by kylasm 22 Nov 2013

Is there a website I can share a link to that spells out how design sharing/trading is not legal? I know each designer has their own rules on their site pertaining to their designs as far as editing or selling items with their designs. I'm looking for something regarding designs in general. Many thanks!


by marjialexa Moderator 22 Nov 2013

We appreciate your concern for this apparently growing problem in machine embroidery. It does seem that there are an extraordinary number of people asking to be "sent" designs and giving their email addresses, or offering to "send" designs to people who missed them. But there does not need to be a website for you to share the information that "sharing", or more accurately "stealing" designs is illegal. That information is clearly stated in the "Terms and Conditions" of use of every digitizing website I have ever seen, including this one. At the bottom of every page of this site is the link to the Terms and Conditions of use of the site. I've posted a picture, with the link circled in green. I have also posted a link to the Terms and Conditions of the site that can be clicked on from this post. It clearly states, among other things, "You may not reproduce and/or resell our products or any portion of it, by email, diskette, CD or machine card, or by any other means, without special permission." The major problem seems to be that people do not bother to READ any of this readily available information. Every digitizer uses the same or similar language on their site, because the unauthorized reproduction of a digital embroidery file is a copyright violation, and therefore breaks the copyright law. The person who commits the violation is a criminal, and the person who receives the stolen file is essentially "receiving stolen goods". If the digitizer, who is the owner of the file, chooses to prosecute, it is a criminal prosecution, with various possible consequences, including seizure of computers and sewing machines, and monetary fines.

When people purchase their embroidery machine from a dealer, the dealer makes very clear how the law works, what can and can't be done with embroidery design files. I purchased my digitizing software at the same time as my machine, and my dealer made it crystal clear to me about which artwork could be digitized, how to make sure I was following copyright law in the purchase of artwork, and to copy all the paperwork associated with the purchase, including the right to digitize the art and sell/give away or otherwise publish the digitized file. She also made it very clear that checking all this out with each digitizer or artist was MY responsibility, and a serious one.

Unfortunately, a major problem creeps in when someone picks up a Brother embroidery machine at WalMart or on line. They go through a checkout line, or get a box in the mail, and get NO education or information whatsoever. The information is on every website, but for whatever reason, they don't bother to actually read it. This question has been dealt with probably hundreds of times just here in the Cute Community. People don't know, so we try to educate them. Most are surprised, and very sorry to have unknowingly broken the law. Some are resentful and feel like they have the right to have anything they want for free, apparently even if that means stealing it from the person who rightfully owns it. A few have argued endlessly about what the law "should" be, because their grandchild wants a Mickey Mouse t-shirt.

As far as the law goes regarding digital embroidery design files, the actual "ownership" of the file continues to reside with the digitizer of the file. When you get a legal embroidery design file, whether paid or free, website download or on CD or embroidery card, pre-loaded on your machine when you purchase it, or any other legal means, the ONLY thing you have the right to do with it is load it into your machine and sew it out. That's what you purchased or got free, the ability to sew the design onto something. The digitizer still owns the design; you didn't buy the design, only the right to sew it out. And the digitizer can set the terms for whether the design can be used only for personal items & gifts, or craft shows, whatever. The digitizer can require you to purchase a "commercial" license to use the same design more than a certain number of times. All of these restrictions are in the Terms and Conditions of every digitizer's website, and printed on the commercial CD's like from Dakota Collectibles sold at machine dealers. The information is there, but it's the USER's responsibility to read and understand it. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, sorry.

So, there already is a website with all of this information, the one AuntAnnie listed below, It's not necessarily easy reading, but it's the legal last word. To the best of my knowledge, Tabberone are not copyright lawyers, their opinions are just that, opinions and personal interpretations. I would not rely on them for defense in a court copyright case.

I sincerely hope no one reads this as being "rude", but this post is NOT an invitation to begin a huge discussion about what the copyright laws "should" be, or what anyone thinks of the law, or why it is what it is. We will NOT have that discussion here, or this thread will be removed. You may go to the site to read exactly what the copyright laws ARE. If you care to begin a discussion, do so with your congresspeople who made these laws, not the Cute forum. You have the personal responsibility to read the Terms and Conditions of this website, and of every website you visit, especially those embroidery sites you download from. The owners have the information accessible to all users, the owners have a reasonable expectation that users will read and abide by the rules of their sites. There is no legitimate reason for any user of a website to not have read thru the Terms and Conditions of use before using the site, most especially if it is a site the user goes to often. That is a responsibility of using the internet, and ignorance is not an excuse.

If there is something you really and truly do not understand in the Terms and Conditions, or the copyright law once you have read them, or you are a native speaker of a language other than English and are unsure of some terms, please feel free to contact your moderators and we will try our best to give you some help. To contact the moderators, go to your "inbox" at the top of the page, click on it to send a Private Message. It works just like posting in the forum, only you need to address the message to the person/s you want to see it. To reach the moderators, in the address line, type EXACTLY the following line:


We will return your message as quickly as we can, we do receive a lot of messages, so please be patient. I realize this has been a long explanation, but I hope it has cleared up some things that seem to be misunderstood or not known by some folks. Thanks, and do just have a good time sewing things and being happy and getting a good start on your Christmas stuff, ok? Hugs to all, Marji
(marjialexa, moderator, 1 of 4)

by kylasm 22 Nov 2013

Thank you ladies. I found a new embroidery page actually named "Trade embroidery designs". I was trying to tell her it's illegal but there was a language barrier. This helped things to finally click and she understands now that's it's illegal. She posted an apology and is closing the page, thank goodness :-)

getEdited - SELECT
by jrob Moderator edited 22 Nov 2013

No, there isn't other than Copyright Laws. There are some for each country (see below the ones for the U.S.) and there are international laws. The best thing to do is to look at the Terms and Conditions of each site. It may be worded differently, but it means that "sharing/trading is not legal".

I suppose any generic type site would work. Here is one that I found while researching the legality of a design posted here a long time ago. It seems to be quite comprehensive and answers lots of questions in a plain way. It states on their website:
In this document we will attempt to eliminate some of the confusion and counter many of the myths surrounding copyright and to present clearly the deviantART policies and practices with regard to copyright. The availability of this document should not be construed as rendering legal or other professional advice, and this document is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you require legal advice, you should seek the services of a qualified attorney.

You can find this from the Home page, scrolling down to the bottom under Copyright Policy.