It's a late night here, and I've been a bit unsettled by some discussions online. I'm going to keep it brief, only because if I didn't, I would talk for ages. Maybe I will one day, just not tonight. Copyright.
It feels like a hindrance.
I actually have a lot of unpublished posts on this issue.
Unpublished because I didn't want to make people mad.
Unpublished because I was mad.
Unpublished because I thought copyright law was far more lenient.
We all come from different backgrounds, so I can't say "more lenient than you thought it was", only that I thought it was more lenient. It's not as lenient as I thought it was. So I stopped writing about it.
I didn't want to tell you guys that an Amy Butler bag was not copyrightable because it was a "useful article". Or a Sara Lawson bag....etc. Ugh. Not in America, at least (even if it is).
Y'all, there's an ugly side to copyright.
A side that has reared its head lately with the Modern Quilt Guild posting it's new guidelines.
There are a lot of things in it that are true. And a lot of things in it that overreach what copyright actually covers - which is unfortunate, because that causes most readers to question and deny everything that they presented (even the aspects they covered correctly).
I might talk about it more again later, but for now, all I want you to know is this:
Sometimes, my personal convictions don't match with the law. In this case, with copyright law.
I'm ok with you guys copying my quilts.
I'm ok with you guys making quilts from my patterns and selling them, displaying them in shows, etc.
I'm ok with you guys being "inspired" by my quilts and making "derivatives".
I don't like saying stuff like that because I sound like I'm full of it. I mean, honestly...who am I? I'm just a stay-at-home-mom who's obsessed with quilts, Star Trek, playing in mud, and the study of law. I'm just a new quilter who managed to convince a publisher to sign me for a book. I'm just a paper-piecer because I'm not as precise of a piecer as I wish I was. I'm impatient with an anxiety order that leaves me wishing for perfection now now now!! I'm just a mom with a theology degree....wishing she was something more. I'll be honest, I was seriously considering going to school for a specialized law degree recently. Notre Dame even started offering a Patent Law degree! I wouldn't mind compromising for them (I love ND so...)...but there are so many things, you guys. So many things I have to consider when making decisions like this.
My original "plan" was to become a professor - I was accepting into grad school and everything, but....
That anxiety. It killed my joy.
I think I've mentioned PPD here before, but not my anxiety. So here you go - I'm out with anxiety.
And my goal one day was to become a professor....or maybe a lawyer of some sort.... but reason got the better of me and I realized that my anxiety wouldn't allow for that right now.
Maybe one day. Although, maybe not. Maybe not ever. And that's life, and I'm ok with accepting it. It's still hard to tell people (so I usually don't), but I'm ok with it for myself. Until then, I'll study on my own, content to be without the pressures I (embarrassedly) couldn't handle.
But for now, here's what I want to share with you:
I want you guys to copy my quilts. With or without buying the patterns.
I want you guys to sell the quilts you make with my patterns. As long as you aren't Target or West Elm or some other corporation (although, wouldn't that be awesome?) I'm more than happy to have you make and sell quilts from my patterns. If you need a permissions letter, just ask me - I'm more than enthusiastic to help you out.
As I tell my students, why would I make the patterns, except for you to make them? I've already made them myself. I didn't the write pattern for me. I mean, REALLY. That's ridiculous.
I come from a mentality of abundance, not of scarcity. That means, I think that all of the creativity in the world only helps us all. Even if you are "deriving" or "inspired" by me, your creation helps us all - it helps me. It helps us all move on and become better. I can only imagine what the world would be like if you took some of my methods and made them better - please do!! I would love to see them! I want to be a better quilter. I want to create more beautiful quilts. I want your input. I yearn for your designs, your opinions, your inspiration.
So please...leave me a comment with a place where you find inspiration. Maybe it's a board on Pinterest, or a facebook group, or maybe you think you're especially awesome (I hope so!) - so leave your blog URL. I'm more than happy to look at all of them. I need that inspiration to derive from. Even if the MGQ isn't cool with it ;)
P.S. - Everyone at trunk shows always asks me, when I say, Take pictures! post them! I'm cool with that, "Oh, with credit of course, right?". You guys, I don't care. I want my designs to get out in the world. I want to inspire, to create hope, to move viewers. You credit me if you want to, that's your call. If you're inspired, I'm more interested with you going with that than with you crediting me.
People might disagree with me on that. I'm totally ok with that. They can insist on whatever is important to them. I'm mostly concerned with the sharing - the crediting is secondary. At least, to me. It might be different for you. And I'm ok with that.
Edited to add: I totally agree with the comments about how helpful it is to have a name (whether of the quilt pattern or the designer) associated with any quilts posted online. That way, we can find out more about the quilt - like where to buy a pattern! - rather than just having a lonesome photo floating around. I definitely think citing whenever we can is important. However, I don't like to place that as a condition on people posting their photos, which is why I tell them that. If they forget my name or the name of the quilt, or if it's just lurking in the background of their selfie, I don't want someone to NOT post their photo because they can't credit me. I don't want crediting to become a restriction to the sharing of information & inspiration.
P.P.S. Interested in copyright as a quilt designer? I suggest the book The Copyright Zone (Amazon affiliate link, only cuz it's awesome and I love it). As a quilter, and also as a photographer, I can't suggest a better source of easily accessible information about copyright for artists.