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Kirstie_DDB Posts: 85

I'm wondering if I can get some advice regarding the copyrighting of sewing designs? The story is a little long-winded but I'll try to simplify it.

Someone I know made a pattern for a beanie with cute animal ears on it. You know the sort, a lot of people make them. Anyway, she developed a pattern so there were less seams making up the ears. Recently someone else (whom had also made a pattern earlier for hats with a similar seamless style) has made a complaint about copyright infringement on their design. Consequently Etsy has removed person A's items from her store and another online site has closed her account completely.

What I discovered in Australian Laws (and US laws are very similar in this instance so I'm told) is that patterns and instructions may be copyrighted but "Copyright does not protect ideas or information. Nor does it protect styles or techniques or methods."

So the person whom the complaint has been made against presumably hasn't done anything wrong? So long as the pattern hasn't been stolen or reverse-engineered. Yet both Storenvy and Etsy are ignoring her when she points this out.

Does anyone here have any advice on what she can do? Or has had any similar situations in regards to their work? She's not a friend but I feel for her predicament, especially when the person who made the complaint sells work based off trademarked characters from movies and cartoons. Seems very hypocritical to me!

susana fung hong kong
Posts: 304

i wish to know more about this issue too.
if one share similar interest on certain style, technique, how to judge on the originality?
and how and who comes to define the rules and instruction to built up those rules and copyright?

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413

Well actually it does surprise me. I made a complaint to Etsy recently as someone was using a photo of my bear...and one or two other artists as scrap book imagery for use on various mediums.
So I complained to Etsy and was told in no uncertain terms that it was my responsibility to get in touch with the offender and ask them to remove said artwork.
Failing that I have to get a lawyer to state that I own the designs and prove categorically that they originate from me and so therefore the copyright laws are actually not applicable to Etsy. No in their , 'we do it like this' way of doing things anyway.
Any design which is derived from another persons  original work is not an original work in itself and copyright cannot be claimed. So both your guys seem to be in the wrong.
I am not sure how either can get away with claiming copyright if the designs are derived from elsewhere anyway.
I have seen bear makers auctions and websites with ' this design is copyrighted by xxxxxxxxxxx and anyone making bears that look like this will be boiled in oil'  or something very similar when actually the person who is making the statement has clearly been 'inspired' by another persons work themselves.
I don't know how you ever get around this type of thing. Unless you live in a dark dark forest with no TV and no Internet or access to any media you can never prove you weren't influenced by another persons work..and I have been on both sides of that sticky wicket. I see it all the time....even recently I have had spurious digs made from unexpected sources about my work inspiration ..and though I take no notice whatsoever these days I thoroughly understand why it hurts those who genuinely strive for individuality. I also see people who clearly do take inspiration from the work of others and yes, I think it's wrong especially when it's driven by nothing more than a desire just get a bit of the cake...but 9 times out of 10 it's not that at's usually because the person really likes that style of bear and want to try to make something they like..and usually if they are good at what they do..they find their own muse and style.
It's always a thorny subject and one that causes much hurt and indignation. Like I said, I understand both sides of this having experienced both sides....Etsy though.....they are a law unto themselves...I think they make it up as they go along!

Kirstie_DDB Posts: 85

Wow Jenny, that sounds like the staff there just make up their own minds on what procedures to take! Nevermind any training to keep some kind of consistency.

And yeah, what you say reminds me of something my apprentice-jewelry-maker said. It can be hard not to be influenced by some things, especially when you are being taught techniques and design in a class or whatever. In such an instance there's no escaping the influence of the teacher's methods and style. Although most people will try to work it and turn it into something of their own.

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413

That's totally right....anyone who has true vision knows how to interpret and not copy!!
I ran into the legal team at Etsy ...they just didn't want to know.
Whether that was because I don't have an Etsy shop...then that might be different...two shops fighting it out might cost them money...but little old me ...they couldn't care less!

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