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How To "Copyright" a Pattern

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  • How To "Copyright" a Pattern

    Ok folks, here is a question for you....

    How would you go about getting a copyright for a pattern. Is there a registration process or is copyright automatic to the author? Is this the same law throughout North America? How do you go about protecting your patterns so no one can claim to be the author?

  • #2
    Well, when I wanted to copywrite something, I called the "Federal Information Center" at 1 800 688 9889, told them what I wanted, and they sent me all the information necessary. There wasn't a great deal and made interesting reading. If anybody is at all interested they should do the same. The real confusion arises when you sell your work, what rights do you keep (or what rights is the published wanting to buy). As I recall, the real difficulty comes when it's time to protect the copywrite. This could turn into a book, so if your interested, get the information packet.


    • #3
      For Canadians, here's a site to browse...

      For the United States, you can get a form here:
      Along with the form, it costs $30 for each design that you are registering a copywrite for.

      If you put a book out, you can copywrite the whole book, or each individual design. If someone infringes and you sue, it is best if each design is copywrite. Otherwise, you only get a percentage based on how many of the designs in the book were copied. (10 designs in the book where 1 is copied, then you only get one tenth the award if the book is copywrite as a whole).

      At least in the US, your design is copywrited as soon as you design it. However, if you want to protect that copywrite, and to sue if someone uses it, then you have to have it registered (before knowing about the infringement).

      Mailing a copy of the design to yourself in a sealed envelope will NOT be enough proof in court (info from a lawyer knowlegeable in copywrites).

      If you publish, each magazine is different. Some let you retain all your rights (yae!! ). Others buy exclusive rights to your project - which means you loose all your rights to call the design yours.

      I have not sent in anything to be registered. I am a member of a painting forum where this has been discussed a LOT. In fact, the moderator has sued (and won!!) a number of companies for copying her designs. This whole subject can get confusing and complicated.


      • #4
        I hope this does not get into some like it has on other forums.
        If you design some it is yours. Just put on the pattern the symbol of copy right with your name. Most people will let the buyer of your pattern make some copies for there own use, like 10. Put this also on the pattern.
        Now if some one start selling it, you can suit them. Big companies have done that. I don't think you will find a laywer who would handle it. You don't have enough money I bet to go that route.
        Most honest people will not copy and sell your pattern.

        Mike M
        SD Mike


        • #5
          Mike - you are right! This subject is highly viotal (sp??) for some reason! And you are right in that as soon as you design something it is yours, and the HONEST people won't copy your patterns.

          It's all the rest of the people out there you have to protect yourself against!!

          Here's a quote from the painting forum I mentioned in the earlier post. The author is the artist who put out a painting book as well as many painting packets:

          Deb said: Just go to the copyright office website and fill out the form there with $30. Whatever you design is copyrighted as soon as you design it, but if it's violated and you want to do something legally about it, it must be filed with the government. If it's registered and you win the case, your attorney fees are paid by the enfringer, which is a powerfull tool in negotiations. If you don't think you will ever want to defend your copyright, you don't need to file. But, look at me. It was recommended to me by knowledgable people that it wasn't worth the effort, that a copyright was only worth what you were willing to pay to defend it, and my stuff ends up in Joann's, Hancock Fabric, LTD catalog, and more. You just never know what will get "snagged" by the importers.
          The other thing is you can't copyright an idea or a technique, only the design.

          She has succesfully sued a number of the companies. And there are lawyers who specialize in copywrite infringements.

          So, it is up to each individual to decide how much protection, if any, that they want for their designs. Do I think my Christmas ornament designs will show up on the shelves next year? If I knew they were then you bet - I would get them registered!

          Oh, and I have read many forums on the web where people are very willing to share a copy of patterns with anyone who asks, just pay copy charges and postage....... They think they are being friendly and helpful, not that they are copywrite infringing.



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