In my career as a graphic designer, I have had to become aware of the basics of copyright law in order to educate my clients. You would not believe the number of clients who want to use photos they “found online,” without first securing reproduction rights! As copyright applies to fellow seamstresses, it means that we cannot sew a dress from a protected pattern, sell the dress, and then sew another for sale to a new customer. The laws are written as such that the rights to use the pattern belong to the customer, and while you can sew that same dress over and over for her, you cannot sew the dress again for someone else unless you buy the pattern again.
As some of you may know, I am not only an enthusiast of sewing from vintage patters, but I also sell some online. Most, if not all, of the patterns I have available are protected under (renewed) copyright claims. The pattern in question most certainly is. And here, finally, is my dilemma: I have a potential customer who is asking me to copy and sell to her just the instruction sheet from a pattern I have available for sale. The instructions are what the copyright holders care most about, and it would technically be illegal for me to make a copy of the instructions for her. HOWEVERRRRR… I also want to help a fellow enthusiast out of a jam. The pattern that she bought was missing the instruction sheet, so SOMEWHERE out there in the ether is “her” set of instructions.
I would love if you ladies (and gents) could weigh in on this situation, particularly if any of you have a background in ethics or a law degree! Many thanks in advance for your advice and opinions.