Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Morality vs Legality

I'd like to prefix today's post by saying I'm not a lawyer.  I have no background in copyrite law (or any other type.), and that I've not done all of the research I'd like to do on this subject.

There seems to be some debate in the internet-sewing world as to the acceptable and legal use of store-bought patterns.  There are some people who firmly believe that any use of these patterns for anyone besides yourself, and especially for sale, is a violation of copyright.  And there is the opposite camp who is convinced that once you've bought the pattern you're free to make it for whoever you want, and charge whatever you want, from now until the end of time.  Naturally there are some camps in between: the Make-100-per-Pattern camp, and the Each-Customer-Buys-A-Copy camp, the With-Designer-Permission-Only camp.  There's probably almost as many versions of 'Acceptable Use' as there are people in the debate.  The argument that I find most interesting is that it is legal to sell things you make, but it is morally wrong.

I'm in the camp of if it is legal to do so, then there is no reason I shouldn't.  To start, don't confuse this with Because it is legal, it is not wrong.  That's a different debate.  What I'm saying is that as long as it is legal, I don't see why it would be morally wrong to sell something I make.

I think it is wrong (and illegal) to photocopy the pattern and sell that.  I think it's wrong to claim that the pattern is mine.  However, I believe it is my right to sell things which I make.  I am putting in my time, effort and knowledge.  There is skill involved in sewing, you can't just sit down one day and whip up a coat.  And I don't think I'm taking anything away from the pattern-maker by doing so.  People who are going to buy already sewn items are not as likely to buy a pattern.  And, when I'm selling things I've made it will involve posting pictures of items to the internet.  I would think, seeing well made items from a pattern would make other sewers more likely to buy the pattern.  I know I at least look around for some finished examples and pattern reviews before buying a pattern.

So, that's my view on the matter.  Don't sell someone else's pattern.  But if you want to make something to sell, store-bought patterns are free game.

P.S. Again, I haven't finished my research, and I'm not a lawyer.  I should not be quoted in a court of law.

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