The copying of a pattern for a single block in a quilt used as a movie prop violated the designer’s copyright in the pattern, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland found March 7 following a bench trial (Brown v. McCormick, D. Md., No. L-96-3450, 3/7/00).

The dispute arose out of the creation of two props for the movie “How to Make an American Quilt.” As the name of the film suggests, quilts were essential plot devices. Two quilts in particular were at issue in this case, the “The Life Before” quilt, which portrays the family history of one of the movie’s African-American characters, and “Where Love Resides,” a quilt made during the course of the film as a wedding gift for the main character.