Photocopying Patterns -- Is It Allowed?

Is it legal to photocopy patterns out of a library book? This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I mean, if I do end up buying the book from a store like Joann’s, I would be copying the patterns before I used them anyway.

So, what would be the difference if I copy them before I bought the book or after??

Any thoughts???

Yes, pages from library books can be copied as long as it’s not a substantial part of the book.

I agree with Suzeeq … if you’re just photocopying a pattern or two for your own personal use then there is no problem. Issues of copyright infringement arise when you get into copying entire books in order to avoid having to purchase them or if you were to photocopy them in order to sell/distribute them to others.

Although, come to think of it, I’m basing my answer on [I]my[/I] knowledge of law which is of the Canadian legal system … perhaps the US law on these matters is different! :teehee:

It’s fairly similar in the US. You can’t copy anything from a copyrighted publication for ‘gain’ (as in reselling), but portions of a work are allowed for personal use.

US law sounds pretty much the same. It is not a violation of copyright if the copy falls under “fair use” – which is a slippery term, but mostly means what it sounds like. See: for a more detailed summary of “fair use” under US Federal Copyright law.

Apart from the law, common sense should prevail. Your common sense tells you that copying 15 pages out of a pattern book “feels” different than photocopying 15 pages out of a novel. This is probably because it seems to you like it makes up a more substantial part of the whole copyrighted work than the “same” amount of another kind of work.

But this whole thing is rather fuzzy. If I photocopy out of a pattern book, the title page, the introductory material, the glossary, it “feels” different than if I copy a pattern straight from the book – even though both contain copyrighted material and someone else’s work – however, that does not mean that photocopying one pattern from a book is not fair use either.

I feel like if I check the pattern book out of the library and make the pattern at home, then return the book, in a way I have also “copied” the pattern – it is within the finished product I crafted and I can refer to that item itself without the book to use the same stitches or techniques later. But I think no one would consider that a violation of copyright law.

I have also photocopied patterns from books in the library to the extent that it did “feel” like it crossed the line of fair use (about 20 pages), but in that case it was copied from a book I had previously purchased and own, but was in storage in another city, so more convenient to copy from the library than to travel to the other city and retrieve my own copy.

I still say go with common sense, but also think about actually checking the book out of the library if that is possible. If the library knows that those sorts of books circulate they might be more likely to purchase more craft books in the future, helping the pattern makers, publishers, and library patrons.