24 March 2014

Difficult situation!!!

Continuing conversations via email with Allesandro at the magazine mentioned here have been interesting.

I realise what a quandary he's in too!!!!  It must be very difficult when you have little knowledge of a craft to start a new magazine aimed at new tatters.  After all - learning to tat can only be rings and chains made with a double knot.  Later the new tatter will need more techniques and then patterns with those  new skills will be needed too.  But at the moment let's just look at this situation from the copyright point of view of simple designs.  

Looking round the internet (and in books) it's quite obvious that a lot of the patterns we see could easily have been used (not deliberately or maliciously) in a tatter's 'need' to create.  They could have come either from previous patterns or from the imagination.  This is because, of course, everything is made up from JUST rings and chains.

These are what I call 'generic' patterns.  By this I mean that all of us could have easily 'designed' them!!!  

For example look at the drawing below.  This is a basic design seen regularly all over the place.  I've seen it as a base for earrings, crosses, bracelets, bookmarks, fans, necklaces, edgings etc and all based on two rings back to back and a chain between.  Add a few beads, change direction a few times and it becomes something else.  BUT it is essentially just a very simple rings and chains design.  Something a new tatter would be able to make.
So, let all of us who want to design something new keep a lookout to make sure we're doing something really new.  Interestingly in the past nobody used to claim a design 'belonged' to them and I had several patterns published in magazines here in England without my name on them.  I was soooo proud to have them there that it didn't bother me one bit.  Actually it's only when I see people using my free patterns to make money for themselves (by re-publishing or selling things made from them) that I get upset especially as I have a Creative Commons Licence on the pattern site!!! 

When I started designing (purely to amuse myself and the young children I was teaching) I only used rings and chains as that was all I knew at that time - however I learned very early on never to base anything on a pattern in a book.  Imagination, persistence and a thorough knowledge of a craft are the requirements needed to become a designer - not the ability to copy from a picture seen somewhere!!!

One thing I have pointed out to Alessandro is that the ladybird and the interwoven celtic motif in the magazine belonging to myself and Rosemarie Peel might look simplistic nowadays but were, at the time of publication, innovative.  Over the years they may have become 'old hat' but they do in essence have their birth in our two brains and it's nice to be mentioned for that!!!

Coming up with new ideas gets harder and harder as I try to go 'where no man has gone before'.  Star Trek?!?!?!  Does that last sentence make sense anyway?!?!?!  


Jane McLellan said...

It's interesting because there has to be a balance between protecting innovation and allowing the craft to move forward. I agree with you that when people SELL a pattern that has been given free, that's outrageous. Though blatantly pinching other people's new ideas is to be frowned on too. Hmm, all rather fraught!

Corina Meyfeldt said...

I think there should be somewhere a list of criteria to judge if a new design is really innovative or not. When does a tatter wich discovered a new shape can sign the pattern as own? As you said some time ago (when I was still thinking that rings and chains... it is only a matter of time until someone comes to the same combination), pattern ownership is a moving sands area. I think that the commom sense of taking a pattern offered generousily and using it with no respect of the author is simply not working with everyone. And there are so many patterns wandering from one site to the other (more or less legally) with no mention of the source, is quite easy to get misleaded.
About the generic patterns... Hard one... If I want to make patterns for the beginners, I must stay "generic". If the design was never published before, I have the right to put in a book, booklet, pdf file, you name it and, legally I should have all the rights.

Ninetta said...

A big hug to BC3! I agree with you Mrs Jane, if I buy a magazine or a book I want to find there something original, not what I can find free on internet. And if I give a present to a friend I'd be really upset if he/she sell it.

Sally Kerson said...

Designers like you Jane put such a lot of time and work into getting the the final piece looking just right (I know because you often e.mail the stages of your designs!) so if you are sharing them then they should not be abused by people whose only intention is to make money out of them.
I like Jane Mc, Corina and Ninettas comments - all tatters who I admire and who generously share so much of their work too.

Tally Tatty said...

Dear jane, why don't you write a book? We need it, as a reference work. For every 'stitch' that exists in tatting, you designed a lovely example, do tha we can learn and practice it in an entertaining way. I don't understand everything, but that is beside the point. Your book would soon become a global reference work on tatting, and editors would find it easier to refer to than your website.
Oh. I wish it was tias every day!

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

Happy Beaks
I beg your pardon? I didn't quite catch what you said.