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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Hiccup in Fabric Copyrights ---

Or --- things that REALLY scare me as a designer!

Grab a cuppa and sit down. This is a serious post about something that has happened to a fellow quilt designer.

The story goes like this:

Emily Cier is a modern quilter who writes books for C&T. Fabric manufacturers send her the latest newest lines of fabric for her to make quilts with, and these quilts go into her books. You’d think that is what the manufacturer would want, right? To get the fabric line out there in the public eye, hoping to sell more fabric.

And all was hunky dory until Emily was threatened with being SUED. For using fabric by a certain designer with a copyright on the selvage that says “For personal use only”.

WHAT?!

Emily writes:

“One designer — one that I’ve been a fan of since their first collection and I’ve come to respect over the years – decided that I’d violated their rights by including photo(s) of a quilt made with their fabric to demonstrate a pattern in one of my books. This particular fabric was sent to me from The Manufacturer — actually, it was their suggestion. Well, The Designer’s lawyers sent a Cease and Desist letter threatening to sue me if I don’t pay tens of thousands of dollars, plus lawyer fees, destroying all copies of the book, etc.”

What is this world coming to when quilt designers become afraid to use certain lines of fabric for fear of being sued? Over QUILTS? The quilts aren’t being sold themselves ---but designs MADE with the copyrighted fabric are the demo models used to promote patterns, books, bags, etc.

The following posts on Emily’s blog show the full story in all it’s ugliness:

http://carolinapatchworks.com/blog/2011/11/17/an-interesting-read/

http://carolinapatchworks.com/blog/2012/02/14/resolution-to-an-interesting-read/

http://carolinapatchworks.com/blog/2012/03/22/more-sides-to-the-story/


Imagine me in all my horror --- with all the 100’s of different fabrics used in my scrap quilts, trying to list each fabric line, each manufacturer, each fabric designer ---in fear of being sued for not mentioning such when I publish a book with a quilt that uses a recognizable piece of that fabric?

I admit that I don’t play with whole fabric lines, which would be really noticeable as "Oh, that's THAT line of fabric" ---you can’t walk into a quilt shop and find a ready made kit or fabric line to make one of my quilts “exactly”.

To me this goes right up there with someone entering a quilt in a show, winning a prize, and then being told that they violated either pattern or fabric copyright because they “profited” from the making of that quilt.

It’s out of hand.

I just want to quilt.

I want to play with my fabric and feel SAFE while I do so.

As a quilter, how does this whole mess make YOU feel?

And just to make myself feel better, I’m headed down to Gastonia today on a little Mary Jo’s Fabric Acquisition Road Trip to meet up with my friend Pati who is visiting the area from Florida! We plan on shopping, having lunch, maybe hit Ikea or the antique mall, and spend the day --- where I will keep such things as the whole content of this post and fabric copyrights in the WAY BACK of my mind lest it give me an ulcer.

This is a post that has info that quilters need to know, so if you want to pass it on to your other quilty places ---please do so.

Happy Monday, Peeps!

114 comments:

  1. This sicken me to the core as a fellow quilter and fabric lover. What's next, painters being sued for not mentioning the name of each color and manufacturer in a picture? Quilting is art, and in that art, is the interpretation of how fabric and pattern are used to create a larger piece of art. Our grandmothers were not sued. And I dare point out that many of those fabrics are now what inspires "reproduction" fabrics. It is just a sad day....If I knew who that offended designer was, I would boycott their lines, current and future. Boo on them!

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  2. Bonnie, Now I've heard it all. A fabric designer that actually puts 'for personal use only' on the selvage edge? Let's get real.

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  3. I've been reading about this type of thing and disgusted with the type of designers that would sue over using their fabric in a way that I think promotes their products. Or would sue because you posted a picture of a quilt they designed or a block they designed. What happened to quilters just sharing fabrics, ideas, and inspirations? I will NEVER buy from a designer who has sued whether she designed fabric, patterns, whatever. Thanks, Bonnie, for bring up this topic.

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  4. this is really weird - where she knew who made her fabric and where it came from how can we as scrap quilters know where all of our fabric comes from - when buying a fat quarter for instance we don't always have a piece on the salvage edge that gives us any information! I have never seen anything like this!
    Karen

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  5. Any fabric designer that thinks his/her fabric design is that special shouldn't have it for sale. I hope she budgets her $150,000 threat money. I don't plan on giving her a cent of my money ever again.

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  6. Anonymous8:48 AM EDT

    Hi,
    some weeks ago I first noticed the "for personal use only" on a selvedge and I was outraged! For me it is is the same as if the designer of a certain paint would sue an art-painter for painting with this paint.
    And what about a clothes manufacturer? Do they need a copyright to use fabrics?
    It is really ridiculous!
    I apologize for my poor English - Gina from Berlin/Germany

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    1. Actually, yes, a clothes manufacturer has to get a separate license for the fabric design because of the quantities they use. That was always my understanding of "for personal use only", that small run crafting would fall under personal use. Most of the design licenses I've been looking at recently put the limit of "small run" at anywhere from 20-50 items.

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  7. Please read carefully the explanation by Kate Spain in the link above, there is some clarification that is important to read. From what I understand, this was not an issue about fabric used in a quilt. It was about a bag that was made and merchandised without licensing permission from the designer.

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    1. I agree this is about the tote bags with printed fabric design, not the quilts or the book.

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    2. Anonymous1:21 PM EDT

      Please re-read the post again. The tote bags were a problem because they featured a photo of the quilt that used the fabric in them. The tote bags were not made from that fabric. Also it was the designers lawyers that went after money from both the sale of the book that had the photo of the quilt with the fabric in it and the tote bag with the photo of the quilt with fabric in it. They also went after the publisher. What is the point of designing or manufacturing a fabric you can't use in a quilt? Or having to hide said quilt in a dark hole in case it is ever photographed and put in a book or magazine and you get sued. I will not buy any fabrics I can not use as I please. They are too expensive to buy in the first place and I can afford fabrics that have restrictions on them.

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    3. Indeed it was about more then just the tote bag and I do agree that fabric today is expensive enough as is without having to think about how you as the buyer want to use it. I for one will think more then once before I buy fabric with any restrictions printed on them.

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  8. about 10 years ago I was making graphic signatures for emails and the same thing happened, it seriously takes the fun out of it. As long as we're giving credit where credit is due what is the problem ?

    Jan

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  9. This has got the be the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. First of all when I see the fabric used in a quilt by my favorite designers it more often than not makes me want to hunt that fabric down and buy some thereby creating greater sales for the fabric designer. And I think most people are like me. I hear all the time "ooh what fabric is that?" and then others buy it. Honestly it does make my head hurt. I agree with copyright rules but we're getting so far over the line that these copyright fanatics are going to drive themselves out of business. It makes one afraid to do anything. It will also end up driving newbies away from the craft because it's just not worht the hassle.
    So what's next..."buy my book and look at my patterns but you can't make any of them" from the designers? Where do we draw the line between protecting copyright and just plain idiocy.

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  10. my head spins... Ikea and Mary Jo's sounds like a good antidote. I am stopping at the Charlotte Ikea (my first Ikea trip EVER) on my way to SC next month... so excited!!! There is some fabric there calling my name... now to convince Hubby that we need a rest stop somewhere near Mary Jo's also...

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  11. I bought some fabric a couple of years ago that I was planning on using to make a bag to sell. As I was ironing prior to cutting I noticed the "personal use only" info on the selvage. I have never bought that designer's fabric again and now I always check for any disclaimers on selvage. (The original piece in question was "designed" by Marie Osmond for pete's sake...and that's all I am going to say about that!) If there is a disclaimer, it just doesn't come home with me.

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  12. it is just crazy and I will not buy any fabric with that on selvedge - lets see how that sits with them

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  13. I highly suggest everyone read the post provided by Kate Spain and find the true facts on this case. Bonnie you are spreading half truths and misinformation. This is not about using her fabric in a quilt that was published in a book, it is about using the image of the quilt made with Kate's fabric and printing it on tote bags that were going to be sold for profit. There is a HUGE difference. Kate states that quilters are free to use her fabrics to make quilts to produce patterns and books and to make things to put on Etsy or to sell at quilt shows. You can't use her fabrics to mass produce items to be sold at places like Walmart etc. In other words, commercial production. You cannot also take photos of her fabrics and them make new items with that photo - such as printing the photo on mugs, tote bags, mouse pads. The author of the book is not being truthful about the issue at hand. She is either doing this out of ignorance or spite for getting her hand slapped for breaking copy write laws. By the way, Kate's fabric does not say "For Personal Use only" on the selvedges. It does say that is is licensed through Moda. The true people at fault here is the publisher of the book, C&T. They were the ones that authorized the tote bags, the book author got dragged into this because she is the originator of the product that caused the problem. If C&T had their act together regarding copy write and licensing issues, then everyone would not have been put into this situation.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. If it were as simple and innocent sounding as your post suggests why did Ms. Spain feel that the first step to take was seeing an attorney? What ever happened to open and honest discussions to reach an agreement? I did read Ms. Spain’s blog and her efforts to smooth the ruffled feathers of many disenchanted purchasers of her fabric lines. I think that she has caused herself great financial harm in the quilting world. There is much to be said about the old adage of ‘Look before you leap’! Sue in Oregon

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  14. you have nothing to worry about bonnie. . . . you can claim to use ALLL old shirts (scraps and shirttails) ;c)

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  15. As someone who sells their quilts frequently, I have has some scary experiences. Here is one short one that I thought was a bit over the top. I used to belong to a guild, and a designer had some to present at a meeting. She was selling her patterns, and I purchased a few. A few minutes later she approached me, demanding the patterns back. She said someone had told her I sold my work and she wouldnt sell patterns to me if there was a chance I'd use even a portion of that pattern or technique in something I was going to sell. I explained to her that I sold placemats, tablerunners, wallhangings and purses - the patterns I purchased were for large quilts, but she was so insistent I just gave her the patterns back. I was stunned that she would feel so strongly. I am sure people can understand where she is coming from, and for a pattern I can see that logic a little more clearly. But to sue someone over a fabric line? That seems insane to me.

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  16. They are going too far with this.

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  17. Anonymous9:34 AM EDT

    I have never produced a book or even a pattern for that matter. But if I did I could see how this would be such a headache. I agree with you Bonnie it is getting out of hand. The fabrics are made to be used just like patterns in books and magazines. Then when they are made and displayed at a quilt show and maybe a winner,the quilter is in trouble because it is someone else's pattern or fabric.
    I say the same about guilds.I love guilds(I belong to three) but the politics of it all is overwhelming. I just want to quilt and sew.I don't care who voted for what and who seconded it. Can we get to the quilting part!! Isn't that why we are here!!

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  18. I think the bottom line was the use of the fabric designers fabric image being used on a tote bag to promote the book... But will still make you stop and think...

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  19. I agree; they are going way too far with all of this. It could make people afraid to buy fabric. If people don't want their fabric to be used they shouldn't design/sell it.....patterns either.

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  20. Anonymous9:43 AM EDT

    many years ago i saw that line "for personal use only" on a fabric. i think it was at Wal-Mart (when they still sold fabric!)and the fabric was cut outs of raggdy ann and andy used to make dolls. i can understand why a fabric company would put that line on such fabric to prevent someone from making a lot of dolls to be sold at flea markets,and such. but i can't for the life of me understand putting that line on regular fabric that was being marketed as quilting fabric.

    Even if the fabric was donated by the manufacturer and not sold, there still should have been a full disclosure form given to the lady who made the quilt regarding the use of the fabric (ie for a single demo model only) and that all rights to said demo quilt were retained by the manufacturer.
    pam dudgeon@aol.com

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  21. Points well made Janet H...but still! And don't get me wrong, I understand copyright laws very well. Were those tote bags going to Walmart (or similar)? Was said designer's fabric the prominent focus of the quilt? What about the other fabrics used?

    This whole thing still makes me uneasy. For example, I print photos of my art quitls onto my business cards and promotional materials, with the purpose to gain customers or lecture bookings. I could just as easily print note card sets or put them on coffee mugs or publish a collective of my body of work. Do I really have to fret about whether some small snippet of some fabric or other is showing?? Sounds like maybe I do, since those images are designed to create a profit for me, eventhough the final product is my original creation.

    Yet another reason I hand dye and primarily use my own fabrics now...but wait. Who grew the cotton? Who made the plain fabric? And let's not forget the trucker who delivered the bolt. Or the cardboard factory who made the bolt form. And God for sending the sun and rain to grow the cotton. And the Bolweevil, for not consuming the plant, letting it live.

    Not trying to be snotty...just trying to humorously illustrate how out of hand it could all get.

    Like I said, I get copyright. I rely on it myself. And no, no one should be mass producing someone else's stuff without proper licensing and compensation. But somewhere common sense should factor in.

    Except I think the lawyers killed common sense. But that's another topic for another day.

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    1. Anonymous9:59 AM EDT

      wasn't it Shakespeare who said to kill all the lawyers?!?

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    2. Anonymous10:51 AM EDT

      And there's another quote taken out of context. Go read where Shakespeare wrote it, and what he meant by it, and you will see he was paying lawyers a high compliment.

      -Melinda E.

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    3. Anonymous5:55 PM EDT

      Doctor in the OR I worked in "What do you call 150 lawyers at the bottom of Lake Michigan?.....A good start."

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  22. Since the designer has been named, I hope that everyone reads her explanation as well before condemning her. Remember, there's two sides to every story, and the truth falls somewhere in between. (And I'm not on either side - I think there were rights and wrongs on both sides.)

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  23. Bonnie- I posted your entry on my blog today. I gave you credit and I added my own rantings on there as well. I thank you for sharing this info, just really sad that it has to be shared! Have a fun dy with your friend.

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  24. Just when I thought I was getting copyright all figured out for guild usage etc.. we run into another hiccup!

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    1. Anonymous10:17 AM EDT

      I feel like this copyright crap could kill the quilting industry. Hmmmm....then we would have no use for fabrics from designers.....and THEN where would they be?

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  25. This is CRAZY and makes me sick. I thought the whole idea of the manufacturer giving the fabric was so that it would be used, so that people would see the patterns, books etc and seek out the fabric thus increasing sales of the fabric. This Hot Mess does just the opposite. And like so many above... I'll be checking the salvage edge and if there is a disclaimer, it won't be coming to my house or used in my patterns. Note to those who use such disclaimers... when you go out of business you have NO ONE but yourself to blaim.

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    1. Anonymous3:31 AM EDT

      I will be looking for those fabrics in the sale bin.

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  26. should have said blame... oops.

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  27. i'm sitting here with my cuppa, scratching my head. what the....? things that make you go mmmmmm :>)

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  28. That should be a no-brainer! If the designers don't want it used and displayed, they shouldn't put it out there for everyone to see! Keep it for their own personal use and hidden away in their home so no one will accidentally SEE IT!!

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  29. Anonymous10:07 AM EDT

    Pretty sad when you have to worry about what fabrics you use in your works of art.
    Maryella

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  30. Anonymous10:08 AM EDT

    I read Kate's post too, and many of the comments, and I too conclude it was a copyright infringement by way of them mass producing and selling totebags. I think the publisher and fabric company are at fault as they are more deeply involved in design and copyright and they should have have known. Also someone mentioned that "for personal use" was not meant for crafters to stop making things for friends and family, but to prevent manufacturers from purchasing it and mass selling items made from those particular fabrics. Bonnie, you don't have to worry at all.
    Andrea

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  31. so if I have a rummage sale and sell curtains or placemats that were of this print, Im making a $2 profit,,,, ???? Or if I make a quilt that happens to get in the paper and promotes my quiltsy efforts?? does personal use only prohibit making things to share? some I give away some I sell to freinds..?? Or I share a lil pencil sketch that blooms into a quilt that looks like something I saw last week somewhere.?? All I can say is what a mess !!! Ill stay small and give away my stuff for the pure joy of creating ! but like several on here i'll now watch those selvage lines... crazy !

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  32. This is all ridiculous. The lawyers should have just made them attach a label to the outside of the tote stating that the fabric was by Kate Spain. Then she would have gotten the credit and the problem would have been solved easily. There is really no need to get so extreme. The same type of thing is going on at pinterest which is why I deleted my account.

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  33. I already have heard about that whole story yesterday or so and I took the time to read all the linked postings from the original post, which included Kate Spain's post with her things to say about the whole story.
    After having spent about half an hour on reading everything, 2 cups of tea to calm down, then taking a quick look at the prints by Kate Spain and bein happy that I never spent a cent on that stuff, I took a while to think about the whole situation.
    The conclusion that I came to was that, like Janet H. mentioned, C&T publishing made the mistake there. There is no problem at all to make a mistake and there isn't a problem either to find a way to solve it.
    BUT:
    Didn't the first letter from the lawyer say something about destroying all books containing that particular picture?
    And in the end Kate Spain didn't mention anything about that?

    Sorry to say, but this whole story seems to me that Kate Spain probably found out that this whole thing ment to have a lost image - at least in that part of the quilting world that knows about this story.

    I don't want to judge her, that's just my opinion.
    It was sort of a personal attack against Emily Cier, nothing else.

    I am happy that I will most probably never publis a book or anything. Nor will I sell quilts in an online shop or wherever I need to write down and give credit for the fabric that I used.

    Needless to say that I don't buy huge amounts of the same fabric. Most of the time it's just 1/3 of a yard or even just a long quarter. No big chance to get the name of the designer or the line on the sevedge there.

    Do I bother?
    No, I don't. And I won't. Never.
    If there is one special fabric line that I love, I usually buy more yardage. Then, and just in that very special case, it's worth to give credit to the designer - because:
    I will always remember the designer and the name of the collection because it was WORTH to save this information.
    Every other fabric that I use is just some sort of filler or it was the color needed for a special part of the quilt or it was just yet another small amount of fabric that has been around for too long and went into the "make a scrappy quilt out of me"-fabric bin.

    I'm curious about how things will go on after this éclat.

    I have never been a fan of Kate Spain's designs, but after this, I will surely NEVER spend a penny on her stuff.

    Oh, and I almost forgot to mention:
    The fact, that many people who buy books as a guide to make a quilt, will make sure to get the same fabrics that have been used in the quilt shown in the book should be enough "credit" for the designer. Usually those who are into quilting will find out about the fabric used anyway...

    And now I need yet another cup of tea to calm down.

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  34. Regina Penfold10:19 AM EDT

    Hmmmm....are they trying to destroy the quilting industry....and then just who will even be buying their copyrighted fabrics?

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  35. Glad "Jane" didn't copyright her pattern..... :]

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  36. It makes me wonder who is worrying about the REAL crimes - how nice to have nothing else to worry about other than tote bags!

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  37. Every coins has two sides, I miss the link to the designer that Emily is talking about.

    Everybody should read the posting posted at Kate Spain blog too.

    I think it would help and everyone can make up his or her own opinion.

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. I just got the white galant 24" x 47" table and vika alex five drawer in white too. I'm in heaven, so sturdy and clean looking. Which helps in my cluttered life! I love Ikea. I can't tell you how cute my "new" pfaff smarter C1100 looks on it!

    Good cure to copyright ulcers producing stuff!

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  40. Anonymous10:49 AM EDT

    I would not purchase anything from a designer who did this...beyond belief and common decency. I have found the best way to let someone know you disagree with their policies is to not purchase any of their products...whether it's cleaning supplies, cd's, movies, etc...and now, apparently FABRIC...

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  41. Between this and people attacking everyone that uses Pinterest I don't know what the world is coming to.

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  42. First we had to ask permission to display a quilt in a quilt show made off a pattern...stupid.

    Now there are restrictions on how we can use fabric we buy.

    Designers...if you sell your pattern or fabric via mass marketing, you lose control of how it is used.

    Look at the regulation mindset...ridiculous...sounds like the government.

    Live free and create!

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    1. Aloha, Jo12:12 PM EDT

      Live Free and Create!
      Beth, you must be from New Hampshire...

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    2. Everything said within a few lines. Great way of looking at things, Beth.

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  43. I think it has become too easy to file a lawsuit. If people have to put disclaimers on everything... like personal use only in the selvedge... then it's just an indication that they have lawyers in their back pocket and to watch out.

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  44. I did read the posts made by both sides and I think the whole mess should have been resolved privately and most definitely without calling in the lawyers. C&T most certainly should have gotten approval before selling the tote bags, and Kate Spain should not have had her lawyers attack the author who used the fabric as it was intended to be used. Shabby behaviour by both sides, and my dollars will be spent elsewhere.

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  45. Oh Bonnie! PLEASE don't go getting quilters all over the world so UPSET! You have only half the story. The real issue is licensing designs for use other than fabric/quilts. NOT making a quilt. Please, read and study the whole issue before just putting up a part of the pie.

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  46. I read all the blogs and the links over the weekend - at first I was outraged and honestly 'scared' to think in our safe little quilting world something like this could happen. (I also had to run and look because I was quite certain I actually HAVE the 'celebrity' bag - I do...oooo, I feel wicked..LOL).

    But now that it's soaked in a few days...I'm still outraged, but mainly I'm sad for the type of publicity this has generated...
    depending on whose 'side' you are on, ..the other is 'evil' (I try to be Switzerland - most of the time). But really,shouldn't the book publisher have "known better?" Sad because I can't imagine the emotional roller coaster Emily must have been/is on. (my stomach takes a plunge when we even get mail from the IRS and it's only a mass mailing for new changes and rules - threatened with a lawsuit I would surely be fitted for a padded suit).

    On the other side, Kates fabric designs are copywrited, and if that means the 'image' of her fabrics is protected from mass marketing - again, the book publisher should have 'known better' than to mass market the tote bag. (I believe the quilt made was with ALL KS fabs, a picture taken of said quilt - and the bags produced - I doubt when Emily first made the quilt for her book she could even fathom a tote might be an offshoot,and afterall she WAS given the fab...to use...by yet another party...yikes). There was never a lawsuit, but only the 'threat' of one (that alone would have done me in) But if only the "tote" was the focus of the "lawsuit" - why were the books threatened? And Emily didn't "make" the totes - why was she threatened to pay such a horrendous fine? Doesn't make sense to me.

    What does make sense...we really don't know the whole enchilada..as someone once said, "take both sides of the story and the truth is usually somewhere's in the middle" - but the whole issue does stop and make you think...at least it makes me think...our safe little happy quilt world - is not so safe, not so happy anymore. How sad.

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    1. When someone is suing the lawyers tend to include everyone in sight -- guilty or not. My husband got sued by someone by someone in a multi-car accident even though he was one of the ones who got hit! We were freaking out until the insurance company told us not to worry. Sure enough, our names were dropped from the suit once our insurance company got involved.

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  47. All this is very confusing to me. I do buy fabric when I see how pretty it is used in quilt in magazines or books. Such a shame. I am afraid it is all about greed. This is supposed to be fun for us all. I thought what the designers wanted was to sell the fabric and making quilts to show inspires all us quilters to use the fabrics. Ugh! Such a shame.

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  48. Can you believe that I'm scared to death to use her fabrics that I recently purchased? I'm not even a designer of any kind or a pattern writer! I'm just an ordinary quilter/crafter having fun with hopes of selling off the items I make just to get them out of the house (not necessarily to make a profit). I have fabrics that I've purchased way back in the 90s. Many are fat quarters without the info on selvages. Am I expected to know who designed and made what? Scary scary scary!

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    1. I am with you Leann. I have bought fabric (mainly fat quarters) and i dont see selvages with any writing because there are some I would like to purchase more but dont recall where I bought it or the brand or design, if I even knew that when I purchased it in the first place. How am I to know if I plan to enter a quilt into a show until it is done? It is not like most of us is a professional contest participants. I would like to have options. Besides what would our foremothers say about the use of squares or triangles? Who really designed those? So isnt everyone copy-cats and enfringing on someone?

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  49. I haven't read all the replies, so maybe this has already been said. But I think, if I buy the fabric it's mine to do with as I please. The designer and the manufacturer have taken my money for their product. I've purchased their product. They have made their intended profit from the design. If I go on to do something else with it,as a color of fabric, then that is my stuff. I turned their fabric into my item. They should be happy that I'm advertising for them for free!

    I'm not saying when someone blatantly uses a designers fabric, and then calls their item by the same name. Not that at all. But when you use odd bits here and there, and it's part of your item as a whole.

    This country has gone so over the top in lawsuits it's sickening.Be happy you marketed something and made the sale!

    Maybe the designers/manufacturers should think about this-
    A group of people I chat with boycotted an entire designer because of this very thing. Now, we are not buying their stuff at all! Is that what they want? Bolts of unsold fabric because they got greedy? I doubt it.

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  50. Crazy Crazy world. So glad I'm a quilt Hoarder. When I don't keep them for myself, they go to friends and family. When I post a Picture on the Blog I do Name drop the maker of the fabrics, so I hope I'm safe there. I get teased about being a Name Dropper. Never bought any of Kate Spain's Fabrics.

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  51. Awww, Bonnie, thanks for consistently teaching us what quilting is ALL about...creating, sharing and the most important social aspect of just loving each other. I'm praying for Emily...this had to have been HORRIFYING for her. I can't imagine. Someone missed the mark/made a mistake, but NOTHING that calls for hurting someone like that! I'd make my kids talk and work it out BEFORE such threats to another person...my mama taught me that lesson before kindergarten. Lawyers should have better things to do. I hope I am free to use ALL the shirts I have without legal ramifications that would fluster any soul to oblivion! Are shirt fabrics free of copyright troubles?
    Lucy~

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    1. Depends on who made them...designer labels? Do we have to hand onto those now? Hmmm...I see quilt backs becoming one big disclaimer/credit/etc. document....

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  52. Bonnie: I was curious enough that I went and read the posts and then I went to Kate's blog and read her post and many of the comments left there. I myself, have decided not to buy Kate's fabric knowingly and have sent Moda an email stating such. Greed is way out of control in America. Once I buy fabric it should be mine to do with as I please and no one can dictate it's use or if I sell the product I've made. Because of issues like this I haven't opened an etsy even though I've been encouraged by many in my community to do so when they see the unique things I make and give as gifts. I don't need the money so bad that it's worth all these headaches that come to people who create.
    Cindy

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  53. Here is the tote bag in question.

    www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005XJU4CC/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

    Clearly the photo used to produce the bag features the fabric and not the quilt. Kate Spain was definitely in her right to contest the use of this image for production of a product that is clearly not a quilt. Bonnie, what if someone took a photo of one of your quilts and then printed that image on thousands of tote bags to sell for profit and they never asked your permission or mentioned on the bag that you are the one who created the quilt in the image. What if that same person creates the bags, with images of your quilt on it and then added words that were inappropriate or additional images that are sexually explicit. Would you be happy about that? Wouldn't you want control over preventing someone from using your creation in an inappropriate manner, or at the least, prevent someone from profiting from a design that you spent countless hours designing? Again, this whole thing is not about using Kate Spain's fabric in the quilt, or even in the quilt book (although the author should have acknowledged who designed the fabric if that what the whole quilt is made with). Those things are allowed and encouraged by Kate. But you can't use her "design" and create a non quilt item for your profit with out her permission. End of story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read both Emily and Kate's blog posts about this issue. It looks to me that C&T is the entity at fault. I have seen quilts in books and magazines made from of complete fabric lines that give attribution to the designer/manufacturer. [Heck, "The Quilter" magazine is all fabric lines all the time. Not to my taste.] I haven't seen the book, but if the quilt that Emily designed from that Kate fabric were attributed, okay. BUT THEN C&T went and made a commercial tote using the design. What C&T should have done was attribute the tote design--on the tote bag--"design by Emily Cier featuring [Fabric Line] by Kate Spain." Yeah, C&T might have had to pay royalties.

      Me? I don't buy "eco totes." $6.95? No way. I get toes for free at library conferences, and if I didn't have tha source I would make my own.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous4:58 PM EDT

      I just followed the link to see what the fight was about. On top of everything else, they didn't cut that fabric small enough yet....

      -Melinda E.

      Delete
    3. Melinda made me laugh ;-)

      Delete
    4. Anonymous7:47 PM EDT

      Exactly what I was thinking, Melinda!
      Andrea

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    5. On top of everything else, they didn't cut that fabric small enough yet....
      laughing here in Indiana too!
      Subee

      Delete
    6. I really hate all the links to the tote on Amazon...Seriously...does no one have an image of the back of the bag? As I understand it from the post on Emily's blog, it specifies the name of her book, and the image on the front isn't a stack of fat quarters from Kate's fabric line, it's a close up of Em's quilt that used the fabric in question. It's clearly related directly to the promotion of the book, nominal fee or not. Now should the publishing company have known better? Sure. But was this Em's crusade to screw Kate out $$? No...And did this need to get SO blown out of proportion with threats for the destruction of the book and thousands of dollars in fines? No. It's ridiculous. And a very sad day for the sewing community at large.

      Delete
  54. The name of the game in the U.S. is money, money, money....continually how to get more of it. As I understand it, C&T Pub. authorized that tote bags be printed with an image of a quilt the designer had in a book made with the fabric line in question. C&T should have been the only ones being sued but the designer got dragged into the middle of it by the lawyers whose only interest is naming enough people in the suit to get as much money as possible. Even though the designer wasn't at fault, it would still be heart stopping to get one of those letters.

    I guess from now on, if I see that "for personal use only" phrase on a selvage I will just put that fabric back on the shelf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not only is it heart-stopping to get one of those letters, but it can be expensive to defend yourself even if it never reaches the actual lawsuit stage. I wouldn't even want to respond to the C&D without an IP lawyer at my side.

      I'm not sure from what I've read whether the lawyers went after the author because they were casting a wide net or if they were following the paper trail allowing C&T to use her design. I suspect the totes were printed under a "use of design for promotional purposes" clause in her contract with them.

      And here I was starting to choose fabrics to make items for a charity bazaar. I'm now having serious second thoughts about doing bazaar items at all. The patterns and embroidery designs I planned to use all clearly allow for limited use for resale. The fabrics? In most cases, I no longer have the selvages to check.

      Even though the designer in this case says outright that she loves for people to use her fabrics to make things for their Etsy shops, overenthusiastic lawyers worry me. And they would worry me even more if I were in Bonnie's situation.

      Delete
  55. Anonymous2:01 PM EDT

    That is horrible! Why would a designer give the fabric to be in a book, then say "No, you can't do that!". It is one thing being in a book. The quilt is not being sold, but an example of what one can do. I see it as no different than looking at a blog or examples in a quilt shop (where I have seen quilts for $450+). It is not like Etsy where people make things with fabric and sell it for a profit. Every piece of fabric I have come by has the "for personal use only" copyright. If I knew the fabric designer, I'd boycott them. They just seem so greedy, I don't think they deserve my business.

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  56. Calm down ladies. This is not about using the designer's fabric in a quilt even when that quilt appears in a book. It's about the publisher having used images of the designer's fabric to manufacture totes. The quilter/author should never have been named in the lawsuit, but lawyers tend to include everyone in sight when they are threatening a suit.

    So I don't think any of us have anything to worry about. I think the lawyers are the one at fault for the bad feeling generated by this whole situation.

    --C.B.

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  57. Anonymous3:36 PM EDT

    I am upset and confused. While I do not really know which "side" to take about the tote, I think the dangers that this type of thinking re: the book and quilt scare me very much. I make mostly scrap quilts. I do not always have the edges to see if some manufacturer has claimed that this is copyright and I can only use this for personal use. If I purchase a piece of fabric, I am paying for it (or if a friend donates a scrap to me, someone paid for it) I should be allowed to use it. Why produce fabric (a product intended to be used for other things) and not allow people to really use it. I can understand not stealing that design and remanufacturing it, but... this type of thing just floors me. I guess I will try to make sure I do not buy this fabric with the copyright for personal use only stuff on the edge. I am just shaking my head. This limits some of our creativity.

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  58. Anonymous4:56 PM EDT

    This whole mess is so sad. The quilt part of our local county fair has almost gone away because of this type of thing. We aren't allowed to even put our names on a quilt so it would never do to acknowledge designers or manufacturers. Thank goodness I have enough stash to last me the rest of my quilting life! Plus I have never heard of Emily or Kate. Toni in TN

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  59. I'm surprised that Amazon still has the bag up for sale! I surprised that the lawyers for Kate Spain just didn't demand royalties on the tote bag and leave it at that! Demanding all the books be destroyed it foolish and extremely wasteful of resources. They going to recycle the paper or just landfill it? Looking at the tote bag, Yes, it definitely shows more fabric line than quilt design. It would have been better to have the tote bag show more "quilt" than "fabric line". I bet C&T will be more careful now. So sad for everyone. Could have been handled with much more courtesy and gratefulness on Ms Spain's part that her fabric was being showcased in such a way as to get it to people who don't quilt. Shame on C&T for not getting it right in the first place, that's why they have lawyers and shame on Ms Spain's lawyers for upsetting the quilting world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the online quilting boards and forums I belong to, the posts are against how she handled the matter, seems all she wanted was the money and to be right at any expense.

      Delete
    2. If you read Stash books blog today you will find many misconceptions floating around.

      Delete
  60. Anonymous7:22 PM EDT

    Personally, I feel that if she has been paid by the fabric manufacturer for use of her design on their fabric, then the fabric technically belongs to said fabric company and they can do with it what they wish, including sending free samples to quilt designers who, in turn, design patterns with that fabric. Patterns sell fabric. Period.

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  61. Anonymous7:24 PM EDT

    I just saw the tote and agree with the person above who stated 'the fabric wasn't cut small enough'. That's my 2 cents worth.

    Bonnie, this is your blog -- you have every right to write what you want. We have the choice of reading it or not. My day is not complete until I've had my 'what's Bonnie up to today' moment. Keep blogging and I'll keep reading!!
    Mary A

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  62. Everyone needs to go to Stash book's blog http://www.stashbooksblog.com/2012/03/a-few-thoughts-about-copyright-and-quilts/ and read the post. Not everything is black and white. They mistakenly made a totebag from a quilt that used only her fabric line prominently (not scraps of many lines) and then sold them. The lawyers wrote the letters and rightly so as CT were using her work to sell a product NOT the fact the fabric was used in a quilt pictured in the book. Though apparently they didnt credit the fabric line which you should if its being used in such a specific way. Because copyright is so fluid in how its applied. Read all sides and don't judge on he said she said or emotions. It is her livelihood that is threatened if she lets it slip without consequence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then why did they want the books destroyed too? If it was just the totes they shouldn't have insisted the books be destroyed?? Right?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2:17 PM EDT

      The financial value of the lawsuit is higher with the books included than with totes only, which results in more money for the law firm. As simple as that.

      Delete
  63. I just purchased some fabric for the back of a wall hanging, and I used one small piece on the front, and of course I was pushing the deadline, when I noticed those dreaded words, for personal use only on the selvage. I was hoping, after the guild challenge to try to sell the quilt, but I guess it will be mine forever...I sure do not want to be sued. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are not mass marketing using her product. A single quilt for personal use can include selling it. That was the true issue the mass marketing of an object where her copyrighted pattern was the prominent focus without getting her permission first.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Colleen!

      Delete
  64. What happens when we buy pre-cut fabrics like charm squares or jelly rolls? How do we know what was printed on the selvage?

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  65. C &T publishing CEO has posted a blog entry on the topic. It offers even more information on the matter. Www.ctpubblog.com

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  66. Anonymous9:23 PM EDT

    I agree. Things have gotten totally out of hand.

    Some people will never be happy until they have made everybody else miserable.

    ReplyDelete
  67. oh wow... you post here in the evening had me look up this one....
    I don't know what to say, other than the fabric designer is out of her/his mind.... that's the whole point of getting fabrics featured in books/magazines etc. is to have people fall in love with the fabrics and want to buy it for themselves, as long as you give the fabric designer or company credit..... very ODD.
    I'm currently making my #2 quilt for a quilt magazine, they accepted two designs from me for the first time and I've finished one already- ready to ship out and they told me that designers get free fabrics too and I tried two different companies and got fabrics from both, one set for each quilt, they are gorgeous! and of course the magazine knows what fabrics I got and will reference that.... now maybe you know this? if I use a block in a design that someone sent me a picture of and don't know the name of the block- it's not fanyc and not the focus of the quilt, as far as I know I can't get into trouble.... I mean a block is a block, unless it's something specific that hasn't been seen before, but most simple blocks are OLD.

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  68. I am glad I am living in Japan! The auction quilt we just made, inspired by a well-known Japanese quilt teacher with her verbal permission, went for one million yen. Bi-lingual lawyers bight be a bit expensive.

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  69. I never pay attention to the fabric designers. I buy what I like. I never read selvages, I just cut them off and drop them in the dog bed stuffing bag at the quilt shop. If I were to have a quilt published I would not know who made the fabric to list it. I never thought to pay attention to that. Now I need to go check the selvages of teh fabrics I have to see if any of them sa for personal use Only.

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  70. So if this was all about the bags, why did Kate want the books destroyed too? It seems a little overboard to insist the books be destroyed also if your only concern is the tote bags. Obviously the agenda was a little wider than Kate's claim that it was the bags she was concerned about.

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  71. In some ways it is a pity that this was settled out of court and not litigated - a court decision may have added some certainty and reduced some fear! I only know Australian law but I believe that the designer would have lost. It becomes quite hard to claim copyright in a design once it has been used downstream in this way.

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  72. I work for lawyers, fortunately not for litigation, but for corporate. However, even in this area, we do cease and desist letters, but, and here's the big BUT, we do them if there is clear and obvious misuse of copyright/trademark/trade name/patent infringement and only if the client has not been able to resolve the issue with the offending party! Ethical attorneys try to mediate resolutions before threats and lawsuits. In any case, long before the letter goes out there are extensive "meetings" (ie, emails, pdfs, etc.) with the client and a lot of "tweaking" of the letter. Ms. Spain knew exactly what the letter said and she knew it was not just going to the publisher. In this industry, a polite letter to the publisher would have probably resolved a lot of issues. This was seriously mishandled and I feel Ms. Spain is doing a lot of paddling to keep her head above water, sadly.
    It is terribly unfortunate that these threats of lawsuits happen so much. It's also terribly unfortunate that designers and artists have their work stolen and misused far too regularly. I seriously doubt that was the case here and I do think that if Ms. Spain had written/called/emailed the publisher and expressed her concerns, there would have been no need for what happened. Common sense seems to have gone completely out the window. Ms. Spain's "explanation" left a really bad taste in my mouth and I'd have to think twice about purchasing her fabric or fabric from any designer that said "for personal use only" - I'd worry too much about the ramifications.

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  73. Lawyers will always state the most extreme case to get their wishes. Plus after they agreed to remove the tote it is still being sold on places like Amazon-and it is not about the quilt but the fabric if you see the tote http://www.amazon.com/Publishing-Totes-Scrap-Republic-Eco/dp/B005XJU4CC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1332851538&sr=8-2

    ReplyDelete
  74. As Emily clarified in her last post, the issue really seemed to be with the promotional tote bag that was used/sent to promote the book. Looking at the picture in the link that Janet H posted, I could see where Kate Spain would have an issue (since it only used her fabric and that fabric is pretty prominently featured), especially if as she noted on her post about the issue, when she issues a design license each end-user is given a license for a *specific* use of her design i.e. on fabric (for personal use only) or cards (for retail) or wearables (for promotion), ect. In this case, no license was issued for use on tote bags for retail or promotion so in that instance she (or her lawyers) would be justified in raising a beef.

    But if that was the case then the thing I don't understand is why Emily and her book were targeted. She was given the fabric to use in a quilt and did so but (as far as I know) did not make the tote bag. It seems that only C&T should have been a party to the lawsuit if it was their promotional idea. And I'm surprised that a publisher would not be the one to be well versed in what constitutes "fair use" of fabric and when a fabric designer must be approached for permissions for use or given credit in publication or production of items. The fact that they didn't see this coming is what would/should be scary to people designing quilts and writing books.

    It seems that at heart there was a lot of miscommunication here and cooler and patient heads should/could have prevailed to avoid having this publicly blow up like it did.

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  75. I have to admit I don't understand all the legalities in this case, and I, too, wonder why the author was included in the lawsuit threat. I believe people are too quick to engage lawyers when clear communication could solve many problems.

    What have I taken away from all this? I won't be buying ANY product that stipulates how I am "allowed" to use it. This is not being vindictive or mean; it's just simpler this way. Life is complicated enough and there are far too many choices out there for me to knuckle under to such demands.

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  76. I believe that if the fabric was purchased, or, if the fabric was given by the manufacturer, then, you can do whatever you like with said fabric. How in the world can I buy something and then be told what I can and can't do with what I bought?

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  77. Anonymous1:55 PM EDT

    Disgraceful. If anyone is to be sued, i would think it would be the manufacturer for sending it to a designer, obviously with full intentions of the fabric being promoted. Different story if the quilts were be quilts/ slash totes or any other item made from said fabric were produced for the sole purpose of resale. Gosh.

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  78. The whole thing reminds me of something I learned when I was very young, "Never do anything out of spite". Kate Spain needs to learn that. Seeing her fabric used in quilts in books and magazines sells more fabric for her. It seems to me that would please her. I guess it doesn't. Well, I certainly don't want to buy any of her fabric! But, I sure want to Emily Cier's books now!

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  79. http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/LicensedFabric.shtml

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  80. Anonymous3:52 AM EDT

    It was fun reading all the comments. I was wondering if the book Quilts from the Selvage Edge will be in reprint.

    ReplyDelete

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