Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Thursday 29 December 2011

More Copy-Wrongs

In my December 20th post entitled Copy Cats, I included a link to an article on copyright as it applies to quilters written by Kathleen Bissett. You can read the article in its entirety here. With Ms. Bissett's permission, I will be quoting passages from this article in upcoming posts to illustrate some of the issues which hound me as a designer. Continuing on with the issue currently at hand, the Michigan quilt shop owner taught my New York Roundabout design at a well-known quilt retreat. In the widely distributed brochure, "her" beautiful quilt is given a position of prominence. Not only is it dead centre, it's the only workshop project pictured. And why is that? Because that quilt design is not only visually appealing, it is UNIQUE and sure to attract a good crowd of participants to the retreat who are tired of quilting the same old thing. Not only is the quilt pictured, but the owner is given a nice write-up on her quilting accomplishments. In her article, Ms. Bissett writes: "Since there was no reference to me or my pattern, the implication is that the artist is the designer." That's certainly the case here: everyone reading this brochure or attending the retreat believes that this shop owner designed this quilt herself including the retreat organizer; she was shocked when I contacted her to tell her otherwise.
Back home in Michigan, the shop owner continued to present workshops on the quilt. Again, with no reference to my original design, she assumes all credit. Financial gain aside, frankly one of the more rewarding aspects of what I do is the feedback I receive from quilters. Whose ego can't stand a little buoying from words like, "I never thought I could make something like this myself - thank you for your hard work." Sadly, those words all went to someone else...someone who did not deserve to hear them.
Sincerest thanks for all the comments, phone calls and emails of of which contained this quote: "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes."


  1. So sorry you have to deal with all this Karen. We can only hope, that by talking about it more and being more informed as consumers, it will make an impact on these bad practices by some quilt shop owners etc.

  2. If they can't come up with their own designs, then they should at least acknowledge you as the designer. Locally, shops have you buy the original pattern before you can do a class, no
    copying even one time! If the pattern is in a book, same thing, you buy the book.

  3. Karen, your design is amazing - but that doesn't excuse unscrupulous store owners who want to claim it as their own "amazing new design". I like the title of this post, 'copy-wrongs'!

  4. Hmmm. I used to frequent their shop. Not anymore. If someone can't give credit where credit is due, I'll shop at a shop that does. I hope you've contacted them about this. It's just so wrong. Thank you for this information. I'll make sure I always check to see if the class I'm taking is by a teacher's original design, or that credit is given.

  5. Thanks for educating all of us on this topic--I don't think most people know too much about copyright issues. So sorry that you're experiencing all this trouble. I know that hiring a lawyer is terribly expensive, but it might be your only course of action at this point!

  6. I viewed that brochure, every bit of it. I have to agree with the previous comment I think you should contact a lawyer and then perhaps these "people" will be less inclined to steal intellectial property. They must think people are stupid.
    Grrr I am mad...and there is no way on earth I could design wonderful pattern like you do.

  7. That is so very, very disappointing! She is really raking it in! tsk tsk - but that's saying it lightly!