hmm... please contemplate thisI know, I know, I haven't been blogging... but this is kind of important, I think.
Interweave recently sent out a Knitting Daily asking people to vote for their favorite patterns of the last 10 years. The winners would be published in a free ebook. We all enjoy getting something for free, but personally I do not like to do so on the back of a fellow artist. While it may seem like an honour for a designer to be chosen as one of the favorite designs of the last 10 years, having a pattern published for free is not.
What Interweave does not mention, and as I understand it, depending on the contract for the pattern, there could be a (small) reuse fee for the designer, or possibly none at all, and having the pattern out there for free means that the designer is no longer able to make any money from the design through web sales or in wholesale patterns to stores.
IK is planning to publish more and more online, and while this makes sense for them from a business perspective, and seems nice for the knitters (to get something for free), I think it will take more and more away from our favourite independent designers.
As a musician, I have strong feelings against the illegal downloading of music, and photocopying of scores/music. This is to protect the interests of the performers and composers. That has made me think twice about photocopying patterns (I don't), and I believe the issue extends outwards to the art of our friendly neighbourhood knitwear designers.
Art is a tricky business: if you sell something you have created, it's still yours in design or concept, isn't it? And in order to continue to afford to make the art, you have to sell it somewhere. But depending on the terms of an agreement, the artist sometimes stands to lose an awful lot depending on how the purchaser decides to use the art. I think this may be the case here.
On behalf of my favourite artists and designers, I ask you to consider not voting for ANYTHING, talking to other knitters about this, and if the issue concerns you at all, sending your opinion to Knitting Daily.