Thursday, February 23, 2006

Stitch ‘n Bitch

Debbie Stoller changed my life. Last year, about this time, I was quite ill, I came across her book Stitch ‘n Bitch a knitter’s handbook. I learnt that knitting (a craft that my Grandmother taught me) could be fun, easy and actually stylish. I cannot over state how much my life has changed for the better since I learnt to knit more than just scarves. For those of you who know me, I think you can see the difference.

When I was listening to some back issues of
Cast-On, a podcast, much like KnitCast which I love, that discusses so many wonderful aspects (and not so wonderful) of knitting, I heard some of the details about the Stitch ‘n Bitch battle. (UPDATE: found a link, here it is) Well, I can’t find a working link to this debate *Anywhere* online today, but the basic just of it is that a company has copyrighted the phrase “Stitch ‘n Bitch Cafe” and now is using this copyright to prevent the use of the phrase “Stitch ‘n Bitch” in it’s entirety or any variation of these words. Both for people like Debbie Stoller whose books are published under that title and for smaller groups of people who would like to gather and knit and talk about knitting &c. Now it seams to me that this company is selling (or trying to) craft supplies to people who like to stitch things and they like to talk about stitching things. So, the conclusion must be that it is fantastically great advertisement to harm the potential consumers. (Bad Logic! Bad! Bad! Down Boy! – Oh why don’t people take logic in university, or better still teach it in high school? It is so bloody simple!)

I know the battle has been online for some months now, but it seams to have gone quiet. I feel that we must not let this happen. My limited knowledge of copyright laws tells me that individuals using words in daily conversation or small groups of individuals using terms to define themselves (provided they do not benefit from the good will (like there is any left) associated with it). An example would be the soap called Zest. I assume that this is a copyrighted word, although it is a good honest word in the dictionary from before Zest Soap came around. Now there was an advertisement for some spicy food at a big chain restaurant that ran for most of a year where they described the food as having zest. This is not, to my limited knowledge a copy write violation although they did benefit from using this word in their advertisement.

I do understand that things are far more complicated than what I have said here. As it stands, I see no reason for me not to uses this phrase in my daily conversation (including my semi-daily blogging), nor will I support a company who thinks it is appropriate to take words out of our vocabulary. Freedom of speech and all that!

Correction (I think): the phrase that is copyrighted is "Stitch and Bitch Caffe", not "stitch 'n Bitch Caffe" if that makes a difference to anyone.

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