probably get an implied license at least to make the
craft from the pattern. That means, too, that when
you’re on the other side — using someone else’s
patterns — you’re free to take uncopyrightable
methods and useful articles, but you’re limited
in taking full-blown expression.
Instead of restriction, you might want to encourage
greater reuse of your crafts through copyright. In
that case, you might consider Creative Commons
to claims of users’ copyright infringement by “
expeditiously” taking down the complained-of material.
Many copyright claimants thus send complaints
to ISPs rather than to their users, and the service
providers take down pages without investigating
whether they infringe.
As a poster, you can counter-notify, but your
pages will go back up only after a legally mandated
delay. While a DMCA complaint might be appropriate against mass distribution of others’ needlepoint
designs, the takedown and delay will hurt lawful use
Artisans have always learned if it targets the crafts you’ve made and photographed
to sell on eBay.
their trade by copying their So when fashion designers petition Congress to
make their patterns copyrightable, they not only
predecessors, picking up a push aside creative reinvention, they open a new
door for copyright-based threats. Yet the field has
pen, brush, or chisel first to seen great creativity without copyright’s incentives
— the drive to stay ahead of copyists may even be
imitate, then to reinvent. good for the fashion cycle, while adding more copy-
right would put a thicket of licensing in the way of
creative re-styling. As both creators and remixers,
crafters should insist on balance in copyright law. ×
licenses, a set of badges and license terms to permit
some copying. With the Share Alike license, for
example, you invite people to modify your crafts
and instructions so long as they acknowledge
your work and share their results in the same way.
Imagine sewing a quilt from Share Alike squares:
each would be freely usable by anyone who contributes alterations back to the common pool.
Finally, if you’re sharing your crafts online,
you’ve probably run across (if not into) the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This 1998 law
encourages internet service providers to respond
Coming in CRAFT, Volume 07: Part Two of Seltzer’s
article, which will discuss craft trademark, publicity
rights, and related areas of the law.
Wendy Seltzer is a fellow with Harvard’s Berkman Center for
Internet & Society and a visiting professor at Northeastern
Law School. She leads the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
Illustration by Phil Marden