Didn’t I say just yesterday I wasn’t going to buy anything new for my stash until I’ve worked through some of the backlog? Don’t worry, I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m being severely tested.
Why? Because Sony gave permission for Blackbird Designs to distribute their “Yellow Submarine” pattern. I need it. Want? No. Need. Definitely need. Between the fact that it’s the Beatles (cue 1960s fangirl squeeee) and that I spent some time at sea, I need this pattern.
For a while there, I didn’t think I would ever have the chance.
The Magical Mystery Tour series of patterns is a good case study of the importance of copyright and trademark law, and I’m impressed with how Barb and Alma handled it. They made a mistake and corrected it, while other designers have blatantly disrespected the creative rights of others. Blackbird Designs solved this one the Right Way.
A few months ago, they announced 6 new patterns to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Four of the patterns were good to go, but two had some hiccups. “Octopus’s Garden” contained copyrighted lyrics, and “Yellow Submarine” contained the trademarked image of the eponymous sub.
When a shop owner pointed out the violations, Blackbird Designs immediately pulled the two patterns and contacted Startling Music, Ltd., and Sony ATV. “Octopus’s Garden” got the thumbs up back in October, and last week Alma announced that “Yellow Submarine” was also approved. Huzzahs all around!
I think this is an important story. I see a lot of designs (on Etsy in particular, but scattered about everywhere) that draw on copyrighted and trademarked elements. Maybe some designers don’t understand the laws. Maybe some just don’t care. Whatever the case, they don’t confront the issue properly as Blackbird Designs did. They just keep selling. I remember one ironic moment when a designer who’s entire shop was built on trademark infringement found their patterns posted on someone else’s site. It was very uncomfortable, because the industry is severely hurting from illegal pattern sharing (cough Pinterest cough) but the designer was guilty of a similar violation.
So kudos to Blackbird Designs, and congratulations on the happy resolution! I’m going to spend the next three days agonizing over my decision to stop adding to my stash. Inevitably, I’ll pull out my laptop in the middle of the night, resolution be darned, and buy it. After I click the button, I’ll say, “Oops. Nothing I can do about it now.” I’ve been through this scene before. The overwhelming majority of my stash was purposely bought in the middle of the night when I knew the logical side of my brain had checked out until morning. At least I’m predictable.