said...

My Lord, a voice of sanity!

madonnaearth said...

LOL--I am so glad I'd finished my soda before I started reading this.

Loved the " If you don't credit me, I won't go after you, but I will think of you ever after as a Really Rude Person."

Well said. I gotta tell you, I never thought there was anything wrong with copying a pattern at the library when I didn't want to check out the whole book, but according to some of the posts on ravelry, I am wrong.

madonnaearth said...

I forgot to add, despite the cover, some of the other patterns behind it are cute. I worry about parts of the guys' sweaters though.

Arachnera said...

I like your copyright notice. Very similar to one I wrote up but never used. :D

Yarnzie said...

Yay, Fleegle! I just KNEW that I liked you!

Iris in Virginia said...

Oh, Lady! You are so right. While I believe people who wish to earn money from their designs have every right to do so and try to be careful to not violate copyright, I think it's gotten crazy.

The parts about the electronic books are right on, too. Same with music purchased from iTunes. If I buy a CD, I can give it to anyone I want to listen. If I buy a book, ditto. I suppose the e-books are right, in that you can burn them to disk and pass them around. They're punishing normal people because of a few who want to gain serious $$$ by pirating instead of going after the pirates. My feeling is, if you're afraid of pirates, don't put it out in electronic form. Just don't punish me for their actions.

P.S. - I'm new to your blog and love it!