Crochet Pattern Copyrights

By Rachel Choi – 40 Comments

This post contains very important information, so please read, especially if you are using, intend to use, or have used any Crochet Spot pattern. I appreciate you taking the time out to read the following copyright information.

Here are the basic guidelines for using crochet patterns on this site:

No pattern or other material may be reproduced — mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying — without written permission of Rachel Choi. This applies for all content on Crochet Spot, all free patterns, all patterns for sale in the store, and even content such as tutorials.

For example:

You can NOT email a friend a copy of the pattern you downloaded.
Instead, you can send them the link to the pattern, so they can get their own copy.

You can NOT photocopy a pattern and redistribute it in any form.
Instead, you can tell others where they can go to get their own copy.

You can NOT copy a pattern (or part of a pattern) and publish it on another website or other publication.
Instead, you can publish a link to the pattern.

You may sell your finished crocheted items, but not the pattern. However, you are not allowed to sell items that are made commercially. The item must be handmade with your own hands. Please also give credit to where you found the pattern (although this is not required, it is much appreciated).

When in doubt, ask me. If you are not sure whether you will be infringing upon copyrights, then feel free to send me an email (rach[email protected]) to ask. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

These copyrights can also be applied to other crochet patterns you find online from other designers, with the exception of selling crocheted items. Not all designers allow you to sell finished crocheted items made from their patterns, so be sure to ask before doing. Some folks will argue that you can sell any crocheted items made from any pattern whether the designer allows you to or not, but I would recommend being polite and respectful of whatever restrictions the designer chooses.

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40 Comments

  1. Amber says:

    Hey Rachel!
    I’m really sorry to hear about this. I have on my blog that I use your patterns and I link to your site, but I wouldn’t dream of copying your patterns! That’s stealing! I want to say I appreciate the cool stuff you make! I hope things work out well for you!

  2. Bookworm says:

    I definitely find the copyright thing to be confusing. Personally, I think we’ve gone a little nuts with it, though I can understand it’s necessity in many cases. I find the copyright in crocheting to be extra confusing because of the fact that so many different people have different rules and not all of them take the time to actually spell it out (and I’ve asked some who just never bother to respond). I’m not really sure what I can and can’t do when someone sees something I’ve made off of a pattern and offers to pay me to make one for them. I’ve just taken to saying sorry, I can’t to everybody. Thanks for spelling it out though, and for the permission to sell finished products. I wouldn’t mind making things for people, but I really can’t afford to do it for free (yarn’s expensive).

  3. Cami says:

    Very important information here. Thanks for posting, Rachel. It’s generous of you to allow us to sell our handcrafted items, as many people do not allow that. And certainly it’s completely reasonable to just direct folks to your website. What could be easier than that?

  4. Paulette says:

    Great and important post, Rachel, and your points are well taken.

    Just to be sure, printing out a pattern for personal use is okay, yes?

  5. Angie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that this is going on. I use your patterns for my own personal use and or for gift giving. I’m getting ready to sell what I make; some from this site and some from other sources. I always make sure I give credit to where credit is due. Hope all works out for you! I’d hate to see others ruining a good thing like Crochet Spot for the rest of us. I love this site, I don’t know what I’d do without it! Keep up the great work!

  6. Melanie says:

    Rachel, thank you for clarifying this. And an even bigger thank you for allowing us to sell what we make using your patterns. I have a shop on Etsy and most of my creations are my own design, but a few of them are yours and I always put a blurb in there saying “Thank you to Rachel with Crochet Spot for creating this adorable pattern!” I’m sorry that some have been infringing on your copyrighted patterns and I hope it stops now because I love this site and your wonderful creativity and would hate to see it go.

  7. Lizzy says:

    Thanks so much for making your copyright clear! So many people who write/post patterns do not show/give that info and then when you ask, they seem upset that you don’t know and have possibly broken a copyright you weren’t even aware existed! I try very hard to follow the copyright laws, so thank you for making yours clear! And thanks for allowing us to sell finished items, I am planning on opening an etsy soon, so it’s wonderful to have your patterns as an option of things I can make and sell :)

  8. Laina says:

    I have kind of a tricky question, Is it ok to e-mail MYSELF a copy of the pattern? links are great but, they have a tendency to disappear. I have e-mailed myself links to other patterns from other sites in the past and when I try to go back and look them up, the site has disappeared. Can I print out a copy of the pattern for MY personal use?

  9. SANDY says:

    Thanks for allowing the sale of finished products Rachel. I have an ArtFire shop and have made quite a few crocheted monkeys. From time to time I think about selling my original pattern online but am not ready to see them listed on other sites, either in pattern or finished form.
    I just keep thinking when I come up with a better pattern I’ll release the “original” pattern. It is so hard to control how others will use the patterns. You have been very generous in how you deal with the whole thing..

  10. Bethintx1 says:

    This is a very hard subject to talk about in some cases. I have people ask me to make a crochet along video for certain patterns. They have trouble understanding the copyright rules. I get tired of repeating the information! I appreciate the work you do and the information you publish. Thank you!

  11. Amy says:

    thank you for this. There is alot of confusion in the whole copyright thing. I knew you weren’t allowed to sell the actual pattern itself if you did not design it. I am thankful that you allow the use to sell items that you have made by hand. Most designers don’t allow it. A group im in found several websites and resources that say that you can indeed sell anything that you make but you have to give credit where credit is due! I wouldn’t want someone selling any patterns that I have designed without my knowledge. And I agree, asking the owner/designer about selling items made from there patterns is respectful and i wish everyone would practice this. thanks again for this post!

    Amy

  12. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the info. I agree with others, copyright stuff can be very confusing. Many crochet/knitting sites don’t say anything or make it really hard to find! I’m new to crocheting but love it and find myself making something all the time. I’d like to start selling things but until I can come up with my own patterns I have to rely on patterns out there. I wish other sites would have the copyright info right up front and easy to find!

  13. eliska says:

    Oh, that is really useful. I was not exactly sure if I could sell the things that I crochet from different peoples patterns, but you cleared some things up for me.

    Thanks

  14. Jenn says:

    Thank you Rachel! I have searched through the copyright info on some sites and ended up being more confused than when I started. This answered most of my questions about Copyrights. And thank you so much for creating these great patterns and allowing us to sell the finished product. I just purchased the cute Amigurumi Animal Coasters and cannot wait to get started!

  15. Millie says:

    Thank you for allowing sale of items made from your patterns! Passing along patterns through any medium, just like photocopying patterns from books and passing them to someone else, is a big No!No! Very unfair to authors and designers.

  16. nancy says:

    I only add the patterns to my personal book that i made that consist of the great patterns i do find on the net(NOBODY BUT ME SEES THIS BOOK)i always make a note on the who designed it and what site i found it at.But i don’t really know alot of other crocheters in my area.Never really looked either for that matter i guess it’s cause i’m a lefthanded crocheter and didn’t want to hear another person tell me that i’m doing it wrong.
    Anyways i will respect the copyright rules of this site Rachel and thanks for all the helpfulness you provide!

  17. Petals says:

    Hi Rachel, I have a question: if the people posting free crochet patterns do not wish for anyone to make and sell any of their designs, why do they post them in the first place? Any serious crafter knows that it is addictive, and once you start you cannot stop! So exactly what can one do with surplus work but sell it? How about changing the copyright laws so that a crafter can sell it provided they include a reference to the source of the original pattern.
    Also, if I modify a pattern out of personal preference, and then sell it, am I still infringing copyrights?
    Thanks

    • Rachel says:

      Petals, folks publish patterns for many reasons, I can’t really answer for anyone else. Rights should be respected for any designer’s patterns no matter what they may be. If you think it should be changed, feel free to ask the designer of the pattern. As far as modifying patterns, I’m not a lawyer so I can’t give you official legal advise, but from what I understand you would be infringing on copyrights since you are sill using part of the pattern. Your published pattern should be your own unique work, in your own words. It’s like taking a book and only changing the last few page.

  18. Petals says:

    Thanks for your response, Rachel. I see what you mean by ‘taking a book and only changing the last few pages’.
    However, sometimes there are only so many ways one can make a simple flower, or the base of a bag, and the traditional granny square, circles, hexagons, Irish rose, leaves, .. etc. So, over time, an experienced crocheter may well be writing their ‘own pattern’ in the footprints of old, well-established, basics’ patterns. So, I suppose what I want to know is if it is illegal to sell items which use patterns for small motifs that have been used to embellish larger items? Thank you.

  19. Petals says:

    I have been thinking about your ‘taking a book and only changing the last few pages’ analogy and I am in total support of people not making money from the sale of a crochet pattern that isn’ t their own design. That’s like taking a book and selling it without being an authorised dealer. All authors deserve their royalties, and I respect that for the authors of crochet patterns, too.

    However, I think the analogy of using a pattern to make something for sale is like reading a book on ‘The 30-Day MBA’ or ‘Webdesign for Dummies”, and then setting up your own business or websites. The authors do not prevent them from setting up a business or webpage in the first place nor does the business success from the MBA course or the webdesigner’s work oblige them to give credit to the books and authors (although it would be great if they did!).

    So, why does a pattern-designer prevent people from selling the finished product (and here I note, with thanks, that you, Rachel, do not prevent sales from your published patterns) ? After all, the crafter is only taking recompense for their efforts. Sorry if I sound insistent on this matter; it’s just that I am trying to understand it better. I would appreciate your comments on this point. Thanks again :)

  20. Bookworm says:

    Petals- It would really be better to go to the designers who have that limitation, as reasons are different for different people. Personally, if I had to guess, for some, it might be that they don’t want the competition from other people selling the same items online, if they themselves are also selling the final products.

    On the At My House crochet group, there was a discussion on copyright infringement and from what I gathered, a designer can not actually legally bar you from selling the final products of their patterns (though I’d not take my word for it), but that you should respect their wished anyways. Personally, I find it a really silly requirement/limitation, but eh. What can you do but to talk to the designer.

  21. Petals says:

    thank you for your input, Bookworm :)
    Here’s a site I found; maybe people would like to check it out;

    http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

    It kinda follows on from what I said about applying an idea/set of instructions and selling the end-product. And ‘At My House’ crochet group are right, it seems. After all, catwalk designers’ don’t go stopping high street shops from selling variations of their designs!
    As for people who don’t want comptetive sales, they might as well just keep their ‘free patterns’ to themselves!

  22. Becky says:

    Thanks for this information Rachel. I don’t have a blog or website. I had toyed with the idea of making some crochet items to sell, but wasn’t sure about how to do this legally. This really helps!

  23. Kylie says:

    I have been doing some research on this topic recently, and this a ton of great information on http://www.copyright.gov. There you can find all the information about copyright laws, read the specific copyright laws, etc. I have found that the copyright only extends to the pattern. It does not extend to the finished items, no matter what the seller says they allow. Legally, they cannot allow or prevent someone from selling their finished items. This really comes down to respect for the author. Its a moral issue, not a legal issue. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with this. They are just the facts I have found in the past few days.

    On the Copyright website, they have a cartoon teachers can use to help explain copyrights to their students. I watched it because it was way simpler than reading all the laws and bylaws, and they had an example that I liked. They told the kids they could come up with a new trick for their skateboard, and if they wrote a book all about that new trick and how to do it, the copyright would protect anyone from saying the book was theirs or reproducing the book, but the copyright would not mean that other people could not use the new trick. That made a lot more sense to me.

    Hope this helps! :)

  24. Virginia Lucille Crabtree says:

    Rachel
    I so appreciated your putting up the article on copyright.
    Being a publisher of my own patterns in another field and
    going internationaly in catalogs I had some major decisions
    that had to be made. My patterns were made to use over
    and over again. I knew that they would be shared in groups
    and with others, and that they also would be broken down
    in parts and pieces to be included with their own ideas.
    The copyright on my pattern was just for my Intarsia pattern
    they were not to resale it unless under contract with me.
    as a store, catolog, shop and I supplied the patterns for
    resale. I was respected with that.

    It comes down to a control issues that people have.
    If you go into a store and buy a blender you cannot stop
    the individual for using that blender for different means
    It is now his to use, how he wants to to embellish it,
    paint it or put a different lid on, break it up and use the motor
    in another machine, but they cannot duplicate that and make
    another identical blender.

    We need to look around at all the things in our homes,
    our cars, boats, furniture etc.. All these designs are based
    on someone elses ideas. We would not have computers
    to get these patterns from if this was not the way that things
    are.

    I have spent hours looking at free patterns and others for
    sale. What I have seen in infringement is some have the
    audocity to use a pattern and put their name on it as the
    designer or owner and put it up on another site. Now that
    is wrong. I have also seen vintage patterns put on the free
    sites with their name on it. These the copyright has run
    out and has not been renewed. But still they were not the
    designer. If they had taken that pattern and remade it then
    they have a right to put their name on it. Have you notice how
    many patterns have the use of scallops in their designs. No
    one has a copyright on those. or a single crochet.

    When teaching Intarsia woodworking, I taught ones how to
    use my patterns, embelish them, change them, so that they
    could put them into fairs, sell them as there own product.
    It was the pattern that was copyrighted not what they did
    with it. I taught them to use their brain and come up with
    their own ideas. I was always so proud and excited for them
    when they did this. That is technology moving forward.

    Different needle works are the same way. It is a shame that some
    will not let us use the pattern to sell products from. But that is
    their problem. I can move on. I have contacted several designers
    and sites for using their patterns. I will continually change them
    using different yarn, add something here and there at my own
    whim, leaving something out, But that basic pattern is theirs and I do
    respect their copyright and give credit where credit is due. The bible
    is correct when it say that there is nothing new under the sun. the
    same goes for the stitches that are used in needlework.

    If I want to use their pattern then I will ackowlege where that pattern
    came from, and be thankfull for the use of it. If I have excepted
    there restrictions of use I will honor and respect our agreement.

    If You are going to sell from others designs you also need to
    contact the different ones for ok. and keep a file on them.
    Many do not go by the copy right laws nor do they fully
    understand them. I am in agreement with kylie

    Rachel you have did a very good job in spelling it out in plain
    english. Thank you. And thank you for letting me sell your
    my work from your patterns. You have a much better understanding
    of the copyright law. It is like a breath of fresh air.

    Lucille Crabtree

  25. Carol Lafollette-Walker says:

    Thank you for the copyright info. As a designer I too got all muddled up in the copyright laws and had a hard time figuring them out. Every designer or place that gives free patterns can make their own rules up on if you can make and sell those items. I wrote into Annie’s Attic and was told that you may make the items from the pattern you bought, and sell them but not a whole bunch of them. They said that they also don’t want any of the items that you make from their patterns sold online (at all). That is pretty much what I would agree with if someone bought one of my patterns.

  26. sonia says:

    Thanks Rachel for bringing up these infos on copyright.First of all let me tell you I just adore your site.I get a springfresh feel when I see your lovely patterns.Now about this copyrights ,may I ask- I had purchased a crochet pattern book with some real good patterns and I did make a few pieces of them and have them home as showpieces.Now my question is-Can I photograph them and put it on my blog?- If the answer is Yes ,need I publish their adress ? and what about the patterns in very old books? Secondly I also wanted to know if a pattern copied from a book can be sold at a … ….( i suppose you can say noncommercial)say fleamarket sale for handmade items.Do Let me know as I have a lot of books with me..

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Sonia, I can’t speak for others and their books. I would suggest looking at the copyright info in those publications. I would assume you can take a picture of anything that you made, like if you crocheted a blanket and you wanted to share a picture of it on your blog. It is always respectful to post where you got the pattern from, although not always required. I wouldn’t recommend selling or copying someone’s pattern though. That is definitely against copyrights here at Crochet Spot and I’m sure it would be for other publications that are not in the public domain. If the pattern is super old, you would have to check to see if it is in the public domain or not.

  27. Sherry says:

    Hi Rachel! I think you are right in that credit needs to be given where credit is do. People should not be taking credit for the designs of others. I know I have difficulty coming up with designs.

    However, I sometimes have a hard time understanding WHY most designers will not allow you to make the items for sale providing the designer is given recognition for the pattern. In saying that, I want to say I appreciate you allowing us to do this.

  28. Sue says:

    No one can control what I make or what I do with that item after it is made. You can only patent or copyright the pattern. The pattern is published for use to make the items. You can not sell the pattern but you can sell your hand crafted items made from that pattern. Saying you can not sell the item is ridiculous, like saying you can buy my yarn but not make something and sell it…get real

  29. Veronica Taylor says:

    Where are the “Crochet Cops.” Once you have given a pattern and use thereof you can not control what one does with it. If you want to control how when and where the patterns and items end up then don’t publish them in the first place. At least not on the internet. There are tons of “Free Patterns” which makes me believe the designer are proud and want to share the patterns for any use thereof. It’s a shame that some ego’s get in the way of a good things. Crochet Designers have a special talent they should be proud of their accomplishments. Crochet is suppose be relaxing not turned into a boxing tournament.

  30. Since the advent of the internet the publishing industry and the music industry are in the same predicament. Many people simply don’t buy patterns or music anymore because so much is available free online legally or illegally.

    The last leaflets with my designs were published in the early 90’s by Leisure Arts and are out of print now. But I see them online for sometimes more than 5 times the original price by individuals trying to make money on the internet. One person did not even mention me as the author or designer.

    So all that is to say, the internet is like the wild wild west. There are no “Crochet Cops.” You have to hope that people will do the right thing. However if you are caught infringing on copyrights, you can be sued.

    Publishers like Leisure Arts and designers who create for them are professionals. The publishers may have others test out the patterns by actually creating the items to check for errors and clarity and edit where necessary before publishing and distributing. Technology has changed the way many do things today, so Crochet Spot is good idea because designers or others can answer questions if there is an error in the pattern or if someone does not understand it.

    Crochet has been around for ages. You may think you have an original idea, but the design is so basic, that it has actually been done many times before. For example it is unreasonable to think that a plain scarve made in single crochet stitch is an infringement of anyone’s copyright.

  31. sherry says:

    Since this posting and reading of alot of these entries I’ve really taken notice when I find a pattern online that says “One of a Kind” “Do not Replicate” etc and it looks just like so many other patterns. It makes me feel like people copy and slap their name on the ownership.

  32. Maritza says:

    I have a question, if we purchase a book and it doesn’t implied that you cannot sell the finished product that you yourself have made from the pattern, then would it be ok to sell these finished items. Any answers would be greatly appreciated, I would like to make some extra money, going thru a rough patch in my marriage and need some resources of my own to fall on. thank you

  33. Hannah says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Rachel! I do sell many of the things I make, but I also often alter the pattern. What are the rules regarding pattern alterations and customizations?

  34. Jen says:

    Hi there,
    About all this copyright stuff: UGH! Where to begin lol! First off, it is wrong for someone to take someone else’s pattern and call it their own. That is stealing. HOWEVER–If I buy that pattern, I should be able to do what I want with it.I’m buying the yarn for that pattern. If I want to sell it, give it away as a gift I can do whatever I want. Sell it online whatever. I’ve contacted the website with all the copyright laws. IF the pattern is in fact copyright then no you can’t claim it as your own. BUT you are allowed to sell the items from it. :-) That’s anywhere and with anything. You get these crochet people saying that’s my pattern you can’t sell from it. Give me a break!

  35. I make and sell crochet hats online and I recently had someone accuse me of copyright infringement. I was mortified! She put a free pattern up on her blog, but stated that you can’t sell any items made from her patterns and she thought I took her pattern and was selling a hat made from it. I felt bad, but I had to inform her (politely) that she didn’t have a leg to stand on because according to copyright laws, there is nothing that prevents me from selling items from any pattern I find for free or buy, whether they state in the pattern that I can’t or not. Just because they say you can’t do it, doesn’t mean you can’t. They can say that the moon is made of cheese, but it doesn’t make it true. Of course, just because you can LEGALLY do it, doesn’t mean you should ETHICALLY do it!
    Oh, and I just wanted to add, that I had NEVER EVEN SEEN HER PATTERN BEFORE! I was using a completely DIFFERENT pattern, that did in fact give me permission to sell the items made from it. This just goes to show that there really aren’t that many different ways to arrange crochet stithces to make a hat!

  36. Barbe says:

    Thank you so much for being so thorough and detailed about how to share your patterns. I recently started my first blog on decorating and want to add a page on crafting. I want to add the coasters I just started last night and wanted to check your copyright policy first. Now I feel comfortable doing it and no to use a link and not the actual pattern on my blog. I’m so glad I found your site. Your teaching skills are awesome. : )

  37. Wendy says:

    I think it is very important to stress that Copyright laws are very different in different countries. I live in Canada. Under the Canadian Copyright Act,patterns are listed in the category “Artistic Work”–here, a pattern is not like a cooking recipe or a blender, as some have suggested. In patterns under Canadian copyright,the designer/copyright holder CAN restrict/control the items made from the pattern–i.e. whether you can sell items. Furthermore,just because someone lives in a different country it doesn’t mean that pattern users don’t have to follow the copyright laws of Canada–there are international agreements between many countries(including between the US and Canada) to uphold each others copyright laws. I am waiting clarification from my Member of Parliament before I put my 2 free patterns back online, and before I publish the numerous others I had planned to finally e-publish this month.