QuiltCon Original Work Policy
The MQG’s QuiltCon Original Work Policy, set out below, has been in practice since 2013.
While we’ve made small changes in our documentation, the Judging forms have always included innovation as one of the criteria to evaluate. Additionally, the entry form has always stated that design inspiration has to be properly credited.
This policy summarizes and clarifies the QuiltCon and MQG position on original work. The jurying and judging policies, and the QuiltCon quilt show entry form have been updated to clarify certain points. The QuiltCon policies are comparable to other quilt shows of similar size.
1) QuiltCon has a preference for innovative, original design. This is because displaying highly innovative work at QuiltCon reflects the mission of the MQG to “support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community.” Additionally, it helps keep the show interesting from year-to-year, thereby supporting the success of the organization. In all categories, preference will be given to quilts that apply the principles of each category in innovative ways.
2) QuiltCon acknowledges that it is very difficult to have a clear definition of “original design” when it comes to artwork, including quilts. As such, QuiltCon relies upon its membership to be honest when submitting quilts for consideration in the QuiltCon show and to provide complete and accurate information as requested on the entry form.
3) QuiltCon and the MQG do not and cannot establish guidelines or rules regarding what would be considered copyright infringement, which is a legal question that can only be answered by a court of law. Note that copyright infringement may be found even if a quilt is not an exact or close copy of a work protected by copyright. For basic information about U.S. copyright law, see www.copyright.gov.
4) To protect itself from potential disputes, the MQG recommends that makers who wish to submit a quilt to QuiltCon (or any quilt show) that is heavily influenced by another artist/quilter’s work request permission from the original artist (or current copyright holder) or seek counsel from a qualified attorney to determine if they are at risk of infringing a copyright owned by someone else. This recommendation only relates to the exhibition or commercial use of the quilt. QuiltCon will not require you to show proof of permission when submitting your quilt to the show, but we will ask you to confirm that you do have the proper rights or permissions.
5) QuiltCon and the MQG do not defend members against claims of copyright infringement or insufficient credit being given that arise as a result of quilts being selected for display in the QuiltCon show.
6) QuiltCon and the MQG acknowledge that, although unlikely, it is possible for two different people to come up with two very similar designs even when they work entirely independently. It is also possible for two people to have different opinions about whether or not something is a copy of another work. QuiltCon does not get involved in settling any disputes that arise from this situation.
7) QuiltCon reserves the right to rescind awards and require the return of prize monies if a quilter is found to have knowingly misrepresented their work.
8) QuiltCon asks all quilters to list sources of inspiration to make sure that all entrants are on level ground. By obtaining information about inspiration for quilts, the jurors and judges can review the original source of inspiration to determine how innovative the submitted quilt is. There may be cases when the maker thinks they directly copied another piece of art while the judges think that the interpretation is actually very creative and innovative. Therefore, quilters should not assume that listing their sources of inspiration will somehow decrease their chances to be selected by the jury or awarded by the judges. Note, however, that if a quilt is selected for the show or given an award, it does not mean that QuiltCon and the MQG have determined that the quilt is in fact “original work” and does not infringe the copyright belonging to a third party. It is always that quilt maker’s responsibility to determine whether or not they have the proper rights/permissions to enter a quilt into the show.
Other quilt shows have similar policies. At the time of issuance of this policy (July 2017), the following other similar examples include:
AQS states: “Any quilt that cannot be defined as an original piece requires written design permission from the inspiration source(s).” http://www.quiltweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2017-General-Contest-Rules-2.pdf
IQA says: “It is the entrant’s responsibility to obtain all necessary copyright releases for work that is covered under the copyright laws of the United States. This may include work derived from, or copied from, the photo or art of another, quilts made from patterns, etc. You must also give proper credit for the design on the entry form. Entrant will provide the International Quilt Association a copy of the copyright release upon request. https://www.iqa-judgedshow.org/page.php?ID=2.
Art Quilt Elements accepts ONLY original work, although it does not define what is considered original or derived from: “Work submitted must be innovative and original in design. Work derivative of other quilt artists or work created in a workshop with the collaboration of an instructor is not acceptable.”
Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA):
What about copyright concerns?
Each artist will be asked to confirm on the submission form that to the best of the Artist’s knowledge, the artwork does not violate any current copyright laws. This clause is also reflected in the contract for accepted artists. Information about copyright permissions should be included in the artist statement.