Guest Author - Kate Pullen
The internet is wonderful for so many things. It puts crocheters from all over the world in touch with each other, offers us the opportunity to share crochet information, patterns, thoughts and experiences. However, as we unfortunately know, it also has its murky side.
One of the problems that is faced, when information is shared on the internet, is that of copyright theft. This is when people take, for instance a design, and misuse it. This might include publishing it elsewhere without permission, profiting from someone else's work at their expense or literally stealing someone's work � by this I mean someone taking a design and presenting it as their own work.
This is all very frustrating, at the very least it can be annoying, and at the worst it can result in legal battles, loss of earning potential and a lot of heart ache.
So what can be done to avoid this happening?
To a degree, the sad answer is not a lot. It is all too simple to copy some text from a website and put it into your own. Therefore it is up to the vigilance of the publisher to check that their work is not appearing elsewhere without permission.
One key way to help protect your work is to clearly state what the copyright status is of the information you are publishing. Are you granting rights for the design to be used commercially, are you allowing your article to be republished �.? It is important to clearly state this. This is vital should you ever have to challenge another website for taking your work � a clear upfront statement allows for no confusion as to your intent.
An increasing number of creative people � crocheters, knitters, sewers, in fact all crafty types, are turning to Creative Commons to license their work. This is an excellent system that allows the originator to share their design or work with others, on clearly stated terms. You might be happy to license people to make and sell items created from your design, or you may want the pattern to be used for personal use only and to sell a license for commercial use. You may be happy for people to take your basic pattern and adapt it, or republish it as long as credit is given. The list of options goes on! Using a Creative Commons license you can clearly state on what basis you are sharing your work.
You may also wish to watermark your photographs. This is simply a case of putting a mark or stamp over the top of the photograph. This might include your name or website, thus ensuring that if someone does use your photograph without your permission, it is instantly apparent where the photo came from.
There are several ways of watermarking photographs. This BellaOnline article looks at digital watermarking in more detail.