There's a grassroots movement afoot to express opposition to the attempt by some company called Sew Fast/Sew Easy, Inc. (have you ever heard of these people?) to–get this–trademark the expression "Stitch and Bitch."
To this end, all Yahoo groups using the expression in their names have been told to cease and desist, and even the clever "Purl" mascot designed for the Chicago You-Know-What has been pulled off the market by Café Press.
And apparently now they're going after Debbie Stoller. Notice that they've waited until her books have made a great deal of money and become ubiquitous in the stores before saying something. She's fighting back. Give 'em hell, Debbie. You want me to send a group of sheep to picket them?
To quote loosely a favorite line from All About Eve, this breaks all records for running, jumping, or standing gall. The expression in question is a dates back apparently to the 1940s or earlier. You cannot, it would seem to me, legally justify ownership of a commonplace set of words just because you called dibs.
Ironically, if you visit their obnoxiously colored Web site, you'll find a set of tellingly underused forums which includes a section for men who knit, and refers to them as "Dicks with Sticks." Have they also trademarked this? And if so, has the group in San Francisco dutifully changed its name?
There's a grassroots effort afoot to fight the moneygrubbing idiots, and you can find out more about it over through this Web site, dedicated the boycott of Sew Fast/Sew Easy.
Whichever way this case goes, Sew Fast/Sew Easy, Inc. will never see a dime of my money.
On the Other Hand
Cryptic comments left on another blog have suggested that it's time for me to trot out my guidelines for proper use of cartoons and photographs posted on this blog.
- Whether marked "copyright" or not, and whether officially filed for copyright or not, a creator's works are held in copyright by him or her from the moment of creation.
- Publishing an image (or anything else) on the Web does not mean said image is no longer under copyright.
- I'm probably not going to call out the sheepdogs if a blogger posts a single one of my cartoons on his or her personal, non-profit blog provided that a credit and link are provided. I'd rather you did not, but as I can't actually stop you, that's what I'm asking for if you must insist.
- You absolutely do not have permission to use any of my drawings or photographs for publication in any other form whatsoever without my express, written permission. If you do, you're stealing. And if I catch you, I will object strenuously.
The person who may or may not be considering purloining my sketch of Mary getting yarn for Christmas* should consider whether it would be nice of me to go into her yarn shop and steal a couple skeins of cashmere while her back is turned just because she might not notice.
Mind you, with a simple, businesslike request and a payment of about the price of those skeins, she could get a superlative copy of the sketch in question. Or for a little more, she could even get a custom design.
As it is, if she goes ahead she'll wind up with (at best) an extremely crappy looking card (Web files look awful on paper, dear lady) and some truly bad karma.
Sorry to sound so, ahem, bitchy. But I have a little while to go yet before knitting is permitted again. This must be what it's like to quit smoking.
*No, I don't know for certain it's my sketch that's being spoken of. But if there's another male knitblogger out there who posted artwork that might go on a Christmas card, I haven't had the pleasure of his acquaintance.