Friday, November 26, 2010

Stirring the pot

I just received this statement from Beth Maitland, PTQG President:

Planning to enter a quilt at Maine Quilts 2011? 
Read this now or you may be disappointed.
Recent information about copyright law and quilting lead Quilt Show Advisory and the PTQG General Board to review and update the quilt entry requirements for Maine Quilts. Everyone who enters a quilt for public display at Maine Quilts that is not their own original design or a quilt based on traditional quilt blocks or designs must submit written permission from the creator of the design for the quilt to be shown at Maine Quilts.
This applies to all entries – display, judged, chapter challenges and Bear Necessities. Yes, even if you made a quilt from a pattern, book, magazine that you purchased or a class you took, you need to contact the author, teacher and/or publisher to obtain permission to enter the quilt. If the design source is another medium (e.g. photography, painting, illustration, other fiber arts), permission must be obtained from the original artist.
Start now to obtain this permission, don’t wait until the spring. Entries that are not accompanied by written permission for the quilt to be displayed will not be accepted. In addition, proper credit must be given on the entry form.
For more information, you might want to read “Know Your Rights (And Wrongs)” by Janet Jo Smith in the September/October 2010 issue of McCall's Quilting. A follow-up article, “People are Talking,” was in the November/December 2010 issue of McCall's Quilting.
Web sites with information about quilting and copyright laws include: 
“Do You Have Copyright Questions?” HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank" This article has a link to a page about copyright and public domain, HYPERLINK ""
AQS Quilt Shows - Do I Need Design Permission? HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank"
AQS's blogspot - HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank" Monday, November 1, 2010 “Copyrights Getting You Down?”
It is not the intent of the board to make things difficult for our members. Rather, it is important that Pine Tree Quilters Guild and Maine Quilts are in compliance with federal and state laws, including copyright laws.
There are several other changes for Maine Quilts. All donations for the silent auction must be accompanied by written permission from the designer giving permission for the item to be sold at the silent auction. There will not be a Members’ Sales Table at Maine Quilts 2011.

The Area 4 Reps came to a Back Road meeting recently and told us about this new ruling by the guild. We were all upset by this news and more than a little confused. I really think this is going too far. Yes, let's give credit to the designer, but to think that you can't even display your work where credit is given without first getting written permission from the designer is a sad reflection on our society, don't you think?

Remember this? I made this after Jo Diggs came to Back Road and gave a trunk show. Yes, I was inspired by her, but I made up my own pattern. I also have a landscape book by Valerie Hearder, which I'm sure influenced my design, too. Should I get permission to show this quilt from both women? Are the quilt police going to come check my bookshelf for other quilt designers I might have missed?
What about my placemat? Do I need permission from the fabric designer to show you this on my blog?

Actually, anything I have ever put in Maine Quilts was my own original design, but this matter really makes me angry. How about you? Will this new rule effect your decision to put a quilt in the show?

I'm sure we could all come up with some far fetched scenarios, for instance say my work was inspired by a Van Gogh painting. Hmm, who owns the copyright on that? How about a Beatles song? Just call Apple? I think it is pretty far fetched that anyone is going to sue me if I display a quilt at Maine Quilts if I don't get their written word first. Sounds like an art piece right there: all the paperwork required, documentation, rejection letters, autographs, returned post-just tuck it into the label on the back, thank you.

Am I being a curmudgeon or does this irk you, too?

P.S. Just to help you out with copyright issues here is a handy little chart.


Florrie said...

That ruling just sucks all the fun and creativity out of crafting a quilt........I am astounded!
florrie x

Denise said...

A while ago Bonnie Hunter, who has written two books on quilting, recently posted something on her blog regarding this matter. As a quilt designers she was not happy about the article in the magazine and the trouble it was causing, you can find her blog post here.....

SueR said...

Yes, Beth, we are all plenty aggravated about this. I am all for crediting the designer, and I do so. But I don't understand why Maine Quilts is requiring written permission from each and every designer. I don't see how they can be held liable in any way--wouldn't it be the quilter who would be in trouble?
In the post Denise refers to on Bonnie Hunter's website, she gives blanket permission to display quilts you've made from her patterns provided you comply with a few simple rules--like giving her credit. I don't believe it behooves any pattern designer not to allow us to show our work made from their patterns, and maybe the pattern designers will do what Bonnie did.

In the meantime, I have lots of other venues to show my quilts, and I probably won't put another quilt in MaineQuilts because, frankly, I don't want to be bothered.

Bonnie B - Quilter said...

That article has caused a lot of questions. AQS is putting a notice in its books that you can use the patterns and display them in quilt shows. I notice that McCall's has a similar statement in its magazine that I just received today. You will also find some other information on the AQS Web site, click on these links: and . Hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

We at AQS try to answer these kinds of questions for our members.

Bonnie Browning
Executive Show Director
American Quilter's Society