Devil’s Advocate

I’m surely not calling anyone a “devil” here so please, let’s get that straight but here are some scenarios I’d like you to weigh in on.  Of course, this is all our own opinions and yes, I want to hear from both sides with your reasoning.

1.  Suppose I write a book of quilt patterns.  I use fabric in those quilts.  One of the quilts is on the cover of my book.  My publisher uses that quilt in promotional materials like flyers, postcards reminding you about upcoming quilt shows, or maybe the publisher shares a copy of the cover of my new book in quilt magazines to promote the book.  Copyright violation(s) or not?

2.  Suppose I make a quilt that I’m donating to the United Way to raffle.  Of course, I’m using fabric in that quilt . . maybe a Texas themed fabric by Moda!  Suppose United Way decides to put a photo of that quilt on their promotional materials.  Copyright violation or not?

3.  Suppose I’m taking a workshop at your guild or your regional quilt show.  You use a photo of the quilt I’m going to be teaching for your promotional materials.  You really need folks to sign up for that class but they have to see the quilt in order to know if they like it or not before they sign up.  You’re making money off the lessons I’m teaching.  Is sharing a photo of the quilt a copyright violation?

4.  Suppose I’ve written three books and each book had 12 – 15 quilts in it and my sewing room is so full of quilts that I need to sell some of them.  They’re made with fabric I purchased.  Can I sell some of those quilts?

Some suggest just using the fabric for personal use.  Once you’ve made the quilts, a few years down the road someone comes to you and asks if you will donate a quilt to the local fund raiser.  Or, someone says “Will you make me a quilt just like this one?  I’ll pay you!” and you say “I’ll sell you this one!”  Chances are you will never get caught or have any problems for doing something once or twice but breaking the rules is breaking the rules!

Do you see where this is going?  When folks get too “copyright crazy”, it creates problems for all of us.  Yes, this all can and will blow over but as long as there’s a quilter out there who doesn’t realize the ramifications of using some of these fabrics, we need to make sure it does not blow over quite yet.

I’ve already written to my favorite designer, Gail Kessler, the Dimples (Andover Fabrics) lady and she has no problem with Dimples being used in my books!  Maybe there needs to be a list published of which companies will allow what to be done with their fabrics.  I’m telling you . . with my blog having the ads, it’s already considered “commercial” by some and I will avoid any fabric that makes any mention of wanting it to be used for personal use only.

A Recent Copyright Incident

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about or kept up with the Emily Cier, C&T Publishing & Kate Spain copyright incident.  The more I’ve read about it, the more shocked I’ve been.  I thought about writing a blog post and figured I should keep out of it since these type issues can get so controversial.  Leah wrote a very comprehensive and very well written post about her view, and I agree with her interpretation completely.

I’ve said it before . . if you use my patterns and make quilts, I’m happy!  What I don’t want is for people to copy my instructions and hand them out, either freely or for sale, as their own.

After reading the whole Cier/C&T/Spain issue, I’m more tempted to start dying my own fabric and forget about the big names.  All I use is tone on tone anyway so why risk having a problem because I showed a picture of a quilt on my blog . . a quilt I made from purchased fabric from someone who seems to only want me to buy the fabric, stick it on the shelf and not use it!

I can tell you one thing for certain . . if I see  a fabric that says “for personal use only” on the selvage, I will not be bringing it home.  As quilters, we have a big voice in what these folks can do and cannot do and without hurting the local quilt shops, I think it’s time we demand a little more freedom with the fabric we buy.  Why on earth would someone care if I bought her fabric and used it for projects which I donate to the local church to sell at their fund raiser or if I stuck it on the shelf in my sewing room and never used it.  She’s gotten her money so why would she care if I made a project for the local benefit sale.  I can see why she would care if I came home and somehow printed that exact fabric on my fabric printing press and then sold her design on my fabric!

Anyway . . what is “personal use”?  If I use fabric on a quilt that’s donated as a QOV, is that personal use?  I can see where it could be a problem.  What about if I show a picture of that quilt on my blog and on my blog are ads and I make a bit of money off those ads.  Is that now commercial use instead of personal use?

I really do find it frustrating enough that I’m seriously considering going back to dying my own fabric . . in the unlikely even I ever need any more fabric!

Yesterday we met with our CPA, saw what percentage of my income is going to taxes and came home and promptly changed my website to say that I am no longer scheduling any teaching — no workshops and no lectures.  It makes no sense for me to load up my car, go through the hassle of traveling, staying in hotels, being in strange places, coming home exhausted and keeping about  half of my income.  It’s not worth it and I give up!  Will it eventually come to the point that it’s just not worth the hassle to even buy fabric and quilt?  I hope not!

Maybe a Striped Coop?

Vince is out painting the chicken coop.  He’s painting the “grooves” first but I think it looks nice with stripes!  :)

Speaking of chickens . . the little chunky chicken died.  She just wasn’t right and the last day, I think she was hurting so . . whatever was wrong with her, I’m relieved that she’s no longer suffering.  We now have 14 full size chickens and the 5 bantams.  I could sit and watch those little bantams all day.  They are so cute and so prissy!  But they had been in the sewing room long enough!  Even when their box is clean, they still smell like “chickens” with the wood shavings and the feed and the other things that Helen suggested comes out of chickens.  Hard to believe it’s been over three years since Helen offered that unsolicited advice! : )

Anyway, the bantams are now out of the sewing room and the only living inhabitants (I hope) are myself and Speck and Vince, though he rarely comes to visit in the sewing room.  I think he’s afraid I’ll come up with something else for him to do out here.

Life in the sewing room is back to normal — no chickens and the iron that I love!  :)