Monday, March 15, 2004

Oops, I ranted again.

Poor Kate. I just spewed a whole big rant about knitting, patterns, and copyright in an email to her. I should have just put my thoughts here so that they could either be ignored or read by interested parties... But no. Sorry Kate!!!

Anyway, here is my rant about knitting, patterns and copyright. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on this.

In my opinion, nothing that anyone knits now could ever be considered novel and ingenious. It surely has all been done before, right? Knitting has been around for centuries and it would be ignorant to say that something you have knit yesterday is of a brand new design and has never been done.

But that's not how it is. There are magazines devoted to "new" patterns, books devoted to "new" patterns, and there are even online 'zines devoted to "new" patterns. People come up with their own patterns all the time. However, every once in a while, if the pattern is made public, the "new pattern" is a subject of dispute because someone else scoured the earth and found a pattern that is nearly identical to the "new one". I like to consider myself an internet sleuth. Ask anyone I know personally -- I can find out ANYTHING. But even I failed at locating some "originals" when I search.

I believe that since no pattern we come up with now could possibly be new, if a knitter works up a pattern using what I would consider "common knowledge" (for shaping, sizes, etc), then they should be able to say that the pattern is their own without having to scour the inner earth core and the internet archives looking for something similar. I mean, if the knitter does a search and nothing comes up that is an exact pattern for what the knitter has done, then can't the knitter assume that he/she has created a new pattern? I just can't see why you would be required to do hours of extensive research in books and online patterns just to figure out whether or not your idea is "original". Its ridiculous! Mainly because, like I've said before, after hundreds of years of knitting, no idea is original anymore!

Its like a never ending battle circle where those with A LOT of time on their hands can yell "copyright infringement" at just about anything.

There are no new patterns, only improvements. And according to copyright law, improvements are not to be made lawfully by anyone except the pattern author otherwise it infringes on the author's copyright. So where does that leave us, in the 21st century? Can there possibly be a new pattern that no one has ever thought of before? Maybe. Isn't it possible that this pattern was around forever in someone's family and it was never copyrighted? Probably. Is it just that knitters and other yarn crafters are so vain that they like to stake claims on ideas? I don't know the answer to this. But this is my view.

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