Sew Karen-ly Created...

If you have arrived here via a link (such as to a tutorial) click on "Sew Karen-ly Created" to return to the latest blog post. I invite you to my website to see a gallery of quilts and patterns available for purchase. Shown here is "To Be Where You Belong", presented to Sir Paul McCartney on his visit to Nova Scotia in 2009.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Flaming Pie

I am happy to report that despite a rather abrupt interruption this week, the Trend Tex Challenge quilt is now pieced and ready to be quilted. I will show the completed quilt after the deadline for the challenge passes. Below you see a mini log cabin which will be added as an embellishment to the front of the quilt. It will measure 2-1/2" when it is finished. It has been some time since I pieced anything this tiny and I had forgotten how much fun it is to work in miniature. It will be tricky to keep the binding in proportion to the size of the quilt.
My work - and concentration - were interrupted this week by a disheartening discovery on another quilter's website. Quite by accident, I saw a sidebar on a blog I visit occasionally, showing a picture of my Oriental Beauty. I thought, "oh isn't that nice?" and clicked to read the post of an Australian quilter. To my horror, I discovered the owner of the blog had pieced my design in another colourway, given it a new name ("It's Not Christmas") and claimed it as her own original work. She has been teaching workshops and selling the pattern for MY copyrighted design!! Click here to see an example...and here to view an entire workshop. You will notice I did not take pictures from her site, I am only linking to them. I emailed her right away and she readily admitted what she had done. She went on to justify her actions saying she thought it was ok to do that, since she had made changes. That in itself blows my mind...

International copyright law states: the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies...; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies...of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending....

“It’s Not Xmas” falls under the category of “derivative work”. Section 2 above says that only the copyright holder (in this case me) has the authority to make a derivative of this design. To be copyrightable, a derivative work must differ sufficiently from the original to be regarded as a new work or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify a work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself.

I have no problem with a quilter being creative with my designs – in fact, I encourage it. Readers of this blog know that I often post pictures which show great variation in interpretation of my patterns, and delight in showing them off. It's an entirely different matter for someone to claim another's work as their own and profit from it. To her credit, she nicely apologized and says she will stop selling the pattern. I will be watching...but how many others are doing the same thing?

Sadly,this is not the first time I have run across this, and I find it more and more discouraging as time goes on. This is my life work, be it ever so humble. I take great care and spend many long hours at my sewing machine and computer. It makes me stop and evaluate whether I want to continue patterning designs as I have done professionally for the past 24 years. It's been a very disheartening week. As my good buddy Paul McCartney sings in Flaming Pie, "took my brains out and stretched them on the rack, now I'm not so sure I'm ever gonna get 'em back..."

On a lighter note, my ingenious husband has been busily crafting snowshoes for he and I to wear when visiting the bees. We took a test drive of the prototype last weekend and had so much fun. They need a bit more tweaking, which he has been doing this week. He's so clever. With more snow predicted later today and tomorrow I look forward to clearing my head in the fresh winter air.


  1. Karen, I am so disappointed to see the copyright infringement. I think we all owe a duty to call people on this when we see it - or at least let the designer know so they can follow up.

  2. Oh! I am saddened that this has happened to you. This was the discussion at our guild meeting on Wednesday and I was surprised how many quilters were not aware of the copyright law. Hope you do not stop designing ):

  3. Hi Karen - first of all - WOW on your teeny tiny log cabin - great job! Secondly, I am so sorry about your copyright infringement but ... you should take it as a compliment that so many women liked your design!!! But, I am sure it is very frustrating and disheartening for you when this happens and I truly believe that the problem has been exacerbated by the WorldWideWeb and our easy accessibility to things nowadays. Sometimes technology just isn't so great!! I just joined a group called Victorias Quilts which makes quilts for cancer patients and we had this discussion yesterday about patterns and copyright infringement and how it will affect the quilts that we make. We will have to be very vigilant and investigate each copyright and contact the designers. I don't forsee anyone saying we can't use them but you never know!! Please don't stop designing - you do great work!! Enjoy your snowshoes - we love snowshoeing out her (AB) but ours are bought not hand made. I would love to see a picture of them though!

  4. Thanks for the comments. I would like to respond to the one above concerning making quilts from patterns. I have absolutely no issues with the making of quilts from my patterns, after all that's the point of offering instructions in the first place! But I *do* have a problem with someone copying the design and instructions and passing them off as their own work, and making profit on the deal. That's just plain wrong.

  5. Yes, it is wrong! Good thing you called her on it. Too many get away with this. It surely ruined your day.

  6. The copyright-infring-er owes you more than an apology. It might be a good idea to have a lawyer friend write her a note identifying the appropriate compensation - proceeds that you would have received had she properly purchased your patterns, etc. And there should be appropriate information and a mea culpa on her website about the source of her pattern. Just saying.
    Separately, the mini-cabin looks great. Your CQA Challenge Mazlow's Hierarchy quilt, with all the charming mini items, still hangs outside my sewing room door. I admire it many times each day.

  7. I agree with Joanne's idea about the lawyer.
    BC Marilyn

  8. Karen, A little late getting this to you, but have been to busy and am just now catching up on my blog reading. I am sorry that someone would have the nerve to do this and then splash it out on the web for the whole world to you. What is the matter with people these days. I guess no one stops to think, just acts. Please,please,please, do not stop creating patterns, I for one would miss them terribly. Chin up!!!