Thursday, May 22, 2008

Doctor Who Patterns: Update

Photo: Tardis, by KirinQueen

Those of you who read This Week in Ravelry #16 already know that there's been progress in the whole BBC vs. knitting/crochet pattern designers.

For non-Ravelry members -- and for anyone who would rather get a quick, encapsulated version -- here goes:

PenWiper, creator of the fabulous Extermiknit! pattern, wrote to me last week. She let me know that, while she had not been contacted by BBC about her knitted Daleks, she had decided to remove the pattern from the Web because of the legal hoopla surrounding other creators' Doctor Who patterns.

However, another designer, Mazzmatazz, who wrote a pattern for a knitted "Adipose" (a baby alien made of human fat cells), was contacted by BBC legal types. She posted the following note on the Ravelry page where the pattern was once available:
"Pattern has been removed due to me being contacted by the BBC - Please do not message me asking for it, I am not sending it out. If you want to see the pattern back up, I suggest you petition the BBC to relent."

Photo: Audreym

Within days, other Doctor Who patterns also disappeared*, causing a wave of confusion, speculation, and knitterly outrage.

Well, the fiber arts community (and others, I'm sure) launched a slew of letters and e-mails to BBC from around the world. And as a result (I like to imagine), there's some good news to report.

On Thursday, May 15, Mazz announced the following to Ravelry's "Who Knits?" group:
"I have been offered and am discussing several things, which may include making some Adipose for the BBC Worldwide Team and also some for Russell and the Doctor Who team, and licensing the pattern for use on the website and in a BBC magazine. I have been invited to go and talk to Philip directly at the BBC Worldwide offices in the near future regarding the BBC’s proposals."
So maybe, somewhere in the world, there's a little justice being served. Hopefully, Mazz will form a successful partnership with BBC and be able, once again, to put her knitting/designing talents to use for Doctor Who fans everywhere. And make some money out of the deal.

I can only hope that the same "generosity" will be shown to others who've designed Doctor Who-related patterns, like PenWiper, whose Dalek pattern is truly fantastic. After all, aren't we expressing our love of the network's show by knitting these objects? Isn't that a positive thing?

I am happy that communications between at least one designer and BBC have begun. But still, I can't help but feel somehow disappointed and let down by the blatant commercialism that would deny artists, knitters, crocheters, and others the right to create and share patterns -- for FREE, not for profit -- based on their mutual love of a long-running cult favorite.

I wonder if The Doctor wouldn't be a bit disappointed, too.

*By a strange stroke of fate, the Doctor Who Scarf Web site appeared to be shut down at the same time, sparking fears that it, too, fell prey to BBC's eagle-eyes. Fortunately, as it turned out, the site had merely experienced some technical issues, and is now back to normal. (Yay!)


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