Let’s Be Reasonable

Sorry, but this is long folks.

I’m not sure how I should even begin this post.  First off, it’s not a rant, but it does contain my thoughts about being pro-active about copyright (on both sides of the coin) and how situations can adversely affect us all.  Second, this is NOT an “anti-Kate Spain” campaign but rather an effort to protect the rights of those of us who buy fabric.

There’s no doubt about where I stand on copyright.  I respect copyright and ask that people respect it also.  I don’t care if you make my quilts for yourself….for gifts…for charity work…or even if you sell a quilt made from one of my patterns.  It would be nice to be credited as the designer but I can’t make you do that if you don’t want to.  What I don’t want anyone to do is to copy my patterns and share them.  That’s wrong.  I do put a copyright notice on photographs I take because I’d like for someone to know where the picture came from.  That’s it in a nutshell.

I’m sure many of you have been reading about the ugly mess surrounding a line of fabric designed by Kate Spain.  I’m using her name because she has acknowledged her part in this on her own blog.  For those who haven’t read about it, I’m just going to list links where you can go and find information about this subject.  That way you can make your own decision about the matter.

Emily Cier

C&T Publishing

Kate Spain

I’ve been reading that the selvedges of  Ms. Spain’s fabric state that it is for personal use only but I looked at some at the LQS earlier this week and did not see that.  Maybe I missed it…maybe it’s not on each collection…who knows?  For me personally, I will make sure I read selvedges from now on and no matter how much I may love a fabric, I will not buy it if there’s are usage limitations.

After reading Ms. Spain’s recent post about this, in some ways, I can “somewhat” understand why she would object to her artwork being used on “new” objects (such as a tote bag) created for sale by someone other than herself, but I think this opens a much larger area for discussion.

What bothers me is when someone is attempting to control a product (in this case, fabric) they sell *after* the sale.  It no longer belongs to them and they can not control the use of that product.  There is a law that addresses this.  It’s called the “First Sale Doctrine”.  Here is a web page that explains.

This thing has created pandemonium among quilters.  There’s fear about using fabrics in patterns, books, quilt shows, etc. and then being the target of a lawsuit.  Quilters are talking about boycotting Ms. Spain’s fabric/products.  I don’t advocate boycotting her in particular but rather that we carefully choose what we buy.  People are talking about dyeing their own fabrics to use rather than buying beautiful fabrics to use.   I would probably cry if I could never use some of those luscious fabrics I see in the shops and online.

Mass hysteria….here we come.  I have to admit, I’m now leery of using purchased fabrics and I don’t even publish patterns/books for sale.  It scares me a little to think that I might take a picture of something I’ve made..post it here on this blog and then be called on the carpet because I didn’t request permission to show the fabric used.  Double Ick.

Seriously, where does this all end?  Who owns the rights to fabric after it’s purchased?   If I buy it, I think it’s mine…but is it really?  There are already pattern designers and quilt motif designers/digitizers who post limits on the items they sell.  I won’t buy those.  Don’t ask me to hand over my money and then tell me what I can do with it.

There have been posts written by much more intelligent people than myself so I *would* say I’d  limit my comments, but it’s too late for that isn’t it?  Leah Day has written the best post I’ve read about this.  Please take a few minutes to *thoroughly* read it.  Read it more than once.  There’s some really good information and food for thought in it.

OK….so, I said this included my thoughts about being pro-active about this.  Keep in mind that there are many other designers who have placed limitations on use of fabric they design.  It’s not just Kate Spain.  Here’s what I think needs to happen.

1.  Quilt shop owners & pattern designers/authors should tell their fabric reps they will no longer purchase lines that put limitations on the use of that fabric.  I also think they need to directly contact each fabric manufacturer and distributor  they buy from to tell them the same thing.  If the companies hear it enough, they will not use designers who insist on trying to control use of fabric after purchase.  It needs to be done as a collective effort.  I know everyone is busy, but this is important to the future of your business.

2.  As quilters, we each need to tell our local quilt shop owners and  e-mail each manufacturer to tell them the same thing.  Simple, letter writing campaigns are successful.  We are a large group of consumers.   Our dollars mean something.

In an effort to make it easier for people to do this, I’m going to list all the info I can so all you have to do is click each one to go to their website to send a message.  Thanks for listening.

AE Nathan

Contact page

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AH Fabrics

Contact page

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Andover Fabrics

Contact page

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Art Gallery Fabrics

Contact page

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AvLyn Inc.
Email: info@avlyn.com

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Benartex, Incorporated

Email: info@benartex.com

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Blank Quilting

Email: ldavila@blanktextiles.com

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Blue Hill Fabrics

Contact page

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Brewer

Email: info@brewersewing.com

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Camelot Cottons

Email: info@camelotcottons.com

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Checker Distributors

Email:  customer_service@checkerdist.com

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Classic Cottons

Email: customerservice@classiccottons.com

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Clothworks

Email: info@clothworkstextiles.com

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David Textiles, Inc.

Contact page

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Eeschenck—Distributors

Email:  custsvc@eescoc.com

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Fabric Traditions

Contact page

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Fabri-Quilt

Contact page

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Free Spirit Fabric

Email: sarah.amrhein@westminsterfibers.com

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Henry Glass & Co.

Contact page

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Hoffman California-International Fabrics

Email: hoffmanfab@aol.com

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In the Beginning Fabrics

No email contact info found

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Kings Road

Contact page

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Kona Bay

Email: konabay@konabay.com

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Lakehouse

No email contact found

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Lecien

Contact page

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Makower UK

Email: info@makoweruk.com

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Marcus Brothers

Contact page

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Michael Miller Fabrics, LLC

Email: info@michaelmillerfabrics.com

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Moda Fabrics

Email: service@unitednotions.com

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New Castle Fabric

Contact page

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New England Quilt Supply

Contact page

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Northcott Silk

Contact page

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P&B Textiles

Email: inquiries@pbtex.com

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Print Concepts

No email contact found

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Quilting Treasures

Contact page

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Red Rooster Fabrics

Contact page

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RJR Fabrics

Email: info@rjrfabrics.com

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Robert Kaufman

Email: info@robertkaufman.com

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South Sea Imports

Contact page

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Studioe

Contact page

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The Quiltworks OnlineRubenstein & Ziff

Contact page

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Timeless Treasures, Inc

Contact page

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Troy Corporation

Contact page

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Westfalenstoffe

Contact page

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Westminster Fibers, Inc.

Email:
diane.robertson@westminsterfibers.com

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Wilmington Prints

No email contact found

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Windham Fabrics

Email: info@baumtextiles.com

 

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I’m taking the pledge to not buy fabric, patterns, designs, etc.  that have limited use restrictions.   I created a button to add to my widgets for this.  The artwork is my own from my Garden Party pattern.  Please feel free to copy & use this button on your blog/website if you want to take the pledge also.

Right click & save to your computer. Please don't link to my file.

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10 Comments

  1. jdmurray2000

     /  April 1, 2012

    I’m with you, once I’ve purchased something it is mine and if I have to ask permission to use it for what I would like then forget it. It’s amazing to me that so many times in life if people just talked to each other rather then have lawyers involved things could be settled so much easier. If someone is going to tell me what I can or can’t do with something I have just purchased then it will stay on the shelf and not come home with me.

    Reply
  2. Lynne McClure

     /  April 1, 2012

    Sheryl, thank you so much for your careful and thorough elaboration on this issue….an issue I did not realize had grown to such absurdities. I agree with you 100% – once I purchase fabric, it is mine to do with as I wish and I think the fabric designer should be honored that I chose from her line instead of being offended.

    This spirit of offense is irrational and has reached obscenely preposterous levels in all areas of our society.

    Thanks for your post and your contributions to quilting!

    Reply
  3. Sheryl–thank you for your thoughts on copyright issues. I think we as customers have a vote by not buying restricted fabrics. The law of supply and demand will eventually take over. When I buy fabric, it can sit on my shelf for several years before it’s used. Do these designers expect me to get permission to use their fabric that I’ve had for 5 years or longer? I do not believe in breaking copyright (stealing), but fabric is like paint, clay, or any other medium that is on the market. I love to thread paint birds and I’ve gotten permission to use photos from professionals and made some new friends. I’m thread painting a firemen picture from a local newspaper photographer and have been keeping him posted on my progress–he is excited that one of his photos is going to be in a wall hanging: http://kayzquiltz.blogspot.com/2012/03/firemen-thread-painting-farm-activity.html A little communication goes a long way. I just want to create with the fabric I buy without legal hassles.

    Reply
  4. Her Sister Quilts

     /  April 1, 2012

    Thank you for your post on this topic. I’ve checked my fabrics and I have only one type of fabric in my stash that has ‘personal use only’ and it’s NCAA licensed fabric. I only make gifts from this fabric, primarily because I don’t want to be sued by the university, who is notorious for going after their perceived fair share of profits. None of my other fabric, including Kate Spain, has any markings on it. Perhaps what I’m missing from all this, is how is anyone to know that there are Rules when fabrics are purchased as pre-cuts? None of my Kate Spain or other designer layer cakes, charm packs or jelly rolls have any restrictions printed on the cardboard inserts. I agree with the others,

    Reply
  5. Her Sister Quilts

     /  April 1, 2012

    I agree with the other posts, when I purchase an item, I consider it mine.

    Reply
  6. Michele-Marie

     /  April 1, 2012

    God bless you for all your hard work and research without which most of us had absolutely no idea that this can happen. We realise there are restrictions of some things but they are there for a very good reason and you have definitely opened a lot of eyes.
    Sheryl, you just keep amazing us with the lengths you put yourself out to go to and it is so very much appreciated.
    AND although I have no idea what to do with a blog site for myself, I think your button is so very thoughtful and have already seen it on some blog sites.
    Once again, thank you so much for all your hard work and effort.
    lol, Michele-Marie

    Reply
  7. LeeAnn Terry

     /  April 2, 2012

    Thanks for bringing this issue up. I just finished sending a very polite email to every company on your list. I was surprised at how many have contacted me back, letting me know they agree and that they don’t work with designers who try to dictate what happens to the fabric after it is sold. I think you’re right – enough people contacting the manufacturers can make a difference!

    Reply
  8. Thanks for an interesting post. I totally agree; I consider fabrics as mine after it is purchased. There isn’t any quilt shops here in Mauritius, which means I have to purchase suitable cotton fabrics from web shops in the US. I may buy as little as a fat quater, half yards, jelly rolls etc. Where on earth do I get to know if the fabric is for ‘personal use only’ when I can’t read everything that is printed on the selvage or the web shops do not inform about it?? I agree; if I know a fabric is for ‘personal use only’, I will definitely not buy it!
    I’ll grab your button and link to your post. Thanks again!

    Reply
  9. I’m sorry, I just read below your button, so I won’t link it to your blog.

    Reply
  10. Winnifred

     /  June 25, 2012

    I have read your post and agree that copyright issues are getting out of hand. I used to enter quilts in AQS type shows. The last one I entered I had to get written permission for using a purchased design in one of my quilts even with the written acknowledgment where the image came from. I was given the permission quickly and graciously but I decided that this had gone too far. I felt that the design was only a small part of the quilt. I interpreted it my way, I chose the fabrics, I designed my own layout and I spent the 150 plus hours making it. What right did the designer have to dictate how I should use her design that I had acquired legally. I vowed that I would not purchase another pattern from anyone. Since I had the habit of purchasing considerably more patterns that I would ever use, many designers have lost sales and I rely on my own designs.

    In the case of fabric, if I hear of any designer that tries to dictate how the fabric they designed should be used I will not purchase anything that they design. Is this harsh? Yes it is. Fabric, patterns and quilting tools are expensive and I will not spend my resources on something that is restricted by the designer.

    Reply

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