There is a lot of concern lately in one of the groups that I belong to regarding copyright infringement. There are several big piracy sites that take Independent Designers Patterns and post them for re-sale. This is illegal and is considered theft.
Designers work hard to create, write, test and publish their patterns. Many of them do this as their only means of income. They are very good at what they do and I find it really, really rotten of people to steal from them. Just because it is on the internet doesn't mean that it doesn't belong to someone. Many designers bring us free patterns, some of them are paid patterns, the price of a pattern isn't always a lot of money, but when others take the pattern and share or re-sell it they are taking food off the table of a hard working parent that is just trying their best to put food on the table for their kids.
Kim of WIPs ' N Chains| has written an article about this. She is one of the designers that has been affected by this. You can read more about this HERE_ I hope that this brings some understanding of what copyright infringement is, remember if you find a pattern that you really like and want to share it with your friends, SHARE THE LINK, NOT THE PATTERN. By doing this you help to bring traffic to a designer's site and help to keep that designer going,enabling them to bring you more great designs!
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