How do (hand knitting/crocheting) designers view fair use or fair dealing? A good thing, right?
I assume that, for many designs, we can all agree that some of the elements incorporated into a design or a pattern did not originate from the designer, to the extent that the designer cannot really complain if someone else in turn takes that same element and incorporates it into their own design or pattern: a traditional motif, a stitch pattern from a dictionary.
And it could be that it is that element that really “makes” the design. Sometimes the designer has applied her own interpretation to the element, somehow adapted it to make it work in the shape of the garment or accessory in a way that may not have been done before. Yet, the element itself is not new, and we do not question the designer’s right to take that known element, and incorporate it into something from which she can derive profit.
Why, then, is there such objection to having shops teach from those patterns, for pay, without further permission, provided the teacher who teaches from the pattern does not violate copyright in the pattern (for example by running off unauthorized copies (e.g., paying for one and making copies for distribution from that one) or removing the original authorship/copyright ownership information)? Even in the context of patterns distributed by the publisher without charge, if each student is directed to obtain her own copy personally? And provided there is no implication that there was any connection between the shop and the designer, beyond the fact that it was her pattern being used in the class?
This is not so much about the legal underpinnings, as it is me trying to understand why that next step is so problematic for some designers.
Or maybe I do understand, and I don’t realize it. I remember when I finished writing Rogue: I was so proud of it; I had never seen anything like it. And it was time to price the pattern. I knew what kinds of prices had been charged for PDF patterns at the time (Bonne Marie Burns was my benchmark), but I remember thinking to myself that there was no way I could let it go for more than $10/copy. I talked myself down from that price, obviously, but I remember that it was a bit of a wrench to accept that what I thought I deserved was likely not realistic. It’s hard to be objective about your own work.
And initially, I did not like the concept of people knitting FOs for sale from my patterns any more than others seem to do. But then I realized that the likelihood of anyone earning a living from knitting up my patterns alone was pretty slim. The designs that I care most about are not ones that can be easily replicated by machine; there would still need to be a substantial amount of handwork, even if the construction of the piece were somehow changed to maximize the amount of machine knitting. (I do care that knitters are not exploited, which is why my licence specifies that the seller must be the one who knit the item, along the lines of a typical angel policy.)
It also struck me that there was some kind of incongruity: if I was willing to say that hand knit items were undervalued and if I deplored the fact that people had been taught to value the cheaply mass-produced over the artisanally-crafted works, why did I want to deprive the skilled knitter from realizing revenue from knitting my designs, if my designs could help the knitter realize a higher price for her skills?