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Rua8420

How do you know when its ok to sell finished items?

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Hi,

 

My husband thinks I should start selling things that I crochet instead of just putting them on the shelf. I am having a hard time knowing what I can and can't sell though. I don't have any patterns of my own yet, I just use and sometimes slightly modify ones I find online. Some of the patterns I have come across tell weather or not I can sell them so I understand those. My problem is with published pattern books. My husband thinks that because I bought the book that I can do whatever with the patterns. I don't think that is quite right. The book of patterns I most want to make is a Vanna Choice book by Lion Brand. In the book itself it says nothing about selling what I make. The only thing is says is that you can't distribute the patterns in anyway.

 

I'm confused. Can anyone help?

 

Thanks.

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Unless the designer or author specifically states you can't sell things, then you should be OK. This is really a grey area, but without a specific prohibition, I'd say go ahead.

 

Jean Leinhauser

Designer, Author, Publisher

 

(who is happy to have you make and sell things from her books)

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Another company that says no when you ask is Annie's Attic, but I found an older (not vintage) magazine of theirs that says you can sell items made from their patterns but not for large scale business purposes.

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What you are asking is really a legal question, and none of us are qualified/able to give legal advice here on the forum.

 

Crochetville's guidelines are designed with the intent to respect the wishes of those who design and/or publish patterns. As such, we only allow discussion of or links to sales of finished items for which the designer/publisher states they are happy for finished items to be sold. If the designer/publisher states they do not want finished items to be sold, then we do not allow discussion of/links to sales of items using those patterns.

 

We always recommend that if a pattern or website does not specifically state that you can sell finished items, it's a good idea to contact the designer/publisher to ask about their stance on this issue. Some will say it's fine for finished items to be sold; others may say they don't want their pattern to be used for commercial purposes.

 

If you don't want to talk to a designer or you're told no, then we recommend seeking the advice of an attorney specializing in intellectual property issues.

 

While in the United States an actual design cannot be protected by copyright (meaning others are free to make similar designs), some attorneys argue that this freedom to make use of the design applies only if someone is able to recreate the item from looking at photos. These attorneys state that if someone must use the written instructions to make the finished item, then the designer/publisher is within their rights to set limits on how the written instructions may be used. Other attorneys disagree, and say that the written instructions may be used to make items for sale. Of course, this applies only to "useful articles" such as clothing, and does not apply to anything that could be considered "art."

 

Hope this helps you come up with a direction to go.

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On the Etsy forums I've seen many people say it's ok to sell anything made from a pattern you bought :( It's as if it they have no thought for the desinger at all and the whole idea bothers me. I once had someone selling a finished item from one of my free patterns. I dedicated the pattern to my mom who died of breast cancer in 1997 and I sepcifically state not to sell the finished items. I reported it to Etsy and it was removed. If it doesn't state wether or not you can then I suppose you'd be ok to sell the finished items. But out of consideration for a designer if it says not to then don't do it. I know there are many people who allow selling of the finished items and many who do not. respect the designers wishes and you should be in great shape.

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On the Etsy forums I've seen many people say it's ok to sell anything made from a pattern you bought :( It's as if it they have no thought for the desinger at all and the whole idea bothers me.

 

Something that people either don't realize or know is that once a pattern is sold it no longer belongs to the designer. The publisher has purchased the copyrights to it. (Whether the terms of purchase are forever of if it's returned to the designer after time.)

 

So, even tho I am a designer - once I sell the copyrights to a pattern it belong to the publishing company. My thoughts or wishes on how a pattern 'should' be used become irrelevant.

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Rose I don't plan to do anything. I have the pattern for sale on my facebook page and my Ravelry and it's not a big seller anyway so it's not worth stressing over it. My only hope is that karma bites all who are involved in the fiasco.

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I've struggled with this question, as well. One way I think about it is: am I using a pattern, or an idea, or a stitch? I believe, personally, that if you're selling something you make directly and exactly from someone else's pattern, you should probably ask permission, at least, if you're selling it on a regular basis. If you happen to take a couple items to your local park one day, that doesn't seem like it should be a big deal.

But what about an idea that you got from a published pattern and modified, to make your own thing, like you said you sometimes do, Rua? Or what about using a stitch in a way it was used in a published pattern. There can't possibly be a copyright on a stitch, can there?

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No - stitches cannot be copyrighted. Only the exact wording and layout and any pictures associated with it.

 

This is one of the problems with copyright. What we think or how we feel about it has nothing to do with what the law states. The other thing about copyrights is that there really isn't anyone to enforce it. Then it becomes a moral decision.

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You have already got a lot of good advice but I wanted to add that when I did sell my crochet, I came across a couple of patterns I wanted to use that did not address sales. I just wrote to the designers (email makes it SO easy now) and asked if I could make a few for craft show sales. I got positive response both times. The one said they would deny mass production of their patterns but a few for craft fairs was fine. Not sure when the numbers flip over to mass production but probably a lot more than I could make on my own! :) I think most designers are great when you contact them. They usually do not want to deny anything other than the big companies coming in and mass producing their designs which would diminish the value of the one-at-a-time crafters' products. There are so many patterns available these days that if someone does not want to allow the sale of items made with their patterns, there are plenty of patterns similar that designers don't mind sales for you to choose from.

 

Good luck to you with your sales and kudos to you for checking out this subject before selling! :) If you do a craft show, be sure to have some lower priced items for the kiddies! They love to take home something and it will bring the mommies in too! Besides those little $1 items can go a long way toward paying booth rental!

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