Carolina Patchworks

More Sides to the Story

Now that Kate Spain has shared her identity as “The Designer” in my previous posts, I wanted to connect a few dots for folks who are confused about apparent discrepancies between what I posted and what Kate’s saying now. I still can’t share details of my correspondence due to confidentiality requirements in a settlement drafted by Ms. Spain’s attorneys (which I want to honor, even if she may, ironically, be violating it herself), but I feel safe saying that the route from A to B is a little more complicated than one might assume if one only knows the “A” and “B”. The below is merely a clarification of what I’ve already posted.

– As Kate said, she *did not* file a lawsuit — this is true. Instead, as I’d said, her lawyers formally and repeatedly threatened a lawsuit if several specific conditions were not immediately met, including payment of large sums of money and other conditions.

– Kate implied that the primary target of her lawyers’ threats was C&T Publishing. This is half true: both C&T and myself were explicitly and individually named.

And regardless of the tote bag issue, Ms. Spain did indeed go after the book. Kate said that the subject was not my book, but the totes used in marketing my book (which I referred to as “the trigger” in my previous post, in order to help maintain Kate’s anonymity while the tote was removed from sale).  This tote featured a photograph from the book (which included a fabric printed with her licensed designs, as well as my name and the name of the book in large letters). Although she may have personally considered this the core issue, her attorneys targetted both the tote *and the book* in their demands. Moreover, C&T had contacted Kate to deal with the tote once they’d heard she was unhappy with it and before the lawyers were ever involved. As I said in my original post, even after they had removed the tote from sale and agreed to several other demands with regard to the tote, Kate’s lawyers continued to press the issue of the book and refused to withdraw the threat of a lawsuit — until C&T got their own lawyers involved.

Edited to add:

Many people have asked why I chose to bring the topic into the public eye. I posted it on my blog, which is just that — my blog. It’s about my small business and my life, and that’s what was going on. I did not point fingers and went out of my way to be as vague as possible regarding the trigger, which book it was in and even the gender of the designer.

The main reason for bringing it into the public eye, though, was the potential ramifications to the quilting community and every published book, pattern and magazine. If the demands I had received were to be applied consistently across the community, they would have changed what had been considered Fair Use within the industry to something full of licensing agreements and a lot of money.

Some are claiming this issue has nothing to do with the book. To the contrary, I never would have made it public had it not been for the claims against the book. If you’d like to have a more definitive view rather than “he said she said”, though — ask Ms. Spain to post the correspondence her lawyer sent me. Kate, you have my permission to do so.

Monday, March 26, 2012 — edited again to add:

Todd Hensley, CEO of C&T Publishing makes a statement.

103 thoughts on “More Sides to the Story”

  1. Ann says:

    So interesting. Thanks for keeping us posted on developments.

    Congrats on the new book!

  2. Kim Martens says:

    This whole thing is ridiculous! She needs to get over herself. So sorry that you got wrapped up in this drama. I would much rather see your energy going into new, creative, inspiring designs. Don’t have any of her fabric and won’t buy any, EVER!

  3. Katy G. says:

    I have no stake in this matter whatsoever, but honestly, that sounds like a pretty typical cease and desist to me. They are intended to be scary and threatening so they will be taken seriously.

    After reading both sides, it seems like the tote really was the issue. Surely you can’t be the first person to use a photo of one of Kate Spain’s licensed products uncredited in a book. It’s doubtless she was aware that Moda sends fabric to people like yourself in hopes that it will be used in publication. That’s not to say it’s not important or nice to give credit where credit is due. I applaud your collective resolve to improve efforts to do so in the future.

    The issue becomes much more serious when that work is applied to another product. Often licensors demand exclusivity for artwork within a category of product. It is Kate’s responsibility to ensure that her work does not appear on products she currently has under agreement with a manufacturer or those she would like to be able to license exclusively in the future.

    Getting lawyers involved is never fun and rarely do they act like you or I (or the artist themselves, or humans in general) would in handling these situations. However if, like you (I assume), an artist wants to make a living doing what they love, it is important that they protect their work and enforce copyright law.

  4. Anita says:

    Lawyers! Never a good addition. I’m sorry for both you having to waste so much time and energy on something that has sucked away the positive aspects of creativity. May all the negativity fade away over time, that the past can remain in the past and that there will be reconciliation in the future.

  5. elsa says:

    I remember when another designer had a statement on her selvage ‘not for resale in any shape or form’ (something like that) and it just about ruined her sales. Everyone I knew stopped buying her fabric. Just not good anyway you look at it. I think it’s pretty sad that you were brought into the whole issue.

    I’m so glad that it didn’t affect your creativity and that you’ve got a new book out! I admire your creativity and spunk!

  6. Bernie says:

    I think the whole situation is unfortunate and that the way you handled it made the issue even worse when you painted the “designer” as an evil villain and yourself as a poor little innocent victim. A better understanding of copyright infringement and a lesson in how to handle things professionaly and maturely would be a good addition on your to do list.

  7. Just sad for you this whole kerfuffle happened and hope that it will not stop you from sharing your creativity with us via your patterns & books. Also sad that things like this might change the tone of our quilting community….while ultimately it is truly a money making business industry there is so much creative inspiration and goodwill amongst the online community that would be sad to damage.

  8. Ferret says:

    I find this quite worrying. I buy fabrics and make art from them. I then use images of those quilts on other products, as I understand this, that is now considered illegal. Time to stop buying commercial fabrics I guess.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Wow. I am stunned. I’m so sorry you found yourself in the cross hairs of such an aggressive situation. I would have never expected such a reaction for using a fabric in a quilt…especially when your work only highlights the desirability of fabric lines. You are one of the few designers who have a truly unique talent and artistry. I hope this doesn’t discourage you from continuing your work. I’m glad to hear that your publisher stepped in like they did! Keep your chin up, and remember that there are many MANY people who you can count as fans and supporters!

  10. Cindy says:

    This situation is, I believe, the result of fabrics being designed by someone who is not a quilter and does not understand the process of creating quilts. Quilts are not tea towels, paper napkins or plates. The implications for every quilt book, magazine or pattern published is simply staggering. The quilting community needs to take note of this issue.

  11. totally feel for you emily with this, glad you have explained the tote bag side of things. certainly sheds a bit more light on the situation. just a shame your achievement of having written two books is being overshadowed in this way.

  12. Eva Marie says:

    I’m sorry you were involved in such a stressful situation. I’s never fun when lawyers get involved. However, I’m really sorry your publisher’s lawyers didn’t pursue the issue as I think there is a clear case for an implied license. Now the whole quilting community gets to live in fear of the next threatened lawsuit. I think I’ll be avoiding the other party’s products from now on. I’ve very much enjoyed my copies of your books.

  13. Melissa D says:

    Thank you, Emily, for clearing up the story. I am sure this was incredibly stressful for you. It is a shame that you have had to deal with this once and now again. I am completely opposed to an earlier commenter’s comments…I find your posts about this completely professional and mature. You maintained the privacy of the designer, simply sharing what was going on within your own personal blog. You clearly did not intend to infringe on any copyright and tried to resolve the situation before it got ugly.

    I am glad you shared this information so that we understand all of the facts. I picked up both of your books on amazon yesterday… You have my complete support. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us. Your work is amazing and I hope you continue to create and share with us.

  14. Elizabeth E. says:

    Just got wind of this today from another friend, even though I have your books.

    This reinforces my belief that copyright laws are a bit out of whack right now–thinking about the Pinterest issues that surfaced a couple of weeks ago.

    I hope you go forward in your creative life, knowing that there are many of us who appreciate your work and your enthusiasm for quilting. Ignore those cranky people of the world, if at all possible.

    Elizabeth E.

  15. Jen says:

    I really feel for you. I agree with a previous poster that your posts and comments on this issue were very professional and respectful, despite this being what was undoubtedly a very distressing situation for you.

    I too hope that you continue on in your creative endeavors. You truly are a very gifted artist. I’ve bought many of your beautiful patterns in the past and continue to look forward to seeing all your future work. I’m so excited about Pixel Play and I know I will continue to support your business in the future.

  16. Kelli says:

    I’m glad this stressful time is coming to an end for you Emily. Pixel Play looks like a GREAT book, can’t wait to get it. How sad to be involved in something so awful with someone that you were such a fan of. Reading all of this has made me not want to buy any of that fabric. Ugh. Best wishes for the future of Carolina Patchworks! xo

  17. Hey Emily,

    I am a fabric designer for Northcott Silk and have been aware of this for a while. Didn’t know who it was, just knew about it. I said it then and I’ll say it now here. I don’t get her deal. Still don’t even though she posted her explanation. This is how I always saw it. Northcott buys designs from me…and i additionally get royalties. Done deal. I’ve profitted. Whomever buys my fabric can do whatever they please.

    I don’t get it.

  18. allie says:

    Emily, I am really REALLY sorry that you and C & T had to go through this. You unfortunately “took one for the team” and underwent an ordeal we all can learn from.
    From what I know, C & T really stood by you and I think that is great.
    And…now it’s over, lessons are learned (I had to go through a much smaller lesson last summer when my cover quilt was lost, but I feel like I can empathize a bit over having a wonderful publishing experience clouded for awhile)…What I know is that it feels very good to move forward. And there is no doubt you will, with even fresher and more compelling designs!

  19. Nan says:

    Sorry you had to go thru this mess Emily. You have a lot of supporters. Keep on designing!

  20. Alisha says:

    This situation is a tragedy all around. I, personally, think we still do not have the complete story. I see discrepancies b/w yours and Kate’s version of what has happened…..I am sorry you have been hurt and I am sorry Kate has been hurt. This is obviously not over yet. Legally, emotionally, or professionally.

  21. Patty says:

    Thank you, Emily, for initiating and sharing all of this – I hope by sharing, it has been a catharsis of sorts for you. I am grateful that you have brought to light this tangled web of legal issues, although I am sorry for what you had to go through the past several months. All of this scary legal talk makes me glad I do not have a blog and that I do not share pictures of my quilts on any public website. Heads-up to the quilting community!

  22. Linda says:

    There should have been no tote bag issue, it was a photo of your quilt..
    Now you have to wonder, were the rights of the fabric designer ends and your rights begin…….if it had been a photo of her designs then she would have a point, put the picture on the bags was from a photo of your finished quilt. Moda has purchased the rights to make the fabric, were do your rights to use the fabric and her rights to regulate what you do with photos of what you have done with the fabric end.

  23. jennifer says:

    LInda very good question. It really makes you stop and think. It makes you nervous to even post pictures on your blog now of what you are working on just to be safe.

  24. suzanne says:

    This whole situation certainly makes me rethink every purchasing any of her fabric again. This is ridiculous and if this is how she operates, I’d certainly not accept any of her fabric to include in any designs in the future. Greed is not pretty on anyone…including their fabric.

    I am so sorry you had to go through this mess.

  25. Debra says:

    This whole situation makes me rethink buy anything she sells, fabric or otherwise. If this is how she operates, I for one won’t support her. Thank you so much for sharing… anyone who designs patterns or submits quilts for publication (in addition to those who write books and more) need to know this information so we can protect ourselves.

    Emily, I am so sorry you’ve had to walk thru all of this, and I’m glad that C & T has been by your side. That kind of loyality to a writter makes me appreciate them as a publisher.

  26. Cindy says:

    I for one will think twice before even buying Kate Spain fabric or anything else by her. This is crazy. Greed has gotten out of control in this world and I for one won’t support those who are greedy.

  27. Lisa Conant says:

    I’m so sorry for all you’ve gone through with this. I’m sorry that people like the anonymous “bernie” above are idiots and can’t seem to do a little research before spouting nonsense and making things worse.

    I understand exactly what you are saying. That the designer is claiming that it was all about a tote (trigger) but it’s clear in your very first post back in November that the tote had already been taken off the shelves/discontinued and that you were told by mail that it was not enough, that they wanted money and your book destroyed, too. Crazy. I not only don’t blame you for posting about it, I applaud it. You could have saved someone else the same misery, by helping them avoid the same ‘mistake’. I’m glad that you heard from so many designers who would love to have you use their lines!

    Finally, I was so sad to hear today that it was Kate Spain. Ironically, I had never bought any of her fabric before yesterday. I spent the weekend on Atlanta’s annual shop hop, and in the course of picking up a few things from each shop I bought 4 FQ’s from the Terrain line. And now I sincerely don’t feel like using them. And while I probably will, as not to be wasteful, I won’t have the same joy I would have and will definitely use them in items I plan on giving away, as I know I won’t enjoy the sight of them on my own quilts. This isn’t me saying in a huff “well, I’ll never by HER again!!” but rather me sadly admitting that I probably won’t, because I don’t have the same respect any more. Very sad. Happily, though, there are many designers with lines just as modern and colorful and pretty, to keep buying. And I suspect I won’t be tempted with any of her future fabric lines in books and magazines the way I might be by others, lol, since who would want to risk the treatment you went though?

    Hold your head high. You did nothing wrong, and if your publisher made a slight error in marketing – well, they did their best to correct it as soon as they realized it and that shows integrity. I’m glad you are free of the problem and can put it behind you 🙂

  28. Bethany says:

    If I see any selvage label that I don’t agree with, I don’t buy it. If a pattern gives limitations to what I can do with it, I don’t buy it. If a designer limits what I can do, I don’t purchase from them. Then the sales loss is their fault, not mine.

    Books shouldn’t have to be written as a detailed biography of designer, fabric company, and color for every quilt or other project inside. I chose my quilts by design, not by fabric manufacturer.

  29. Alisha says:

    There is a huge debate regarding this issue over on Ms Spain’s blog….some supporting Kate, some supporting Emily,and some just trying to figure out the implications of this new precedent means to them in thier quitting/crafting. Great read!!! But I have attempted to post a comment a couple of times (last night and moments ago) & it has not posted. Does Ms Spain have the capability to block my comments if she has not liked my previous comments????

  30. A Wong says:

    I for one, whole-heartedly agree with the post by Bernie, which was referred to disparagingly by another poster. Professionalism is the key here. Kate Spain is professional DESIGNER. She makes her living, pays her bills, with her DESIGNS. And not just with FABRIC. What if she had already licensed her design to another company that was making tote bags??? Then SHE would be the one being sued. Even though we are all good and friendly people at heart, this is indeed a BUSINESS and should be handled in a business-like manner.

    OH, and by the way, KATE SPAIN IS A QUILTER, she has designed and made beautiful quilts. So, perhaps not only the author of this blog, but the posters as well, should be more careful of their facts before posting.

  31. Linda says:

    Her blog site says ” new comments are not allowed” wonder why she did that, just after C & T came out with a response to her post.

  32. Linda says:

    Commet to “A Wrong” the photo on the tote bag was a picture of the quilt that Emily designed with the fabric provided to her to use from Moda……IT WAS NOT A PHOTO OF HER FABRIC. IT WAS A PHOTO OF EMILYS QUILT

  33. taz says:

    this is mind blowing!!!!I’m always unsure with these copyright laws…but, I sure learned a lot… I agree with Scott..she is right on the money!!!!!!

  34. Alisha says:

    Thanks Linda. Missed that statement so tiny at the bottom of the blog….go figure. I guess I was just caught up in my enjoying a lively debate with such strong opinions. Was thinking I was in the middle of a bad Jerry Springs episode!!!! Hehehehe. Point is that both Emily and Kate were hurt. But, after reading statement by C&T CEO, I felt a couple of my questions have been answered, some things have been clarified. And, I FEEL that Kate misrepresented things in her statement.

  35. Irene Wilson says:

    Kind of scary that the fabric designer still feels she owns the fabric we buy. Maybe it needs to be stated on the fabric that it can’t be photographed with out permission or has conditions on its use and see how many will buy her fabric line then

  36. Stephanie says:

    Emily its unfortunate to see the way Kate handled the whole situation after reading C&T, your and her posts, calling the lawyers as her first action and then not calling them off when efforts were being made to rectify the tote bag error by C&T. What was she thinking? There are so many nicer ways to come to amicable arrangements, I always shudder when I see so many eagerly litigious people in any industry, but saddened the most that this occurred in the quilting industry. I think her reaction to going after the book is ridiculous as she must surely have been aware that the co. she licensed to would put into the hands of quilters, quilt designers and authors fabric to be used for promotional purposes and that indeed could be used commercially. I certainly won’t be buying any of her fabric although I strongly support intellectual property rights, and if the comments I am reading online are any indication she could expect a reduced royalty stream as a result of the way her actions- this is going to echo for some time and mostly likely will impact quilters and particularly designers in the future. I hope one day she regrets the way she elected to handle the whole affair and come to realise its possible to do business and profit without such heavy handed tactics. To show my support of your work, I just ordered a copy of Scrap Republic off your Big Cartel site.

  37. Alisha says:

    Interesting to note that all comments posted after Ms Spain’s statement has been erased from her blog!

  38. Stephanie says:

    Alisha, that IS interesting, isn’t it? Impression management gone onto overdrive perhaps? Truly an unfortunate series of events and actions.

  39. JoAnne T. says:

    It was quite interesting to read all that has happened with this and I am very glad that you told us about it. We quilters purchase books and thousands of yards of fabric, the designers and manufacturers are nothing without our money. I have never before purposely avoided a manufacturer or designer when buying fabric but I will be doing so now, particularly a certain designer’s fabric lines.

  40. Alisha says:

    Well, Stephanie, I had commented in one of my posts overthere that all Ms Spain needs is a good PR person to help her recover…maybe? This is a definitely an effort from her to help save her reputation. Wrong move though. She would do best to publicly state she made a mistake in dealing with this personally and through the use of those greedy lawyers who dealt with this so aggressively. I had also commented that I was not so sure yet about blotting her fabrics….now I am sure that I will not purchase her fabrics….she continues to deny capability(Sp?) here.

  41. Alisha says:

    That should say “buying her fabrics”

  42. Yuki says:

    I like to quilt. I like to teach as well. I will be sure not to use Kate Spain’s fabrics. Don’t want to risk ruffling her feathers.

    🙂 Yuki

  43. Kathy says:

    I don’t understand how one can make a bag from Kate Spain fabric and sell it on etsy or anywhere else but she gets upset when someone wants to sell a bag with picture of a quilt made using her fabrics? Very odd on Kate’s part.

  44. Stephanie says:

    What worries me most from all of this is how other fabric designers will start to react when we publish patterns that may have a quilt made with some of their fabrics in it- whether it be a pattern in a magazine, book, blog, or online site. Will struggling designers or those who just wouldn’t mind a bit more income, now see as cash cows all the authors and pattern designers who have in the past produced books or patterns from their fabrics along with quilt fabric from other sources, as an easy free feed if they threaten legal action? We shall see how her actions change the quilting landscape from the standard practices we have seen for decaades and how long it is until another designer decides to just see how far they can push it and add additional income to their business through heavy handed tactics. Or maybe- hopefully- logically- they will think of the long term benefits that come from permitting authors to use their fabrics for free promotion in books that will in the long run, if their designs are good and compel consumers to buy, add far more to the bottom line than any settlement in the short term may.
    I think the pursuit of the book is totally out of proportion with the issue of the tote- and I would have thought that any designer would be aware that there would be a strong case for implied consent being given to quilters and crafters to use the fabric to make quilts if you choose to design for or license your fabric designs to a quilt fabric manufacturer. And that that consent could arguably extend to an author as well who has not been in the business of mass production of quilts from a certain fabric range, but who elected to combine fabrics that were given to her by the same manufacturer the designer works with, into a quilt to show another colourway possibility of the author’s own design? Would the designer have just preferred no picture but a listing of her fabrics we should blindly go purchase?

    I cannot help but wonder how much greed was the motivator behind actions taken to immediately threaten legal action and demand immediate financial settlement to curtail a ful on law suite re the book rather than to more maturely consider other nicer and just as effective methods of dispute resolution? Actions can speak louder than words.
    I think a can of worms has been opened that will forever change the face of the quilting industry and not for the better with regard to authors now having a precident set as being possible targets for legal action for using fabric that was commercially produced and not grown on our own home farms and spun by hand. I wonder where it will all end? I will certainly not buy a licensed fabric ever again. I and many others I know of already will be more carefully scrutinising selvedges to see just what we feel comfortable purchasing, and with what we have in our stash just incase someone else later feels litigious. Since we buy not always knowing in advance where a fabric might end up in the future. Personal use as a gift or a scrap of it ending up in a pattern or book? Who can tell? I stash fabric sometimes for years before I use it. I buy fat quarters with no infomation printed on them. And buy mixed Jelly Rolls compiled by quilt shops from ranges of fabrics. Sales of those products will suffer if quilters who area already expressing fear online change their purchasing habits. Let’s hope quilt shops feel the need to post huge signs with swatches of fabric that they have in store that are licensed so we know what to avoid if we so wish? They’d love that…

    I can think fabric manufacturers will not view kindly the actions that were taken that will likely in real terms reduce the amount of licensed fabric they can sell to the quilting population, as many now fear being pursued should they indulge in even the smallest amount of activity that could be deemed commercial now or in the future.
    I have NEVER heard of a designer in the quilt industry before now do such a thing and I know I am not alone as a quiltmaker who does publish designs in my thoughts of shifting to my own hand dyes, using solids, “generic” tone on tone and unlicensed fabrics in my quilts to avoid any possibility of later action ever been taken against me. Unless as someone else somewhere pointed out the companies who make the fabrics that are solid decide they want their pound of flesh!
    Its all become sadly ridiculous to see where this could lead.

  45. Martina says:

    What does this stupid story teach us…and by the way, I’m a german attorney and a passionate quilter? We as quilters have the power to proove Ms Spain, that we aren’t as silly as she thinks. I won’t buy Kate Spain fabrics anymore and in consequence for the future, I’ll read what the selvage on each fabric says. If it’s only for personal use, this fabric will be a “no go” for me (although I’m not selling quilts, only want to show them on my blog) I’m not sure, if it’s that kind of echo fabric designers are longing for! We as fabric buyers can decide what we want to buy or not 😉
    I love your book “Scrap Republic”, but for the scrappy quilts! So, be strong, the quilting community is on your side! Martina

  46. I can only imagine that one result of this threatened lawsuit may be to change the relationship between quilt fabric manufacturers and their designers. Perhaps something along the lines of having the designers sign legal disclaimers allowing use of their fabrics in various ways. Going down the route of ‘licenced’ fabics probably isn’t the answer – if people feel nervious about using a fabric range for a commercial piece which showcases a range, whether for a book, a pattern or even a quilt shop sample, it is going to harm sales of that range. Quilters like to see how a fabric range looks made up!

    As a fellow author, I haven’t used any of Kate Spain’s ranges, but this would certainly make me avoid them.

  47. Oops, hit ‘submit’ before I’d finished…

    Along a similar line, if authors reacted in a similar way whenever a quilter posted a pic of their quilt from one of our patterns on their blog, it would be rather sad. From time to time, Google Alerts picks up on images of my quilt designs on other people’s blogs. So long as they’re not actually uploading the instructions (which I’ve never found BTW), I’m perfectly happy for them to showcase their quilts made from my patterns – they usually include a book link or a link to my website, and I occasionally do a blog roundup on my own blog. Am I supposed to threaten them with legal action? I think not! I’ve occasionally had quilters ask if I’m annoyed when quilters post pics of their quilts from my book designs, but my response is always ‘That’s what the books are for – so quilters can MAKE the quilts!’

  48. Alisha says:

    Maybe Ms Spain should publicly endorse any and All quitting books ( surely there is more than 1?) displaying quilts with her fabrics along with publicly acknowledging her mistakes in this matter. This could deter any precedence set forth from these events. KATE, CAN YOU HEAR ME???? GET A PR PERSON WHO WILL LISTEN TO THE QUILTER OF THE WORLD!!!!!

  49. Mrikia says:

    I can’t resist to ask you a question. What would you have done ( and your company), If Kate Spain and Moda, had Stolen, borrowed, Used ( call it the way you want!), part of your design to create a tote, with Kate’s fabric, and sell this tote on Amazon? Of course, without sharing any profit with you!
    I would love to get your answer….

  50. Alisha says:

    Mrikia… attention….the tote bag was the responsibility of C&T publishing!!!!! They took responsibility and has even publicly APOLOGIZED!!!!!

  51. sewgal says:

    Alisha and so many others here are continuing to add gasoline to a non-issue. Just a reminder, we’re not in 7th grade anymore ladies and gents.

    Kate Spain did not make one dollar–that’s right–she has not profited in any way from protecting her copyright. She has however maintained her integrity and legal obligations to ALL of the other vendors (Crate and Barrell/Target/Michaels/Moda…et al) who have purchased the rights to the designs and images that Emily’s publisher misused without permission (speaking of the tote bag here.)

    As to the book, Emily states “When I sat down to write Quilt Remix, there was very little information on what credits should be given where. I scoured every quilting book at the quilt shop and book store and got a feel for what is generally done…so, I did what seemed right and matched this practice.”

    Seriously!?! Local quilt shops are probably not the best source for learning about the law–I hope the author sees where this was her first HUGE mistake, and accepts the responsibility for the repercussions.

    Second, Emily states “The Publisher (C&T Publishing) suggested, and I agree, that it would be worthwhile to launch an initiative to educate authors on how to best credit designers in their books. Indeed, we all agree that a designer’s work can play a large part in our art, and it’s always a good idea to carefully consider how to best and most fairly make sure that everyone’s rights are acknowledged and respected.”

    Why don’t you step in now, Emily, and let all of these commenters fanning the flames of unnecessary hysteria “in your honor” know that YOU made the mistakes that started this WHOLE MESS!

    I had never heard of “carolinapatchworks” before this whole mess, but I will be certain to spread the word in the future…don’t purchase her patterns or books. I will not give my business or recommend it to friends for someone who is so grossly under-educated in her own field of “expertise.”

  52. Monica says:

    I totally disagree with this comment above from sew gal, I believe her name is Darlene??? I think you are educating us. We are grown ups, I believe we can make our own assumptions of what this is really about. It is about these designers who for the most are over the top out of control. I am sick of hearing about how bad they have it. Seriously? I think we would all be better off, if they took their names off their fabric designs. I have added another on my never buy again list. Kate Spain. She makes some designers who really care about their customers look bad. sick of it all.

  53. sewgal says:

    well Monica…you know what they say about those who “assume.” I for one, prefer facts to assumptions 🙂

  54. sewgal says:

    forgot to add…don’t know anyone named Darlene. My name is Jennifer, and I work in marketing for Michael Miller Fabrics

    1. ReinaB says:


      You might have noted that you work for Michael Miller Fabrics in your first post. It certainly would have allowed people to understand your bias and thus why your post was so filled with inaccuracies.

      It wouldn’t hurt to check up on copyright law as well.

      While a designer certainly should make sure people aren’t taking her designs and selling them as her own, she cannot control ever aspect of what happens after that. She made an agreement to sell the designs on fabric. The fabric was used as it was supposed to be used, to create other items. She cannot claim rights to the quilt just because the fabric used in the quilt was one which used the designs she licensed for use in the first place.

  55. Katherine says:

    Sad about all of this, it paints designers like Kate, and there are more like her, in a very bad light. Her blog was one I visited on a fairly regular basis, I have removed her from my reading list. Where will this end, designers telling us what to make with their fabric, who to sell it to, what photos can be displayed. All nonsense if you ask me. Kate if you are reading this, you’re done girl.

  56. Weiweigirl says:

    First, “sewgal” – who’s being immature? Yes, it is “U” and “ME” in assume. Did you forget that? LOL. Enough said.

    Second, this is interesting to me because I use designer fabrics to make little girl clothes. So~ once I am more commerical (yes, I’m not right now – still tiny company and on etsy – and by reading Kate’s blog, it is OK) – I will need to license through her due to copyright laws? Even though my company is already paying Moda for the fabric – whom in turn, pays her royalty? Isn’t that “double dipping”?

    Personally (imho), I really think it’s free advertising to be featured. She should have been credited for her fabric design, but it’s the design would have spoken for themselves even WITHOUT the credit (that’s a compliment to her). Kate should have been happy and honored!

    We are now in the social media world where “sharing” information is a must. When people are afraid to use her products and share the information – then her royalty will suffer.

  57. Grace Young says:

    Emily and CT publishing, you have made me into a new recruit. Your style Emily is to be highlighted. The grace in which you have handled yourself is to be applauded. On the other hand Ms Spain and Moda for that matter, I am not surprised at the outburst. Seems par for the course. Note to designers at Moda, perhaps you should be looking for new representation. Why? Because there are many of us who will boycotting not only Ms Spain but also Moda for not stopping this idiotic escalation. Perhaps in hindsight Ms Spain, you will be handling yourself in a more mature fashion, you sound to me like a very greedy, selfish individual. Our quilting forum could do better without you and your threats of suits. Who will be next?

  58. Alisha says:

    To Sewgal, I openly admit, AGAIN, that I enjoying this strongly opinionated debate amoung educated & intelligent individuals…in fact I am sure we have a constitutional right to this freedom of speech! I appreciate you’re point of view and accept them as your given right to voice. Mostly, I really appreciated your contribution to my continued enjoyment while following this!!!!

  59. Sean says:

    Sewgal / Jennifer, when you come to a forum and start making ad hominem attacks, denigrating others’ maturity level, threatening boycotts, making factual claims which are quite simply not true, then claiming you work for a major fabric manufacturer — well, you *may* want to make it clear that you don’t represent your employer, lest folks misunderstand. Unless it *is* the view of Michael Millar fabrics that it is a copyright violation and a “HUGE mistake” for quilt book authors to use MM fabrics in their books.

    It may also be worth your while to read up a bit on the role of industry common practice in fair use applications of copyright law before you claim others are “grossly under-educated”.


  60. Alisha says:

    Sean….. you are one smart individual!!!!!

  61. Debbie says:


    Are you saying you are a representative of Michael Miller Fabrics? Is this the MM view? Seriously, this needs to be answered. You provided a link that I have not checked out yet, but here is a link for you……

    I think you should also go to the home page of this website, and start reading, and absorbing everything that is there. The authors also cite cases with case numbers, so you can then proceed to look those up for yourself.

    I also have not read any post quite as vitriolic as yours, and when you resort to personal attacks, you make yourself look less intelligent.

    I have also asked a lawyer for clarity, (family is so great) and this person was totally fair when stating to me that copyright law is such a gray area. But, then there is the First Sale Doctrine, which I have read, printed out, studied, and absorbed. I would kindly suggest you do the same. The Tabberone website has a discussion on this that is very plainly stated, so you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand it. Then, you can study Trademark Infringement, and more.

    It is your right to not purchase Emily’s stuff, but, to call her uneducated is quite rude, and a personal attack that is fitting of a child. If you really want adult conversation, act like one. And, if you are a rep for Michael Miller fabrics, then stop hiding behind sewgal, and identify yourself completely. I have quickly scanned every other poster here, and we all have used our names, and here, I will even give you another link, I have nothing to hide…!/fabricuseandliabilitytosewers

    See, you have another way to discuss this, in an adult manner. But, if you want to continue to represent yourself in the immature way you did in your previous posts, go ahead. Your linking yourself to Michael Miller Fabrics has now made all of us who are concerned over this issue, take another look at them, which I am sure they are going to just love.

    I want to be sure I am including the correct link from your post,,,this is it, right??

    I hope you join in the discussion on MY page, and I hope that everyone reading this jumps on over too, because since I don’t have a dog in this fight, I can and will be a spirited advocate for what is right…

  62. DDC says:

    I’ve been following this story since it first leaked, and feel that the author of this blog mislead her readership. The tote bag didn’t feature one of Emily Cier’s finished quilts, but rather a high resolution photographed close up of copyrighted fabric shown without context.

    This has less to do with the quilting community, and everything to do with the naivety/greed of the publisher’s marketing department. I’m more likely to use Kate Spain’s product line, than I am to purchase a book by Emily Cier or C & T publishing. I’m really offended by the way both fanned the flames of panic.

  63. Debbie says:

    I firmly believe in keeping things honest for everyone’s sake, so I just googled “scrap republic tote bag” and got the image, enlarged it, and you can VERY clearly see about 20 seam lines, so yes, it was a picture of the QUILT!

  64. DDC says:

    Debbie — I do not think that fabric pieces stitched together equal a quilt. In the sidebar to this blog there is a section called “Patterns” & the four photos there represent photos of finished quilts. They show the entire surface or the project AND place the scale of the piece within a larger context. If the picture on the offending tote was more in line with those images, I think there would’ve been no lawsuit.

  65. CA says:

    I can’t help but feel this is the start of a conversation which will undermine the the sense of community in quiliting circles.

  66. Alisha says:

    Debbie, have you read the statement front C&T publishing CEO Todd Henley. He states they cropped a photo from Emily’s book as the image used for the tote. I have to laughed at your comment that “I don’t think that fabric pieces stitched together equal a quilt”. I have been quitting for years and can tell you this is a key part of the process…..

  67. Alisha says:

    Sorry Debbie. My last comment should have been been directed o DDC. Guess my 7th grade education caused me to misdirected! (Senegal that was for you.:) 🙂 )

  68. Alisha says:

    In addition, DDC, if you WANT TO TALK about misrepresentation, why does Ms Spain’s website sugar coat the entire event, trying to mislead everyone in to thinking that the book by Emily was NEVER a part of this? Why has she found it necessary to remove all comments from her blog following her post? (Guilty feelings?) And therefore closing open and honest discussion about this. (Image issues?).

  69. Debbie says:


    That’s OK, I was laughing so hard at “I do not think that fabric pieces stitched together equal a quilt”, espoused by DDC, I did not take offense. I knew it was directed at the poster DDC….

    Ladies, and Gents, sewing together pieces of fabric is NOT quilting, as we have now been enlightened to a new definition……of…What?

    Oh my, I can ususally think of something to say, but, not only am I laughing right now, I am just STUNNED!!!!!!!!!!

    Well, for DDC, I did go to URBAN DICTIONARY, and typed in the word PATCHWORK, and got this definition…


    patch·work (pchwûrk)
    1. Needlework consisting of varicolored patches of material sewn together, as in a quilt.
    2. A collection of miscellaneous or incongruous parts; a jumble.

    But, just in case DDC thinks I am pulling her leg, here is the link…

    Now, that was a jolly way to start the day….

    I still invite everyone to discuss things on my FaceBook page, as one singular site to get this hashed out. There are lots of blogs, etc, talking about this, but I really felt the need for one place where everyone can gather instead of jumping around, to make it easier.!/fabricuseandliabilitytosewers

    Now, I am going to go sew pieces of fabric together……….;)

  70. Alisha says:

    Debbie, I am trying to get connected to you on Facebook, but when. I hit your link it takes me to my Facebook. I have tried each with “fabricuseandliabilitytosewers” w/o success. Please help!!!

  71. Debbie says:


    Maybe typing in
    Quilters Concerned about Fabric Copyright Use and Liability

    will get you to that page. I have been having lots of trouble with FaceBook over the last 48 hours, it just kind of dissolves into a big gray blotch while I am on it….. And, I went to the address bar, and copied it, here is the paste…

    I hope that works for everyone…


  72. Anonymous says:

    So I totally agree with Bernie and SewGal. (I love Michael Miller!!!!!)The publisher is totally wrong on this, they took advantage of the gray area and The quilter should have obviously credited the designer because it was one designer, one collection and one quilt, common sense, common courtesy. If I was a designer found out that someone was *mass marketing* things without a license from an image that was not properly credited in the first place? Yeah Whatevvr you’d get a letter from my damn lawyer too. It’s called business people.

  73. Christina says:

    I’m glad you were able to post about this more fully. Since the original post was first brought to my attention, I have been checking in periodically to see how it pans out. I’m glad that you posted about this. Thank you for doing so. To say I was “disturbed” by this would have been an understatement, and i’m glad to understand it a little more fully now. Yet, i’m still in shock that it even got to this point at all. I hope it’s working out as you would like it to.

  74. Kathleen says:

    There are so many fabric choices today compared to when I started quilting that it will be very easy to boycott greedy troublemakers. And I thank those who print warnings on the selvedges for making yourselves identifiable.

  75. Amie says:

    I’m just sorry this happend to you! I’m going to do whatever I want with my fabrics and if Kate would like to sue me…she’ll get a trailer and my Kia hahaha!
    I just bought your book to show my support for you. Amie

  76. Monica says:

    I, for one, will never buy Kate Spain fabric again. And if I were you, I would absolutely NOT collaborate with her on a free quilt design for Moda. She acts reprehensibly, then wants to make nicey nice and pretend that she is all sweetness and light. Blah. Not buying it.

  77. Alisha says:

    Monica, I agree that Kate acted poorly, but, maybe a collaboration will help resolve much of the apprehension this situation has caused. I still plan not to buy her fabric….she has never publically apologized to Emily about this. But, I feel that we have to find a way to move forward. Who knows, the collaboration may bring about the much needed apology!?!

  78. Alisha says:

    As for those of you siding with Sewgal, she has apparently. Misrepresented herself. Debbie contacted Michael Miller fabrics….no one name Jennifer works in his marketing department. You can check this out on Debbie Facebook link provided above.

  79. Evelyn says:

    I am really upset about this issue as the reason many of us quilt is the creativity involved and that Quilters are kind, caring people. This whole issue is so ugly it will wreck Quilting for many of us. I for one want nothing to do with the fabric when such an issue can occur. Due to the economy now and as expensive as fabric is becoming we can easily buy fabric from others. It turns you off totally from Kates fabric, most quilters I know love to have their quilts publicized and appreciated. Look at all the big quilters and how they contribute to society like giving quilts to for the Alzheimers Association this is the type of quilters we will support. I am sure it could of been dealt with in a much better manner.

  80. Lynne says:

    After reading all the articles and comments on both sides, I don’t believe Kate Spain has a leg to stand on. She designed fabric that was used in a quilt. How can she have a claim on the quilt, its design or how that quilt is used including photographs of said quilt printed on anything. Her fabric was cut-up and used. This is the purpose for buying fabric. Personally I will not in the future buy any fabric designed by Kate Spain and since Moda did not support the user of the fabric to whom they sent the samples for the purpose of making a quilt, I will not buy Moda products either. I think this is the best way to let the industry know how we feel. I plan to write to Moda as well.

  81. I’ve been following this controversy and agree with many of your readers that The Designer Who Doesn’t Want Her Fabrics Used is acting very badly. In reading her blog response it seems she didn’t expect quilters to take offense at her actions. That show how little she knows about the people using her designs. We don’t purchase fabric to admire it; we use it in quilts. Like many others, I’ll never purchase anything by TDWDWHFU.

    1. Debi says:

      I won’t either. I don’t want to be sued. Everyone is just to sue happy these days.

  82. DDC says:

    Alisha — I think that you have proven my point with your statement that “I have been quitting for years and can tell you this is a key part of the process…..” A close up of a fabric (as shown on the offending tote bag) pieced together is not the same as showing the end result of the quilting process. If the tote showed a photo of the finished quilt (so we could see the pattern, the binding, the overall scale, etc), I doubt there’d have been an issue.

    I will not speculate as to why the designer closed comments on her blog, but I think it is lamentable. I am simply pointing out that the issue was misrepresented on THIS blog by THIS quilter. The issue was NOT about her quilt booking or the decisions she made. Instead it was an ill-conceived and illegal promotional gimmick by the publisher.

    Debbie — I’m not sure why you are citing the definition of patchwork. I didn’t use the term.

  83. Marianne says:

    Wow. This is the first I have heard about this situation. I have read all info from all sides and have made certain decisions. I plan on going to my LQS today and buying Scrap Republic. I shall continue to buy fabric from all manufacturers but will choose the designers of said fabric carefully. I agree the tote was a bad idea by C & T. They should have first contacted Kate Spain. But going after the book was ridiculous. I am sorry you had to go through this. Best wishes.

  84. Marianne says:

    What if the quilt pictured on the tote had had only 50% of Kate Spain’s fabric in it and the rest from 50 other designers? Can it not be pictured? Does C&T have to get permission from all 51 designers before they can make the tote? It’s an odd world we live in.

  85. oh dear! says:

    Kate Spain’s fabric is ugly! She needs to get over herself! I get the whole copyright blather about the totes… blah blah blah… but she is being a real creep to hide behind her lawyers.

    Everyone should email, call and write MODA… boycott all of their fabric especially Kate Spain’s ugliness…. until MODA cease and desists producing Kate Spain’s graphic art into fabric!

    Someone has to be made an example of! These diva’s like Kate Spain are ruining the fun of quilting and other fiber arts!

  86. Alisha says:

    DDC…..again….C&T has acknowledged there error with the bags….we are not debating this. Kate Spain DENIES on her site that the book was targeted, whereas both Emily and C&T’s statements clearly indicate that the book was targeted and the piranha’s (lawyers) let loose by Kate Spain only backed down after C&T’s lawyers became involved. WHO misrepresented????????

    I won’t even go into you problems with defining what a Quilt is!

  87. Susie Estabrook says:

    Oh wow. Sometimes I buy a mess of fat quarters, clearly not all from the same line, and don’t get the part of the selvage that details designer and manufacturer. Am I supposed to do research and attempt to discover all the designers etc. if I want to enter it somewhere or god forbid sell it? To me there is a clear difference between copyright of a book or pattern and copyright of a fabric design. I can make many quilts from one book but a hunk of fabric can only be used once. If I want to make another quilt I have to buy more fabric. I understand about the tote bag but not about the book. If the selvage on a piece of fabric says the fabric is copyrighted, I do not buy it.

    1. Debi says:

      Susie, I agree with you. Although I do on occasion buy disney fabric, etc to make things for my grandchildren. After reading this in three different places I found that I couldn’t comment in Kate’s Blog, but can in the other two. Hmmm, I wonder why? Maybe Kate realizes that she is just being a horse’s butt. I will make sure that I don’t buy any fabric, thread…etc that has her name attached to it. You never know after you make something and give it to someone else whether or not they might decide to sell it. Heavens knows I dont remember all the names of the fabric lines I have used to make items and taken pictures and put on my blog. I do try to remember to credit the book or pattern company where I got the pattern. If you start trying to give credit to every little thing you use in your blog no one would want to read it and I wouldn’t want to write it. I have fabric, zippers and thread and ribbons that have lost who or where they are from. I’ve got fabric, zippers, thread that I’ve gotten at flea markets or yard sales, even some from fabric swaps. It’s just not possible to know who’s design everything is.

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