japanese craft books - copyright?



Okay, this may be a dumb question, but I've just spent a good amount of time googling to see if I can find the answer and I haven't been able to find anything. So, my question: Can you make things using the patterns in the Japanese craft books to sell or is there a copyright on those patterns? I can't read Japanese and have no way of knowing whether or not this is stated in any of the books. Anyone out there know the answer to this?


  1. well, no need to tell anybody you own those books, eh? other than that as soon as you make some alterations it shouldn't be much of a problem. i don't know about copyright-issues concerning for example butterick-patterns, but i have seen people selling very distinctive handmade clothes from butterick-patterns on ebay. i don't know if that was helpful, but i hope so.

  2. Different countries have different laws when it comes to copyright and plagiarism so it would be really hard for the Japanese designer to enforce a copyright even if there was one.

    US copyright doesn't really cover design ideas. As long as you don't reproduce the actual paper pattern or text of the book and call it your own, you should be OK.

    These two website might help you determine what to do about it.




  3. I really wouldn't worry about it, Anna... as long as it's a /product/ you're making, and not a reprint of the information and patterns. Anyway, it's all in Japanese anyway, I'd wager, so there's not so much worry about reproducing the text!!

    But I happen to read Japanese in the event that you want me to read over a scan of the inside cover of something. ;)

  4. Thanks, guys! I really appreciate your help! *runs off to covet more Japanese craft books...*

  5. Well, whilst all these points are valid, it is very likely that they all have a copyright on them, just like most patterns written in English. Plus quite a few people are into Japanese craft books, so chances are people are going to recognise the patterns.
    From an ethical standpoint I would also just plain not want to copy someone else's work. You know, integrity and such... I am sure you are very talented and can come up with your own patterns! Inspiration is ok, but blatantly copying is truly not a good idea.

    Btw, the copyright debate is always ongoing, but you have to know for yourself what sources you want to believe and how you feel about it. :)

  6. snowberry and lime, that is a very good point! this is why i asked. i wouldn't want to break any copyrights and have been going back and forth with this issue. so thank you for your input! :)