HNW - Drawn thread/facsimile patterns/mittens

Mike Newell 72123.411 at compuserve.com
Sun Nov 9 17:53:07 PST 1997


Dear Ciorstan-

Wow, Thanks for an exhaustive answer. There have been times when I wished
someone with experience of copyright law would speak up and help explain
things.

Believe me, the SCA debate on copyright which started in the E.K. some
years ago made me more aware of what is going on. I am working on some
needlework books, and I realize that if I decide to use a collection I will
have to ask, in advance,for permission to reproduce their items. For
example, I am hunting down needlework patterns. If, for example, I get to
look at a 16th century lacis tablecloth, and want to chart one of the
squares, I will ask the institution's permission first, credit them (goes
without saying) and give them a free copy of the book. I don't think I will
be in that position for a while, but I realized it some years ago.

While I have your ear, can I ask your advice? There are several reasons why
"Flowers of the Needle" is not in print and being sold more agressively.
One reason is my editor and translator, Mistress Elspeth of Morven. Elspeth
mundanely holds a doctorate from Harvard and so is an academic of the
Deepest Dye. She has been having some qualms (after 12 years!) about
someone suing us. The books we copied were 16th century Italian needlework
pattern books. They were reproduced in facsimile in 1878 in Italy, and I
found them in a library.  I xeroxed them. Since the original books were
from the 16th century I figured the copyright had run out, right? So now
she is worrying that we did not seek express permission (we did not exactly
make piles of money by sale of the book,  BTW). She says that unless we can
demonstrate that other libraries in the U.S. have some of these books she
is not willing to put it back into print. Her own experience in the Realms
of Academe is that if an institution owns a rare object you must seek
permission.

I have already told her I know definitely of one other U.S. library that
has some of the books we used (19th century facimiles on microfilm) and I
am currently seeking more libraries that might have them.

Is she being paranoid to be so worried? We have seen SCA folk practice
outright plagarism and not have the Copyright Police knocking at their
door, or lawyers with briefcases.

I really hope you can assure me we have nothing (much) to worry about.

- --Kathryn
SCA: Kathryn Goodwyn
"too many centuries..too little time"
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