We regularly get questions about copyrights and below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
1. Can I make the rugs in your books and sell the rugs myself?
Yes, of course you can. The books are written so that people can learn to make rugs, either for their personal use or to sell. What is protected by the copyright are the directions and the designs. For example, you can use the directions in the book to make rugs, but you can’t copy the directions (or “edit” or “re-write” them) and sell them as your own property, nor can you post a video making a rug while speaking or demonstrating the directions. The designs are also protected by copyright. You can make and sell rugs using any of the designs, but you can’t pretend that the design is your original design.
2. Can I quote material from the books or from the website to share with my craft group?
Short quotes from books or booklets are fine when used in a book review—for example a newsletter for your knitting friends. Anything else, including any complete article, pattern or set of directions from the website, requires written permission from us to reprint. Any reprints must also carry “attribution” including the author and source, such as the website address or the book title. (There is usually no problem with non-commercial uses, such as clubs and charitable organizations. Just email us for the permission.) Remember that all publications represent someone’s work and belong to them.
3. I bought one of the books and discovered a few tips that I’d like to publish. Is it ok to use the pattern from the book?
No. You can publish your own tips since they are your own work, and refer to the pattern (and source), but simply buying a book doesn’t give you permission to copy or reprint material from it. For that you must have specific written permission from the publisher or author whichever holds the copyright on the book.
4. I saw directions for X rug published by someone else. How can they do that? Didn’t that violate your copyright?
We have had several instances where people buy our books, copy them, and then publish similar or identical directions. In each case, we investigate to determine whether copyright infringement has occurred. Some cases have been blatant violations and those we have prosecuted (and won). Others have been mistakes due to ignorance of copyright law and those we inform of the violation. Each of those have been very cooperative in remedying the problem.
Unfortunately, there are copyright pirates (particularly in the craft field) which operate just barely within the limits of the law. We have identified a few chronic culprits, not only with our copyrights but with those of others, too. Because we cannot keep track of the entire field, we have reserved the right to refuse to sell books to any publication (or employee, writer, editor or representative) that we can identify with any publishing concern that includes or emphasizes craft projects. (Legitimate craft publishers approach us through professional channels.)
5. I bought a book and my (friend, mother, sister, neighbor) wants a copy of a pattern from it. I thought your goal was to spread the word about rag rugs. Why can’t I do that?
You can share the book with as many people as you like, but when a pattern is copied out of a book, it can go anywhere and it won’t have the information about the author and the copyright on it. When that happens, it soon becomes “the pattern I got from my daughter” or “off the internet” or somewhere else. That sort of “sharing” leads to many innocent violations of copyrights.
In our case, the “Rugmakers Homestead” provides an extensive educational resource about rag rugs which we provide as a public service. But the books and the directions in them provide the income which allows us to be able to share the general educational material. If you have enjoyed the free information, don’t make it more difficult for us to continue to educate people about rug making by stealing the intellectual property which is protected by copyright.