One of the more common complaints I hear from people involved in different knitting and crochet groups is that another member refuses to share their pattern with the others in the group. This person's refusal is often met with frustration, anger, and no small degree of ire because the complaining members often claim "it's just a pattern." It isn't, though. One of the least understood areas of the industry surrounds copyright and authorship/ownership of patterns. While there are thousands of free patterns available in the world and accessible thanks to the Internet, there are just as many patterns that are part of a published book or magazine or as a stand-alone-but-costs-money sheet or download. And it's illegal to simply copy and share these patterns without regard for ownership and copyright because doing so circumvents the rights of the person or entity who originally published it. That is, by copying and distrbuting someone else's pattern without their permission, you are taking away their right to compensation for it. It would be the same if you decided to take a recently published novel to a copy center, photocopy it, and then distribute it for free. (That's also completely illegal, by the way.) And, sometimes a person has simply made up their own pattern for something, but they don't want to share it or sell it for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are hoping to eventually work their way into being a designer and would like to test the pattern more thoroughly before allowing others to read from it. Maybe the pattern was something a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle designed, and it has sentimental value and is part of the family secret (like a secret cake recipe). Maybe they use that pattern to make things that they then sell to support themselves or supplement their income, and by sharing it, they are cutting into their own earnings. While some people may think this is not a big deal, think for a moment about how designers earn a living: they sell their patterns to other people. Now, let's think of the costs associated with their work. Hunter Hammersen posted a fabulous breakdown of costs and profits seen by knitting designers in late March on Twitter, where she discusses the costs associated with designing a simple hat. Further, if you believe people should respect and value your work, then you should, in turn, show some respect and value for a designers' work, which means not harassing that person in your group to "share" the pattern they used. So, the next time you find your back up because a person in your knitting or crochet group refuses to copy or share the pattern they are using, check yourself because you don't want to infringe on copyright or ownership.
top of page
bottom of page