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Sunday, July 10, 2005



I know that sometimes content gets cut when the final editing process is done, but that's no excuse not to attribute you with the original idea. I will certainly write an email. At the very least, they should add the information somehow in their next issue.


What a horrible thing for someone to do. You'd think a magazine would have more sense. I sent Ms. Miller an email letting her know I wouldn't be purchasing Belle Armoire. Hopefully it'll help get the point across.


What a slap in the face to see it all that way (or I guess NOT see it)! In any event, hopefully, in some way this is all an innocent mixup and you will get huge coverage in the next issue. I just sent off my email to the editor...Go Black Sheep Bags and you have a right to be frustrated. You work hard...Take care...I love your bags :) ...speaking of which, how is the new one coming?


That's really awful that she would completely disregard your agreement. Particularly when you'd been so accomodating. Let's hope it was a last-minute cut for space made by someone in editorial who didn't know about the agreement, and that they will make good quickly.


I'm so sorry. I've never heard of that mag and I'm already biased against them. As others have said, I hope it was just a mistake and everything will be corrected. I'm off to write an email. Try not to be too discouraged. I can't imagine how it feels, but we're all behind you :)


I'm sorry this happened, yes she absolutely should have stuck to your agreement - how frustrating for you. I will email her.

Wasn't there an article on Knitty recently that talked about "what percent do you have to change before it's not a copyright violation?" that discussed the ethics of this kind of situation? I mean, probably we've all changed a pattern to the point where it is different in execution from the original concept - but it doesn't alter the fact that the original concept was someone's design and you ought to credit them if you're selling that altered pattern or writing an article about it. They should know better.


In copyright laws one must change 30% of the original product in order for it to be new. In which case it would be a minus 10.2 sts from our beloved FREE pattern. However, that is NO excuse for the magazine to offer credit, as well as a complimentary subscription and then, slap us in the face by doing what she did to one of our favorite bloggers.
I will be expediting an email and letting the editor know that I don't care one bit for her treatment of you and your agreement. I will also be speaking with the owner of my LYS, and letting her know just how she treated a small business owner, and recommend that if approached to carry this magazine, that she might want to re think it.
I definately won't be purchasing this magazine in the future.. That's for darn sure.


Julie, I believe this magazine has done themselves more harm than good. Most of us would recognize the Booga Bag (or a poorly disguised copy of) at 50 paces. By not giving credit to you, they have just shown themselves to be rip off artists. Once the origin of designs comes into question, they are standing in quicksand. (If they have stolen from Julie Anderson today, who did they steal from in previous issues?) I don't believe that is the reputation they were seeking. I think its time they see the power of the knitting blog world. We can be moved to purchase, and we can be soured quickly on shoddy merchants, poor customer service or repulsive business practices. I will be telling them exactly that in an email.


I think Bliss really summed up exactly what I was thinking. I sent my letter and my feeling is that it doesn't really matter what her reason was i.e. space etc. She made a deal and she should have stuck to it. Even a mention in the next issue is watered down from what the 'nod' would have meant being attached to the actual article. How sad for them to do that. I know you'll keep us posted.


so sorry to read about this aggravation. I hope cari is right...it was an editorial mistake.


First, I'm sorry to to hear that the initial offer wasn't honoured--it wouldn't have taken that much space. Not even the mention in the resource guide? I'm with Jane, and hope that they make up for the omission in the next issue.

Secondly, (and I'm sorry to feel compelled to correct another commenter on your blog), the article in Knitty was not about what percentage needs to be changed. It mentioned what a futile measure of novelty/infringement that was. A 30% alteration is *not* the "law". One could change 30% of a pattern (however the heck you calculate that) and *still* infringe copyright.


I have sent an email to the editior. The least she can do is compensate you fairly and apologize profusely.


That really is horrible. You deserve the credit for the work you have done!


Another email being sent. That is plain shoddy.


that's terrible. i just sent an e-mail to the editor. I'm so sorry that happened.


yes, ma'am, you can add me to the list of emailers...
thank you for your wonderful designs...here's hoping you get more than just a *NOD*.
Credit, at the very LEAST!


Julie, this just stinks. I can't believe that they would do that. I sent an e-mail too. If they don't respond, maybe you have a lawyer friend who would send off a letter with some scary legalese?


I've got that magazine, in fact I bought it just for that article. When I got it home and took a closer look I recognized those bags and looked for your name. I'll be sending an e-mail. This is just wrong.


I totally am appalled at this magazine.

I've written a letter...and I've forwarded it to all my fellow knitters in MD...so they can also do the same.

Shame on them! a difference twenty stitches does not "cancel" copyright...as I am sure their legal dept told them.


How rude. I have also sent an email to the editor. I hope she makes some form of retribution to you.


That is downright UNACCEPTABLE!!! I can not believe she did that. I WILL email her & tell her my feelings!


Thank you so much everyone! It means so much to me to see support from the online knitting community!

Nathania Apple

Shocking. Completely shocking. You've got a lot of folks in your corner, Julie.


I hate unscrupulous people. I too will write a letter to the editor, but I agree that it won't help the slight you received. Copyrights are touchy things and difficult to enforce without legal action (and that might not be a road you want to go down for this). Do you have a lawyer? You should really talk to someone about copyright law and how you should go about handling requests and such - it'd probably be worth the money.


Julie, this is ridiculous. No justification of this "error" (if it is one) is acceptable. They flat out violated their own agreement with you.

I will write the editor and will warn other knitters and shop owners about that magazine, too. I'm always wanting to buy every knitting mag I hear or read about, but not this one! Not if they treat designers this way, and clearly don't respect a designer's rights.

Even if she offers an acknowledgment of your work in the next issue, that's not good enough. She promised a plug in the resource section, as well as credit for your original design in the article itself. That correction won't get nearly as much publicity as the article itself.

What I suggest is that you figure out ahead of time what you want from her in the way of restitution -perhaps a full-page ad for free (as well as a correction and written apology for their "mistake"?) Would that be at least some compensation for this violation? Not sure what can be done, but this is rotten and the good thing is BECAUSE of your well-known design and it's prominence on the Internet, as a commenter said above, any reputable knitter or yarn store owner will think the worse of the magazine. They made a BIG mistake.


Not giving you credit after those exchanges seems almost worse than if they had blatantly "borrowed" your idea and published them without ever contacting you at all. Then, maybe you would never have noticed, or looked, or you could have excused them as being clueless, but they clearly weren't--they contacted you, asked your permission, promised credit for the original idea . . . and then just blew you off. I'd be upset, too!


I don't blame you for being angry. She lied to you. And SHAME on Jenny for trying to pass off your design as her own!

I once took a pattern I was working on to my LYS and gave a copy to the manager, a friend. Then on a Stitches bus trip the LYS passed out a small "kit" with my pattern in it. No acknowledgement at all. I was steamed, to say the least.


It's wrong to take out acknowledgments in copy for the sake of length. If anything, content can be shortened, but not acknowledgment. I'm clicking over to Sharlyn Miller to give her a good scolding! Shame on her and her magazine!


It's a shame that this happened. There is still a lot of dishonesty going around nowadays. You have the email regarding your agreement, could there be any cause to perhaps threaten a suit? I hate when crappy things happen to good, honest, hardworking people...It's just wrong!!


I also e-mailed and will be linking to this post on MY blog... HONEST KNITTERS UNITE! ;-)


I posted about this issue on my blog as well. It's disgusting that a magazine would do this.


This is terrible business practice. As a music therapist, I have to be very aware of copywrite laws, and I can tell you that what they have done is not only unethical, but is quite possibly illegal. You wrote the pattern, & that makes it yours under federal copywrite law. Even if they altered it slightly, the essence of their pattern is YOUR pattern. You should get credit for your pattern, & I wrote them a letter saying so.

By the way, I've made two Booga Bags (one original & one slightly smaller) and I love them! It's a great pattern!


I'm shocked! I got here through the live journal knitting community.

I'm a sewer, jewelry maker, and knitter - and working on publishing some of my knitwear designs. I have purchased Belle Armoire in the past - but I NEVER will again. The fact that they could be so blatantly unethical makes me sick to my stomach.

I just fired off a bitterly worded missive to the editor. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this : (


Thank you so much for telling me about this, i too will be sending an email and will post a link to this on my blog tomorrow--so hopefully other people can find out about what happened...that is just awful! Please let us know what ends up happening


No way that should be allowed to fly; I have stopped purchasing Belle Armoire in any event, due to their concentration on nothing but questionable fibert "art" clothing; I believe Ms. Miller is also the editor of another magazine, to do with stamping or somesuch...maybe Stamper's Sampler? I can't remember. Anyway, it doesn't matter - Another letter being sent on your behalf. I am appalled.


Has the editor responded to your complaint at all? I work for a small monthly magazine, and I can see how an oversight like this could happen; however, it should be made right. If you don't hear back from the editor, you should contact the publisher and/or the owner.


You should talk to a copyright attorney. I think this is ridiculous.


I'm never buying this magazine. That is just plain stealing! I'll be sending an email as well.


I am joining the band wagon and have fired off an email myself. I have modified the pattern myself to make a smaller or bigger bag, does that give me the right to list it as my "own" pattern?? I think not. Count me as another reader who will never purchase their magazine AGAIN!!


DAMN! WTF?! Unless someone *else* claiming to be the editor in order to warn you this was happening did this, I don't see what this person had to gain!! I definitly agree with some above commentors, print out those emails, show them to some lawyer friends! I shall be writing the editor and passing this along to my LYS ( they love your bags :) )
This is definitly NOT a good business practice for that magazine and they need to be put in their place.
- Helen.


Like someone else said.... I can spot a Booga Bag a mile away.. no matter what the size or shape. In fact... I was just at the OB last month and a lady in the waiting room had one on her arm. I commented on how beautiful her "booga bag" was, and she said how surprised she was that I knew exactly what it was.

What they did was WRONG and ILLEGAL and they should be punished. Get a lawyer, and make sure you save every contact you've had with them. EMAIL IS considered a verbal contract even if you've signed nothing.


Julie and all, Here is the copy of the letter I wrote to Ms. Miller:
Dear Ms. Miller,

I will not be purchasing a subscription or individual copies to your magazine "Belle Amore" because of your actions regarding the Booga Bags designed by Julie Anderson of Black Sheep Bags. I've heard about this issue on a couple of knitting blogs and plan to post it on mine.

The bottom line, Ms. Miller, is that you are a theif with no honor. It seems many immoral people have a problem with this concept. Because something isn't tangible or they can get away with it, they feel it's somehow okay. You are also a coward. The Julie Anderson's of the world do not have the resources to fight such crime as corporations like Microsoft.

I would like to thank you for providing a website with information regarding you current issue. I was able to see the proof that the design as obviously a copy of Julie's work myself without purchasing or browsing through your magazine at the local bookstore.


Tori Forest


Add me to the email list. I tried to keep it polite, but I said I was very disappointed in the poor judgment of their editorial staff.

Has anyone received replies to their emails?


I also emailed the editor.

That is wrong in so many ways!

Good luck!


oh that's really terrible. I would feel so taken advantag eof if I were you. I would feel completely robbed. I really hope that they end up paying you now. That is really really bad.

Hang in there! I hope that this is resolved in a timly manner.


Why go thru all the trouble of emailing you, updating you and asking permission and then just blatently ignore it all in the long run? What this magazine and this editor did is unacceptable, and I will certainly be adding my voice to the previous posters who have emailed their disgust.

As so many have said, Booga Bags are easily recognized - so much so I emailed Julie not so long ago when I saw the pattern for sale on Ebay (turns out there was an agreeement in place for that seller, but I was concerned someone else was profitting off Julie's hard work and free gift)

I know there are usually 3 sides to every story but I cannot see how the magazine could have not known what they were doing was wrong! While they obviously can't fix what they have done, they need to make some type of show of good faith to make this right. You deserve to be compensated!


I think this is awful and I'm so sorry to hear. You were one of the first blogs I found when I started knitting and I've always had a soft spot for the booga bag.

I have written to Ms Miller and will be posting your story on my blog too.

Take Care, Suzanne


Hi Julie,
I am late to the party, but I wanted to let you know that I also emailed the editor.

I think publishers should set the standard for ethics and behavior, not lower the bar (and I told her as much!)...

I hope you hear back soon...


another late one here, but i just emailed the editor too. i just saw the pics of the article and i must say, the wanna-be-booga bags they made are horrendously tacky. ugh, such taste!

K. Anne

That sucks. Belle? More like Merde.

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