Creative Copyright & Plagiarism

“I wish I’d thought of that” “Wow, that’s beautiful” Most of us have expressed these sentiments when viewing the creative work of another. What we do with this thought, however, can turn simple admiration into plagiarism. When it comes to art, imitation isn’t a form of flattery—it’s copyright infringement.

I see myself as an artist, my canvas is my yarn and my mediums are my dyes. I particularly enjoy construction stories for each colourway and invest a great deal of time in making sure the dye I’m mixing is the exact shade of a soft wisteria purple that I want. My style is more painterly and abstract than traditional and my colourways are composed of colours that harmonise well together in a reference image. I often use my surroundings as inspiration, but at times rely on photographs of far of destinations and historical objects.

Image credit:, article on plagiarism and copyright relating to university assignments

In literary terms, copyright and plagiarism is defined as follows:

Copyright is a form of legal protection prohibiting others from copying one’s creative work without permission. A copyright is a property right. Copyright law grants the creator of an original work the exclusive rights for its use and distribution.

Plagiarism is an ethical violation resulting from failure to cite sources and engaging in the act of passing someone else’s work or ideas off as one’s own. This applies even if you have only copied a part, rather than the whole, of another’s work.

To apply the above defenitions to indie dyed yarn, copyright belongs to the dyer or dye house. Plagiarism is using another dyers yarn or photographs of their yarn to replicate the colour and colourway without their permission and then selling it.

Generally speaking, if you are benefitting (either social media likes, comments, shares or financially) of a produced colourway that you mimicked or referenced from another dyer, you are breeching their copyright and are guilty of yarn plagiarism.

Being an indie (independent) dyer, ie not affiliated with a commercial dye house, is to be wholly creative and create colourways that are 100% unique and inspired by who you are. Why copy anyone when you have the chance to be unique?

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