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Be An Original Copyright and Original Designs

By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

What's an original design? How do I know if I've violated copyright laws or infringed on someone's copyright? How do I make sure what I've created is original? FaveCraft's Resident Craft Expert Maria Nerius addresses these topics in this article about original designs.


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I'm also new to the business side of crafting. I'm buying used clothing articles, like jeans, from the salvation army etc. I then cut it up and make new articles out of it, like totes, for instance. I try to cut off or cover all trade markings, but do re-use things like the buttons. Will this be considered breaking any copyright laws?

Please read up on the "First sale doctrine". This is extremely important. It is valid internationally!

I can't for the life of me understand how you can copyright a picture of a horse or a sunset for that matter. Are you saying that no two or three or whatever number of people can't come up with the same picture? And how do you police it?

One thing to note about copyrights on crafts: It is based on your exact work. If one designer has made the same thing using different beads and is similar to another artist's copyrighted material but not exactly the same, the copyright will not hold up. You can copyright instructions, photographs, paintings and other written materials, but most of the time you cannot copyright a tangible handcrafted item. Copyright law which protects most artistic works, has an exception for functional creations. Patents only apply to completely new items and most crafts are never completely original so patents may pend, but most of the time are not followed through by law - And I think that sucks!

I would like to know, what is the Copyright law number, have the PDF already downloaded, need to know what governs Crafts etc. thank you

As I understand it, The shirt pattern itself is your own original design, the Bali Pops is what you will be using to create it. List them in your materials list for proper credit but there is not any copyright violation as far as I know.

If I made my own pattern for a 'shirt', but used say...bali pops to create the shirt am I breaking copyright laws when I sell the shirt?

Loved it. No too long. Right to the point. Would love to see how to copyright a dress style. Or is it even possible?

I am so glad I found this website. It is chock full of articles and inspirations and encouragements. I love it. I want to read everything you have on here. Keep up the good work. So many vendors and things that interest me also. Thank you must be hard work pulling it all together!

So, after reading the comment above, I can take any free pattern (hat, scarf, sweater, afghan, etc), even ones on this site, and knit / crochet the item and it would not be necessary for me to contact the pattern creator before selling the item at a craft show. Is that right? I'm new at this and want to be sure I understand up front.

To "veryberrybagel": Functional objects are not covered by copyright. Ideas are not covered by copyright. Copyright covers things like music, poetry, novels, scripts, photographs. In the case of a knitted sweater, the actual written pattern could be copyrighted, meaning you can't make a dozen copies of it and sell those. But finished objects created by folowing a pattern ARE NOT covered by copyright, because the protections don't extend to physical items, especially not functional ones like clothing.

I'm confused about what you mean by orginallity. This is something I'm curious about and have been pondering. If I knit a sweater, how do I make that original? If I quilt a blanket, how do I make that original? A sweater and a blanket (or necklace, vase, card, plaque) are all ideas that have already been come up with but are re-done over and over just using different colors or textures or materials. Is the orginality in those things or in the concept? For example, a paper mache bird-how-to I just saw on a website. Can I use that how-to to create paper mache birds that are different sizes, shapes, and colors? Using my own creativity and using the how-to as a base to build off of? Or, do I need to sit and ponder a completely unique thing to paper mache? Because no matter where I look someone out there has done a giraff, elephant, dog, vase, picture frame, etc. Please help me understand the difference. Thank you!


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