The always-awesome Jenny Hart has a great new installment of her “Crafting a Business” column up at VenusZine.com, and this time she’s talking about copyright and patent protection for creative business owners.
There are different ways you can express [your licensing] agreement to make sure it communicates your values and restrictions. This is assuming you can copyright your designs (meaning, you have the legal right to do so) and are ready and willing to police the use and activity of your patterns. Sounds fun, right? Riiight … Especially when there seems to be so much confusion among hand-makers as to why these restrictions often extend to them. It can be viewed as an unnecessary or overzealous protection of copyright and might cause bad blood where you don’t want it: among your fans and customers. Hey, they’re only making 10 or so pieces and selling them at the indie craft market, so how can that really hurt the designer? I’ll tell you how.
Jenny has a ton of experience with copyright and patent stuff and she is very generous about sharing her hard-earned wisdom with the DIY, crafting & small-business communities. (We know this first-hand — we interviewed her for our book, and she was full of brilliant ideas.) So although she is careful to say that her advice is no substitute for consulting a lawyer, I highly recommend this article as a solid, friendly introduction to copyright and patent, especially for those of you whose businesses are on the creative/crafty side of things.