On Copyright


Lily of the Valley, Lori Kennedy, Machine QuiltingGood Morning, Quilters!

Have YOU ever read to the end of any of my blog posts?  If you have, you will see this:

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

Machine Quilting, Hand Quilting


There’s been quite a hullabaloo in the online quilt world lately over the subject of copyright.

The backstory- the administrator of a large Facebook group made copies of books and online instructions from several quilt bloggers and combined them to create a group project.

The problem — The administrator did it without asking the quilters and without linking to their sites or attributing to them in any way.  When a few of the quilters pointed out the copyright infringement, things got rather unpleasant….The authors were berated–their blocks were not original (wonky log cabins) and they were just being bullies. When the authors defended their position, more rude comments followed… then they were blocked from the Facebook group.

In light of this conversation and the frequent questions I receive, I would like to clarify a few points…

What you CAN do…

I have spent hours (hundreds and hundreds of hours) creating original motifs and providing free tutorials here at The Inbox Jaunt. If YOU like the tutorials, the nicest thing you can do is PIN on Pinterest, Share the LINK with your friends, talk about The Inbox Jaunt (or my book and Craftsy videos) with your guilds, small groups, internet connections,  and LIKE and SHARE on Facebook.

 Questions I have received….

May I use the motif on my quilts?

YES—please do!

May I use the motifs on quilts I make for others?

YES–have fun adding personal touches!

May I use the motifs on quilts I sell or on quilting I do for payment?

YES–be my guest!!  You do not need my permission to use any motif at any time.

May I copy the photos and step-by-step tutorials offered free here for my quilt guild?

Well, no….

The photos and the step-by-steps instructions are protected.  Copying them in any form and sharing them without attribution (direct link) would be stealing.  Contact me if you would like to use a photo or two–lckennedy@hotmail.com.

Is that fair….?

Copyright makes sense for original motifs like Lilies of the Valley– but what about common motifs like Ribbon Candy?

It seems to me the greatest confusion about copyright is related to quilt patterns and quilting motifs that are “classic” or very common.  For example, I did not invent Spirals…why should I claim a copyright?

After years of teaching, I came up with a way to describe Spirals and troubleshoot common errors and that makes it easier for some people.  I went to the trouble to put it into words and to augment the description with step-by-step photos that make the process clearer–that is what I am copyrighting.

It is the same for the quilt instructors who wrote out the step-by-step to the wonky Log Cabin.  They don’t claim to have invented anything.  They do cry foul when someone copies their photos and their instructions.  After all, the person copying recognizes the description and photos have made it easier to explain–that’s why they copied it!

Spirals, Lori Kennedy, FMQ

If you remember that the step-by-step instructions and the photos are what is copyrighted, it makes more sense.  Please do not share without attribution.

What about the Quilt-a-longs, Quilt Notebook, posts like Six Ways to Ruin Your Quilt or Twelve Essential Skills Every Quilter Should Know?–you offer them free here.  Does that mean we are free to share them?

Twelve Essential Skills for Quilters

You may freely LINK to any blog post, tutorial or photo.  You may use any photo as a LINK–with the watermark–, but printing them for anything except personal use—-  no, thank you.

If you would like to print an excerpt in your guild’s newsletter, check with me first.  Permission is allowed on a case-by-case basis (and has never been denied)–as long as attribution is given.

Ribbon Candy, FMQ, Lori Kennedy I LOVE TO SHARE!!!

All in all, I don’t want to overstate the case. I love to share here at The Inbox Jaunt and I’m delighted when I hear you used a motif or an idea or a process and then told your guild to try it too…

But for all the websites you visit….Please recognize the time required to plan, stitch, photograph, process photos, write, and re-write every blog post (not to mention the technical aspects and expenses of maintaining a blog).

If you like something, LINK to it!!!

Be careful and thoughtful about attribution. 

For patterns and books — sharing copies is stealing from the author.

We wouldn’t steal fabric from a quilt store…

Share sources, not patterns.


The Soapbox Jaunt is signing out,

Happy Stitching!


PS…LOL—All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!


90 thoughts on “On Copyright

  1. Well said, Lori! I was part of the digitizing community about 20 years ago when all ‘you know what’ broke out with people setting up websites and literally stealing designs or taking freebies and putting them on CD’s and selling them! ARRRGH! So, been there, done that! General public needs more educational posts like yours.

    Inquiring minds just have to ask: Any news on the next book! ;o)

  2. Thanks Lori, I agree well said: clear, concise and very understandable for everyone. I love your site. Keep up the good work

  3. Makes perfect sense to me. I appreciate your distinction between the quilting motifs vs. other materials to explain or teach them. Thx!

  4. Just a thought, when we save a design to Pinterest, choose the image that is provided with Lori’s name & Inbox Jaunt on it. When folks fall in love with it, there will be NO DOUBT that Lori is our mentor & genius. Thanks so much for your work, Girl!

  5. Thank you for that excellent explanation of copyrighted materials on the web. I’ve learned how to pin and it is really for my own use but other like to view pins and that makes it easy. As far as that administrator goes, she/he should lose the job.

  6. In this crazy world we live in, how hard is it to just ask. Respect the hard work of others. You did a great job with your words!

  7. Lori,
    I have just recently been trying out FMQ and I make quilts for sale thru Etsy. It is good to know that I may use some of your motifs. They are lovely. I always ask designers if I may use their patterns for my quilts, and I have yet to be turned down. Quilters are such nice people. And I always give attribution for anything I use, fabric, pattern and now quilting design. Thanks.

  8. Now that makes sense! I do see restrictions on other sites that I think do NOT make sense. In those cases, I just go elsewhere. Thanks for posting a complete and sensible explanation of your guidelines.

  9. I loved this post. There seems to be much confusion about this topic and you offer a very clear explanation. It’s also a shame that quilters can’t discuss this in a civil and polite way. Hopefully this will help!

  10. Good for you Lori. I love your blog and your book. Have talked to many ladies about your step. By step approaches. I tell them where to order your book. I also have bought 2 Craftsy classes. You have gone to a ton of work. Thank you

  11. THANK YOU!!!
    A well-written article on this extremely important subject. I am astounded that some people have no qualms about stealing other people’s work!

  12. Very well said, and it makes total sense. Thanks for everything you have done. When I need a design I always come to your site first!

  13. Lori,
    Thankyou, as clear as your directions are to understand your precision in clarifying how one should behave in regard to copyright and common courtesy is spot on!

  14. Thank you for reaffirming what I researched and leaned. We as quilters should be gracious enough to give credit when someone has put so much thought and effort into a pattern. Give credit where credit is due and ask permission since that is a requirement. Was told I didn’t know I was talking about and you could do whatever you wanted to with a quilt pattern if you purchased it. I try to be respectful of those people who put in all the hard work and then make the pattern for sale. If you copy a pattern that is for sale and give it away freely, then you have cost someone some of their income. I am only a quilt maker not a pattern designer and am thankful for those you who are so talented. . On my labels I give the quilt designer the credit . The color choices are my addition if different from the original pattern and they usually are.

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