Copyright question

I have been toying with designing, and had a question regarding copyrights. If you are using a pattern by someone else, and then decide to change it around and such, can you post it as your own pattern with all the changes. I am using the Ann Budd book as a base for learning some classic designs and embellishing them, so I was curious as to if that is designer or semi-plagiarising.


That’s a very tricky question. It depends on how many changes you made and how significant those changes are. Your finaly product has to be significantly different from the base garment. But the trouble, of course, is how to determine what “significant” means.

Don’t all designs start with kind of a base model, though? Like say you use a basic sock pattern that you pull from, but you end up striping it, putting mini cables, etc. It would be a different sock.

This stuff is so confusing. I often get inspired when I look at something and then completely change it…and wanted to be able to post the new stuff on my website.

I’ve been wondering the same thing! What are the norms here? It seems like the basic top-down sock, for instance, is such a standard. How can you avoid duplicating what others have done? And are you supposed to try, with such a basic pattern?! If you want to just make a basic sock, how do you go about claiming such a pattern as your own? It seems like people do it all the time, publishing “your basic sock pattern,” and they are all very very similar!

Certainly, you can always make it your own by adding some kind of color or texture pattern to it…

I was talking to a lawyer who specializes in copyright of creative material (mostly music and art), and he said that if you are the one determining the gauge, the color, the size, and any shaping options, then all these factors serve to make it your own.

I’d love to hear anything you find out about the topic!


Me thinks I am in need of a googling spree.

to be continued…

well come back and tell us what you find. although i’m new to knitting, i’m a seamstress (currently on hiatus) and design patterns. So while i’ve looked into this whole copyright mess a lot, I know I don’t have definitive answers. (Partially because really, there aren’t any!) I’d love to see wha tyou turn up :slight_smile:

My husband just got The Law (In Plain English) for Crafts by Leonard Duboff, for our Yule celebration. This is a GREAT book and it has a good section on patents, copyrights and trademarks, plus lots of other legal stuff. My husband is a woodworker and machinist, and I’m a crafty nerd, so it was important for us to understand our rights, the rights of our customers, and what the law says. Highly recommended!