A reader posted a really good question and since it requires quite a long answer, I decided to answer it in this post.
“I just found your blog and love the DOW embroideries. I collect them whenever I find them. I am just finishing a set of “Bunnies” DOW and hope to have them posted in a couple of weeks. How do you determine when patterns are copywrite free? I have enjoyed cruising around on your blog, very interesting…”
As a writer, copyright is something I take very seriously and so before sharing the Workbasket embroidery patterns here on my blog I did as much research as possible to determine their copyright status.
In order to do that, I needed to find out when the patterns were first published. Again after much research, I discovered that the patterns were ones that were mailed to subscribers of Workbasket in the 1940s, 50s, and perhaps into the 60s.
In fact, when I found the patterns in the stool of the Art Deco Cabinet they were inside an small manila envelope with the Workbasket return address on the front. So that fit with my research.
Once I had them dated (approximately), I then did further research and was able to determine that the patterns I had found had passed into the public domain.
These are the resources that I used to make that determination:
Under the section entitled Works Registered or First Published in the US
|Date of Publication||Conditions||Copyright Term|
|Before 1923||None||None. In the public domain due to copyright expiration|
|1923 through 1977||Published without a copyright notice||None. In the public domain due to failure to comply with required formalities|
None of the pattern pages have a copyright notice and as they were published well before 1977, they are in the public domain. This page has a good description of what being in the Public Domain means: http://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/public-domain-faq
And here’s a link to the copyright law the above two resources refer to: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html#304
Since the Workbasket patterns are in the Public Domain that meant I was free to do with them as I wished.
I decided to share the various individual patterns from the pattern pages here on my blog once a week over a period of several months as a gift to my readers so that they could enjoy them as well.
Thank you Sandy for your question and giving me the opportunity to explain the process I went through to determine the copyright status of the vintage Workbasket patterns.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and nothing I have written above should be construed as legal advice of any kind. I was merely explaining the personal research process I went through to decide if I was free to share the Workbasket patterns with my readers.