While many people are familiar with copyright issues concerning things like music, movies and software online, there's another community that also has been quite active: the knitting community
. For a few years now there's been an ongoing battle between hobbyist knitters who have uploaded patterns that others feel are infringing on their copyrights. Now it appears that issue is touching on the tech/sci-fi community as well. Boing Boing
points us to the news that a fan of the famed BBC show Dr. Who
had created some knitting patterns of his own that would enable anyone to knit various characters from the show. This isn't a case where he was uploading someone else's patterns -- but he had created his own. The BBC, however, flipped out and told him to remove all such knitting patterns as they infringed on the BBC's copyrights and trademarks
. This seems like yet another case of overly aggressive enforcement of intellectual property rights because someone can
, not because it's a good idea.
It's nearly impossible to see how a fan getting people to knit versions of Dr. Who
characters somehow diminishes the rights of the BBC. All it's doing is enabling fans (who are also into knitting) to express their fandom. If anything, the BBC should be encouraging
this kind of fan support, rather than trying to stifle it and shut it down. It's stunning that after all these years, people still don't realize that helping fans express their feelings towards something is a good thing
, rather than infringement.