All the yarn things…right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Why I Defined My Terms of Use Today

by | Blog, Musings

Welp, a couple things happened today. Besides going to the park and having ice cream, I found this awesome whale of a project I want to do. Thing is, as I was reading the tutorial, the blogger stated that I was not allowed to sell finished products or make translations or distribute her content in any way. And it got me thinking. Hmm. Maybe I should have a Terms of Use for anyone who has questions about printing, selling, using and translating my crochet patterns and tutorials. So I wrote up myย Terms of Useย and published it today.

A collection of my work. www.1dogwoof.com

This whole thought process was more complicated that just a yes or no answer to several types of questions. It made me think about why I do what I do, especially these days, when I’m up to my eyeballs in social media and blogging during the day for work and can’t bear the thought of doing more of the same when I get home.

I like creating. I like producing something tangible. I like having a hobby, and it’s a hobby that can also make a lot of other people happy. I feel like that’s how I’m contributing to society, in a way. I’ve met great friends. I have an online social life (as opposed to my almost-non-existent-real-life-social-life). I like being creative. I think those are all good things, but then I come face to face with real life and realize it isn’t all rainbows and unicorn farts.

Although this (blogging, crocheting, crafting, etc) isn’t my full time job, I do earn a supplemental income from the ads on my site. Whenever someone visits, I get a little something. (A very little something). But you add up one person and another person, and I earn enough that I might actually get to pay a babysitter so Drew and I can go out and pretend to be adults with real lives who eat adult food and watch ..uhoh, I was going to say adult movies, but that’s not quite right… I mean, movies that are not meant for the 5 and under age-group. So, I need to protect my work. I work hard to create my content. There’s the idea, and the execution, but don’t forget, there’s photography, and editing, and writing, and more editing, and marketing and replying to questions, and all the fun tax things that can get involved. I don’t feel that I should do this work for free, do you? I don’t sell my patterns, I don’t ask anything of my readers before giving them access to what I think is purty durn good stuffs, so that’s why I use ads. And that means I depend on the traffic that my posts bring to this website. But here’s what happens.

People take my photos and call them their own. Sometimes, people will copy my entire post and call it their own (not even bothering to cut out the personal stories). People crop out my watermark. People print my patterns and distribute my patterns as PDFs and thru email. Would you believe it, people even take my free patterns and sell them on Etsy? Truth can be stranger than fiction here.

Before you think I’m being mean and ungrateful, first let me state that 99% of my readers are wonderful. You share with me the joy you feel when you craft and inspirational stories of what a handmade gift can bring to someone’s life. I assume that all of your intentions are pure and you genuinely just want to share a good thing. Many of these cases are due to just not knowing the rules of intellectual property and internet etiquette, and that’s to be expected. We are all ignorant until we aren’t. There was a time when I was ignorant about blogging and copyrights, until I wasn’t. So here’s me sharing what I’ve learned.

All of my work is under my copyright. I created it. It belongs to me. Regardless of the reason I make something, or share something, that something is still mine. Taking parts of it, or all of it, and passing it off in any way as anything not belonging to me is stealing, plain and simple. I’ve always said that you can create finished products and sell them, but you need to give credit back to the original post. You are always welcome to share the links to my patterns and tutorials with your readers, your friends and your networks, again as long as you give credit back to the original post. I’ve allowed a few translations in the past, and that’s one thing I’m changing, starting now. I will no longer allow translations to be made from any of my free patterns. Obviously, if you need to translate a pattern for yourself, I can’t stop you. However, you can’t distribute it to a wider audience. What I CAN do is publish your translation on my site, linked from the main pattern post, and credit you (and your blog) as the translator. That’s a win-win for you, me, and anyone who wants the translation.

I’ve also received questions about printing and PDFs in the past. Anyone who distributes PDFs or prints of my patterns is taking away traffic from this site. Traffic leads to a small income which leads to me being able to produce more crochet patterns and fun crafts to share with y’all. Distributing my work cuts off that funnel.

Just because I live in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean I don’t know there are people who don’t have internet access as constantly as I do. I get that there are occasions when you want/need to print a pattern, but please keep that to a minimum and don’t share complete patterns online, even if they are free.

on the beach.

Unfortunately, short of getting my lawyer to go after copyright infringement, I can’t stop you from doing whatever the heck you want in your own home. But hopefully, I’ve explained why it’s important to understand that there’s a real person and a real family behind the crochet patterns, craft projects and tutorials that are available to you, free of cost. And it’s not just me; it’s a lot of other bloggers and designers too. I know I’m always amazed at the talent I see everywhere and am so grateful to those who share their work and their ideas. I’m sure many of you feel the same! It’s easy to assume that just because you see it on the Internet it’s free for you to take. We all have to stop for that one moment and realize that somebody created this content and then be respectful of their efforts by giving due credit when sharing a project or idea.

So, take a minute and read through my Terms of Use, and then tell your friends to do the same. If you’ve ever made a translation of one of my patterns and shared it, or shared my entire pattern in an email or PDF, please consider removing it and then contacting me so we can get your translation published here.ย Doing so will work in all our favors.

Thanks for understanding!

17 Comments

  1. Sarah Costello

    I think your t and c’s are perfectly fine… keep up the good work

    Reply
  2. Wanesha

    Thanks for your thoughts. ….I think it’s good. ..as always I am grateful for your patterns and would like you to know that crocheting makes me happy and having free patterns are wonderful as I cannot create like you can. Protecting your rights is your right and all I can say is. ..”you go girl “. Keep up the good work and thanks once again

    Reply
  3. Annette

    I would personally like to Thank you for sharing you creations as patterns for people like me to use for free.. I cannot for the life of me Get to grips with people who abuse your generosity. If and when ever I have used a Free pattern and even when Ive shown my efforts of it to friends and family Ive always said “I found a beautiful website by….” I myself could never Lie!!! and thats what it is Lying!! I am not as clever as you by half.. Im a new Crocheter and a basic School child like knitter… I am in AWE of creations by people like you xx Please start to feel Honord that “Others” Feel that they Need to use YOUR Creations People that Know them KNOW tat they are no way clever enough to create them…

    Reply
  4. Odalys

    You expressed yourself and your need for your rights to be protected in a very kind and professional manner. As someone who is working towards a similar goal, I have benefited greatly from your words above and those of other creator/bloggers. Designing doesn’t come easily to me and I’m always grateful to bloggers like yourself who do make patterns readily available out of the kindness of your hearts. I also purchase patterns from those who need income from sales.

    I don’t sell my product online yet, but per requests & farmer’s markets. I do have a question in this regard. Should I have a link on my product/price cards stating pattern designer and/or link back to blogger’s site?

    I always tell a client when a finished product is not my design, but never been sure how to go about full disclosure as sometimes people, usually fellow crocheters, see a product they like and rather than purchase from me want to know where I found pattern so they can make it themselves. I feel like I spend a lot of time searching for good patterns and then trying out which ones will work for someone to just come along and expect me to give out my research for free. Does that make sense? If it does, how would you suggest I disclose pattern information in the future?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Jessie

      The honorable thing is to tell them where you found the inspiration for your art. However, I’ve often found that most people who don’t want to buy what you’ve made won’t make it either. Quite seriously, there are hundreds of posts of photos online of wonderful items and all sorts asking, no, BEGGING for these patterns. I sometimes go looking for these people, out of curiosity, to see if they’ve the item. They’re nowhere to be found. My own friends have asked me to write out patterns that are in diagram form. It’s taken me HOURS. They’ve NEVER made the items. I don’t do it anymore. I didn’t even charge them for it. So, seriously, I wouldn’t worry about giving out the info. You won’t be losing any income from these folks.

      Reply
  5. Sandra Frazer

    I always share the links to free patterns…..never the entire pattern, in any form or manner…I assume this is acceptable since it takes a person directly to your blog website. Good luck with all your future endeavors…Love your patterns.

    Reply
  6. Rachel

    I love this! I think it’s great that you’re explaining the reasons behind your terms and conditions, because I think it’s easy for readers to forget that there is a real live person behind the blog, who can be negatively impacted when readers (or other bloggers!) take advantage of your content. I think there’s a general attitude that if something is online, people can do whatever they want with it, and that whoever owns that content will never know . . . but there’s always a person behind the website, and a story, and a family, and a life. I love your blog, and am so glad you’re willing and able to make and share such awesome posts, projects, and patterns with us!

    Reply
  7. Caroline

    An excellent and friendly toned “Terms of Use”. Thank you for all the hard work and creative efforts you put into your patterns and tutorials. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Reply
    • Marcee Chown

      What first comes to my mind, is that you SHOULD NOT have to state these things in print. People should have good sense and realize that these are YOUR CREATIONS AND YOURS ALONE. Simply out of the goodness of your kind heart do you share them with others.
      Try not to let the stupidity and selfishness of others take away from the things that obviously bring you joy and happiness.
      Thank you for your wonderful website and lovely patterns.

      Reply
  8. Shel Hankley

    Your site is awesome! I signed up for emails and look forward to getting updates in my inbox!

    Reply
  9. Bet Rank

    I’ve had to call out a friend for using photographs of work from creators and letting folks believe that it represented her finished product. Now I love my friend but as someone who puts a lot of time into what I make, or photographs I take, I have to draw the line. She was annoyed right up until someone did it to her. SMH

    Love that you took the time to explain your ToS and your thoughts behind them.

    Reply
  10. Vicki

    Hi, I’ve just read this page – and what a wonderful way of expressing about your own designs. I’m relatively new to crochet, but love designing things for me and my family and friends. I recently published a pattern on my blog for free – because the joy my son has got from it has been huge. About a month later it was trending on facebook somehow, and the next thing I knew a lady was using pretty much my pattern but selling it on Ravelry and posting it on loads of sites as her idea (She even stole part of my blog name). I got really down hearted and thought maybe I shouldn’t have shared it, which is a shame when I only wanted to be nice. Thank you for sharing all your things for free. I’ve only just found your blog today and I love it.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Vicki! It really can be very disappointing to see others take what you’ve worked hard one. Some people call it theft, some people call it cheating. Either way, it’s not how I was raised to be, but it happens to all of us. Just keep your head up and keep designing! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  11. Jessie

    I totally agree. Theft its theft, whether virtual or physical; of a thought or a thing. Any idea I share in a comment I consider it becomes public domain as I’m not publishing it on a copyrighted domain, but that’s my own issue. However, what someone else publishes on their own site, I respect.
    Kudos to you for being forthright and for your creativity!
    Also, must folks think that living in Silicon Valley automatically means you’re 1) rich; 2) always connected to the ‘net; & 3) you can be exploited because you have free access to anything electronic and/or digital anyway. That’s just ignorant to believe that but hopefully, one by one, post by post, we crafters can open each other’s eyes.
    Have a great crafting time!

    Reply
  12. Lynne

    Thank you for posting this. I’m so glad I read it. I didn’t know there was any difference between going to your blog and looking at the pattern vs printing it out. You are already so generous with your beautiful and well thought out patterns I’d do whatever is right to support what you do. So glad I took the time to read this!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thanks Lynne!

      Reply
  13. Elisa Fox

    I recently stumbled upon your website and it was love at first sight!!! I adore everything that you do/create, especially crochet clothing. I stand behind anything you promote because youโ€™re splendiferous! Thank you for sharing so generously ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *