Copyright FAQ

The following was first posted to the Internet Quilt List by Carol H, It was compiled and researched by Margaret Rolfe, a member of her guild and author of several quilting books, who kindly gave permission for her work to be distributed here.

This takes the form of a quiz, which shows up some common misconceptions. This quiz was created following the copyright laws documented by the Australian Copyright Council. However, as Australia is signatory to two international copyright conventions and most countries are members of both conventions, it's safe to assume that the quiz/quiz answers apply equally to American, English, New Zealand, etc copyright laws.

The sources are all publications of the Australian Copyright Council:

Copyright Quiz For Quilters

  1. You were have just been to the greatest quilt workshop where you learned lots of new ideas. You enthusiastically tell your friends about it, because they were disappointed they were not able to go. Do you :
    a) offer to give them a lesson in the technique;
    b) photocopy the class notes and patterns for them;
    c) only tell them to sign up for the class next time.

    Correct Answer

  2. The Quilt Exhibition was wonderful, and you take photographs of all your favourite quilts. Does this infringe copyright?
    a) yes;
    b) no, it was OK as there was no sign prohibiting photographs;
    c) no, because quilts on public display can be photographed.

    Correct Answer

  3. You find the pattern you want for your next quilt in a book. Do you :
    a) photocopy the relevant section of the book;
    b) photocopy the whole book, because it has lots of good patterns.
    c) draw up the pattern yourself, following the design in the book.

    Correct Answer

  4. You have just seen a quilt pattern in a magazine that you think your guild members would enjoy for their next block of the quarter. Do you :
    a) photocopy the pattern and submit it to the newsletter;
    b) redraw the pattern, and submit it;
    c) do nothing because both of the above are breach of copyright.

    Correct Answer

  5. You have found a great pattern for a patchwork rabbit which would be perfect for the salesroom. You plan to make 100 of them. Do you :
    a) go ahead;
    b) go ahead, but acknowledge the source;
    c) go ahead, but change the pattern slightly;
    d) apply to the copyright owner for permission to use the pattern.

    Correct Answer

  6. You see a quilt at a quilt show which would exactly suit the decor of your bedroom. Do you :
    a) copy the quilt as closely as possible;
    b) note the general colour and design, and resolve to make one following the same concept;
    c) copy the quilt carefully, and when you exhibit you copy, acknowledge that it was a copy by crediting the original maker.

    Correct Answer

  7. The sign at the show says "No photographs". Do you :
    a) surreptitiously photograph anyway;
    b) ask the organisers for permission;
    c) ask permission from the quiltmaker for each quilt you are interested in.

    Correct Answer

  8. The local newspaper asks you to write a review of the quilt show, and the review will include some photographs. You are flattered to be asked. Do you :
    a) photograph the show and write the article;
    b) ask permission of the quilt show organisers for photography;
    c) ask permission of the quiltmakers for photography.

    Correct Answer

  9. You are planning to do some quilt teaching. The teacher who taught you was really excellent. Do you :
    a) copy her teaching plans, notes, samples and quilts;
    b) use the work of your teacher to help you, but you make your own notes, lesson plans and samples.
    c) you try to teach as differently as possible from your teacher, to avoid copyright problems.

    Correct Answer

  10. You have just made a great quilt design which is very original and appealing You plan to submit the design to a magazine. Do you :
    a) apply for copyright for the design;
    b) submit it to the magazine knowing it is automatically copyright;
    c) submit it to the magazine, but mark it Mary Bloggs 1993.

    Correct Answer

  11. You have made a greatly admired quilt. Months later, you are stunned when your English penfriend tells you that the quilt is on the over of a local quilt magazine. Do you :
    a) object to the infringement of copyright;
    b) bask in the glory of it all;
    c) get angry because nothing can be done, as it is in another country.

    Correct Answer

  12. You call your quilt "Blue Lagoon"; a title you think is clever and apt for your beautiful blue quilt. Next year, another person uses the title. you should ;
    a) object, because her use of your title is a breach of copyright;
    b) shrug you shoulder because titles are not copyright;
    c) denounce the quilter at a meeting for her breach of copyright.

    Correct Answer

  13. You have designed a quilt pattern which you market successfully. It is a "nice little earner" for you. In your will, do you ;
    a) ignore it, because copyright of the pattern dies with you;
    b) assign the copyright to a family member because if they own the copyright, then they may potentially benefit from it forever;
    c) assign the copyright to a family member, because if they own the copyright, they can benefit from it for 50 years after your death, which is when copyright ceases.

    Correct Answer

Copyright Quiz Answers

  1. "Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts and schemes. Rather, it protects the manner in which the idea or information is expressed". Copyright does not protect techniques. thus, while you may verbally share with your friends what you did in a workshop(a), to photocopy the notes for them(b) is infringement of copyright. your friends would be well advised to take the class anyway(c), recognising that your explanation of the ideas will not be as complete as the oiginal workshop, and of course this would entitle them to any notes, patterns, etc.

  2. Craft work which is on temporary display may not be photographed without permission from the copyright owner. Taking photos of quilts without permission is an infringement of copyright(a). The fact that there is no sign does not necessarily mean you have permission(b), although it may do so if the exhibition organisers have asked exhibitors to allow photography as part of the conditions of entering the show, as many guilds do. Always check with the organisers what the situation is, or ask specific permission of the quiltmaker. you mau have to explain why you want the photographs - some may allow photography for personal use, but not commercial use (such as a publication in a magazine - though see question 8. below for an exception to this). Because the quilts are on temporary exhibition (not permanent) they are copyright, and thus (c) is incorrect.

  3. Publication of a pattern usually implies that the reader is allowed to user the pattern for their own personal use (a), and many quilting books and magazines will contain a statement to this effect. Copying the pattern yourself rather than photocopying it is still copying(c), but is allowable for personal use, as for (a). Photocopying a whole book (b) is an infringement of copyright.
    I'd like to add that our university libraries post signs over the copies stating the copyright laws permit copying of up to one chapter or 10% of a book for personal or research needs. It probably holds true elsewhere.

  4. Photocopying and submitting a design from another publication (a) is an infringement of copyright. It would be permissible to redraw the pattern yourself (b), but only if it is a design already in the public domain, such as the Ohio Star, or one of the many traditional block designs. however, if the pattern is original to a particular person,eg a Nancy Pearson applique pattern, then permission from the designer is necessary for it to be published.

  5. Technically, (d) is the correct option, because you are not using the pattern personally. However, it is a rather grey area, because most people are not unhappy about this kind of small scale copying (but not if you made 1,000 for a large department store!), and generally infringements are not pursued. Slight changes (c) would not necessarily mean you have not infringed copyright, because you have copied something substantially. "Substantail" copying infringes copyright.

  6. Copying a quilt would be an infringement (a), but because ideas are not copyight, it is acceptable to se another quilt for ideas (b). It is not correct that just an acknowledgement of another person's work makes it permissible to copy (c) - copying without permission is wrong. In fact there is no legal right requiring you to acknowledge a source, however, it is generally accepted that there is a moral right to acknowledge, and in some other countries that moral right is a legal obligation.

  7. Definitely not (a)! To comply with copyright law, you should ask permission of the copyright owners, the quiltmakers (c). The orgnisers may give you information, but do not control the copyright (b) and cannot give permission.

  8. As part of "fair dealing" in copyright, the use of a work in reviews or for criticism is permissible. It is OK for you to go ahead and photograph the quilts for the purpose of a review (a). However, it would be a courtesy to tell the quilt show organisers (b), and the quiltmaker may have better photographs than you can take (c), but it is not strictly necessary to do these things.

  9. Definitely not (a)! Basing your work on the ideas of others is permissible (b), but you must do all your own notes, samples,etc. We all learn from each other, so (c) is not realistic.

  10. "Copyright protection is automatic." "There is no requirement of registration, or any other formal procedure".
    You do not need to apply for copyright protection (a), so (b) is correct - protection is automatic. However, marking the copyright sign, your name and the date is a reminder to people that copyright exists (c) and therefore is a good idea, although not legally required in Australia.

  11. "Australia is a signatory to two international copyright conventions... Most countries ... are members of both Conventions.
    You are right to object (a), as your copyright has been infringed. Option (c) is incorrect, because even though it is in another country, you are protected by the copyright laws of that country, as per the international conventions.

  12. "There is no copyright in a title"
    Option (b) is your only choice.

  13. "Copyright generally lasts for 50 years after the end of the year the author died". Outside this time, the work is often said to be "in the public domain".
    Copyright is something owned, and therefore can be assigned to someone else, or inherited. Thus (c) is correct, but (a) is not, and (b) is not correct because copyright expires after 50 years from the death of the original author or creator.

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