Post Industrial Blues or, The Plight of Today’s Artisan

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A friend of mine sent me a link to this article and it pissed me off to no end.

Why?

This seemed like just the article Etsy wants needs to back up their decision to allow machine manufactured goods (aka mass-produced goods), which has been met with much outrage in the artisan community. Continue reading

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My Take on Copyright Wank


I’ve been reading about copyright wank on Ravelry a lot lately, and I wanted to weigh in on it.

Here’s my take on selling FOs:

Contrary to popular belief, the designer’s copyright only goes as far as the pattern. Doesn’t matter what kind of disclaimers they may post to the contrary. If I bust my ass making a lace shawl and wanna sell it for $100, there isn’t a damn thing a designer can do about it—whether the pattern is free or paid.

I’m a designer too… I don’t give a shit what people do with the FOs they make from my patterns. Credit would be nice, but at the end of the day if someone feels like making 100 of my crochet nail polishes, sells them all, and never mentions my pattern—more power to them. As long as no one is claiming my pattern is their original creation, IDGAF what you do with YOUR finished object. Go crazy 😛

Designers that get all defensive about this issue confuse the shit out of me.

Aren’t you happy people are using your patterns? If you’re so concerned about people selling their FOs, why did you bother to release the pattern to the general public? If I made some (say…) super duper awesome mittens and I was afraid of people making a profit off of it I would keep it to myself.

Plain and simple.

Most designers don’t have the time to mass produce or sell one-by-one the objects they make themselves, so why should it matter if someone takes their own time to do it? It boggles the mind, it does.

Now, I understand if someone mass produced a designer’s pattern and claimed it was their original work—that would piss me off too and would probably be more of a legal issue then. But again, once you release your pattern out in the world, beyond your basic copyright protections, you don’t have much recourse.

According to Wikipedia, copyright law grants the copyright owner a number of exclusive rights with respect to a copyrighted work:

  • to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies) 
  • to import or export the work 
  • to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work) 
  • to perform or display the work publicly 
  • to sell or assign these rights to others 
  • to transmit or display by radio or video. 

Notice there is nothing about items made from instructions or anything else pertaining to our topic. It makes me laugh whenever I see a “copyright” notice that says “only for personal or gift use”. Fuck that! I know my rights.

From Knitting Daily’s Copyright 101 For Knitters (all emphasis mine):

In the United States, copyright protections do not extend to the utilitarian aspects of “useful articles,” such as clothing or other functional items. This means that only the artful authorship that can be identified separately from the functional aspects of such articles may be copyrightable: the specific ornamentation, for example, on a dress, sweater, or quilt, and not design constrained by the item’s function as a dress, sweater, or quilt. In general, designs for items that have any intrinsic utilitarian aspects are very difficult to copyright, and copyright infringement claims over similar-looking or even clearly derivative works are not likely to succeed. Be aware, however, that original artwork incorporated into useful articles may be protected, and it may be infringing to reproduce that original artwork for commercial purposes.

You can download a free copy of this eBook here.

Funny how Interweave rushed in after this passage to say they ask you to respect their intended usage blah blah they put in their publications. Notice they’re asking you to respect it, not giving any sort of demand or threatening you if you don’t choose to respect their heed.

Knitty had this to say (emphasis mine again):

When you follow a knitting pattern, you’re reproducing the knitted item. Well, obviously, that’s what you’re meant to do. The question is, did the owner of copyright in the knitted widget [and this presupposes that copyright protects the widget] mean for you to make widgets for sale, or just for yourself and for others as gifts?

It’s not always easy to determine the intention of the designer. Some designers, when they sell a pattern, make it pretty clear that their designs may not be knitted for resale.

Tell me… if I just finished making an item from a pattern and decide to sell it, how am I reselling the item? I am not selling the pattern, but the output of my sweat and hours of hard work. SO what the hell, Knitty???

Maybe Merriam-Webster can help me out here….

Definition of RESALE

1: the act of selling again usually to a new party

2 a: a secondhand sale

b: an additional sale to the same buyer

Hmm, so selling a FO does NOT qualify as a resale; who knew?
/sarcasm

Both Interweave and Knitty (no doubt) have designers howling after them to say these things in designers’ favor. After all, it’s their priority to keep designers happy so they can keep putting out stuff in their publications. At least Interweave had the balls (har har) to tell the truth and ask nicely if the patterns can be used as they asked.

So what can you take away from the culmination of my few hours of reading and research? (TL;DR Version)

  1. That you can make and sell items from patterns without fear of legal retaliation and not only that… 
  2. Selling FOs are perfectly legal. 
  3. When a designer says that you cannot make stuff to resell, you can safely say that you’re not… even if you make 1000 and sell them to a store. Applying such a stipulation to items that don’t exist at the time you get/purchase a pattern is ludicrous. 
  4. Designers who post such notices are ridiculous and are outside of their copyright protections. 
  5. If you decide to sell items from a pattern, don’t claim you made the actual pattern. It’s not cool and it’s bad karma. 
  6. If you make a pattern so super duper awesome and don’t want its’ FOs sold, don’t publish it. 

Did I miss anything? I might have… I’m tired 😛 

Also, please note that all the legal mumbo jumbo I quoted in this post applies to US Copyright laws; if you’re outside of the US, YMMV.

They Say a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

So here’s 1,000 off the bat:

There’s nothing like a disgruntled “designer” sending her henchmen to bombard your humble little corner of cyberspace. Really. 
I stand by my segment, and I stand by featuring Ms. Tinsley’s hat (for the back story and all the drama llama, you can read the original post here). If any of her henchmen friends bothered to read my original mission statement, there wouldn’t have been such a backlash from so called (woebegone! Pearl clutching!!) “designers”.
Speaking of, I must say thanks Ms. Tinsley, or shall we call you Anonymous? I do appreciate all the extra views I’ve gotten in the past week or so! 😀
Note the number of views for the post featuring her hat, and also the first shortened URL on the right… which leads to said post. Coincidence?
But I digress. I’ll say it again.
To quote my above linked mission statement:

“My aim in doing this is to let y’all know that there are people who will not stand for being charged for something that can be easily reverse engineered. I am not saying designers shouldn’t be compensated for their hard work. (extra emphasis added) Quite the contrary, actually. There are many designs (i.e sweaters, lace, and colorwork) that have to be extensively tested, charted, etc.—–I don’t mind paying for these things. As a matter of fact, I am proud to support these amazing designers and am happy they decided to share these things with us at reasonable cost.”

As an addendum to my original statement I am adding the following: any paid pattern which requires nothing beyond basic knitting/crochet fundamentals will be featured in YRSTS. No exceptions. As I find offending patterns, and as my loyal readers send them to me, I will post them. Ohhh yes. With much gusto.

Your hat doesn’t deserve to be $5.50. It’s too simple. Anyone armed with the basic fundamentals of knitting in the round can do this without a pattern. One of your pals asked me why didn’t/don’t I reverse engineer it…. It wasn’t interesting enough for me to have done so when I posted the original entry, but challenge accepted! Look forward to a stripey awesome FREE “knockoff” hat pattern from yours truly after the new year ❤

To quote someone who finds this whole situation as ridiculous as I do (we knitters on Google + had a good laugh about this….), “there ain’t no way in hell I’m ever going to pay $5.50 for a HAT pattern where the self-striping yarn is doing all the heavy lifting. Pffft!”

AND a good evening to you, madam! *bows*

An Open Letter to the U.S Olympic Committe

That’s right, I have a picture infringing upon your name Gonna sue me too?? Good luck, I ain’t got shit.

Dear douchebags:

So. I hear tell you guys want to sue Ravelry….the whole Crafty Interwebs is all abuzz with the bullshit news.

You really have a lot of nerve… most people don’t give a flying shit about the Olympics, and here us crafters are not only drumming up viewership and support for our respective countries’ participants, but we’re creating awareness about the games! I never watched the Olympics until I joined my first Ravelympics a couple of years ago! Most people I know don’t watch it, anyway…. that shit is boring (knitting along made it 100000x more fun, however). Instead of getting all up in our faces, perhaps you need to spend some time in house, y’know, doing shit relevant to the upcoming games: cleaning up evidence of steroid use, that sort of thing.

Do you really wanna piss off a bunch of people with sharp objects (and keyboards!!!) within reach??!?? I don’t think you know what you’re dealing with, here. You probably think of all knitters and crocheters as a bunch of old ladies, or weak women barefoot and preggers. Well, you’re wrong. You don’t know how wrong; not yet at least 🙂

WE crafters are a force to be reckoned with! You will rue the day you decided to get all in our shit. We don’t take kindly to being told that the Ravelympics is devaluing your precious event…we weren’t hurting anyone, NO ONE is or was making any sort of profit off of it…. where is the harm?

Oh right, there isn’t any.

None.

No drawbacks to it…only benefits for you and your sponsors (!!!)

Instead of taking legal action, you should have looked at it as an opportunity for FREE ADVERTISING. But yet and still you want to be a bunch of shitty Big Corporate Musclemen…. bullshit and fuckery, I say. I am calling shenanigans on this.

Fuck this noise…the Olympics fucking suck anyway. You know what? I would rather watch a whole marathon of Everyone Loves Raymond the two weeks your shitty show of “sportsmanship” will take up! And I will not be cheering for the US Team now or ever again.

So, in conclusion? FUCK YOU. I ain’t watching the games this year, or any other year hereon after. I think you all can choke on a rancid, STI infested cock and die.

I hope the US comes in last for every category (except Curling).

Love,

Me ❤

Y U No Pay? Or, Designer Wank

So. I’ve been doing a little series on here called You’re Really Selling This Shit? for awhile now (new ones coming soon!)

I got my first loving comment from a “designer”!

In reply to this post, they said:

Indeed.

If you would have read the post that introduced the series, you would have understood that I am not against paid patterns, or designers getting compensated for their work.

 I don’t usually quote myself, but in this case it’s necessary:

I will say this before I start: I understand I am gonna piss a lot of people off with this. My aim in doing this is to let y’all know that there are people who will not stand for being charged for something that can be easily reverse engineered. I am not saying designers shouldn’t be compensated for their hard work. Quite the contrary, actually. There are many designs (i.e sweaters, lace, and colorwork) that have to be extensively tested, charted, etc.—--I don’t mind paying for these things. As a matter of fact, I am proud to support these amazing designers and am happy they decided to share these things with us at reasonable cost.

The bold was added in the quote for posterity’s sake.

Again, one of the reasons I decided to start this series was to prevent people from buying patterns that can be easily reverse engineered or don;t require extensive instructions. I don’t think your design was innovative enough to warrant a $5 charge, my dear. It did catch my eye, as I did admit in the post, but not enough for me (or anyone else I can alert) to pay $5. You tout the pattern as a great beginner colorwork pattern, and that much is true. BUT, being a novice of colorwork, I can make a hat that looks like that without referring to instructions…and I am sure a lot of people can too. Or they can follow the suggestions I left to get on the road to doing so. Either way… no, you don’t deserve the money.

Thanks for letting me know it wasn’t corrugated ribbing… on closer inspection, it’s just alternating 2×2 stockinette with the two colorways. I will be sure to add that as a note 🙂

YRSTS #7 East Coast Mittens

You can find the offending pattern here, just, y’know, don’t spend any money on it.

A few weeks ago, it was colder than a witches’ tit here in NYC. As such, I realized my awesome nummy Fetching fingerless gloves weren’t gonna cut it… I needed a set of full mittens.

Sure, there were the colorwork mittens I have started back in October, but they would take me too long to finish in the time I needed them (I do need to finish those one day…) So, industrious me decided to look for some mitten patterns.
Ravelry has a lot (I mean, a LOT) of knitted mitten patterns…. overwhelming ain’t even the word. So I tried narrowing down the results to adult fit, and started lurking. I found the above pattern in the midst of this search… and thought, wait, didn’t I see a similar glove pattern for free somewhere (I thought it was Knitty…)?

Damn straight I did. There were several

Alternatives

Well, a search for free thrummed mitten patterns turned up 27 patterns! Lookit that.

This one is my favorite 🙂 It looks exactly like the one above! Can you believe it??

Heh.

The only positive thing I will say about the above pattern is they seem to provide some customization options.

It still doesn’t justify the $7 price tag.

The houndstooth pattern can be easily adjusted to thrums, like this pattern incorporated it into some colorwork. Thrumming as a concept isn’t hard, and I really don’t think it’s nice or fair to charge for something that’s not only simple to do, but something you can find numerous FREE tutorials for on the web.

You’re welcome.

Happy Knitting!

YRSTS #6 The Weekender Slouchy Hat

You can find the “pattern” here. God this pattern annoys the hell out of me. Ugh.

This pattern pissed me off more than these YRSTS usually does.

I can’t with these so called designers! What the everloving FUCK?? There is nothing about this that warrants the $5 price—-NOTHING. It’s a simple ass crocheted hat. I guarantee if you were learning how to crochet, this could be your first attempted pattern. To quote from the Rav page:

It is crocheted in the round, in a spiral, omitting any chaining from round to round (coz I’m a rebel like that)

*eyeroll* That’s all the fuck this pattern is.

It uses dc for the majority (top and crown) and sc for the brim…. I think I see hdc before you switch to sc (not really necessary IMHO).

Wow.

Whatthefuck. The

Alternatives

are so many, I feel I am dumbing you down by sharing them, but it’s part of my schtick so…

If you’ve ever made amigurumi, you’d be familiar with this way of crocheting. The default for making most hats in the round is joining rounds–sl st to the last st, ch x to start the new round. In this instance, you just crochet round and round without joining—all increases and decreases are done exactly the same way. This blogger came up with a clever way of differentiating the two;

1: Round = Slip Stitch to join at the beginning of each round.
2: Spiral = No Slip Stitch

Works for me.

A Rav search for Free Crochet Slouchy Hat turned up 100 results. You can work most of them in a spiral. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter much. In the end, it all depends on personal preference and how anal (*snickers*) you are about symmetry and having a visible seam in your hat. There are ways to hide your joins (Expected a link? I was gonna put one, but you can do it yourself if you really care enough to find out. Just saying).

For a hat like the one listed, I would use worsted wt, and a H or I hook. Start with a magic circle, 10 dc, then your normal rate of inc in the round (inc all, dc 1 inc, etc) until you hit 80-100, then crochet without increases for however long you want your slouch to be. Then, you might dec down to about 60, and start sc for a couple of inches (for a “normal” sized head, that should be sufficient. Adjust to your dome for best results :P).

A handy tip: use a locking stitch marker when spiraling. Even when working on amis (avg. stitch count 20 stitches) I use a marker to keep my place. Since there is no definitive beginning to the round, you need to know where you are, especially when doing inc/dec. After that, it really doesn’t matter so much 😛

You’re welcome.

Happy Crocheting.