As more information becomes available on the net and in print about past embroidery designs some people are becoming disenchanted about pieces that are marked 'Original Design' or "copyright" only to find that these works have been inspired by past embroiderers, many of whom are nameless. Some of these works are almost exact copies, with either the threads or colours being changed.
If I was marking an assignment from a student, not acknowledging sources of information would see their work being marked down severely. In this day and age it is very difficult to be truly original. Sometimes your work will look almost the same as someone else's without you even trying to copy. But, I personally believe that it is a question of ethics and it is ethical to acknowledge the source of your inspiration.
This brings me to a little design card I found from the Embroiderers' Guild in London back when they were in Wimpole St. They were a small postcard size. This one had a wonderful drawing of an elephant on it. (I think it is going into one of my pieces.)
Now, he has probably changed a little when the artist drew him and I will change him quite a bit as well. But he will be a new elephant inspired by a drawing of an elephant on a strip of chinese embroidery. He has a history and the design will be richer for acknowledging it.