Monday, February 19, 2007

That itty bitty symbol

That itty bitty symbol on the back of all patterns, books and other published works...a "c" with a circle around it. It stands for copyright and it's a symbol of protection for original works in any form. In the quilting industry not much is known or understood about "copyright", and until your rights are infringed on it seems rather unimportant.

I want to share the information I've gained during that past few weeks because it affects all of us, designers and consumers. It started with a phone call from someone who purchased a Bunny Hill block of the month pattern on eBay. The ebay seller has a perfect record, and the listing said it was a new pattern. The price was great, and the buyer used "buy it now" to purchase the pattern. No bidding required. Too good to be true? As it turns out it was. When the buyer got the pattern she questioned the quality and was brave enough to call me. How would you feel calling a designer and saying you were wondering about the quality of her pattern? I am so grateful for her courage!

Someone on eBay has been copying my patterns and selling them as new. The copies aren't even good copies and if anyone has purchased one of these I am sorry. I worry that they will think this is the type of work I do and not buy another Bunny Hill pattern.

eBay takes copyright infringement very seriously and has removed the questionable listings. The most important thing I can share with designers is that you must REGISTER your pattern copyright. If you haven't registered, you may think you are protected, but it's pretty much an empty protection. Go to this link, , fill out the form for each of your patterns and send it in with your check, and the pattern. I knew that there must be a reason for registering, so I did this. I am protected from this type of scam because of this. You cannot sue without registering and do not get legal fees or costs if not registered.

A completed copyright certificate showing the stamped registration number

I spoke with an attorney who is knowledgeable in copyright laws and he has promised to forward more information regarding this issue. He may even write something in the future to post on our blogs! If any designer has questions about filling out the forms, you can call the copyright office, or just send me an email. I will try to help.

To protect my customers, my new patterns will have a little sticker on the back of the bag that will tell you it is an official Bunny Hill pattern. cute is that? (: