Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reading Between The Lines...

Today I was getting ready to fill out a contract to have my quilt appear in a magazine over seas.

I've been dealing with Magazines strictly within the USA, and I thought certain things were pretty standard...after a few months post publication, the copyright returns to me and I am pretty much free to do what I want with it, be it publish it on my website, or put it in a future book, or whatever. It's MINE.

Well, I neglected to read some small print ahead of time on this project, and it just about stopped me in my tracks when I read it this morning. The contract reads:

The Artisan agrees that THE WORK will not be given to any other publication --magazine or book -- or published within (Insert country) or overseas, AT ANY TIME.

I had to really stop here and re read that. They were basically telling me that I could not put my own quilt in my own book at any time. Is it not my quilt anymore?

I had to ask myself then....when is my quilt MY QUILT and when is it not? I've basically just signed over my quilt for the rest of my life? How desperately do I want my quilt to show up in this magazine that isn't even available within the USA?


I decided that the fee they were going to give me to have my quilt in their magazine, minus the horrendously expensive shipping charge it would take to get it there, plus the fact that they also want "the project" (does this mean the quilt?) to be made available to their magazine for publicity purposes and craft shows for ONE YEAR after the publication of the magazine.....just is too much to ask for me.

They want to keep the quilt for a year after publication? And not cover the shipping cost of getting the quilt to them....and tell me that I can't ever publish it anywhere else..EVER....Why is this a good deal??

I'd rather keep my quilt to myself 100% and know that it is mine...than deal with this.

I'm feeling cranky today. Why are designers putting up with this kind of restriction on our businesses? Why do magazines think they can get us to limit ourselves far beyond reason like this? I can see why a lot of "big name" designers don't even bother to deal with Magazines anymore.

That said...I LOVE LOVE LOVE working with Quiltmaker. They've been nothing but fabulous with me, and I will be a Quiltmaker girl for life.


  1. WOW! I can't believe the restrictions! It's like giving that magazine your quilt design and it is theirs forever! How ridiculous! It's not being "cranky" it's righteous indignation!

  2. That's asking too much! On the great side of things, I'm a QuiltMaker Girl, myself. Now I just have another reason to love that one! Hang in there and just be glad that you're smart enough to read every word and make informed, intelligent choices.

  3. Terms in contracts are negotiable. I think you should contact them and see if you can get the stuff you don't like stricken, and the stuff you don't understand, explained. (and written more clearly in the contract).

  4. That's crazy - keep us posted on if this means what you think it means. I guess you're providing the pattern as well. Better be big money, or a simple pattern that you could probably come up with in your sleep. ; )

  5. WOW!! I'm glad you didn't do it!! Maybe if more designers say NO they will lift these ridiculous restrictions!! You go girl!!

  6. Good for you for not doing it!!!

  7. Like Shasta said - negotiate your terms, that's your right! And if they don't come to an agreement that is reasonable, I wouldn't do it - definitely not worth not being able to publish the quilt yourself in my opinion! Good luck!

  8. Anonymous12:05 PM EDT


  9. Sounds to me like you have great business judgement. Thanks for sharing. I think this company wanted to "own" your quilt, but not pay for the purchase. A company like this could simply say "your quilt was lost". Good decision to not pursue this publication.


  10. This is amazing to me too! I'm learning that we all need to read the fine print. This should be a warning to all to be carefull and know what you are getting into from the beginning. I have a hard enough time giving my quilts to my friends, they are like my babies! Sometimes it is just not worth it. Good for you!

  11. Always, always, rely on your spidey senses!! Stick to home!! You have all ready had a bad experience with the land north of us.... The magazines across the pond will soon be asking for more quilts and come to their senses. Wonder if more quilters realized what they were doing. Glad you read the whole thing!!!
    Linda P in Ga

  12. I just hope it was not a French magazine...

  13. It seems to me that is not good business for the overseas publication. It's certainly not reasonable for a designer to agree to such terms. There are plenty of other publications that would be happy to work with you on your terms! Good for you that you paid attention to the details of the contract.
    Linda in So. Illinois

  14. Have you read the Copyright Law article in the Sept/Oct 2010 McCall's Quilting magazine (page 54-55)? It might surprise you.

    I was shocked that in order to DISPLAY a quilt that I made using a pattern from a magazine, like MC Quilting, in a show, I had to request permission from the designer as well as the magazine. Even if I alter the pattern, permission is necessary.

    Think of how many times this section of the law is broken every year in this country alone. If everyone was aware of this fact, there would be no more quilt shows.

  15. wow that does seem excessive and strange. I know that a lot of the Australian designers have a pattern in a magazine then about a year later they release the pattern for sale so obviously it's not ALL overseas magazines. . . strange. I know this because it's usually cheaper to wait for the pattern than buy the magazine and pay the shipping charges. Oversease magazines can run upwards of $12 then tack on another $8 for shipping and that's a bit steep for me.

  16. Glad you stopped and found the small print...that is ridiculous!
    Save yourself the trouble.

  17. I guess some desingers feel,hey one quilt. to get some money and exposure can open the door to many...I dunno, I enjoy seeing your quilts.but all in all I guess what motivates some might not another person.I say do what is right for you.

  18. I have to agree with you Bonnie. Maybe I could go for the year long agreement, but not to ever get it published. That's a bunch of hogwash!! (hey, I think I just used a word my dad would have used!) LOL

  19. That's like leaving your child in the care of a babysitter and having the sitter decide she won't return the child to you....just not right.

  20. I agree with your decision - maybe newbies would do it to get exposure, but you, the famous Bonnie of Quiltville.com!, don't need that kind of limitation/restriction. Don't they know who you are??? If it's still attractive, you could request that paragraph be removed and add that they pay for postage, or whatever you want? That way, they would also know what quilters are willing to do/not do.

  21. I would definitely check to see how negotiable that part of the contract is - most attorneys recommend asking for twice as much as you expect to get - maybe that's just their way of asking?

    I wouldn't sign over everything that way either - ane they aren't even paying shipping? good grief!

    I'm surprised anyone puts anything in that magazine!

  22. Good for you for actually reading the fine print! I've never had a quilt appear in any publication, ever, and am not likely to. But I wouldn't have made that agreement!

  23. I'm glad you noticed the fine print in time... and turned down THAT contract. Definitely not worth any bit of payment!

  24. I think you are right to feel upset. Interestingly, I publish research articles, and when I do, I have to turn over all ownership to the journal (and we don't get paid for journal publications). Now, I can still present the data wherever I want to, but I can't republish it in a book or other journal without permission from the original journal. I always think it kind of sucks, but if you want tenure, you do it!

    I was reading Nancy's comments, and I saw that article, too. I was pretty shocked at the copyright laws. I can't imagine quilt designers would want all the bloggers out there e--mailing them for permission to post a photo of a quilt they've made from a pattern on their blog. Seems like you'd spend all your quilting time responding to e-mails! I thought that was really over the top.

  25. Hi Bonnie.
    wow, close call...pays to read small print doesnt it..how ridiculous?? I agree with you..no way should that right be given away..good on you and hope more do the same..

  26. Anonymous5:47 PM EDT

    Good for you, Bonnie, for standing up for your rights. That awful contract was exploiting you and your work. We all know who you are, anyway, from the Internet. As a matter of fact, I bought my international subscription to Quiltmaker solely because your patterns are featured, and now it is my favourite quilt magazine. Take care, and thank you for your consistently high quality of inspiration! :) Kindest regards, Dianne B. in England

  27. Bravo to you, What terrible terms. But, it is only `their' asking terms. YOU hold the actual ability to add or delete a line, & they can accept etc...
    But, I LOVE that you `listened' to your `red flags'~what made you uncomfortable & made a choice to NOT just go along with it.
    How many times have we been at a dr's office & been dealt with badly & still had to pay a big bill or in a store or out to a dinner & been treated in a manner that could have been much better?~~~I have learned to really try to `listen'to my inner self to when I am uncomfortable & say STOP. Ask what can we do about this?
    SO for listening to your inner self Bravo to you... 1 year for a quilt? it had better be a pretty good fee. That is like holding it holding it hostage.

  28. I wonder if this is the contract they send to people who they think will just be so grateful to be published that they'll agree to anything. I'd first attempt negotiation--but if that doesn't work, I'd let them know you'll let someone else publish it.
    I'm wondering how many people are so thrilled to be offered publication that they'll agree to such a horrible contract?

  29. Anonymous9:03 PM EDT

    Bonnie, I am not so sure I would say I will be a Quiltmaker gal for life..... the industry of magazines is changing drastically. Take a moment now and think about magazines, not just quilt mags and in five years think back and see what has changed..... a lot will have changed.....

  30. Gotta read that fine print! If it's anything like fiction, all rights means just that -- it's not yours anymore. Which could be acceptable under some circumstances if they're paying you a whole lot of money, or it's something you don't ever want to do anything else with.

    You can always ask them to reimburse you for shipping and to have the rights revert to you after a stated length of time. If they're paying enough for that to be worth it to you.

  31. Well, we LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and your patterns. Thank you for being YOU.~
    I think of you everywhere...today in the freezer section there were dreamsicles. :-D

    I'm starting yet another pattern of yours...string spiderweb. THANK YOU MUCH.
    Lucy (in IN)

  32. Well it sounds like that is an European magazine. If You 'll send a Quilt, what I would never do, they will rework the instructions and You are thinking :'What the hell did they write?'.
    The European magazines are from bad to worse and they are only for beginners (except one.
    If You want I can send You one or two, but it's not worse the postage so I better put chocolate in.

  33. We recently had a quilt in Quiltmaker and loved the experience as well.

  34. Wow! That's some serious fine print! I wouldn't do it either!

  35. Ypu're right, Bonnie. We buy this magazines and, instead of buying them to see your quilts we can see them on your site or your books. If they do not understand this, they don't deserve them. Keep your quilts, we will admire them anyway!!!

  36. IF the magazine is the one I guess it to be, this is why it is no longer as exciting as it was a decade ago when I started quilting....and I have every copy from the beginning of publication also.
    I have to admit that often now I react to the color ways used which are way outside my comfort range
    but looking forward to seeing your work when it comes.


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