Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knitting Pattern Ethics

I brought home a huge stack of library books recently, most of them books of knitting patterns. I don't like to buy a lot of knitting books because I don't think it's worth buying a whole book just to get one or two patterns that I actually like or would want to make. But does that mean I should never make those patterns? It takes (me) a long time to knit a sweater and I have to return library books within a couple weeks, so of course this is when I'd go ahead and copy/scan the pattern I liked before returning the book... but this week I sat down with my whole stack of library books to page through each one and find the patterns that appealed to me. Then I started copying them. And then I started to feel guilty.

I know it's not legal to distribute copies of someone else's knitting patterns, even if they are free patterns to begin with, and you are just giving them away. And it's also not legal to make copies of a pattern you paid for to give away to your friends. So does that mean what I'm doing is not right? I would not sell these copies, and I would not give them to anyone else - they are for my own use only, because I would not be able to keep the library books checked out long enough to complete the patterns.

I was copying no more than one or maybe two patterns out of each book, which felt pretty reasonable for such an ethical grey area, but then I got to the last book, Classic Knits by Erika Knight, and I realized that I had marked 7 of the 15 patterns in the book - WHOA. I couldn't bring myself to copy them. It felt like I would be crossing a line if I did. One pattern from a whole book seems to feel OK, but half the book?! I might as well just buy it!

Or, maybe Santa reads this blog... ;)


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