Category: Blog

Copyright Made Easy

Although some are confused by copyright laws, they really aren’t all that difficult to figure out and this post is meant to help clear the confusion.  I’m not a lawyer, so this post should not be considered legal advice and this post is based on U.S. laws.  But I have done quite a bit of research regarding copyright because it was important for me to remain on the right side of the law when designing crochet patterns.  Some argue that copyright laws shouldn’t even exist or that they are a dying breed, but I’m not here to argue that because right now, they DO exist and because they do, you CAN get in trouble for infringing on them.

Copywrong – Firstly, the word is copyright, not copywrite.  It’s easy to remember if you think of it this way:

You can have copy rights which protect your work, but you can’t be a copyrighter as a profession.  A copywriter is someone who writes copy as a profession, usually for advertising or marketing purposes.

Copyrights exist on a work the moment it has been affixed in a permanent state, whether it be handwritten, cast in clay, videotaped, or typed on a computer screen.  Copyrights also exist whether a work has been registered with the copyright office or not.  If it has been registered, which entails monetary fees, then it is easier to enforce the rights, but registration is not a requirement for the rights to exist or be enforced.

Copyright often gets confused with other rights that we won’t be getting into in this post, but for a little clarification, here are some short descriptions.

Trademarks – Trademarks are a word, group of words or a symbol or logo that can be legally registered as representing a company or brand.  Think of the brand names used by large bottled soda companies.  Their names are trademarked words and are registered and may only be used by them or with their permission and have become known world-wide.  They are big.  Do not infringe.  They will squash you!  😉

Licenses – Licenses can be thought of as permission to use a logo, character, or trademark that belongs to someone else.  Many sewing fabrics have images of licensed logos or characters on them, think major league sports teams.  (In these cases, the fabric manufacturer has procured license from the owner of these characters for use on the fabric and that permission, in turn, goes to the purchaser of the fabric who can use the fabric to make and sell items from it, so long as they do not claim to be making official items from it, unless otherwise indicated).

The terms defined above are different animals than actual copyright so I will not expand further on them in this post.  But there are some other terms that are related to copyright that may need a little explanation.

Fair Use – Fair Use allows the use of some copyrighted materials under certain conditions.  Generally those conditions are for non-profit/non-commercial education, research, criticism, comment, parody (can fall under Derivative Works and contains commentary), and news reporting.  Considerations that allow it are given that favor less creative (more factual than art or a fantasy novel, for example), less substantial amounts of the work used (if a substantial amount is used it would NOT be considered fair use), and whether the use harms the original copyright holder.   Of note, “parody” does not always equal “humor” and “commentary” is not just adding a few comments to the work.  If you don’t understand any of that, then please stay away from trying to use Fair Use as a means to use someone else’s copyrighted works.

If you are not using the work for any of the purposes above, or if you are using entire works rather than small amounts, or are harming the original copyright holder in any way – monetarily or otherwise – then you most likely CANNOT claim you are using it under Fair Use.  Also, it’s probably not a good idea to try this on a monetized platform.

Derivative Works – “Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, an adaptation of that work.”  This quote is direct from the U.S. Copyright Office and really needs no clarification.  http://copyright.gov/circs/circ14.pdf

This should clarify the myth that by altering a certain percent of a copyrighted work makes it okay to use without permission. It should also clarify that posting something that belongs to someone else and giving credit or a link back to the original creator is enough. It’s not. It’s pretty clear that permission is needed from the original copyright holder in both cases.

Fortunately, many social platforms have a “Share” button which is meant to allow you to quickly and easily share the work of others legally.  That’s right.  The Share button.  Use it!  In summary, your best bet to avoid breaking the law or violating a terms of service is to use content you created yourself or to get permission to use someone else’s content, or to share or link to the content.  However, there are wonderful things like Creative Commons licenses and public domain content that may be used!  There are several types of Creative Commons licenses though, so they need to be investigated to be sure they are used correctly.

Each of the types of Creative Commons licenses are described clearly at this link https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ Please note that some allow you to change the work, others don’t. Some allow you to post without attribution (credit and/or a link) and others don’t. So be sure you understand what can and cannot be done with each type of license before using a Creative Commons licensed material and don’t assume they are all the same or a free for all.

The Public Domain is the term used for works whose copyright has expired or has been forfeited by the copyright holder for the use of all.  However, the public domain is different for each country and some works may fall into the public domain in some countries but not others.  It is pretty easy to find works in the public domain in your country with simple internet search engines and there are many sites that contain images that fall under public domain or Creative Commons licenses.  Pixabay is one that contains images free for even commercial use and they don’t require any attribution.

Considerations – Be aware of where and how you are using such images and works.  Placing them on monetized platforms could be considered commercial use where they otherwise may not be.  If such a monetized site has terms of service that prohibit you from infringing on copyright laws, but your country doesn’t abide by those laws, you still may be banned or have posts removed because ultimately, most platforms have legal wording that allow them to discontinue your accounts and use of service at their discretion.

I hope this clears up a lot of confusion.  Not everyone gets in trouble for infringing on copyright laws and you may see plenty around you who are doing it.  But there have been cases of Etsy shops being closed down, cease and desist orders, and infringing posts removed as well as fines imposed and small businesses ruined.  So remember your mom’s wise words and don’t jump off a cliff just because your friends are doing it.  😉

And here’s a handy-dandy visual for getting your answers at a quick glance.

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My Elephants Hold Up the World – the Discworld!

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Image belongs to Amiguruthi, used with permission.

How cool is this? A fellow amazing crocheter, Amiguruthi, created this fabulous Discworld pattern and used my little elephant pattern as part of it. I would say that is some great stitching on the Great A’Tuin!  All the parts to her pattern are free on her blog at this link and my pattern for the elephant is a multi-pattern that contains the elephant, a woolly mammoth option, and a baby gnome option in it for $2 USD. Lots more pics of this amazing piece at Amiguruthi’s link!

 

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Camping Supplies Recommendations

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*This post contains affiliate links which open in new windows.  Learn what they are on my About page.

When I go camping there are certain things I love to bring with me in addition to my yarn and hooks.  They make life so much easier, but are yet simple and convenient.  Since we are camping in a tiny 1968 Shasta Compact that we are completely remodelling (and by “we,” I mean my husband), and that is not completely finished on the inside, I thought I’d share some of the items that have made our trips better and have been tried and tested by us.  I think they work well for tent camping too which we’ve done a lot of before getting our trailer.

This self-contained shower system is amazing!  It packs up small in it’s own case, holds plenty of water for showering or doing dishes, and you maintain the pressure with a foot pump so no electricity is needed, no batteries, and you burn a few calories (with ease) while cleaning.  The pressure is decent enough to rinse suds out of hair and better than the pressure of showers I’ve used in some campgrounds!  Simply mix some heated water in with cold water to get the temperature you desire.  I adore this for boondocking and even when camping with hookups.   I recommend using a cheap plastic funnel for easy filling, which it doesn’t come with, but that is the only slight negative I have about this.  One of our best purchases!

This camp kitchen is newer to us.  We’ve used it on two trips so far, but it has certainly made our lives easier when it comes time to prepare and cook meals.  The height is ideal – no more bending over short tables and getting an aching back while cutting up veggies!  It has hooks to hang utensils, a shelf for storage, a pole for hanging a lantern on in case it gets dark while you are still getting dinner ready, and a plastic tub basin for washing up.  The tub is removable for quick and easy disposal of your gray water.  The only con I have to mention on this product is that the paper towel holder is a cheap plastic with suction cups to hold it up – the suction cups don’t work so well.  We just stopped trying to hang the paper towels with it and left them sitting on the counter.  Otherwise, it was wonderful to be so organized!

Never shall I camp without this item!  Best thing ever!  It is taller and more stable than any other camp potties we’ve used.  Has a battery operated flush and is the closest thing to the one you use at home while still being compace and a great shape.  It holds a roll of toilet paper in a little compartment, and the top half comes off so you only have to tote the bottom half to empty it.  Emptying is easy and mess-free (albeit could be a bit stinky simply due to the nature of what it is used for).  LOL.  We’ve had ours for quite some time now, with no leaks, no issues and I’m thankful to the person who designed it every time I wake up in the middle of the night to pee because I don’t have to trek in the dark to a remote restroom.  I can highly recommend this for anyone camping with children and women to make their experience more pleasant.  I think it would also be great as an addition to a sick room or just an extra potty when having a party.  The only con is that the lid is not meant to be sat upon when it is closed and can’t support a lot of weight.  We knew this ahead from reading reviews before purchasing and have never had a problem.

This is a great item for use with the toilet above or the shower system mentioned earlier.  It is waterproof, so make a great privacy shower enclosure or just to put the toilet in like a little outhouse.  It pops up from a very light weight circle and comes with stakes to secure it.  It folds back down for travel just as simply into it’s own carry case.  I call it the pee-pee tee-pee and this is a great price for it.  I paid more.  But it was worth it!

We’ve had this table for quite some time and used it in all its configurations.  It can be used as two separate tables at the same height or differing heights.  Simply adding easy screw on pieces to the legs make it quick and easy to adjust.  There are also two clips to secure the two tables together into a card table size which is perfect for playing games or eating on.  Everything fits right inside the table which packs up neatly and travels flat.  This is a great price for the table, which I believe we paid more for when we bought ours but again, well worth it and has lasted us several years and is still going strong.

I hope my recommendations will be helpful to anyone considering these items.  I know how difficult it is to decide what to purchase when it comes to camping equipment and feeling like you are taking a risk with your money so that is why I created this post.  We have found the best items for us usually came from good recommendations from other campers who have actually used the items and these are a few that worked well for us.  Happy Camping!

 

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