(this is a repost, but relevant)
Copyright issues have recently come up on one of the message boards I read, and I feel the need to get this out of my system without addressing anyone specifically. (I’m diplomatic that way) It all began with the usual basic copyright questions, then there was a bit of chatter, but then someone popped on with a comment along the lines of “it’s so nice to see the different takes on the copyright issue.” Which is what set me off.
There are no “different takes” on copyright law. The law is the law no matter who you are or what you do for a living! I have never understood why copyright law is so confusing… If you have an original chart you may sell it, give it away, burn it in your backyard, use it to line your birdcage, or anything else you’d like to do with it privately. You may NOT scan, fax, photocopy, post in your webshots album, or in any other way *share* that original chart with anyone else. Simple, no?
Why are there opinions on what the copyright law is?? There can certainly be opinions on the validity of a law’s existence, but never an opinion on what it IS. Take for example the very volatile abortion laws: everyone knows that the law says (with minor nuances for individual states) that abortion is legal. There are no opinions on what the law is, but rather opinions about whether or not the law should even exist. Once a law is written down, there it is… opinion free. All you have to do is read it, and you know the law. Choosing to obey the law…well, I guess that’s where the opinion part comes in, isn’t it?
TO ALL OF THE HONEST STITCHERS OUT THERE:
If you happen to see designs being “shared” online somewhere, please take a moment to inform the designer… we work hard to create charted designs that will provide you with hours (days, weeks, months) of enjoyment. It’s a rotten thing when our designs are copied and posted on the internet; it’s not fair to us (we have families to feed, too) and it’s not fair to you, either.
BTW, here’s the link to a fantastic explanation of Why Infringement Happens. I encourage you to indulge in an “educational moment”, as this explanation clears up several common misperceptions about pattern copyrights.
ps. A common question (believe it or not) goes something like, “But I loan my books out when I’m finished reading them so what’s the difference?” Yes, we loan books to our friends, but only one of us is reading it at a time. If I were to photocopy a paperback and give you a copy so we could both read it at the same time, then I’ve stolen the cost of 1 book from the author/publisher/bookstore…. because otherwise, for us both to be able to read the book at the same time, we’d both have to buy it. Think of like this: anytime you cause/enable a chart to be used by more than one person simutaneously when only 1 chart has been paid for, it’s theft. Pretty simple.