Monday, May 12, 2008

BBC to Exterminate Knitted Daleks???

I am happy to admit to being a big Doctor Who fan, even though I never watched the show until about two years ago. It was Chris who got me interested, who then gave me a Doctor Who overview, courtesy of Netflix.

For his efforts, Chris was rewarded with an actual Doctor Who Scarf, despite the fact that it took me a few months to deal with 12 feet of garter stitch with DK-weight yarn on US# 5 or 6 rather uninspiring colors (I already did the 70s, and was a bit reluctant to "do" those colors again).

Fast forward to this year, when I came across someone on Ravelry whose avatar (I think, at the time) was a knitted Dalek* (dawn9163--go see her!). I immediately added the pattern to my queue and forwarded a link to Chris, who was satisfyingly enthusiastic. I planned to knit it for him soon.

But this weekend, Chris came across this. Apparently, the BBC, which owns the rights to these images and the concept of the show, are coming down on the knitting community for publishing Doctor Who patterns. I hope the Doctor Who Scarf Web site isn't next!

My immediate sympathies are with the individual, the person who designed this pattern, versus the Big Broadcasting Corporation.

But I wonder, is this like knitting "Barbie Dolls" and calling them Barbie? If the knitted Dalek and Tardis are in any way different from those on television, can they become the designer's intellectual property? Hmmm...Time -- and research -- will tell.

Meanwhile, who's losing out? Well...

The Doctor Who fans (and families of same) in the knitting community lose out, because they can't "legally" use the online patterns to make the lovable little exterminators.

The designers lose out, because they cannot share their creative genius with the rest of us, even if they're posting the patterns for free instead of selling them. After all, there is joy in sharing.

The BBC loses out, because they're alienating Doctor Who fans -- specifically those who knit and those who want knitted Doctor Who paraphernalia. I'd imagine there are a lot of us self-proclaimed knitting-and-Doctor-watching geeks out there.

That's a lose-lose-lose situation, if you ask me. And, in my opinion, the BBC is being outrageously petty. After all, no one's profiting, financially, from these patterns (so far).

Now, I'm not a lawyer, and need to do a little research on the topic of copyright and intellectual property. Which I will, so look out for another blog entry on this topic soon.

Meanwhile, why not join the revolution and cast on or crochet a Dalek of your own!

* Here's a crocheted version.



Kristine said...

So, what makes you a "real" Doctor Who fan?

KnitSix said...

Good catch, Kristine! I meant "real" in the sense of "big." So I changed it to "big." English is funny that way ;-)