Thursday, March 06, 2008

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  • Look What I Found

    Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.
    -Harriet Martineau

    It's a lovely spring day in San Diego, the lucky star I was born under held up last night for a very manageable call. The palm trees are palmy, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are even singing. Spring is definitely here. It was then a perfect day to go explore my public library. I will confess that I had an ulterior motive; a book I requested had come in.

    Let's give three cheers to the San Diego Public Library! Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting is now in my hot little hands. After following a discussion on Ravelry about this particular rare book and how often it's "disappeared" from libraries only to show up on eBay for $400, I decided to look around and get my fair use copy of St. Brigid before someone took this one.

    My only familiarity with this book has been in seeing the gorgeous sweaters, St. Brigid and Na Craga in particular, that people have made. Now that I'm seeing it in person, I'm both more and less impressed. There are only 9 patterns, but they're all gorgeous. What I hadn't realized is that the first half of the book is all history and a discussion of creating cables. Interesting, but hardly worth the ridiculous prices it's been commandering.

    Speaking of ridiculous, let's have a brief chat about the holier-than-thou self-appointed copyright police in the online knitting community. A number of people discussing this book on Ravelry are doing things like checking out the book for three weeks at a time, and then they find the book missing before they can finish their knitting. I'm all about not taking the bread out of the mouths of designers, but that's an overly cautious interpretation of copyright law. If you can get a library copy, you can make a fair use copy of whatever you need for your own personal use. . . . Not to mention that I have no qualms about copying material from out-of-print books. The designer makes no money off that $400 eBay purchase, so I hardly find it a better solution. And I'm very happy I'll be able to make St. Brigid. . . . As soon as I make some progress on those other three sweaters . . .

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    Blogger Angelika said...

    I found the Staremore Fair Isle Knitting at our local library too and loved it. But I returned it, since making a copy of the patterns I liked was easier on my conscience than "loosing" the book.

    3/07/2008 3:42 AM  
    Blogger Dorothy said...

    That book has been in my library since it came out and I wouldn't part with it. St. Brigid is definitely on my list! I actually started it once, but had too many things going on, so frogged it until I can give it the attention it deserves. I agree with you about the copyright issue. I have done that with several knitting books. Stop and think about it - why would the library even carry books of knitting patterns if you couldn't make a fair use copy? Surely they don't expect people to keep them checked out until a project is done!

    3/07/2008 7:23 AM  
    Blogger Miss T said...

    I agree, that copyright discussion is *way* out of control. And I notice that most people don't seem to have the same qualms about using photographs or other images.

    3/07/2008 7:44 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Great find! And, let's give it up for San Diego - it has been just lovely here the last few days!

    3/07/2008 8:07 AM  
    Blogger knitzalot said...

    I actually checked this out of the library a couple of years ago. When you mentioned in on Saturday, I thought it sounded familiar, but now that I see the cover, I am sure. I'm glad you found it!

    3/07/2008 8:23 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Excellent library find! Hmm...might be high time I visit my local library ... :)

    3/07/2008 9:12 AM  
    Blogger Amy O'Neill Houck said...

    Hey there--I think the issue with the so-called copyright police is one of a lack of understanding. Designers get very defensive of their intellectual property because it is so hard to protect. Most people I've encountered don't know anything about fair use, particularly that it's legal to make copies from books checked out of the library. If more people understood fair use, I think everyone would be a lot happier. :-)



    3/07/2008 4:32 PM  
    Blogger JayJay said...

    We've been enjoying spring too! I would definitely say that copying a pattern seems like a perfectly fine option, even moreso when a book is out of print. Do the copyright police really expect us to finish a sweater in just 3 weeks?

    3/10/2008 6:36 AM  

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