I don't know the ins and outs of copyright law. I can't afford a lawyer to explain it to me, nor am I terribly concerned about 'protecting' my designs.
Frankly, the label 'designer' is not one I wear easily, although I must because that is precisely what I do. I take yarn and using no other resource than my own creativity and knowledge figure out how to interlace warps and wefts to create, primarily, functional textiles. Functional textiles that hopefully add beauty and grace to someone's life. My own in the making of them and someone else's in the using of them.
In the last post Weaver C was me.
I had two choices. I could try to talk to the weavers and explain that what they were doing was on so many levels just plain wrong. Or leave them to it while I waited on actual customers. I would have had to 'confront' them in a public place with customers drifting in and out of my booth, in a venue where I had paid a great deal of money in order to sell my work to appreciative customers, not hold a mini-seminar in my booth to try and educate well meaning weavers who, in all likelihood either had no clue or - and this is something that I don't want to believe but is true in some cases - simply didn't care. That they saw my work, appreciating it to the point of wanting to make something exactly like it was on one level a compliment to my skills as a designer/weaver.
The deciding factor in not taking the time to explain to them that it was rude to do a fabric analysis in my booth, taking up valuable floor space and covering my display while they did it was that I had decided to discontinue the line when my materials for said design ran out. I also did not want to have a potentially angry confrontation in my booth with the public walking into - or by - my booth. I didn't need that negative energy in my life on any level.
I know that some weavers will appreciate what I make to the extent that they want to emulate it. I have no problems with someone taking one of my textiles, figuring out how I did it and then tweak it to produce something uniquely theirs.
But as I mentioned in the last post, not everyone is confident enough in their skills to do that. So they follow directions, buy kits, reproduce precisely what a designer has created. There is nothing wrong in so doing. The 'wrongness' is when they then sell that work as their own without acknowledging the role of the designer.
The weaving community is a very small one. To take something that has been seen in Handwoven, replicate it exactly and then sell it is, as far as I am aware of copyright law, an infringement. OTOH, it doesn't take much to change the original sufficiently that one can claim it as 'original' work. Change the colours, change the dimensions, if nothing else, change the threading, tie up and/or treadling and voila, you have a textile that is changed enough from the original to make it count as 'original'.
Ultimately by publishing photos - and sometimes drafts - of the textiles I create my goal is to inspire others and increase their knowledge. It is partly why, up until now, I rarely publish precise details of my textiles. (I must for inclusion in Handwoven.) When I do provide precise details, right down to the supplier, I am well aware that these items may be reproduced precisely. That is, after all, the whole point of providing those precise details!
So no, I don't get particularly exercised when I see my work either copied precisely or emulated. By the time I see items similar to what I make in the marketplace, I've generally moved on to my next best idea. And if not, it is simply a reminder that I need to...