Source: http://forums.sensibility.com/viewthread.php?tid=19453#pid186484 |
April 6, 1012. Content has not been altered except to remove extraneous material. While we provide the abouve URL you cannot view this forum until you are registered with the web site.
Simplicity Patterns |
and Its Copyright Misinformation
|The following was posted on the Sense and Sensibility Forums on July 27, 2009. Someone emailed Simplicity for information on using their patterns to make and sell articles.|
Susanne M. Smith starts with a lie. Corporate copyrights are for 95 years, at best. But as we have noted, Simplicity does not register its
patterns with the US Copyright Office. Unregistered works cannot be litigated in federal court.
Simplicity patterns was founded in 1927. Anything published before 1923 is in public domain. Patterns published before 1978 that were not registered with the US Copyright Office are in public domain because registration was required to have copyright protection. If the pattern was registered and it was published before 1963, and the copyright registration was not renewed, it is public domain because the copyright expired. If the pattern was registered and it was published before 1963, and the copyright registration was renewed, then the copyright expires 95 years after first publication. There are some minor exceptions to these but this covers almost all corporate copyrights. The US Copyright Office estimated that 85% of registered copyrights were not renewed.
Except that as a general rule, patterns are not copyrightable. Circular 31 by the US Copyright Office says why:
What Is Not Protected by Copyright
Lie #2 by Susanne M. Smith was that patterns are considered printed matter. They are considered useful articles
and templates and as such not copyrightable. And even if they were copyrightable, the copyright does not cover any article
made from the pattern.
Susanne M. Smith did get the copying part mostly correct. You have the right to make a copy for your use. However, should you give the pattern away or sell it to someone else, you should destroy any copies made for personal use.
Lie #3 by Susanne M. Smith is that there is NO legal interpretation concerning using a pattern yourself or as a seamstress. It does not matter legally who bought the pattern and who supplies the labor and materials. Remember, they just sell patterns. YOU are supplying the time, energy, tools and fabric to make the article. What in the world make them think they have the right to tell you what to do with the article you make from their pattern? Arrogance. Nothing more.
Lie #4 by Susanne M. Smith is the claim Simplicity owns the clothing design. They sold the pattern. That sale removes control from Simplicity of how that copy is used by the purchaser. It is in federal copyright law and it is called the First Sale Doctrine. See also Galiano v Harrah's, 416 F.3d 411 (5th 2005), copyright law does not allow one to copyright "clothing designs" in which the artistic and utilitarian qualities are indivisible.
Lie #5 by Susanne M. Smith is the claim that you are violating copyright law if you are sewing and selling clothes made from a Simplicity pattern. If the pattern is registered, the pattern copyright does not cover any article made from the pattern. Period.
Lie #6 by Susanne M. Smith is the rehashed incorrect statement about the life of their copyrights (Q&A #1).
Lie #7 by Susanne M. Smith is the rehash of Lie #3 above (Q&A #2).
Lie #8 by Susanne M. Smith is false claim that one must purchase a pattern for EVERY item they make. Patterns are reusable and there is nothing in the law that allows Simplicity or any other pattern designer/manufacturer to set such a limit.
Lie #9 by Susanne M. Smith is actually two lies wrapped into one. The first sub-lie is saying that you cannot make additional copies of the article. Mass producing is not infringement as long as you have one working copying of the pattern and are doing it yourself. One person is not mass production. A shop with multiple employees and multiple copies of the pattern is, in our opinion, probably infringing even though there is no registered copyright.
Sub-lie #2 is the "suggestion" that you have to contact the pattern designer to sell articles at a school or church bazaar. Not required by ANY law.
Wow! Nine lies in ten paragraphs. The above email from Simplicity is a lie. As are the magazine articles by McCalls on copyrights. Lies.
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