Not Sharing is Caring

You've just bought a digital download handbag pattern online. You know your friend Sally would love it. So you print an additional copy and give it to her at your next guild meeting. You're right. She loves it. Sally uses the software on her embroidery machine to download an image of Andy Warhol's "Soup Can" silkscreen, and embroiders the image on her handbag. Her co-worker Jane sees it, and asks Sally to make one for her. Sally makes it, and sells it to Jane for $50. The bags generate a lot of buzz around the office and guild, so Sally downloads a few other iconic art pictures and makes a dozen bags to sell online. She makes enough money for a great pair of designer boots she's had her eye on, plus a day of pampering at the local spa.

What's wrong with this picture? Everything.

Even if there are no explicit warnings printed on the pattern, the original pattern designer holds the copyright to the pattern, and you can't give it away to a friend. Even though your embroidery software lets you import images from the internet, unless they're marked as copyright-free, you can't use them on your work, even if you're not selling them. If you purchase a license to use the images, you must abide by the terms of the license.

"Designer" and "Artist" are legitimate jobs, and designers and artists deserve to be compensated for their work. Support them by respecting their copyrights.


Joan Radell