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Paragon Patterns
Hall Of Shame Member
Page Added July 4, 2008

We started out with Paragon Patterns being just one of many craft site listed on the Craft Sites Page in the Hall Of Shame but we just can't ignore what we would characterize as the most obvious, blatently self-serving, lying tripe perpetuated by Susan Wigley of Paragon Patterns upon the public. We just had to give Paragon Patterns their own page. Consider her agenda when you read her garbage.

Susan Wigley of Paragon Patterns has authored several papers in which she makes unsupported and false statements about sewing patterns as well as licensed fabrics and embroidery designs.

In a piece dated August 28th, 2007, titled Copyrights and the Sewing Industry, she makes the following false statements about patterns:

  • If you are planning to sell the items you sew don't use commercial patterns unless you have permission in writing
    As we have stated many times, this is a lie perpetuated by pattern designers. Why? They get their money from selling patterns, not the end product. Perhaps it is an ego thing with them. Patterns are not copyrightable. Read the 1995 letter from the Register of Copyrights explaining why clothing patterns are not copyrightable. Click here for a copy of this letter in PDF format. In fact, the issue of not being able to control what is made from a patter is so obvious the the Supreme Court commented on it in Baker v Skeldon, 101 US 99 (1879), flatly rejecting the notion that someone's copyright could control the "application of a mechanical operation" (cutting fabric).

  • You can, however, sew custom garments for customers using a commercial pattern if you buy one pattern for each person
    This is another lie. They just want to sell you more patterns.

  • It is a direct violation of copyright laws to manufacture sewn products from a commercial pattern and claim it as your own design.
    No, not really. It might be a violation of trademark laws to misrepresent the end product as being something it isn't, but, again, copyright law has nothing to do with the end product as stated by the Supreme Court in Baker v Skeldon.

In a follow-up piece titled Copyrights and the Sewing Industry Part 2, Susan Wigley makes the following false statements about licensed fabrics and embroidery designs:

  • Disney, Warner Brothers, to name a few, strictly prohibit the use of their fabrics for manufacturing. Printed materials such as these are for personal use only.
    Wrong. After Disney was sued, in 2002 by Tabberone, and settled rather quickly, they no longer go after crafters if they do not attempt to sell the items as being licensed but rather made from licensed fabric. Why did they settle? The lawsuit was a loser for them. Also settling with Tabberone over the use of licensed fabric are Major League Baseball Properties, Sanrio, a.k.a. Hello Kitty, United Media, over the use of licensed Peanuts fabric, and Debbie Mumm.

  • These companies often send spies out to trade shows and craft fairs to seek out the offenders and prosecute them immediately. They seize the property with their images & fabrics
    The twin universities in Oklahoma tried to seize fabrics items at a craft show in 2007 and their representatives doing the seizing found themselves facing criminal larceny charges until the schools settled with the crafters. Susan Wigley thinks private business have police powers and can just barge into your home and seize what they claim is infringing. Wrong. They must have a legal representative, police officer, or a court order to seize property. And having a police officer present is not a guarantee that the action is legal as shown with the lawsuits that followed after Major League Baseball illegally ordered a woman arrested in Denver, October 27, 2007, and the City of Denver paid the woman $20,000 to drop the false arrest charges.

  • Embroidery Designs are almost always copyrighted and cannot be used for commercial purposes.
    This simply is not true. Again when you buy the design, you are purchasing the instructions, whether written or computerized, on making the item, nothing more. The 6th Circuit ruled in 2006 that embroidery software is not a computer program but rather instructions for a machine and is not afforded federal protection for computer programs. But this goes back to the other issue of trying to control the "application of a mechanical operation".

This page isn't about disagreeing with someone's opinions. The Susan Wigley is flat wrong and she is deliberately contributing to the manufacturer (and in some cases the designer) misinformation concerning copyright restrictions. Considering all of the end-products from patterns being sold on the internet and at craft shows, there are NO federal court cases on the issue that we have been able to locate. Pattern companies are not stupid enough to sue over such an obvious losing issue.




In an effort to provide a balanced view, we make the following offer to anyone who feels they have been wrongly accused on this web site.

If you, or your company, have been referenced on these pages, and you would like the chance to post a rebuttal, we will post your rebuttal (provided it is in good taste) so others can read it. The rebuttal must be submitted in a format that can easily be converted into HTML. We reserve the right to alter the rebuttal to make it more readable. However, we will not alter the content (unless there is offensive material to be removed). We also reserve the right to comment on any rebuttal received. Emails protesting the content of this web site may be treated as rebuttals by us at our discretion.

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