Update: 27 March:
Thanks to everyone for commenting and leaving your opinions -all of which are equally valid and interesting. I really think that this whole issue is something that as quilters we need to dialogue about.... it could effect any of us and I personally don't want quilting to 'look' or feel like this. By this I mean uneasiness and anxiety around the creation and exhibition of our work.
I did want to mention that I know the issue being discussed relates to the printing of an image on a tote bag for promotional reasons, however the printed image in question was not a re-print of the printed fabric, but was an image of a project which featured the fabric. Therefore, the question of quilters / designers/ printed fabrics and creation rights still stands as a concerning and I think unresolved question.
Here is an updated link that you might like to read if you have been following this issue:
Please read these blog links to see what I am talking about.
Imagine this: you design and create a quilt (or project) using commercially available printed fabrics. Perhaps you’re a well-known quilter publishing a book of your work and perhaps a fabric manufacturer sends you some fabrics to create your projects with. So far, this all sounds rather ordinary, yes? Now, imagine that the designer of the fabric range you used in your project sees your published book and decides to sue you, the quilter ($150,000) for breaching their licence. Unlikely? Impossible? Ridiculous?
I have been following the development of this very same scenario over the last week with great interest, concern and annoyed confusion.
I really feel that the Pandora’s Box of Quilting has had its lid pulled off…and the implications may not be nice for quilters.
- How often do quilters see a quilt pattern and decide to purchase the very same fabrics used in the original quilt? Very often in my experience.
- How often do quilters go out of their way to ask the designer what range of fabrics were used in a particular quilt? Very often in my experience.
- How often have you purchased a fat quarter with no selvedge or fabric manufacturer details (not the retailer) listed anywhere on the fabric? Very often in my experience.
- How often have you been pleased to know what range a fellow quilting blogger is using in a shared pattern or design? Pretty much always? Almost expect as much?
What are the implications of this situation? Does it mean that quilters are not able to create designs with commercially available printed fabrics free from the worry of being sued? Even when the fabric manufacturer sends it on to them? Are we all exposed to being potentially sued by designers who didn’t issue written permission or approval to us specifically to feature their fabrics on our blogs? Does this mean that, as a quilting blogger I am not allowed to show what fabrics I am using, creating and or simply like?
I don’t sell any fabrics and I don’t receive any monetary value from listing what fabrics I like or select for projects here on my blog. I know that the issue at hand is regarding a quilter publishing a book which included her projects being made up with a designer’s fabrics (which are commercially sold and available and in this instance were provided to the quilter for use), so my question is, if quilting fabrics aren’t allowed to be exhibited or shown or published as used examples without the permission of the designer…what are quilting fabrics for? Should we all be working with solids and hand dyes exclusively? Or are we simply not allowed to show and exhibit or publish any works which involve printed fabrics? And what are the implications for Quilt Shows and Festivals?
Surely quilted fabrics are made to be used in quilting and associated projects, so what’s the problem? Should designers have an avenue to sue quilters for promoting their own work using fabrics that were designed by someone else…and who’s designs were sold for the express purpose of quilting?
Anyone who follows my blog, website or is a member of my Yahoo Bom Group knows how seriously I take Copyright – it always matters. But is this really about Copyright? Surely designing a quilting fabric range means you expect quilter’s to use it?
This issue raises so many questions…for quilters and bloggers. If you blog, you are publishing. So these questions are important. It’s something I really think all quilters should be talking about, blogging about and expressing an opinion about.
Do I have to ask every single designer’s permission before sharing commercially sold fabric on my blog? Is that even possible? I couldn’t possibly discover the designer of each fabric range and writing to a manufacturer like Moda would take months.
This is my blog and this is my personal opinion. I sincerely hope that I don’t offend anyone because that is not my intention. But I am one of many quilters now questioning my design possibilities. I love finding new fabric ranges…will that have to stop now?
I have removed all Kate Spain’s fabric from my range, which is a shame because I love her work…but really, who needs the worry and heartache? And who wants to ask permission for every single fabric I use? I use hundreds of fabrics. Even in a scrap quilt??
Also, regarding selvedge’s on the fabrics ( when they are there), should they really tell us specifically what they mean by Rights Reserved? If something is Copyrighted, I am the first person to abide with it. However, I didn’t think quilting fabric was copyrighted to the extent that it couldn’t be shown once used.
What do you think?