So necessary these days. So misused.
What can be copyrighted?
"Copyrights protect the "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression."
And what can't? Well the one that is yanking my chain these days is this one:
"Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration."
There are so many tutorials and patterns out there in 'blogland' right now that have a little copyright statement at the bottom telling prospective users that since the pattern in question is copyrighted by the author, the user is not permitted to make items for sale using said pattern. Heck, even a lot of books being published right now say the same thing.
The only thing that copyright covers is the actual instructions and illustrations as written down by the author. That's it. All that copyright means is that I can't print out the pattern as given by the creator and claim it as my own, or sell it, or use it to teach a class. I can't even modify it and claim it as my own. But once I've bought it, it's mine to do with as I choose. It's called the Doctrine of First Sale... distribution rights of a copyright holder end on that particular copy once the copy is lawfully transferred.
Once I have legally purchased or been given a pattern, I have the right to sell *my copy* of the pattern (and only that copy of it!), or give it away, or lend it to someone, or burn it, or cut it up and use it in artwork, or use it to make the actual item described. It's my copy. I own it. And the item that I make with the pattern is also mine to do with as I choose. It's considered a "useful item", and as such, cannot be copyrighted.
I was blog-hopping this evening and came across a pattern for a pleated cushion cover. It is lovely. I'm considering making one. But once again, the author put a "not for commercial use" disclaimer at the bottom of the pattern. I ask you. Did she invent the concept of cushion covers? Was she the first to put pin-tucking on such a cover? I think not.
I welcome comments on this one... I know it's a hot topic. Tell me what you think!