I love to knit and crochet. Just recently I finally learned how to read patterns. As I have been unemployed for almost a year now, we all are thinking of ways we can make money. One way for someone with interests in the crafts I mentioned above is to sell your work. For me this included finding patterns on different items, and then making the items for sale. So first I went out looking for patterns, and what I found was somewhat disturbing.
There are so many sites out there for patterns that you really don't ever have to purchase one. However you might want to really read that fine print before you try to sell an item you made off a pattern you purchased or otherwise. According to the copyright law the person who wrote the pattern can prohibit you from selling anything you make off the pattern. I have a few issues with this. First of all to me the copyright should only apply to the pattern itself, not anything you produce from it - but that is the law. A lot of others feel the way I do in this. Secondly the law does state that you can just simply state you have the copyright, although I have seen people stating they are the designer and owner of a pattern that is so simple anyone could have come up with it. So if you develop something and it is exactly like another person's and they state they have copyright, you might have a confrontation on your hands. Of course to get around this is to simply change a portion of the pattern, and it is no longer their pattern.
A perfect example for me is I purchased a pattern for a crochet newsboy hat. At the end of the pattern the designer states she doesn't want you to sell the hats you make off the pattern. Okay, fine. Then I am going through an old issue of Crochet! magazine my sister gave and the exact hat this person is claiming a copyright on is in this magazine and there is no disclaimer on how your finished product is handled.
My solution - before you start claiming copyright make sure it is original! Also know exactly how a copyright works. Another example is a I purchased a pattern for a child's hat in the shape of a smurf's head. Again the seller is claiming copyright and you can't sell the items. First you can't claim on a copy right on something that is already copyrighted. Smurfs is owned exclusively by the Hanna/Barbera company who developed the cartoon. Technically you have to have their permission to even copy that image, much less claim a copyright.
In some ways it can take some of the joy of what we as crafters are trying to do. There are so many sites out there with different patterns on there and lets face it there is only so much variation you can do. I think we as crocheters and knitters sometimes need to step back and suck in our egos. Lets not forget why we chose this craft in the first place, and keep in mind that with the right effort and elbow grease there is plenty of money to be made by all.