I think we quilters are very visual beings. We love looking at pretty things. We see something lovely that someone's made, and we want to make it too. And, of course, that happens to us about 15 times a day, and after a couple days, who can remember all the things we've seen and want to make?
Reading all these new-to-me blogs the other day made me aware of a couple of controversies that hit close to home. First, there's Pinterest. I haven't really gotten into Pinterest, but I know a lot of people have. What a great way to collect visual images you can reference later for inspiration! With Pinterest, we CAN remember all those things we see and want to make someday. But the problem is that much of the time, users don't obtain permission to pin someone else's images to their boards, which can be a copyright infringement and result in litigation. There's a very interesting article HERE if you're interested. Some of it is legal gobbledegook (after all, it's a blog post by a lawyer/photographer) but you can still get the gist of it. And this concern has caused a lot of people to decide Pinterest isn't worth the risk of possible legal action, so they've left Pinterest for now and are waiting to see what happens next.
I also came across a bit of a controversy about copyrighted fabric designs. As I understand it, Emily Cier wrote a quilt book published by C&T Publishing, and a close-up image of one of the quilts in the book was used as a design for tote bags. Lawyers for Kate Spain, the designer of the fabrics used in the quilt and reproduced on the tote without her permission, threatened legal action. The matter was resolved by discontinuing the production of the tote, I believe, and setting up a program to educate authors of C&T books about properly attributing the fabrics used in the quilts to the fabric designers. All of that makes sense--you can read more about it HERE and HERE as well as on Ms. Cier's blog, Carolina Patchworks. (You can also see the controversial tote HERE.) What interests--or maybe I should say "worries"--me are the other issues this raises, as mentioned in C&T Publishing's blog--who "owns" the copyright? The fabric designer or the quilt designer? If you're writing a quilt book and you plan to feature quilts made from fabrics of many designers, at what point do you have to identify each designer? Of course, it's easy enough if your quilt is made of fabric designed by a single designer, but what if you used a mix of fabrics? And where is the line drawn? Would you have the same duty to identify a fabric designer in the description of the quilt you're entering in your local guild's quilt show?
In her blog post, Ms. Spain explained how she creates a design and licenses it for use on stationery, fabric, and gift wrap/gift bags, but fabric, unlike the paper goods she licenses, is intended to be a SUPPLY used to make something else--it's not the end product.
Perplexing, isn't it? It kind of makes my head hurt. Especially when all I want to do is look at and be able to remember the pretty things around me. Or design a quilt and write a pattern without stepping on a fabric designer's toes--something I've never before given a thought to!
Real candy can cause tooth decay and health problems; I guess eye candy can cause trouble too.