Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Note....

....on copyright law.

This is where I give in to my ugly, fire-breathing dragon side, the side of me that reminds people that there are limitations and laws that restrict what people such as crafters can do.

I just saw, over on Repeat Crafter Me, this post. Sarah has made these DARLING stitch markers that are inspired by her favorite coffee retailer, Starbucks. On the post she included instructions on how to make the markers if people like them and want their own.

Well, I noticed in the comments that people are asking her to make them and sell them...


Those people apparently do not understand US copyright law and how dangerous violating it is. I went to the Starbucks website and found, on this page, this statement about Starbucks' intellectual property:

Copyright and Limited License

Unless otherwise indicated, the Sites and all content and other materials therein, including, without limitation, the Starbucks logo and all designs, text, graphics, pictures, information, data, software, sound files, other files and the selection and arrangement thereof (collectively, "Site Materials") are the proprietary property of Starbucks or its licensors or users and are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws.

You are granted a limited, non-sublicensable license to access and use the Sites and Site Materials for personal, informational and shopping purposes only. Such license is subject to the Terms of Use and does not include: (a) any resale or commercial use of the Sites or Site Materials; (b) the collection and use of any product listings, pictures or descriptions; (c) the distribution, public performance or public display of any Site Materials; (d) modifying or otherwise making any derivative uses of the Sites and the Site Materials, or any portion thereof; (e) use of any data mining, robots or similar data gathering or extraction methods; (f) downloading (other than the page caching) of any portion of the Sites, the Site Materials or any information contained therein, except as expressly permitted on the Sites; or (g) any use of the Sites or the Site Materials other than for their intended purpose. Any use of the Sites or Site Materials other than as specifically authorized herein, without the prior written permission of Starbucks, is strictly prohibited and will terminate the license granted herein. Such unauthorized use may also violate applicable laws, including, without limitation, copyright and trademark laws and applicable communications regulations and statutes.

Unless explicitly stated herein, nothing in these Terms of Use shall be construed as conferring in any manner, whether by implication, estoppel or otherwise, any title or ownership of, or exclusive use-rights to, any intellectual property or other right and any goodwill associated therewith.
Please note the second paragraph; it states very clearly that the Site Materials can be used for personal use but NOT for resale or commercial use. That means selling anything with the Starbucks logo is verboten/forbidden. You cannot make money from the Starbucks intellectual property, not without their express permission.

And this is why Sarah put instructions on her blog as to how people can make the stitch markers but she did not indicate that her markers were for sale. She may not know the specifics about what happens if you violate American copyright law, but I do (because I looked it up). A first time offense can get you a five year jail sentence and several thousand dollars in fines. AND, not OR.

This is something I've noticed about the crafting world - people don't seem to understand or respect copyright law. Many people seem to have this mistaken notion that if they purchase a book of patterns, they have every right to make copies of the patterns in the book and give those patterns to their friends. This is not so. I am sure many people do this and get away with it, but it is technically wrong and highly illegal.  I remember seeing fiber art diva Kim Guzman make a statement on Facebook explaining why she isn't writing books any more - it's because people don't buy them.

Well, a few people DO buy them, but what many of those people do is find ways to make copies of the patterns in those books - those patterns being her own designs - and they distribute them freely to their friends, either hard copy or electronically (most likely electronically). This is taking money away from her, money that she's working hard to make, and money that she - as a single mother - really needs.

I am completely dismayed by the indifference many crafters show towards copyright law. Some of them are single mothers themselves, or people who are trying to earn a little extra money with their craft; how can they be so uncaring of the fact that illegally sharing things like patterns is costing the designer a lot of money? Do people assume that anyone who writes a book is fantastically wealthy, some kind of millionaire, and therefore "she can afford to lose a few bucks on this book; me making a few copies for my friend isn't going to matter." All I can do is shake my head.

So along comes someone like me, and I remind people of what can happen if one is found guilty of violating copyright law - and people think I'm being hysterical and they blow me off. Again, all I can do is shake my head. It's hard to believe people want to be so ignorant by choice.

Well, there it least I tried.

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