The Business of Writing > Laws about Writing

copyright violation?


Is this a copyright violation? If so, what would you suggest my next steps might be?
There is a group on flickr photo pages re a particular crochet pattern and items using that pattern.  When I first joined the group the name intrigued me and I looked. It is basically the same pattern I first saw in September, 1986, published in a Woman’s Day Magazine. The name on flickr is not the same, and the originator of the group posted with the pattern, asking that anything made with the directions should call it by the name she gave it. She said she found it on another website and finally was able to figure out the stitches.

There are 2 differences: in the first row the 1986 version uses a ch 4, hers uses a ch 5.
in the last row the 1986 version uses a sc all the way around, hers uses a dc all the way around. Minor differences, both. The first row extra chain probably wouldn’t even be considered.

Recently someone asked about the history and I gave my response--first published in 1986. Someone else said published in South Africa in June, 2009. Another person said she also has the magazine, 1986.
The group originator says: “I gave this pattern the name ______ because I saw things made out of this pattern here:
I cracked the pattern but later with help I got the pattern translated from Afrikaans and that magazine.
I never knew that this or similar to this pattern exists in any old books or magazines. :)”

The magazine has changed hands a few times, and I haven’t been able to find the designer via internet search.  What is the appropriate thing to do now?
Should she be asked to change the name of the group to that of the original pattern? Should I let it go? What?  Is it copyright violation? Who do I report it to?

I'm not sure if you can copyright a crochet/knitting pattern.

If I remember correctly, Woman's Day never put any restrictions on the use of their patterns.

However, after having checked the site you gave and finding out the pattern was being used to give employment to some women in Cape Town, I find your group originator's insistence that the pattern only be referred to by the name she gives it to be sad, at best.

One of our members, Kathleen Taylor, has done several knitting and felting books.  I'm sure that she would give you a better answer on the copyright of a crochet pattern and violations of that copyright.  I'd suggest that you send her a message asking for assistance.


Thanks. It's not about the USE of the pattern, but about taking the entire idea, that bunch of stitches (directions) giving it another name and basically calling it her own. It's rows 2, 3, and 4 that MAKE it that pattern. The beginning circle having 4 chains vs 5 in non-essential. In fact, because of the way I crochet at times (tightly) I have occassionally used that 5th chain. The first row is of great importance, but the following are more so.  The last row, the double crochet, is also of minor importance, really, not essential to the easily identifiable pattern.
I think she should at least combine the names, or, change the name to what the original was, and give recognition to the designer of the pattern.



Visit Library of Congress --- -- download Circular 92 --- aka title 17 ---about 369 pages.



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