[UPDATE: More on the subject -- and another comment from Kate. Go here to find out.]
I just had a chance to read C&T publisher Todd Hensley's response to the whole Kate Spain/Emily Cier situation. (I won't recap that in detail here -- go to my original post/update if you need a refresher course. Many thanks to the Alert Reader who mentioned C&T's blogpost.)
In brief, a fabric designer threatened to sue a quilt designer/author because she used Designer's fabrics without crediting in a book. (Manufacturer yes, designer name no.) The quilt in question used only that designer's fabrics. [There were two versions of the quilt.]
On a tote bag. And in, of course, the book.
Hensley asks the important question:
So who owns the copyright?
*The author, who designed the quilt pictured?
*The person who designed the fabrics used in the quilt?
Or is it the photographer who photographed the quilt?
The publisher who published the book's photos?
There are arguments to be made for every side of this convoluted case. The author wants people to know she designed the quilt. The designer, on the other hand, wants to be sure people understand those are her fabrics.
But the photographer doesn't want others to help themselves without permission. The publisher sure doesn't want this, either! (The fact that Hensley is married to a fabric designer, Jennifer Sampou, makes this even more interesting.)
When I first began writing, there was no question -- the copyrights went to me, the books' author. In recent years, however, some publishers argue that they should keep the copyright, since they bear the expenses. (And they refuse to publish your book until you agree.) I'm not saying C&T does this -- they don't. But others, like the American School of Needlework, do.
And if you own the copyright, you call the shots.
Except in this case.
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