Bill had control of the camera most of the night. I'm not sure what was up with this picture, which I just discovered when downloading the pics onto my laptop...
On Saturday afternoon, we finally got around to having Sydney's birthday party. It was a joint Sydney/Owen party, really, but since Owen doesn't really have any friends that aren't younger siblings of Sydney's friends, he was the only boy amongst a sea of little girls. He didn't mind at all.
We even managed to get through the day without any injuries! I was worried that balls would get dropped on toes, but all the kids were pretty good about it. Even this one...
Sydney even managed to get a couple of strikes (and so did I)! We might have to go bowling more often.
Back in the real world, another free-pattern-disappearance debacle has hit the online knitting world. This time, it looks like Interweave has pulled a bunch of free patterns from its website. It's citing the new contract that it has with its designers, which specifically covers digital rights (rights to publish our patterns on their website for free or for paid download), but from looking at my own particular contract, I think that might be oversimplification (since from my extremely legally-inept reading of the contract, they retained whatever rights they had previously if they decide to exercise them). Of course, I can only speak for my own contract and I have no idea what other designers have negotiated.
I love Interweave, I'll say that loud and up-front. They're the only knitting magazine I bother to submit to anymore and the new contract is very fair and good for designers. However, the way Interweave has handled the taking down of several free patterns is quickly turning into a customer relations issue. There are apparently certain patterns that were listed in the magazine's table of contents but were not included in the print magazine - they were web-only content. Now, due to the new contract (or so Interweave says), many of these patterns have been pulled. Subscribers to the magazine or, especially, people who bought a particular issue just to get one of those patterns (thinking, logically, that they were in the magazine since they were listed in the table of contents both in the front of the magazine and on the website) are understandably miffed.
It's unfortunate that Interweave didn't figure out a way to grandfather these particular patterns in. I don't know if the designers of these patterns insisted that they be taken off the website (it's really not fair or safe to assume either way). I do think that Interweave messed up a bit in its quest to get digital rights that it didn't have for older patterns (it seems that the new contract helped to clarify digital rights that could've been legally questionable and get the right to release earlier patterns that were under contracts that did not cover digital rights at all). In trying to get digital rights for older patterns, they may have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot with the newer patterns that they already had digital rights to. Since I don't know the specifics behind the contracts for the web-only designs (apart from my own), I can't say if the designer protested at the idea of a particular design being released for free on the Interweave website or not.
I do know that my one web-only pattern from Interweave, the Winding Cable Knee Socks, is no longer available as a free pattern from the main website (although it still remains at an old link, for the moment anyway, and that's just fine with me) even though I never said specifically to remove it. In the new contract, we were asked to list all of our patterns and say what we wanted done with them. For some reason, I assumed that since the Winding Cable socks were already a free pattern on the website they'd stay that way, so I left them off the list entirely. It looks like that resulted in them getting pulled. There's also no stipulation for an indefinite "free" term for a pattern - the contract asks for permission to release a pattern for free for one month for an additional fee. This is very fair for new patterns, but I personally wouldn't expect it to apply to patterns that were previously released as free web patterns. In my mind, anything that goes up on the web for free, I write off as an advertising expense. I'm not expecting to be able to sell that design anytime in the future.
It's all very messy, and I hope it doesn't result in Interweave being muddied too badly. They are ultimately trying to do right by their designers (at least, the people at Interweave itself are - I really have no idea about their parent company, Aspire Media). People really get up-in-arms about the disappearance of their free patterns! It's unfortunate, because the more complaining that goes on, the less likely it is that designers or publishers will offer free content. Yes, publishers are businesses, and if free patterns cause lots of grief without bringing in new customers, they won't offer them. No matter how much they love knitting. However, I do agree that it's reasonable for people to expect a pattern that is listed in a magazine's table of contents to be available to them somehow. It will be interesting to see how Interweave smooths this over.
Now, on to happier subjects, my two MagKnits refugees that will continue to be offered for free are now up over on the new online mag Knotions. Go to the patterns page and you should see them. Jody, the founder of this new and brilliant online publication, graciously offered to quickly tech edit and format these designs and host them - thank you to her! Yes, she gets some free designs out of the deal, but it also takes the heat off of me to get these available in workable format for people who are impatiently waiting to knit them. I'm more than happy to send some traffic her way in thanks for that.
I'm off to watch the end of Election and knit on the never-ending sleeve of the notorious ribbed monster. I've got to hurry up and finish it, because I've got five (yes, five!) projects that are due to various Interweave publications at the end of May. Five! I just hope my fingers are up to it...