Understanding the Copyright of Designs from The Free Motion Quilting Project
If you clicked the link from my blog and came here I can bet you're pretty interested in the rights I'm placing over the quilting designs created in The Free Motion Quilting Project.
Perhaps you're a longarm quilter who needs new designs for quilts you would like to sell. Or maybe you're a quilting designer who is finding inspiration from my designs for new designs of your own. Or you just clicked that link by accident!
Copyright on quilting designs, particularly on free motion quilting filler designs, can get very sticky, and extremely confusing, so I decided to keep things simple:
Please feel free to use any of the designs shared in The Free Motion Quilting Project within your quilts. There are NO restrictions on where you can use these designs: for sale, show, gifts, or personal use.
Let me state that again: There are no restrictions on where you can use these designs when quilting them in your quilts.
The whole purpose of this project is to inspire quilters to use new, innovative designs in their quilts. It would be completely backwards of me to slap confusing rules, laws, and regulations on top of them.
Another point - quilting designs aren't even copyright-able!
All of the designs from The Free Motion Quilting Project represent ideas.
Think of it this way: how many times in your life have you seen a spiral?
How in the world can I say "This spiral design belongs to ME" when it very obviously has existed for thousands of years. It is an idea, and ideas cannot be copyrighted (at least in the United States).
In essence, a spiral is a spiral is a spiral. It's ancient and beautiful and should be used anywhere it can, but I cannot claim ownership of it. It is not mine.
How this applies to The Free Motion Quilting Project
Many quilters are misusing copyright every day by restricting the use of their quilting designs, or demanding attribution with their use.
As a friend of mine stated:
...if I read a copyright/copyleft claim in which someone tried to legally force me to attribute to you every time I stitched a design I learned from your site, I'd be scared of using your site any more. I'd constantly be wondering, "how much does this look like a Leah Day design? Will she come after me? I reinterpreted it but what if she doesn't think so? Will I risk a lawsuit for stitching these into my quilt? Is my quilt even mine? Is some of MY quilt the 'property' of Leah Day, just because I learned from her? I can't possibly attribute everything in my quilt that came from somewhere else to everyone who would lay claim to it. Forget it!"
I completely agree. To demand attribution for every design you use on your quilts would be unfair and ridiculous.
It would also run the risk that the growth and expression of this wonderful craft might be limited because quilters and designers would be afraid of using a design that looks too much like a design already posted on The Free Motion Quilting Project.
So when you use designs I've shared, when you play with them, remix them, modify them for your needs, you ARE NOT REQUIRED to mention Leah Day or The Free Motion Quilting Project in any way.
However, it does help me out a lot when you do.
When you share the project and tell your friends about that crazy girl that stitches out hundreds of designs, it helps me stay in business and support my family. I really, really appreciate it when you share and let others know you found my quilting tutorials helpful.
So attribution is not required, but definitely appreciated!
Please pay it forward and pay it back and let me know when you use the designs in your quilts. Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @LeahDayQuilting if you like and if I catch it I'll probably comment back to say thank you!
And here's a few helpful links to send you on your way: