I’m a huge knitter. I’ve always got a project going. In fact, right now I’m working on this cowl. I’ve got a shawl going as well, but the pattern is a bit involved and knitting one row seems to take forever, so I needed a break.
I knit because it keeps my hands busy. Over the years, I’ve done lots of knitting. I’ve done projects for others, guerrilla art installations, and projects for me. But these days, I don’t knit for anything except for gifts or for myself.
Because of this, I rarely care about the restrictions that crop up on the patterns I buy or download.
However, these restrictions make me frown. Mostly because they often only function as a scare tactic. And most won’t hold up in court.
Contracts, not copyright
I think the post does a good job dispelling some of the myths around sewing patterns and copyright. But, she makes it seem like there is no legal way to put restrictions on your patterns. This is something I disagree with. You can but only if you make sure that I know the restrictions before I purchase.
You can restrict my usage, but only if you make sure that I know the restrictions before I purchase.
And these restrictions comply with contract law, not copyright law. And contract law requires three things for a valid contract:
Restricting use of your sewing patterns
When you place an item on your website (or a third-party site) you are offering the public the opportunity to accept your item and exchange a specific amount of money for it. However, if you want to restrict how I can use that item, then you need to make this clear in your offer. I need to know what I’m agreeing to when I hit the “Buy” button.
This is where many of you get tripped up. Because I don’t know your restrictions until after I buy, download, and open the pattern.
I need to know what I’m agreeing to when I hit the “Buy” button. But I don’t know your restrictions until after I buy and open the pattern.
So what you need to do is make the restrictions clear before purchasing. I’d suggest you do this in two ways:
- in your product description
- requiring them to check a box that spells out the restrictions before purchase
This way, it’s clear what restrictions I’m agreeing to before I make my purchase.Do you sell patterns or digital downloads and restrict what your purchaser can do with it? Then read this from @kiffaniestahle.Click To Tweet
How this impacts pricing
If you plan on placing restrictions, then this should be accounted for in pricing. Traditionally, when it comes to licensing the broader the license the more it costs. The more restrictive the license, the less you’ll pay for it.
How you can easily apply this today
- Update one product description with any restrictions you have for that pattern.
- Research if you can easily add a checkbox to your shopping cart page.
Do you know someone who sells patterns with restrictions? Share this post with them. And give them the information they need to make their restrictions enforceable.