Your friends loved that cute bag you made for yourself and think you should make more and start selling them for money. But, you don’t know if you’re legally allowed to do this since it was made from someone else’s pattern. The answer isn’t always clear cut. You have to read the copyright disclosures on the pattern, and possibly seek permission from the owner before making items for profit. Don’t assume that you can sell crafts made from someone else’s pattern, but a lot of the time you can obtain permission.
Look for Copyright Disclosures on the Pattern
The first thing you should do is look for copyright disclosures on the pattern itself. If the pattern says, “For Personal Use,” you’re not allowed to sell the items you make from it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a couple of items to give to your friends and family. As long as no money is exchanging hands, you’re well within your rights to use the pattern.
Some patterns say, “For Pocket Money.” This means you’re allowed to make a certain amount of items to sell from the pattern. Sometimes the pattern will restrict you to 100 items, and other times the amount will be unclear. If you want to create higher quantities, you need to contact the pattern publisher for permission. The publisher may allow you to make more items after buying the rights.
If there is no copyright disclosure printed on the pattern, this does not mean that you can go ahead and use the pattern commercially. There is an implied copyright on all intellectual property. You must contact the pattern publisher for permission.
What If I Modify the Pattern?
You can’t simply modify the size and color to get out of a copyright notice on a pattern. If you’re using any part of the pattern, the copyright still applies. However, if you make enough changes to the pattern that it is no longer recognizable, you’re probably in the clear. Be sure that the pattern doesn’t have any specific copyrights on it, such as the way that certain notions are attached, etc.
If you ever have any questions about copyright, contact the pattern publisher. Some publishers will allow you to sell items from their patterns if you disclose that you’re using their pattern. You never know unless you ask.