The Importance of Consent

In the past week, I have detected a number of instances where images from blogs that I am associated with have been copied on other blogs. Kirsty has also remarked that she has become a bit twitchy about theft and concerned about protection of her original designs.

Content theft and plagiarism is rife but Jonathan Bailey highlights enforcement tools that are available to all of us in his comprehensive article on 5 Content Theft Myths and Why they are False.

Sploggers may be the most prolific plagiarists on the web but my focus today is on bloggers in our very own circle who use other people’s images without consent. I don’t necessarily ascribe bad motives to these people. Often they simply want to pass on details of a something that has excited them – they give full credit to the quiltmaker and include links back to the original post (one even carefully copied over the © copyright information!) BUT this does not make their actions right.

Education Newsflash: As a general rule, if you did not create the image, you do NOT have the right to display the image on your blog unless you have consent from the copyright holder. If in doubt, leave the image out and instead link back to the blog post or website that captured your attention.


  1. Although not an excuse, maybe those very new to the internet do this. But it certainly helps when we get help from quilters like yourself, who can lead us along the right tracks. Thanks for all your help Brenda.

  2. Brenda: Thanks for the link to the article! You might want to check out today’s article on the BH as I outline 16 different tools you can use as well as the steps to stopping content theft cold.

    It was a natural extension of the one you linked to.

    Also, you might want to check out my original site and see if there is anything in there that can be useful for you.

    As always, if there is ever anything I can do to help in this area, don’t hesitate to ask!

  3. I’ve been thinking about this. I too am a lawyer & quilter, and while my specialty wasn’t intellectual property law, my ex-husband’s an international patent attorney, so I have some idea what’s involved.

    Yes, you shouldn’t copy. But really, if someone likes one of the photos on my blog so much they want it on their blog, and they credit me, what’s the harm? I don’t make a living from my photographs, so even if I got upset, I’ve suffered no damage.

    That’s not the copying that’s pernicious, anyway. The copying that has to stop is the casual way some crafters have of “stealing” intellectual property they really should have paid for. Everytime someone “borrows” or copies a quilt pattern, cross stitch chart, or other design, they’re robbing the designer. That’s the real crime, and in the aggregate it results in real damage.

    Designers can help with this — label your work, i.e., the work you make a living with, as such. But ask yourself — does the free advertising count for something? This isn’t like wanting to be the only one at the dance wearing a particular frock, you know — this is a business, and the tension between acknowledgement and publicity on the one hand, and loss of revenue on the other is a bit tighter than you make out.