and just because you believe “it’s just fair,” it doesn’t mean it’s legal.
Yesterday, Kell Smurthwaite of Kincavel Krosses commented on my latest post on copyright, explaining her position (which boils down to, “why should others make money off my hard work” and “if I give them a gift, they should do with it what I tell them to do and no more”), and asking how I would like it, were it my designs that others used to profit from¹.
I know there are many crafters and artists who feel exactly the same as Ms Smurthwaite does–that was the point of the post.
It is also what prompted me to write this long ass post/page (a link to it was included in yesterday’s post, by the way)
And I’m sure many among those same crafters and artists believe that people like me, who call them on their claims to rights not granted them by copyright, are just creativity-lacking, greedy hacks, who just don’t understand what it feels to have your brain baby used for profit by others.
The thing is, whether or not I have the creativity of an empty peanut shell², the facts of the case remain:
a) No one is forcing you to share your designs, online or otherwise.
So if the whole issue makes you see red, you can always stop. posting. free. charts or patterns.
b) Copyright grants you specific rights, which remain the same whether you sell your patterns or give them away.
Such as setting limits to the reproduction of the images or sets of instructions–so you totally can demand that people not make copies of your charts to include in kits they are selling or for paid classes they are teaching.
c) Copyright does not give you the right to dictate what people can or cannot do with a tangible item made from your design–even less when they got that design legally, whether by buying it or because you posted it online for free use.
Much like a gift you give a friend or loved one, once it’s theirs, they have the full right to take it to the store for a refund, or donate it to the Salvation Army, or give it to someone else as a gift themselves (which may be tasteless but not illegal either)
Oh and finally: stating your wishes as rights granted to you by copyright law is, once all the justifications and emotional pleas are stripped away, dishonest.
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Whichever side of this issue you find yourself on, don’t just blindly believe what those cute little legal notices tell you. Read what the law says, read what intellectual property lawyers have to say. Educate yourself about your rights and the rights of others, and respect both.
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¹ Implying, obviously, that I would see things their way in that case. To which I say: how can you claim the moral high ground (i.e., “it’s not fair that they profit from my work and talent!”), while your own behaviour/statements are misleading? Do the ends (ensuring no one profits from what you freely give away/sell) justify the means (encroaching on others’ rights) as far as you are concerned, then?