A Pulp Fiction pattern + a question concerining copyright.

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A Pulp Fiction pattern + a question concerining copyright.

by Minnie Kassovitz » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:03 pm

Hey there! I consulted several of the copyright topics that float around here, but I'm still not sure if I am okay to post a pattern that I created.

So, here's the deal: It's basically a collage of two motifs I found on the Internet which I'm pretty sure are okay to post here. I know, I know, "pretty sure" isn't good enough when it comes to copyright, but that's why I'm asking you.
One is an alphabet by Carrie's Creations (which is really very simple, I bet there is at least one identical alphabet pattern from a different designer that was created without them knowing of the existence of Carrie's pattern), and from all that I could find, it's common license. The other motif is Jules from Pulp Fiction, which I found here. Now, I don't speak much Swedish, but I figure if it's free to download from an easily accessible blog, it should be okay to post a pattern containing that figure on this forum as long as I disclose where I got the original motif from, right?
The thing that really breaks my brain, though, is that from what I've read, it's actually not okay to make patterns of trademarked stuff, like Mickey Mouse, etc. - so, technically, the existence of a pattern of a film character is a violation of copyright?

Please help a girl out, I would really like to share my pattern with you! It's quite simple to do yourself, and I've seen the same idea with different fonts, etc. floating around the Internet, but... hell, I'm proud of it, and I think if you just came here by accident, looking for a simple pattern that you could do as a birthday present but you don't want to buy anything or bother with creating the pattern yourself - then this is for you.
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Re: A Pulp Fiction pattern + a question concerining copyrigh

by DisneyStitcher » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:38 pm

I'm not a lawyer, but I was an editor for a very small publication back in the days of the dinosaurs. Some of the laws may have changed in the intervening 15 years or so, but for what it's worth, this is how I understood them as they were applied in the U.S. You have 2 issues. The alphabet, even if it is open sourced, at the very least must be credited. You cannot sell it without permission. Now as to whether or not you can use/share it without permission, that all depends on the definition of common license in whatever country you are in. I'd still contact them and get permission. Now to the second part, using an image from a movie. You are allowed to create "fan art" for your personal use. You cannot give away or sell the means to re-create the piece (i.e. a pattern or supplies), nor can you sell multiple copies of the piece itself. Movie "stills" and easily identifiable characters are considered part of the film and as such are covered under all applicable copyright laws. For example, you are completely within your rights to sketch Carrie Fisher with the hair buns from the first Star Wars and convert that sketch into a cross stitch. That is considered fan art or a fan tribute piece. You cannot, however, sell the pattern so that all the other Star Wars fans could duplicate your work. Even though you created the original sketch - George Lucas and Disney own the copyrights to images of Princess Leia. Where it gets gray again, is whether or not you can sell a single piece of fan art. Some companies view it as free advertising and part of having a great fan base, other companies will drop the hammer on you so fast it's scary (IF they find out about it.) Generally, a single piece isn't going to generate a lot of interest from multi-national companies unless it's offensive in some way. Multiple pieces will draw lawyers like blood draws sharks.

If I've gotten some of this wrong, there are multiple folks on this forum with a lot more experience in this area than me. Hope it helps a bit and happy stitching!
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