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  1. #1
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    Is Isle of Skye considered universal?

    I've seen some people say that the Isle of Skye tartan is universal. It certainly looks nice. I know it's modern, but so are a bunch of restricted tartans. It's classified as a district tartan, but it's much newer than the "district" it represents. So I guess I'm wondering (from an appropriate use standpoint): is officially-licensed Isle of Skye considered a universal tartan, or is it generally only considered proper for people who reside in or have ancestry from Skye itself?

  2. #2
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    As far as I know there are no restrictions on the use of it and indeed it is a beautiful tartan.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience
    well, that comes from poor judgement."
    A. A. Milne

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  4. #3
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    16th June 15
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    What happens on IOS and some other "private" tartans is that it is fine to use them, but you will pay a royalty fee per meter of fabric that you buy from the weaver, which I assume is then forwarded to the owner of the design. From Marton Mills, for example, you will be charged an additional 2 GBP royalty for each meter you purchase.

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  6. #4
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    From what I understand the woman who designed the IOS tartan limited the mills who could weave it and the kilt makers who can sell it. As far as I know one of the few kilt makers in the US is Rocky at USA Kilts! If I'm wrong on this someone please jump in and set this straight.

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  8. #5
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    I don't believe that to be true. For example, last year I bought my wife about five meters of IOS PV from Marton Mills to make a dress from and paid the additional royalty, a couple bucks more than other PV tartans. I could just as easily have sent that cloth to a kilt maker to make me a kilt and there is nothing to prohibit me from doing so. The designer has the right to prohibit the mills from selling the tartan to others or the general public, but if they are going to make it available to the public with an added royalty fee, they then have no control over who gets to use it and for what purpose.

    If you look around at any Highland Games, you will see quite a few kilts made from IOS, and you will also notice that there are several different sett sizes in the mix. Obviously the stuff is being made by several different weavers.

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    I don't believe that to be true. For example, last year I bought my wife about five meters of IOS PV from Marton Mills to make a dress from and paid the additional royalty, a couple bucks more than other PV tartans. I could just as easily have sent that cloth to a kilt maker to make me a kilt and there is nothing to prohibit me from doing so. The designer has the right to prohibit the mills from selling the tartan to others or the general public, but if they are going to make it available to the public with an added royalty fee, they then have no control over who gets to use it and for what purpose.

    If you look around at any Highland Games, you will see quite a few kilts made from IOS, and you will also notice that there are several different sett sizes in the mix. Obviously the stuff is being made by several different weavers.
    That may be partly due to the sett size for PV usually being smaller.

    Here's a photo Riverkilt posted in a thread from 2010 that shows an example of sett size difference in two kilts (both Isle of Skye). He states in the original post that the left is Marton Mills 12oz polyviscose and the right is Locharron 16oz wool.


    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...ce-wool-56376/
    Last edited by FossilHunter; 28th January 20 at 01:21 PM.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    23rd April 12
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    https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/ta...tails?ref=1868

    According to the register the only restrictions are the weaver (Lochcarron). It does state the tartan is owned by Rosemary Nicolson Samios. The register was formed in February of 2009 and the tartan predates the register by about 15 years. As others have stated Marton Mills appears to now be an authorized weaver as well, at least in PV. Perhaps the entry hasn't been updated to reflect this change. Perhaps there are other legitimate authorized weavers now.

    I have seen where IOS is available from 'offshore' weavers and these are likely unauthorized.

    Basic upshot seems to be buy from an authorized weaver or kiltmaker who purchased authorized cloth and enjoy wearing it.

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  14. #8
    Join Date
    3rd March 15
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    In terms of the intellectual property ownership and royalty rights it depends if IOS qualifies as a design or copyright - to some extent the two are mutually exclusive, but in others they may overlap.

    The rights in a design are shorter in duration than copyright - so IOS would now be out of protection on that score. The length of protection for designs depends whether or not they are registered with the IPO (not the Register of Tartans) - but even if it was registered in 1992 (when it was created) the maximum protection would be 25 years. So that would have ended in 2017.

    There is also a concept of Right of Licence for designs - whereby during the last 5 years of protect anyone can re-produce the design provided they pay a royalty - so "unauhthorised" mills could legitimately been producing this since 2012. This could be what we are seeing with IOS - so some of the output might not necessarily be bogus.

    Of course these rights would be pretty much limited to the UK.

    On the other hand, copyright applies much more universally, has a much longer duration and will outlive the creator - so if that's the case Rosemary can continue to enjoy her royalties, licence it as she sees fit (subject to anything she agreed to in submitting her design to the competition in the first place) and stop others re-producing it without her permission, etc.. and there may well be other commercial rights and such like assoiciated with all of this.

    However, copyright may be limited to protecting any artistic work included within the design or documents detailing the design.

    None of this applies to wearer and the tartan is universal (to be fair most clan tartan's don't have the pedigree many think). If you like it (and it is a bonnie tartan) go for it.

    Wear what you will, but wear it well.

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  16. #9
    Join Date
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    Not to mention the question of how much do you need to modify the specific yarn count of a tartan to come up with something which does not violate anybody's intellectual property rights, yet still would appear to most people to be a specific tartan? It wouldn't be very difficult to use any tartan design program to make semi-clones which could be mistaken for existing tartans, but aren't exact, yarn-by-yarn copies.

    I suspect that getting the courts to bother litigating yarn counts for intellectual property disputes might be a tough one to get going.

  17. #10
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    Yes with Isle Of Skye Mrs Samios owns the rights, and only Lochcarron (1993) and Marton Mills (not sure of date) are authorized to weave it.

    But I don't think there's ever been any restrictions on wearing it.

    Not that the restrictions on weaving IOS have stopped people from illegally weaving and selling it! The so-called Singh brothers were brought to court by Mrs Samios over it, due to some or all of their 19 different organs selling it. The half-dozen Sweeney organs also sell pirated IOS, woven with slight changes.

    Besides that, IOS is woven in ribbon and taffeta and perhaps silk (I've seen wedding dresses made out of it) but I don't know whether these uses are authorized.

    I suppose IOS should be considered a district tartan due to its stated purpose being to commemorate the island.

    The Isle Of Skye Pipe Band (perhaps the only pipe band on the island) switched to the IOS tartan, and several other bands around the world also wear it.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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