COPYRIGHT question

If a knitting booklet is out-of-print…and let’s say the booklet copyright date is 1973…when do copyright laws not apply anymore?

When can a pattern in that booklet be scanned and shared with another knitter?

I vaguely remember hearing that a copyright pattern lasts for xx number of years…something like 25 or 50.

Does anyone know more about this? :??

The reason I ask…I knit a Baby Hoodie pattern back in 1977…but I didn’t own the booklet…my girlfriend’s mother did…and we were able to borrow the booklet from her mom. I have some tattered notes with the pattern directions, but not the booklet. I’ve knit this baby hoodie a dozen times over the years using my tattered notebook pages. I wish I owned the booklet!

Recently another knitter at Ravelry asked me where she could find the pattern. So I began an investigation, using Google Search. I found one booklet on Ebay (!) and it’s a bid auction, starting at $8. So I placed a bid…and right now I’m the high bidder with $15.50. My max bid is $20 and that’s it for me. I’m done. I won’t raise my bid over the $20, and even $20 is prolly ridiculous, but I’m sorta emotionally attached to this pattern, having knit it for my babies way back in the late 70’s.

But I’m curious…if I win the bid…can I scan the pattern and share it with this little German gal? I told her about the Ebay auction, and gave her first crack at it…but I guess is USA only…and German citizens have, and her Ebay has a copy of the booklet priced at $40, which we both agree is ridiculous. So she is jonesing around to get a free (shared) pattern from someone, and from what she said, someone might do this for her.

I’m still curious about old old old copyrighted and out-of-print patterns. :think:

Something becomes fair use after it has been in print for 75 years. At least that’s what the copyright divisions say at the publishing companies I work for.

So I bet that’s pretty reliable.

This site seems to explain it fairly well:

In general copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death. I was thinking that it was 75 years since the piece was published, but that’s not the case.

I found this statement at the link you provided, and it would seem to apply to a 1973 booklet w/ knitting designs:

[COLOR=Blue][B]Published from 1964 to 1977[/B] - When published with notice - copyright protection lasts 28 years for first term; automatic extension of 67 years for second term for a total of 95 years[/COLOR].

So I am translating it to mean that the 1973 booklet of designs will be protected from scanning, copying and sharing until the year 2068.

The [COLOR=Blue]paragraph in blue[/COLOR] doesn’t stipulate anything about the designer’s death. :??
(edited to add: the death of the designer is mentioned regarding things published after 1978…the leaflet I’m looking into was published in 1973 with a slightly different set of rules…death of designer not relevant)

Of course, the booklet isn’t a person, but the designs were created by an individual or a team of individuals. The booklet I’m referring to is a McCalls publication, but I don’t suppose that’s relevant.

And then there is the teensy few words on that copyright info page that say:
[COLOR=Blue]“If not renewed, now in public domain.”

[COLOR=Black]So if McCalls renews their copyrights…the lock on the designs will go on until my great-great-great-great-great grandchildren are knitters! In other words, the designs are lost. The original publication has disintegrated and the designs have become dust, and are gone forever. If they cannot be shared electronically for preservation, the hard copies are gone. Done. It’s sorta a shame. [/COLOR]

That isnt always true though. It’s a fuzzy area.

I found some info here about it in the questions toward the bottom-

I have this bookmarked-

And the specific question is sorta answered here-

Thanks for these links, too, Jan! One of the links provided a pdf copy of copyright information, and I downloaded it, and then uploaded it into my Google Drive. So now I’ll be armed with a clear picture of copyright FAQ’s next time someone asks me to share a pattern that’s out-of-print.

I’m rather curious to see what the McCalls booklet displays regarding its copyrights.
Well, that is [B]IF [/B]my max bid of $20 wins the auction.

BTW, the booklet I’m after is:

[B]McCall’s Makes It Just For Baby: 65 Things to Knit, Crochet, Sew,1973[/B]

Over at Ravelry, in the Pattern page for the Hooded Ribbed Jacket seen in that 1973 McCalls booklet, I posted my 2 cents in the comments section:

“It’s a crying shame that McCall’s has allowed this design to become lost, and unavailable to 21st Century knitters. With copyright laws that can lock up the design for 95 years from the publishing date, and maybe longer if McCall’s extends the copyright…it makes the design totally unavailable to 21st Century knitters. There are a few vintage copies of the Leaflet/booklet found on Ebay auction/bid basis only, but this hardly qualifies as a viable resource.”

I may write to McCall’s as well.

Yeah, I think out should write McCalls!

I wrote to McCall’s via their website, specifically found in their Customer Service.

[B][/B]>click [B]McCall’s[/B]>click [B]Customer Service[/B] tab>click [B]How to Reach Us[/B]>then fill in your name, email> and in the drop down box, select [B]Discontinued Patterns[/B]>enter your comment or question>[B]SUBMIT. [/B]

The Out-of-Print designs issue is an ongoing PITA. So I thought this one time, I’d take it a step further and write to the publisher who is guilty of locking up a pattern design and letting it slip into the Abyss due to copyright protection.

In my comment/question to McCalls, I specifically asked IF the booklet in mention is under copyright protection. (first things first) And if so, can they provide assistance with obtaining a copy of (specific design). And if not, I commented that it’s a shame that copyright protection on out-of-print booklets & designs makes a relevant design unavailable to 21st Century knitters. Furthermore, many knitters at Ravelry are in the same line of thinking, and are searching for this (specific design.)

I did mention Ravelry, because I’ve seen several comments posted by knitters who are tearing their hair out, looking for this Hooded Ribbed Jacket which is under lock-and-key in the ABYSS of Copyright Protection.

There are many vintage patterns that should be available to the public domain. I’ll send them something when I get back on the computer.

I might just say that copyright laws are different between Australia and American. We have a blanket 75 year after the death of the author.

Intellectual property laws are … well, confusing is probably the most polite way to say it. The last thing I remember hearing regarding copyrights was “life of the creator plus 50 years”. Patents are a whole different thing, but are renewable for… I forget how long.

Since almost everything in this mod’n world is now created by more than one person, the “life of the creator” becomes a very muddy issue. And it probably got even muddier when software moved out from under the umbrella of patent law and under copyright law. (Stupid since most software will be obsolete WAY before either a patent [I]or[/I] copyright would expire.)

Hopefully your query reaches someone at the publisher that actually knows the answer to your question. My guess is that (correct or not) they’ll tell you it’s protected, and the design will simply fall into The Abyss. Happens all the time.

I wonder how many changes it would take to make it a different pattern and therefore exempt from the copyright laws.

Interesting question, but I would think that it would have to be “materially different” in order to win if it ever got that far. And in this case, “materially different” sort of defeats the purpose. Because… well, this was the design you wanted in the first place!

Well, that’s certainly food for thought, Gramma…however, I think mojo11 nailed it. Significant changes (that would protect you in a court of law) would defeat the purpose.

I received a message (reply) from McCall’s Customer Service Dept today. Very nice…within 24 hrs.

First, here is my original message to them:

[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#7f0000]McCall’s Makes It Just For Baby: 65 Things to Knit, Crochet, Sew,1973 containing the[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#7f0000]Hooded Ribbed Jacket pattern: Are the designs copyright protected? The publication isout-of-print, therefore the designs are lost and unavailable to 21st Century knitters except via the[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#7f0000]secondary market with is hardly a viable resource. There are numerous 21st Century knitters who are looking for some of the more relevant designs featured in this out-of-print[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#7f0000]booklet, specifically the Hooded Ribbed Jacket. I am very conscious of copyright protection, andwant to locate this pattern through legal channels only. Thank you for your answer and/or [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#7f0000]assistance. Sincerely, Dollyce Beeman

[SIZE=2][COLOR=Black]Here is their [/COLOR][SIZE=2][COLOR=Navy][COLOR=Black]reply:

[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Hi Dollyce Beeman,[/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]We are very sorry but, we only go back 4 years and the pattern you have inquired has been discontinued and no remaining copies are available and we only go back three years for discarded patterns, please try our online catalog at[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=#0000ff][B][/B][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]for a similar pattern or you can try one of the following websites for a pattern service that may be able to find patterns that you are looking for[B]:[/B][/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Your interest in our patterns is appreciated and we wish you luck with your pattern search.[/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Kim Lettis[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Customer Service[/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]800-255-2762 ext 488[/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]
[LEFT][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]785-776-4041 ext 488[/SIZE][/FONT][/LEFT]

[SIZE=2]So now any of y[SIZE=2]ou[/SIZE] may write to McCall’s if you wish[SIZE=2] to get a mo[SIZE=2]re satisfying answer re[SIZE=2]garding OUT-OF-PRINT patterns and the copyright LOCK & KEY. [SIZE=2]You will notice, she sidestepped the question [SIZE=2]ARE THE[SIZE=2]SE DESIGNS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED?[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

[SIZE=2]We have a n[SIZE=2]ame, number and em[SIZE=2]ail address, as seen a[SIZE=2]bove in the reply.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/COLOR]


I’ve had places completely ignore my question before, too. I usually write them back.

Geeze, you could get the impression it’s a matter of national security or something. I guess politicians don’t have a corner on the market when it comes to saying nothing worthwhile and not answering a question. :zombie:

I’ll tell ya one thing, Gramma…if you ever had a neurotic designer turn loose on you…

…it’s almost like as if it was a matter of national security! No, I take that back…it’s worse than a matter of national security! If someone impinges on her/his MONEY and INCOME…it’s do or die time.

And I do believe that many of today’s designers have a ‘net’ that hunts and scavenges for mentions of their designs. I think if I emailed a pdf pattern to my girlfriend, and she knit it and posted it anywhere…the designer would become aware of it…and comparing your identity with her list of PAID CUSTOMERS…she’d wonder where you got your hands on the pdf. Some designers would have the unmitigated temerity to outright email you, asking about it.

The internet has changed everything these days. It allows us to cheat designer out of his/her income by way of electronic sharing of pdfs…and it allows her to stalk us.

It can get creepy.


Like for instance, if I gave the name of a neurotic designer that has stalked me…she’d prolly know what I am saying about her by tomorrow morning. She’s that neurotic, and crazy, and mean.

My sin? She didn’t like my comments in my Ravelry notebook. She thought I was saying too much about the pattern when I talked about my modifications, plans, etc. in my own Ravelry project notes. She [I]thinks[/I] other folks will troll the internet looking for snippets of her patterns to put together the pattern without buying it. She’s absolutely nuts.

So who wants to roll the dice and have a crazy designer on your butt forever more by sharing a copyrighted pattern with someone else? I’ve even had thoughts (when someone private messages me over at Ravelry, asking me to “share” a pattern that isn’t “free”) that perhaps its a a designer’s [B]spy![/B]