I am about to open a can of worms. Heated arguments over what can and cannot be copyrighted abound. But for my purpose I’d like to concentrate on Section 102 part b of the law which states:
In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept,
principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained,
illustrated, or embodied in such work.
A disturbing new trend is arising in the knitting world. Limit the amount of information given to the knitter who pays for your pattern and try to hog tie the person who paid for the pattern by preventing any transmission in writing or speaking about anything in the pattern.
I think some of the new “designers” out there need to get a grip on themselves. One trend I am seeing more and more are designers who no longer allow knitters to purchase patterns that have size ranges. What the knitter gets when he / she buys the pattern is information to make only one size, thus preventing the knitter from making a second garment for a friend or relative who may be a size larger or smaller than the knitter. If the knitter wants to make any size other than her own she needs to pay a second time for the same pattern in the other size.
I refuse to tech edit the patterns for these “designers”. I refuse to test knit their patterns. They are in direct violation of the copyright law. They cannot, in good faith, charge the knitter twice or more for the same pattern with different numbers. They do not own body measurements. Here’s a little surprise I’d like to share: Body Measurements are public domain information. Any knitter out there who pays money to find out body measurements has just thrown away their money. The information is all over the place free of charge.
The second disturbing trend tries to copyright idea, procedure, process, and system for knitting methods that cannot be copyrighted in this way. The “designer” in this case claims ownership of short row techniques. The knitter pays for a pattern filled with all types of warning that the information contained within cannot be shared in writing or speech with another person. Frankly, I think the CIA has less stringent rules covering the conversations of spies. Short rows are a procedure, a process, a system. They’ve been around forever. They cannot be copyrighted. No matter how you use short rows, whether you knit them while standing on your head, they are not subject to copyright laws.
Knowledge is power. It is the ultimate in power, even beyond money. I am greatly disturbed by the amount of knowledge some people try to prevent other people from getting. It is not a sign of a healthy, thriving civilization or culture. Do you ever wonder how all those rulers in the Dark Ages and Medieval times ruled so many people over vast expanses of land? The rulers kept the people ignorant. Ignorant people are easy to rule, and are easy to lie to. In short, they are easy to herd which ever way you want them to go because they know nothing different except what the rulers tell them. Knitting has never been based on keeping secrets. In order for the craft to flourish it needs open and honest sharing.
Historically, knitting knowledge was not something you paid for. It was freely given. Passed down from great grandmother to grandmother, to mother to daughter. This movement to restrict knitting knowledge stands in direct opposition to how the craft has developed and survived. In restricting the knowledge you can effectively kill the craft. I sincerely hope this is not the way we are heading.