The American Quilter’s Society noted in an article entitled Copyright on November 1, 2010 that the number of quilters entering shows had a dramatic drop over the past few years, according to the article’s author, Bonnie Browning, Executive Show Director on the main page of the Official AQS Site.
The AQS works with quilters across the nation to recognize their artistic contributions. The cash prizes offered are phenomenal, $252,750 in 2011 reported Browning.
Few in the Milwaukee area quilt circuit seemed to enter the show. Asked when shopping at her local JoAnn Fabrics Store, local quilters like Mary Allyn-Worth of Milwaukee were not aware of the process for entering the contest or the copyright requirements. “I guess I thought that once a pattern was out in a magazine or something in print it was fair game,” she stated.
“I knew that somehow a copyright might be involved, but I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to get permission,” Allyn-Worth noted. She considered entering but hesitated becasue the issues seemed too complex.
It is a common misconception that once a kit or pattern is copied from a book that the buyer may use the pattern to reproduce articles for sale. However, that is not the case. Reproduction of any copyrighted pattern with the intent to display the article in public or reproduce the pattern for sale in public requires permission from the pattern maker.
“Quilters are often inspired by other’s work in photography, sculpture, painting, or fabric arts. If the other artist’s work is visible and identifiable in your work, even though it might not be exactly the same, you still need to ask their permission. If it is not visible or identifiable, it is still a good idea, and a respectful courtesy, to credit that artist, even if you do not ask permission” according to Browning on the AQS Official Site.
Milwaukee quilter Bonnie Aldrich agreed with Allyn-Worth. She worked on her quilts but did not know about the AQS requirements for the shows. “I might consider entering if I had known they would help,” she added.
If you are thinking about entering an AQS show and are wondering about pattern-maker’s permissions for copyright designs, Contest Coordinator Erin Ulrich just might be able to help. Ulrich’s email is erinulrich@AQSquilt.com. Her phone number is (270) 898- 7903, extension 174.
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