I hate that I need to write this post, but I need to put out a reminder about the legal use of our patterns. They are copyrighted and it is illegal to teach them, to share instructions for them, to distribute our content, or to use them in any way other than to make your own ornaments from them for your own personal use, or to sell your own finished ornaments on a low scale (such as craft fairs or an Etsy shop).
It is illegal to teach them, whether for profit or not. It is also illegal to teach our FREE patterns. Just because WE are choosing to make our content free for someone to learn from, does not make it free to teach, distribute, or claim it as your own. We still reserve all copyrights.
In the last few months, we've come across multiple instances of our patterns being taught for workshops and classes, and in many cases, even our photography was stolen and used in the advertisements for these classes. Our lawyer is actively going after each and every one of these copyright infringements, and we've already been successful with the cases that are now closed.
This post could end right here, as everything you need to know is written above. But, for those who don't understand why or how teaching our patterns hurts us, I'll try to explain.
I'll start with the obvious... we put a TON of work into our patterns. Even if it weren't legally wrong to teach our patterns (which it is), it's ethically wrong. Each of our patterns begins as a concept in one of our designers' heads, and from there, it's brought to physical form after hours and hours of prototyping. We have to work out the details, from the size of the fabric pieces to the number of fabric pieces, to the way they will be folded and layered. We work out the details such as what fabrics will look best where.
Then, we work out how to actually teach the pattern. What is the best way to demonstrate this? What parts could be confusing to our customers? How can we make it as easy as possible for them to learn? How do we put it all into words that are easily understood and make sense? Are there any additional resources or templates we could create that would make the pattern easier to learn and make?
These are the parts of pattern-creation that happen behind the scenes, that our customers don't see.
And those people who buy a pattern and decide to teach it to others... well, they do not have to do any of this work. They have a ready-made pattern, along with the step-by-step instructions that took dozens of hours for someone ELSE to create and write, at their fingertips. This is not okay.
But apparently, there are people who DO believe this is okay.
'I'm just teaching it at my local senior center.'
'I'm only doing one class a month. I'm not taking anything away from you and I'm barely making any money.'
'But what about your free patterns on YouTube? If you're giving them away for free, how is it hurting you if I teach them?'
I think many people believe digital products have no actual cost associated with them.
There is NOTHING free about any of our patterns, not even the ones we choose to teach for free. It still costs money to create them and it costs money to put them out into the world.
The Ornament Girl employs 17 people at the time I'm writing this post, and many of them are full-time. They make a living by working here, and they are doing the work to provide these patterns and instructions. They are paid to put together all of the content, instructions, PDFs, templates, etc.
It costs money to host both free and paid pattern content on our website. It costs money for the software that sends out our 'free' PDFs. Giving away some of our patterns on YouTube is a cost of marketing (and again, we are choosing to provide free access to those patterns.... we are not handing over our copyright to them).
We are now taking a zero-tolerance approach to copyright infringement. As I mentioned above, several months ago we began legally pursuing each case we've found, and we will continue to do so. I owe it to my designers and all my team members, who dedicate so much time and hard work to provide our patterns and products to our customers. It's unbelievably disheartening to our team when we see our patterns (and all our hard work) being stolen.
Even more so, I owe it to our awesome customers, and especially our OG Club members, who willingly pay us for our patterns and trust us to uphold the integrity of what they are paying for.
One more thing... we know there are many of you who would love to LEGALLY teach our patterns. Some of you know that we are working on a Certified Instructor Program. It's a huge project and we are excited to begin rolling it out in 2024. I'll have more info on that program soon.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for respecting our copyrights.