SECOND UPDATE: Apparently Cherry Tree Hill plans to contest their right to sell this pattern, and according to Patternfish, pulled the pattern "in the meantime". I'm not sure what that means, but I'll keep you all updated!
I found out this week that a third party, Cherry Tree Hill, has uploaded one of my patterns to Patternfish and has been selling digital copies for I-don't-know-how-long.
Cherry Tree Hill does not have digital rights to sell my work online. They've been selling print copies for years, but I decided to let that go a long time ago (mostly because I don't sell print copies myself). Start selling my work online though, and that's a problem.
Naturally, I wrote Patternfish to let them know that a third party had uploaded my pattern to their site and request them to remove it. This is the response I got (click the photo to enlarge):
Patternfish has decided to ignore my subsequent 2 emails, and that's not cool. Since this is their website, and they are profiting from my work (they take a percentage of each pattern sold on the site), it certainly does concern them. In the emails that followed, I pointed out that if Cherry Tree Hill did, in fact, have the right to sell this pattern digitally, it would be a simply matter for them to produce a contract to that effect. I asked Julia to request this information and remove the pattern immediately if the information was not provided in a timely manner (which it won't be, because they don't have a contract like that). The fact that Patternfish has decided to ignore me means I'm rallying the troops (that's you)!
So, what can you do to let Patternfish know you don't approve of their inaction in this matter?
A few things.
First, if you're a designer selling on Patternfish, you can pull your patterns for sale until this illegal listing is removed from the site. Even better, write Patternfish a note explaining why you're pulling your patterns. If you aren't yet selling on Patternfish, write them anyway and let them know you wouldn't consider it until you know they'll support the designer in situations like this. And remember...this could easily happen to you! Apparently Patternfish does not care to enforce the policy that uploading members must have digital rights to sell the patterns in question. Let them know how much that bothers you, and that it means they won't be getting business from you.
Second, if you're a current or potential customer for Patternfish, you can write them a note and let them know that you won't be supporting their website through your purchases until they start enforcing their own policies. I may not be the only designer being hurt by this website, and if Patternfish decides it's completely fine to ignore this situation, they'll ignore future situations, too. That could get out of hand! Your pattern purchases should support designers - not third parties (unless, of course, the designer signed a contract stating that'd be okay).
Third, you can post to Patternfish's Facebook wall about this issue. Something to the effect of, "I see that you are selling Sarah Wilson's pattern, Maid Marion, uploaded by a third party user. I disapprove of your decision to ignore your own policy requiring each uploader to acknowledge that they have the right to sell patterns digitally. I won't be listing/buying patterns until this pattern is removed from your system".
Fourth, you can help spread the word about the issue by sharing a link to this blog post with your friends via Twitter/Facebook/Plurk/your blog/whatever other social media outlets you care to use. Social pressure can be a mighty force with companies like Patternfish, and my hope is that if enough people express outrage over this situation, they will be unable to ignore the matter.
You can write Julia Grunau directly at email@example.com. Patternfish's Twitter handle is @Patternfish. Find their Facebook page here.
I'll keep you posted on the situation!
(And in the meantime, if you want to purchase Maid Marian, you can do so right here - you'll notice, the pattern's only $6.00 when you buy it from me, not $9.00 like the Patternfish version)!