There is really only one Frequently Asked Question. That question may have several permutations however it is always about copyright.

Bottom line [should always be at the top of the page to save time]:
You can use any pattern from my site without asking my express permission. I don’t “own” any stitch pattern. Nor do I exercise any copyright over the results you get from using one of the sweater pattern generators. I only have a copyright on the presentation of each web page as a whole and on the original images I have created to illustrate these.

Supporting detail.

  • My copyright notice at the bottom of most knittingfool.com pages covers the presentation of the information on the screen or in any PDF file generated from that page. The notice also covers the pictures I have of the completed stitch. It covers the database where I store my information and the code I use to pull that information out of the database and present it to the screen.
  • My search for information on copyright law as it applies to knitting stitches indicates that a knitting stitch can’t be subject to a copyright. This is not to be confused with garments or works of art that are composed of knitting stitch patterns. In garments and knitted works of art it is not the stitch pattern that is the subject of the copyright; rather it is the design, composition and architecture of the garment or work of art that are the actual subjects of the copyright.
  • A knitting stitch pattern is a set of instruction to create a certain topology. There are painfully mathematical formulas that describe the same thing that I might represent as ‘knit one’ or ‘k1.’ In the part of my database that is used to support the generation of the on-line graphs, “k1, yo, ssk, p2, k2-tog, yo, k1” is stored as “1,13,30,2,2,29,13,1.” Trying to copyright either “k1, yo, ssk, p2, k2-tog, yo, k1” or “1,13,30,2,2,29,13,1” is just not going to hold up. A knitting stitch pattern is an abstraction of a mathematical formula. Mathematical formulas can’t be subject to copyright. An article written about a mathematical formula can be subject to copyright but not the formula itself.
  • The relevant law is USC Title 17 › Chapter 1 › § 102. The relevant paragraph is "In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work." Knitting is a verb referring to a process or a procedure and a knitting stitch pattern describes, explains, and illustrates that process -- therefore the knitting stitch pattern cannot be protected.