What if you were working at a yarn shop and a customer used her cell phone to take a photograph of a pattern, so she wouldn't have to buy the whole book? A reader sent me links to the photographer -- actually, the photographer's mother, as I believe the deed was done by her teenaged daughter -- and another blogger who called her out on it. The photographer's response? Well, she was out of money and ree-e-eally wanted the pattern, and since she wasn't "profiting" from using the pattern (according to her own peculiar definition of "profit," which apparently doesn't encompass the notion that she saved thirty bucks by not buying the book, thereby profiting to the tune of -- yep -- thirty bucks), she isn't violating copyright. In my humble opinion, she's dead wrong on that (which is why if you want a valid interpretation of U.S. copyright law, you shouldn't ask a sixteen-year-old who never went to law school and "dislikes unnecessary research"). Stealing is stealing. Last time I checked, it didn't matter if the thief really really wanted the item, or already spent all her money on something else: if you take something without paying for it, and without the consent of the owner, you're stealing.
The photographer and her mama apparently live in the Pacific Northwest, so if you own a yarn shop in that corner of the U.S., you might want to keep your eye out for any sixteen-year-olds whipping out cell phones while browsing at patterns in your shop.
Anybody who tries that at Rosie's on my watch? I'll rip 'em a new one.
And then I'll call the cops.
Thanks to reader J., for the tip and the links.