Frequently Asked Questions
Copying Patterns or Videos
by Gloria J. "Mimi" Winer
There are several good reasons for not copying doll patterns or video tapes:
You can be sued:
If the work is registered within three months from the date of first
publication, you can be sued for
statutory damages. Statutory damages can be up to $100,000 plus attorney fees and court costs. How much you will have to pay depends on whether the court
thinks the infringement was malicious.
You are stealing the work of another.
They worked hard to create their pattern or video, and they deserve to profit from it. Even if you make only one copy and give it away, you are preventing the creator from earning the profit from that one sale.
On a practical basis, nobody wants to sue and take away your house for making a copy of a pattern or selling a doll made from a pattern. If you make a few copies of a pattern or sell a few dolls on a local basis without attracting much attention, you will be breaking the law, but you aren't likely to be caught. On the other hand, if you set up a factory and produce thousands of copied patterns or dolls, you are certain to get caught and certain to pay a whole lot.
Questions and Answers
Q: Can I use another designer's technique in my own design?
A: Yes. You do not have to give credit for technique if you use it in your
own design. (But it's polite to do so.) Be careful not to use somebody else's pattern however.
For example, a sling joint or a button joint (or a bead joint) is a
technique and doesn't have too much variation, but don't copy the
whole leg pattern.
Q: Can you sell dolls if you bought a pattern like Simplicity or
A: No, they are "derivative" works, and therefore "copies." You need the copyright holder's
permission to sell them.
Q: What if the pattern is printed in a Magazine (can you make copies to give away?)
A: No. You can't make either dolls or copies of the patterns to give
away. Both are a violation of the copyright. However, some magazines
give you permission to sell dolls made from the patterns. Read
carefully and ask.
Q: What if the pattern is printed in a in a book (can you make copies to give away?)
Q: Same answer applies to patterns printed in a book you buy or get from
the library or a pattern you buy from a designer. All of my patterns
include permission to sell doll made from the pattern with some
restrictions (you have to give me credit for the design and you can't
make more than 100 in a year). Some other pattern designers also give
you permission right in the pattern.
The same answer applies to all patterns. If they don't give you specific
permission to sell dolls made from them, you must ask first. The
only exception may be patterns where they say they are a good project
for a craft sale then it usually means that they won't prosecute,
but it is still technically a violation of the law. Ask!
Q: What about swapping used patterns?
A: Swapping used patterns has nothing to do with copyright as long as
you swap the original patterns and not copies. Copying them, however,
is a no-no.
Copyright © Jim and Gloria Winer.
You may make a copy of this article for your own personal use.
Copying for commercial purposes is prohibited.