Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Final Word from Designer, Part III

Just out of chance, Nikki Foley, designer, colleague and friend, met me as I was on way to Gail's booth to beg and plead my way into her forgiveness. In times like this, everyone can use a little friendly support.

Plus, Nikki knew Gail and she was certain Gail would understand and work with us as we unravel and re-attribute this design.

It was a brisk and busy Saturday at the FOQ, and we soon found the Lawthers happily greeting visitors. Gail was busy signing copies of her new book, Glimpses of New Zealand, as I introduced myself to Chris. There was no indication that he had seen my email or known of the caper, so the next best explanation was to simply open and display the stolen Starry Night to the designer herself. "Oh, dear," she said. And yet, her smile did not entirely fade. Indeed, Gail was familiar with copyright infringement.

(I am too, but when you see the offense fully glossy in a magazine that YOU YOURSELF promote, it takes on a whole new--scary--meaning.)

Before FOQ, the submitting designer had insisted she was innocent as she had not owned or seen the book. Having now the original book in my hand, I knew this designer was incorrect in her recollection. Red stripe fabric and more were too select and exact to be by chance. The fact that the second designer stood by her byline would only infurate any original designer, so as I spoke with Gail, I focused on publication steps that would resolve and re-attribute the design for her. In the most gracious style she said the four words that would put an end to my nightmare:
"Just print a retraction."

I vowed to do more than that. This mistake had to put out there. Own it. Use it. What better way than to use it as a prime example? What Not To Do. There will be an article that provides guidelines and more for copyright compliance in the next issue. In fact, Gail went on to share with us even more odd and blatant copyright problems she's encountered and several of the resolutions.

One thing is certain when dealing with copyright: If you are unsure if you have created something which displays more likeness of an inspiration than might be allowed, ask for permission. Imitation is the best flattery, but if you intend to promote or benefit from such creation, you must have permission of the original designer.

What began two weeks ago as a nightmare is now business as usual as we write to inform and educate quilters of the ins and outs of credible designing.

Tell us what you think.
What copyright catastrophes have you been involved in?
How do you protect your designs?
Do you worry you might "copy" your inspirations?

You may be wondering about the submitting designer? Once we were able to show her Gail's book, she agreed it must be her recollection that is not right. She is heartfelt that she would not wish to copy someone's design and sell it off as hers (all fees relating to design were void). As a supporter of the magazine, she also was equally concerned for the legal predicament created with such design. Though she does not own Gail's book, it is assumed it must have been passed around at a quilting group session.

Finally, our copyright tip: Use your quilt's label to include your source of inspiration. The correct notation, had it read "Made By Mary X. Inspired by Gail Lawther's Crib Triptych", well, there is no doubt, it would have spared us this misery.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wake Up and Deal, Part II

Throughout setup and the first day of Festival of Quilts (FOQ), the Starry Night clouded my mind. With every sale of the magazine, with each page that was flipped, my heart missed a beat.

Although I try to live in the moment, my mind was whirring on how to clear up this mess. I've always been a believer of actions following a wrongdoing are as important, if not more important, than the initial problem. Own it. Manage it. Handle with care and consideration for those injured. In this case, the injured are Gail Lawther and our readers.

Our magazine is the first quilting magazine which publishes a variety of Irish designer patterns. While copyright infringement is a well known concern among workshops and quilt shows, it is our experience that quilters publishing patterns in Ireland are less experienced in this area. As a precaution, Terri and I query all our designers and their inspirations, with patterns requiring a signed affidavit of authenticity and original drawings whenever possible. Several times we have sought out permission from designers who have inspired our pattern makers and where that inspiration appears in true likeness.

And yet, we find ourselves in such a predicament.

Along with rehearsing a confession, my brain has already begun composing an article on copyright guidelines to lead our next issue's retraction of Starry Night. Again, put it out there and own it. Hopefully readers will come away with more understanding and knowledge. My greatest fear is loss of credibility. Right now, my guess is to stay real and humble. If good comes of a copyright article, then so be it.

Back to Gail. Something told me she didn't need a copyright article to know the score.

The timing of this messup couldn't have been better. I thumbed through my FOQ catalog until I saw her name. Lawther, Gail. For the first time I was glad my email and phone attempts were unsuccessful. Up close and personal is my preference. One can never be 100% sure of the tone of emails and phone calls.

Next, I purchased her Stained Glass Patchwork Projects for Christmas, the real McCoy of Starry Night from a rival magazine's booth, who coincidently shared the same publisher as Gail's book. Ouch! More pain inflicted.

With the real McCoy in one hand and the imitation in the other, I walked the two isles to Gail's booth.

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Editor's Worst Nightmare, Part I

As I opened the email last week, every publisher's worst nightmare unfolded before me. Exactly one day after release of our beautiful Volume 2 Issue 4, my body went still and my heart fell to the floor as I read the email.
"Dear Sherry,
Just thought you should know, the Starry Night pattern in your latest issue is a Gail Lawther pattern and is, in fact, on the cover of her Christmas book."

The emailer is a supportative quilt shop owner and knowledgeable patchwork teacher in the West of Ireland, so there was very little doubt in my mind that she was anything but correct. Our Starry Night designer purportedly used her own designs, with the help of her daughter to draw the Starry Night. However, as quick as a click, Google proved differently.

Again, I was struck as a frightening stillness run through me . Every stitch, line, and even colour, with its exact likeness, screamed out at me from the cover of Gail Lawther's Stained Patchwork Projects for Christmas published in 2002.

My first reaction was to call Gail. No number on hand. I emailed a frantic message knowing her husband Chris mans their emails quite regularily and thoroughly. We have worked with Gail in the past with one of her patterns appearing in Volume 1, alas with her rightful name and credit. And last summer we consulted her on Celtic knotting when we found ourselves at loose ends over proper knot drawings. Now, I had to confess we plagurised her design and it was in print 20,000 times over.

Contrary to norm, our email went unanswered. Gail and Chris could very well be enroute to FOQ. We also had our own departure in mere hours. This was one knot in my stomach that would travel with me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Festival of Quilts

Live from Birmingham!
We are having a wonderful time here at the Festival of Quilts. The quilts are breathtaking (unbelieveable), the isles are packed (as usual) and the stands have grown (bigger show!)

Everyone is in great form. Really, this year is a wonderful experience. Whether you are a vendor or a visitor, there is a vibe of fun and friendliness in the air. Yesterday the rain pounded from the skies as quilters and visitors took in the sights and wares of FOQ. Today it remains damp, but spirits are soaring!

Our latest issue, debut last week, is, well, nearly sold out!! We have a great Christmas bonus--flip the magazine and there are five Christmas patterns, reading inward from the back cover where Kass Mansfield's spectacular Santa's Sleigh appears.

As always it is so lovely to see and meet with all the quilters. We are so grateful for the chance to meet in person and chat with our readers. This year has been especially sweet with many readers sharing how much they love IQ. We work so hard and we will continue to do so, so it is vitally important to hear the feedback. Good and bad!

The booth itself is fun with lots happening. Our readers' postacards are a charming decoration, with many readers loving to see their very own "exhibition" at FOQ. Mabel Long (seen here) was one reader delighted to see her quilt work hanging in FOQ, albeit in the IQ booth!

Before we left for the show, magazines were channeled to our distributors, so be sure to ask your local shop owner if he/she can order them. Happy/sad to report our office will be void of this great issue!

I must run back to the booth! Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birmingham FOQ or Bust!

As we pack up our office for Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, we're bending our ears for the busy hum of next issue's arrival! Magazines will be sent to subscribers this week to arrive in time to keep you busy on your journey to the show.

FESTIVAL OF QUILTS Tickets Winner is Julie Jardine. Congratulations Julie!, an email will follow with ticket retrieval info.

Thanks everyone for playing along!
While at Birmingham...
Please be sure to come by our booth at B26. Say hello and stay for the fun:

Drop off your fabric postcard--there's still time to win the 100 spools of coloured thread and cabinet from Gutermann!! See competition in June magazine or email me for more details.

Learn more about how to enter and win the Janome Horizon Memory Craft sewing machine (worth €2000!!). See competition in August magazine or visit Booth B26 for more details.

No Gimmicks, Just One Great Price: £20 Year's Subscription (6 mags!), postage included -- no matter where you live! Great show prices for individual magazines too. (£20 Show Sale Price only available during FOQ)

Demos include Janome Horizon Memory Craft sewing machine, Christmas card, fabric postcards, Accuquilt Cutter and much more!

Enjoy the new August issue packed with patterns and entertainment, including:
Nicholas Mosse Pottery Inspired Crazy for Tulips by Terri McNeill. Kits for purchase!
Quilting Beauties! Five methods on show by quilters all around Ireland
Effie Galletly, also showing at FOQ!
Who swept the awards at Irish 2010 RDS National Craft Competition? Read about our star quilter!
and finally, Christmas comes early with a simple flip of the mag! Our present to you: more patterns!

I hope to see you in Birmingham next week!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

IQ Creates With Youth

Jack was creative from his head to his toes. Saturday at the Gorey Community Craft Event Jack created his whale of a postcard. He was one of many youth who came to create and embellish fabric postcards. Organised by Roisin, there was fun for all!