Up until now I have designed a quilt for you every day, but pretty much kept my mouth shut. Some of my real life friends haven’t been sure they had the right blog when they first found it, but found enough familiar references after a good read to confirm it was the right place. Well, now I feel a bit more comfortable with the mechanics of blogging, and as my son told me, you can hide your identity on the internet, but you can’t hide your personality. Be warned, I have a magnet on the fridge which reads, ‘Everybody is entitled to my opinion.’
I have been appointed a ‘Copyright Copper.’ I don’t think it was entirely meant to be a compliment or an honour, but I can wear that. My shoulders are as broad as my butt, so that is fine. And I have a loud voice when I think I should speak up about something. (With that last sentence in mind please read all blog entries about copyright loudly!)
By the way, ‘copper’ in this case isn’t that coppery coloured metal, but is one of several slang words which refer to police. Which puts the term ‘Copyright Copper’ at about the same level as the much maligned, and sometimes rightly so, ‘Quilt Police’.
The Quilt Police are picky about matching points and stitch length, subjects which are laid down in quilt rules, which are not legal and binding in most parts of the world, though I believe that there are still a few odd laws still not repealed in some states of America. Binding on a quilt does not make the quilting rules legal and binding. In my opinion, which is never humble by the way, learn the rules of quilting so you know how and what you are breaking.
Copyright Law is legal and binding, without being bound like a quilt, or even like a book. It is a law which is designed to protect the income of writers and artists.
Many countries around the world have signed up to a treaty which protects copyright across national boundaries. How copyright is registered, or not, is in the fine print of individual countries, but once someone is recognised as the copyright owner in one country, that copyright is protected in many other countries.
If I write the next big novel, bigger than War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice and all the Harry Potter books put together, who should become a millionaire? Me. No arguments will be entered into.
If you buy a copy, and copy it and give it to someone else, you are in breach of copyright law. (You can copy for your own use, but you should own the published copy.) You haven’t made any money out of it but you have added another copy to the number circulating around the world, which means one less copy will be sold, and I might finish up one dollar short of being a millionaire. You are, to put it bluntly, a thief.
If you sell lots of pirated copies and collect lots of money to put in your own pocket you are a dirty rotten thief.
It also means that the person you give the copy to is in breach of copyright law as well, so I hope it isn’t a close member of your family or your best friend. Being sued for breach of copyright because someone close to you has given you a pirated copy of something is sure to strain the friendship or family ties. The people you sell to are basically receiving stolen goods, so if they get caught they might not treat you as well as the real police and the court system.
I admit that I have been guilty of breaking copyright law, but I have learned the error of my ways. On the other hand, I discovered that I was an ‘instant expert’ on copyright when I had a book published, and complete strangers rang me to ask about copyright. In reality I know I am still not an expert on copyright law, but I am pretty sure I don’t break it any more, or even bend it. And I find it hard to shut my mouth when people blatantly or unknowingly breach the law, and deprive copyright owners of income, or place other people at risk of prosecution for being in possession of pirated copies of quilt related articles. (I am not trying to tidy up all the copyright crime on the streets, but I think most quilters are basically honest people who just need a gentle lesson and a few gentle reminders about what is and isn’t permitted under copyright laws. I trust most quilters with my purse, so surely they wouldn’t breach my copyright????????)
From time to time I will rant a little, or maybe a lot, about copyright. You may learn something if you hang around and read it. Some of the stories I will tell may even sound familiar, so I hope you aren’t the one breaking the law in the stories! If you have stuck with me through this lot I think you derserve an extra quilt, so this one is for those who have read ALL of this rant.