So, I’ve really been struggling with what I understood about copyright laws. Specifically why companies like Disney are protected but lowly designers like me are not. I have been told from numerous sources that the words in your pattern are protected but nothing is stopping anyone else from making their own version of your pattern using their own words. And, in fact, I’ve even been told that designers all know this and struggle with it, but don’t talk about it because of how vulnerable it makes us all.
I am here to tell you THAT IS WRONG!!! And, oh my gosh, thank GOODNESS for that. I have been paralyzed by fear because of this. I have so many patterns waiting to be released and my biggest obstacle has been the thought of people taking my creative ideas and publishing themselves. Someone who is better known could easily get better exposure than I can and that just terrified me.
I have been digging and digging trying to find an answer that I could live with. And, I think I made more than a few people angry with my questions. But, it all led to this.
“Copyright protects original “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,” which include two- and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art. Examples of such works include … Patterns for sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework …” all copied from page 1 of this document. https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf
Huzzah! I’ve read the copyright law and it’s not specifically stated in the original law, but as you can see, there are at least 40 circulations that expand upon the initial legalese, and that’s a pretty big mountain of paperwork I hadn’t tackled.
So, spread the word far and wide. This is a common misunderstanding in the crochet/knitting world. Patterns are, in fact, protected by copyright laws.
And if you want to double down on your protect, you can register your work at this link. https://www.copyright.gov/registration/ for $35.
Now that I have a better understanding, I’m no longer fuming at the injustice of corporations having access to something the little guy does not. We are protected! Designs are protected! I can relax now and that feels so much better!