Copyright Information

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Copyright Information

by Rose » Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:52 pm

For all members and newbies this is very important information and we must respect Copyright or we could lose the board or lose a designer because they feel their talent is being stolen.

You can not send a copy of a chart, key code or anything of that nature. That would be a violation of the copyright laws and could get everyone into major problems. The only thing that can be sent is the original chart and the sender can not keep any copies.

PLEASE do not get us into trouble by violating the laws of copyright.

If a board allows this type of trading it can be closed and you could be in legal trouble.

Here are some sites to look at to see what copyright laws say

Copyright good site - easy to understand

10 Big Myths about copyright explained
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by Smita » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:57 pm

Does this apply to pictures found on the internet changed into charts?
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by Rose » Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:30 pm

If the picture is copyrighted then the laws are still the same. If you make a pattern for yourself and only stitch it for yourself then I believe that is acceptable but you can not share it with anyone or sell it and profit from the sale.

Pictures can be a tricky business. On a forum for the planes that my husband and I repair a man took pictures of a private plane. He then posted them on the forum and the owner of the plane has sued him for breach of privacy. Although the man had permission from the owner to take the pictures they are saying he did not have permission to share them on a public forum. So there is a big stink going on. So this is just something to be very careful of.
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by Mabel Figworthy » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:40 pm

I found the following question & answer in a copy of Cross Stitch Crazy from August 2004, which may be of interest particularly to people making cards etc. for charity:

'Q: Recently, a friend asked me to stitch her some designs from Crazy - is it ok to charge her for the finished piece?
A: As long as the designs are owned by Origin [publishers of Cross Stitch Crazy -- MF], i.e. they aren't licensed characters such as Disney or Forever Friends, there's no reason why your friend can't pay you to stitch her a few designs, as long as you don't go into mass production. Likewise, you can stitch and sell our designs if the proceeds go to charity[my italics -- MF]. What you can't do is make our designs up into kits to sell, or sell photocopies of our charts.'
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by Rose » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:03 pm

Found this information on the TW Site and thought we could all benefit from the knowledge.

Copyright and Needlework

(DISCLAIMER: Please be advised: I am not a lawyer! The following information appears here as a service to stitchers, and to help educate anyone who cares to read it about how copyright law applies to needlework. If you have specific questions, always contact an intellectual property lawyer!)

Copyright Law exists to protect the value of creative work. All creative work.

FACT: If you don't own the copyright to a needlework pattern, then you have *no right* to duplicate the pattern. By *ANY* means.

Only by obtaining permission, in writing, from the copyright holder will you be in compliance with copyright law. If a pattern has been in existence for longer than 70 years, and no one has filed for an extension of ownership, then it may be "in the public domain". But never assume! Other ownership rights may be in place that exceed the life of the copyright... like 'trademarks', for example.
Needlework patterns often contain a statement by the copyright holder that a "working copy" may be made for the stitcher's personal use only. To be in compliance with copyright law, this copy must be destroyed when you are finished with it.

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about copyright and needlework:

Q: I'm not selling the copy of the pattern; I'm just making it for a friend. I'm not making any money from it, so that's OK, right?
A: No, it's not. Whether or not money is being made is not the issue. Copyright law is the issue: the copyright is still *owned* by someone, and therefore, it's not legal to make the copy without the owner's permission.

Q: I bought the pattern and I can do what I want with it! (Not really a question, but a common assertion, nonetheless.)
A: As long as you don't make a copy of it (other than the previously mentioned working copy if permission has been granted), yes you can. Copyright law and its protection still applies. You can do whatever you would like with the pattern: give it away, sell it, trade it, fold, spindle or mutilate it. Just don't copy it!

Q: I'd like to make several items from the same pattern for a fundraiser/charity. I'm not personally profiting in any way. Is that OK?
A: Not necessarily. It's always best to ask the copyright holder. Personally, I do freely give such permission, (as does Leisure Arts for the designs of mine that they own ONLY!)

Q: I want to sell my finished stitching on eBay (or where ever). Is that legal?
A: Yes, as long as you purchase a new pattern for each item you make. Needlework patterns sold to consumers are intended for personal use (unless specifically stated in the publication!), not as vehicles for making income. When multiple items are made from the same pattern, and these items are sold, it is considered commercial use. Which means you will need to negotiate with the copyright holder for usage rights...or a 'license'. An aside: When income is involved (and it doesn't need to be very much), the long arm of the IRS *will* reach out and find you!

This is one of those "tricky" scenarios: when people make *multiple* stitched pieces from the same pattern, and then sell them for profit. If this is what a stitcher is doing, a new pattern should be purchased each time the design is stitched.

This creates an uproar every time a designer says it but before you get all up in arms, please read on...

If a person sells designs they've stitched from patterns to which they do not own the copyrights, that person is trying to make an income (make money). Call a spade a spade, please! If something (in this case, a hobby) makes a certain amount of money for you during the year (off the top of my head, I'm not exactly certain what the amount is, but it's not very much!), it's income, and is recognized as such by the Internal Revenue Service. And there is nothing at all wrong with trying to make income this way, *as long as the rules are followed*. And this includes honoring copyright law.

Look at it this way: If you are planning to create several stitched pieces from the same pattern with the express intention of selling them: You are manufacturing a product. A pattern would be considered 'raw material' in the manufacturing process: something you would need to buy in order to make a finished product (unless of course, you own the rights to use it). So, it would be considered to be on par with fabric, floss, etc. You must purchase those, correct? They don't just magically re-appear; you must replace them each time you wish to start another project. In this context, the same applies to a pattern used over and over.

When designers receive royalties on sales of their designs, what is happening is the publisher is paying (actually the consumer is paying, the publisher does the accounting and writes the checks) the designer for the use of that design, and every time the design is sold (or used), the designer is compensated for it. Or broken down further, if a designer self-publishes, what you are doing is paying a designer directly for use of that design when you purchase it. Of course, once you purchase a leaflet, it is yours *physically* to do with what you wish (burn it, trade it, use it to paper the parrot's cage)...but that use ends when you use the pattern to make money for yourself *repeatedly*.

(To be honest, I can't imagine anyone seriously considering trying to make much money this way: there are many much easier and less time-consuming ways to generate $... but that's just me...)

If someone is stitching the same pattern numerous times, but not selling the finished design (therefore not making money from it), then there's not a problem with a design being stitched as many times as you'd like without purchasing a new pattern. It's much like reading a favorite book several times for your own enjoyment. The issue becomes clouded a bit when the multiple stitched items are used to make $, even though the $ is funneled elsewhere, as is the case when giving it to charity. There is still $ being made, so permission from the copyright holder should be sought.

Rule of thumb: If you're making money (or planning to make money and then give it away!) from something someone else owns the copyrights to, there are strings attached! Protect yourself and find out what they are! Copyright infringement (a felony) carries very harsh penalties should you be convicted...please don't jeopardize yourself (a conviction will stay on your record forever) or what you own (you could lose everything) through willful infringement.

Q: What if a pattern is out of print? Surely I can make a copy then?
A: Just because a pattern is out of print doesn't mean the copyright has expired! The copyright is still owned by someone. So, no, it's not legal to make a copy. Try to find the owner and ask permission.

Q: What if I can't find the owner of the copyright of a pattern?
A: If the pattern is less than 70 years old, then you're out of luck. If the pattern is older than 70 years, then there's a very good chance it's "in the public domain". But, be warned: this may not actually be the case!

Q: Some people say they are copying and sharing patterns because under the "Fair Use" clause of the Copyright Statute, it's OK to do so. Is this true?
A: Sorry, no. People who think this protects them are sorely mistaken. They really need to read the *entire* subsection. "Fair Use" is explained very well here.

Once again, please contact an intellectual property lawyer if you need legal advice about copyrights!

There is no reason for ignorance of copyright law: if you have access to the Internet, you have access to the information you need to educate yourself!


The US Government's Copyright website:

and the entire USC 17 at:

The Stop Piracy Blog:

Copyrights Poster for Needlework:

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse:

An excellent site with tons of copyright, trademark, publishing, etc. information

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Re: Copyright Information

by nettie » Sat May 10, 2008 7:09 pm

This says you shouldn't copy a chart for any reason. I laminate the charts I collect from magazines to keep them pristine for future use and I would need to copy them to use them will this be forbidden too. I am not copying them to give to others but to use to mark off my position?
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Re: Copyright Information

by benceagi » Sat May 10, 2008 7:33 pm

I think, as Rose has once explained, it is OK to make one working copy for yourself, but then you have to get rif of it when you are ready. Or something like that. :D

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Re: Copyright Information

by Ann_ » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:47 am

The thing that I do not understand: If I bought some chart and stitched it twice: for me and the second copy as a present to someone else - is it all right?
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Re: Copyright Information

by Serinde » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:24 am

Ann_ wrote:The thing that I do not understand: If I bought some chart and stitched it twice: for me and the second copy as a present to someone else - is it all right?

I would say yes to this. You haven't kitted or sold your piece: you have given it as a gift. Assuming you bought the chart legally to begin with, you shouldn't be in any trouble stitching it any number of times, as long as you aren't selling the results.
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Re: Copyright Information

by coffee_freak » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:13 pm

i sell completed piece and i've been told by sooo many that if it does not state "stitched piece may not be sold" then it is ok to sell the finished piece..not the chart..etc

the only one i've seen so far is Precious moments designs..
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Re: Copyright Information

by Rose » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:30 pm

Ann it is fine that you have stitched the piece twice and given one away as long as you are not kitting the chart up and trying to sell it to profit off of someone elses work it is not a problem to work the piece more then once.

And as CF has stated if it is specifically stated on the chart.
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Re: Copyright Information

by Rose » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:40 pm

More copyright information, basically the same stuff but a few different questions answered.

~ Some Basic of Copyrights and Crafts ~
Craft Patterns are PROTECTED by copyrights - as with any work of art.

A pattern does NOT need to have a copyright symbol or words to that effect on it to be copyrighted. As soon as an original work is completed, the law says that the author or artist AUTOMATICALLY owns the rights to it, regardless of displaying those rights or not.

Copyrights are upheld for the entire life of the artist or author plus an additional 70 years after their death!

The person who owns the copyright is the ONLY one who can:

Reproduce/make copies of the design/pattern
Display the design/pattern publicly and
Distribute the design/pattern by sale or lending
Copyrights do NOT need to be registered with the US Copyright office in order to be official or upheld by law. As explained above, that protection is automatic.

Copyrights are upheld and protected by US Federal Law.

As far as US copyrights extending to other countries, there are over 100 countries that agree to honor each other's copyrights.

Can I make photocopies of craft patterns/instructions/graphs that I bought?

The answer is NO - ONLY the owner of the copyright has these rights!
If I buy a craft pattern, I have the right to sell the finished product such as at craft shows or bazaars, don't I?
The answer is NO! Again, ONLY the copyright holder can do this. That's why it's important to get permission from the owner before doing this! A craft pattern is designed for you to make for your own personal use or as a gift only - not for resale.
What about craft patterns that are given away for free by the owner of the copyright?

An artist offering a pattern for free does not invalidate their copyright! The same laws apply to free patterns as to purchased patterns - they cannot be reproduced, made for sale, or distributed without the author or artist's permission.
Can I photocopy patterns/graphs/instructions and share them with my friends as long as I don't charge money for them?

No, ONLY the copyright owner can do this.
Remember that copyright infringements can be brought to Federal court as civil and criminal lawsuits.


The implications of copyrights for crafters means many things. Some of the things you may have been doing without knowing it - such as making crafts for sale and photocopying patterns and sharing them with friends (or posting the scanned patterns on websites and sharing them that way) are illegal.

Making one photocopy of a pattern for yourself as a way to follow your pattern more easily is most likely acceptable to most artists. But sharing patterns by photocopies or scans is just not right - and in some cases, you could even face jail time and heavy fines! There is no difference between a craft pattern copyright or a music copyright or a book copyright - all are equal in US law.

The other thing to remember is that a lot of popular characters - such as Winnie the Pooh, Scooby Doo, Pokemon, etc - are all copyrighted - which means that they cannot be made into craft patterns of their likeness without permission from their owners. A lot of websites are being shut down after posting such copyrighted patterns. The website companies themselves often warn in their terms of agreement that posting copyrighted material is illegal and not allowed.

Permission is sometimes granted to companies to make craft patterns based on popular characters - an example is Leisure Arts publishes some craft leaflets with Winnie the Pooh characters - but this is because Leisure Arts has a contract and legal permission from both Disney and the A A Milne estate. You may even notice on these Leisure Arts Disney leaflets a large warning that you cannot make these items for resale. Even though this isn't posted on every leaflet, it still applies to every pattern.

What if the leaflet or pattern book is specifically made for bazaar crafts? I know of some titles called "Bazaar Bestsellers" for example. In this case the publisher is probably giving permission for you to sell these finished patterns - but it is always best to check first!

Artists work hard to make beautiful patterns that you will enjoy stitching and displaying for years to come. Many artists generously share free samples of their work - so please respect them and don't infringe on their copyrights.

More Information:
Copyright Information in the Needlecraft Industry
DRG Network Copyright Bulletin
Embroidery Software Protection Coalition
Court Cases of Copyright Infringement
Craft Designs and Copyright Infringement on the Internet
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Re: Copyright Information

by Lisa » Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:20 pm

quick question. I am currently doing the cut thru' pirate ship, i am going to photocopy it in the morning, in case I make a mistake somewhere, I am bound to :lol: Once I have finished the chart, I am able to sell the chart on ebay, as just a chart, or will this violating copyright? It will be the original chart. also am i actually able to make a copy for me to colour in?
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Re: Copyright Information

by Rose » Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:51 am

Couple of questions I have did you buy this cut thru as a kit? Do you intend to destroy the copy of the chart once you have finished your stitching?

If this is a kited chart there may be some information in the packageing about if the chart can be traded or sold. Read all of the Instructions and fine print that comes with th kit.

You will need to destroy the copy of the chart that you make. That is an absolute.
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Re: Copyright Information

by Telaena » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:58 am

copyrighting as far as photocopying for Australia is that you can safely copy or scan 10% of a book or magazine. Alo you are not aloud to copy whole sections, so that would mean for most magazines you can copy the pattern and the thread key but nothing else. As long as the copies are not sold.
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Re: Copyright Information

by Rose » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:33 pm

I would be very careful with this as I think that would apply only to those patterns that are copyrighted in Australia the rules would be different for those patterns copyrighted in another country.
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Re: Copyright Information

by flosaxby » Wed May 20, 2009 12:40 pm

Hi There,

I have a related query about creating designs.

I'm not a very good artist so my samplers tend to be more of a "collage" of other designs (e.g. an orchid from one design in a magazine, a chinese symbol from another design and a border from another design in another issue).

Would this ever be considered "my design" or would it always have to be attributed to all the designers who designed the little bits?

So far I've only done this for gifts but I was wondering about being able to sell finished pieces. I want to be sure that I'm not infringing any rights before I start down that road....

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Re: Copyright Information

by Mabel Figworthy » Wed May 20, 2009 1:36 pm

I'm not sure, but judging by what I once read in the entry rules for a design competion, to call a design your own each and every part must be your original design -- so arranging existing designs in a different way, or changing an existing design, would not make them yours, and the copyright would still lie with the original designer/designers. If you did design something from scratched but it is based on a licensed character, like Mickey mouse or Tatty Teddy, again the copyright belongs to the designer of the original image.
I'm open to correction here, but that's the state of things as far as I know -- hope it helps!
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Re: Copyright Information

by Rose » Wed May 20, 2009 3:39 pm

Mabel is absolutely correct. Just because you have rearranged the designs and combined with other designs the original copyright is still owned by the design. you must start from scratch for it to be your pattern.
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Re: Copyright Information

by Lilywhite » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:45 pm

I can't tell you how helpful this thread is, especially for a newbie who is attempting to branch out from standard kits.

I have some ideas of my own (which do include copyright images) that I want to stitch into a design but I've made the design myself from scratch. I'm only making a one off gift and won't be distributing the design or finished product in any way. From what I've read, I shouldn't be treading on anybody elses toes :D

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