I’m not a Lawyer… Just a Happy Hooker


Free Pattern, Crocodile Stitch

Crochet Crocodile Stitch.

Many viewers write me about cross comparing patterns to make a ruling if copyright is being violated. These requests come in the form of photographs, technique and pattern writing. This is a continuous request. I feel a canned response from me that can be quoted would be in order.

Copyrights in the world of creativity are always a hot button that causes very serious and heated debates. Honestly, I feel the issue is much bigger than I am meant to fully understand. While the laws can be clear in one aspect, if you start making assumptions and then re-evaluate the laws, it appears very large loop holes are opportunities. I’m not saying opportunity in this case is a good thing as I believe some individuals try to gray out the reality to suit their own desires.

When I think of copyright, I can’t help but think of grade 10 for me where the teacher was adamant about not photocopying library books. The teach could tell instantly if we were copyrighting because the language would suddenly change between sentences from poor grammar to concise published grammar. Telling me that at that age wouldn’t be taken by me seriously. This is predating the internet. I would laugh thinking the teacher will never discover the source. I was wrong to do that and that’s the bottom line.

Moving forward from 1989 to 2013, the internet is here and sources can be easily located through powerful search engines. The sense of being hidden is really a thing of the past. If you publish it online whether in a status update, blog, website or even twitter something, it can be located if the searcher is knowledgeable about how to use a search engine to narrow down results.

Being in my position, coming to understand Copyright is a ABSOLUTE MUST. If I think there is something wrong or I am not fully understanding the rules, I don’t try to play within the grey area. Not understanding the laws in place is not an excuse. I’ve learned some hard lessons like everyone else.

The bottom line is that some of the disputes fall under legal realms in which I don’t have the necessary schooling. To me, what makes sense may or may not be legally sound. I’m not a lawyer, just a happy hooker.

Some fans would like me to make evaluations on determining if their copyright was violated and/or if a fan has noticed two similar patterns wants me to rule who is in the right. There are circumstances that I am not privy to many any kind of decisions.

  1. Has one copied the other?
  2. Are they both legit and each of the designers have reversed engineered a similar concept producing similar results?
  3. If you are feeling your copyright is being violated, lawyer yourself up and find out the laws directly from legal council. It’s the only way to be.
  4. I’ve had to lawyer up once over a situation of someone using my name and The Crochet Crowd to boost themselves. It’s amazing what a legal letter can do and I felt better knowing where the law stands and where my rights are.
  5. I find though we each know a piece of the copyright, the rules and laws are heavily distorted by non-factual information which causes a lot of problems.

I know this topic is being researched behind the scenes to determine where the lines are in the sand for copyright. Whether this issue will be fully understood and written in plain English for us to understand is the real question.

If you discover someone is copying the other, contact the person who you feel is being violated. Let them make the determination if their rights are being abused. Let them do the ground work to attain legal council if they want it. It’s their responsibility and if they didn’t know it was happening, you have done your part to report it. Let them do the work and move on.

Even for me, it’s easy to get upset when you see another person intentionally violating someone’s copyright or works they have created. I take it personally even though I am not involved in anyway.

Though I haven’t come out and said it yet on this blog. I think it’s wrong to sell patterns that the copyright is being violated. IE, photocopies and scanning materials of patterns and selling or distributing them in anyway where the author or designer isn’t able to be compensated. It’s a huge misconception that crochet author’s make a lot of money from their books. If this were true, they wouldn’t have to work hard to self promote, travel to shows and etc. Like me, most of the designers travel to shows on their own money and are not compensated to attend. They do it for publicity to raise awareness so people will buy their pattern books. Credit should be given and we should support their creativity as much as possible. Most of the great designers offer free patterns in one form or another. The ones usually for sale are patterns where a lot of time, research and conceptual thinking was required.

Copyright is a big deal. I am asked to violate it everyday with requests for tutorials that fly in by our fans. Reality is that filming a pattern is the same thing as copying a pattern. Permission for filming must be given out by the author/publisher. It’s a risk I don’t take. I honestly think most people don’t realize this so I don’t harp on it. It used to upset me all the time and I felt guilty for not filming copyright protected as some people plead hard and long. Some people go as far to threaten to unsubscribe from me if I don’t comply with their request. I put on my thinking brain and realized the risks that these fans are asking me of me, the answer is really obvious… I’m not going to sit in jail or getting sued over a request to film a tutorial. That’s just not worth it.

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About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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12 Responses to I’m not a Lawyer… Just a Happy Hooker

  1. Alison Routley says:

    Way to go Mikey for taking this important stand on copyright infringement. There is no grey area and I applaud you for your position.

  2. We all need to respect the talent of others, if you are using a pattern that you have found on the internet, give credit to the person or company that you got the pattern from.

    Now here is another question for you, if you try to make something from a pattern and find that it is impossible to follow and you go just so far and then make something of your own design, do you need to give credit or just a thank you for the idea that they gave you to create your own pattern, or is the thank you unnecessary?

  3. In this day and age, where so many people believe that going to the grey area of the law is okay, it’s such a refreshing change to see somebody upholding the laws – good for you, Mikey, and much respect! 🙂

  4. Kim says:

    I would just like to say that I would never want you to infringe on someones work, but I will say that some of the patterns out there are a bit confusing and having an expert like you show us how to do certain things is really nice. I wish there was some way to get the help I need to work on a project but protect the copyright at the same time. It would be nice if authors would do their own tutorials for the tricky parts of their projects. I have seen one so far and it was helpful but they needed to go further. I would call myself a novice and some of the directions out there are like a foreign language.

  5. Right on Mikey! I heartily agree!

  6. Mancypants says:

    No its not worth it, I agree with you 100% , besides you have so many tutorials they are bound too find , something that works for them! I go through your video’s all the time, when I am looking for a project, I always always find something!

  7. Dawn Watts says:

    The ones that ask you to do this should ask themselves if they would like to take your place if charges get laid and would they be willing to pay the fines or whatever. You are doing a great job Mikey and the crowd. Keep up the good work. Karma can be a biotch, and those doing the asking will find out when their turn comes.

  8. Cathy says:

    There is a reason why those who copyright their patterns copyright their patterns. ‘Nuf said.

  9. Laura Murphy says:

    Those who ask you this all the time should ask themselves if they would like their pattern infringe upon that was copyrighted. It’s a big deal to the owner of the pattern, art work,etc. Dealing with the public is often a repetition to say ‘no’ to certain things no matter how many times you post it. I suppose even if you post it as a main headline they still would ask you. However, you stick to your battle guns you have done a great job. 🙂 May the sun shine on your face and the wind at your back.

  10. kathymarsh0 says:

    As a retired librarian, I appreciate your comments on copyright infringement! ;’)

  11. Audrey Cook says:

    It sounds to me like you have put a lot of thought and effort into this article. It is well written and I agree with all of it. Thanks for the information and education!

  12. Robin Comfort says:

    Being the wife of a lawyer and working in his office, I just have to say kudos to you Mikey. For not promoting infringing on copyrights and for promoting doing the right thing.

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