DO YOU HAVE COPYRIGHT QUESTIONS?
Here are some answers for AQS contests.
by Bonnie Browning, Executive Show Director
The American Quilter’s Society has been receiving questions recently regarding copyright permission for quilts displayed in AQS contests. You can make quilts from many sources for your own personal use without obtaining any kind of permission; that permission is inherent if you purchase a pattern or a book. It is when the quilts are shown in public that the issue of the copyright law may come into play.
On the AQS Web site, you will find “An Explanation of Design Permissions” that will answer many questions relating to who needs permission; altering published designs; asking for permission; and giving proper credit to the design source.
Some of the types of artwork that can cause problems when used as a design source are greeting cards, posters, and photographs. The artists of these types of artwork depend on their art for their livelihood. Check the Web sites of any company, such as Hallmark Cards, Inc., and you will find a section on legal information that states the artwork may not be reproduced, or derivative works created or displayed. Do your homework before you use these types of art for your design inspiration.
Original designs and copies or derivatives of antique quilts and designs do not require any copyright permission. If you can date a quilt or pattern, this chart on the Internet might help you in determining how the copyright laws might affect using it.
If you are entering shows, don’t wait until the last minute to try to get permission for displaying your quilt. This may take days or weeks to get and shows will be readying printed materials several weeks in advance of the show opening. The copyright holder will often have specific language for you to use in the credit line when the quilt is exhibited. If you are entering an AQS contest, we will be asking you for any permission(s) you have obtained so credit can be given in the Show Book for our AQS Quilt Shows.
Please remember it is always better to ask permission first rather than ask for forgiveness later. It may be too late after the fact if the copyright owner does not want a derivative or copy of his/her work displayed in public.
This information is not legal advice. If you have a specific question, you should consult an attorney. You can find information about copyrights on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website: http://www.copyright.gov/