This opinion is not always popular amongst some in the knitting and crocheting communities. Though I don't believe many people will venture to my blog here and read this, I am still going to do a write up on it.
This is what I think of the way a lot of knitters/crocheters act about copyrights...
I find it over the top and downright stupid. In fact, I have a former friend who acts as uneducated and extreme about this issue as some of the moderators of certain communities do. And by no means can you call me a thief, because that isn't the case in any sense. Just because I have this opinion does not make me a thief or a cheater.
There's something about working from patterns that just downright pisses some people off, whether they knit or crochet or not. The former friend I mentioned doesn't do either one, and she was very upset that I had crocheted a few amigurumi toys based on patterns in a book I purchased and later sold them to people. The fact is, I had no real use or place for those toys, but the people I sold them to did. I see no point in keeping the items when I've been offered money for them. The money paid for the materials I used to make the toys and for the time I spent in making them. I figure, in that former friend's case, that it was jealousy that caused her reaction. I can't say I know what's up the butts of the people who really do know how to crochet or knit, though.
My first run in with what I like to call a copyright extremist is when I shared a scan of an old Red Heart flier I got from one of those tablets of free patterns you see in retail stores like Walmart. What made it all the more ridiculous is that the pattern was literally for a simple granny square pattern. Red Heart DOES NOT own any kind of rights to the granny square, and they never will. Granny squares have been around since forever, and probably nobody even knows who made them up. Also, those fliers are FREE to the public. Red Heart, or whatever company it's from, puts those out in hopes of luring you into buying their yarn to make that project with. It's a marketing tactic. If you choose to share the pattern, they won't sue you over it. They have better things to do with their money than try to sue personally owned websites or individuals over the distribution of free fliers. They probably LIKE it when you share those free fliers because you just convinced someone else to buy their yarn to make that project with. If you really do think that your website will get sued because of something like that, then you're full of yourself and you're too busy thinking you're the shit to realize you're not worth jack to these corporations. Get over yourself.
There was another case in which I saw this that comes to mind right now. It was a pattern I saw somewhere. It's a free pattern, and I copied it down. It's for a "button tab hat". The pattern is extremely simple, and I could have figured it out on my own if I had the gumption to do so. At the end of the pattern, however, there are explicit warnings not to reproduce the hat for sale. Not even a week after copying that pattern did I see the same style of hat in my LYS. In fact, a FREE PATTERN for the hat was being offered to anyone who purchased the yarn that was used to make it with. And I've seen other similar style hats for sale by people who created them from their "own pattern".
You can't copyright a spiral. You can't copyright a knit or a purl - a double crochet or a single crochet. These things are just basic parts of how knitting and crocheting is done. They create certain shapes, regardless of who does the stitch work. The concept to create a doll's head or a ribbed scarf can't be copyrighted.
And then there's just style. Everybody has it. You can copy a pattern as closely as you possibly can, but your own personal style WILL show in it in some way or another. In the amigurumis I made, I could see my own style very easily. When people saw my dolls, they KNEW that I had made them just by how they looked. What's more is that I don't follow patterns 100%. A lot of the time I'll veer off in some other direction with it to add my own flare. So the finished product is more like an inspiration worked from a base rather than something copied exactly from the words in a book.
Not everything I create comes from a pattern, either. I've worked hard to build the skills necessary to make my own designs. But, even at that, I see nothing wrong with working from a pattern if I like what that pattern makes.
So, yes. I DO distribute free patterns, both online and in real life, and I DO sell work created from patterns I find here and there. And there's no reason to freak out and have a stroke over it, either. So just chill the hell out, would you?