Friday, January 11, 2013

Copyright and You

As a published designer and frequent instructor, one of the sticky situations I encounter is copyright. Once I was helping a lady pick out beads for a project at the store. She had a crumpled photocopy of the instructions and materials needed in her hands. I offered to look over the materials list to make sure she had everything she needed. You can well imagine my shock - that it was my pattern! The instructions that I give out in class! Before I could engage my brain, I blurted, "Those are my instructions!" Then I quickly recovered and said, "Well, I can certainly help you pick beads for this!" and laughed. But it did upset me....


In the February issue of Bead&Button, Associate Editor, Stacy Werkheiser has written a great article about this very topic called Love Hurts.

"You have a favorite designer. Scratch that, you have 15 favorite designers, and you show your love by stitching every pattern they publish, sell, or teach. But then comes the truest test of your loyalty; What you do with other people's designs has the bower to both wow and wound. Learn to respect the line between adoring your favorite designers and infringing on their copyright."
I highly recommend that you read through the article and also read Stacy's blog about the response she has received here.

When you take a class the instructor/designer is giving you permission to make the piece for your own personal use. This is the same for projects in books.

You can not teach the project to your friends or teach other classes, photocopy the instructions or sell the design or finished goods as your own.

Bead&Button has a whole selection of downloadable pdf's on copyright here. You can read "The Beader's Ethics", "Know Your Rights to Jewelry Design" and "The inside scoop on what it takes to be published in the magazine".

Stacy also writes for BeadStyle where there is a great blog on the issue of copyright and bridal jewelry here. That said, most designers are happy to hear from people who love their work and want to a) teach a class based on their design or b) sell their finished work at local shows. All you have to do is ask....

1 comment:

Priscilla M Koop said...

Thank you so much for raising this issue.

I find the whole issue of copyright really murky within the beading/jewellery making world. I learn techniques from a variety of sources (You-tube videos, the backs of beading magazines, etc.). I find inspiration in colour combinations in those same places and elsewhere. I also try out different bead shapes and sizes - sometimes based on the clever descriptions on your very own site. How I put those ideas together feels like mine and I believe that I'm free to sell the results without fear of violation of copyright.

But, what if I make one of the items on your inspiration site - being absolutely true to the components as listed. Am I violating copyright if I sell said item? I'm not clear and need to think about this some.

What do you think?