McCandlish Tartans Copyright

This page is now obsolete. The McCandlish tartans have been public domain (i.e. are no longer copyrighted) since 9 May 2023.

The McCandlish tartan designs and their thread count specifications are Copyright 1992 Stanton McCandlish (the designer).

The purpose of the copyright and the license below is very straightforward: to prevent the usurpation of the design by tartan woolen mills who like the pattern but want to sell it to a more numerous family and ergo make more money. Use of the tartan by Cuindlis-descended folks and by honest merchants is in no way restricted.

McCandlish Tartans License

Version 1.4, 2022-05-14

The copyright holder grants – to any and all, world-wide – permission to use the McCandlish/McCandless tartan design (hereafter: “the tartan” or “it”) and its various colour implementations (setts) – including designs, thread counts, and cloth or images based thereon, or any other derivative works, except as specified below – in any manner one sees fit (including sale, public display, transmission, duplication, etc. of products or other works based on or using the tartan’s designs or thread counts), subject to a single restriction: The tartan may not be presented, sold, displayed, or otherwise made available under any name other than [Mc]Candlish, [Mc]Candless, Quinlist, Conlisk, or another name derived from the original Gaelic Cuindlis or Cuindleas.

All are welcome to sell or display it as the M’Caunles or Chandlish or McAndliss tartan if they prefer, but not as an Anderson or MacTavish or North Uist tartan, for example. License is also granted to display, reproduce, etc. the tartan with no name attached to it at all. That is to say, attribution (by caption, title, footnote, or any other means) is not required, but when given, must be to the author, the author’s surname, or any attested variant of the author’s surname.

Derivative works exception: If one wished to design a new family or regional or special-occasion tartan based on the McCandlish/McCandless tartan, one is free to do so, and to name it whatever one likes, provided that the colours in the tartan and/or the proportions in the thread counts are significantly different so that the result will not be confusingly similar to the McCandless/McCandlish tartan. The Scottish Register of Tartans will not accept registration requests for tartans that are confusingly similar to existing ones.

This license is perpetual and non-revocable. It may, however, be superseded by a newer version, which will apply to any uses or derivative works that post-date the release of that new version.


You do not need to seek any written or other permission to use this tartan, either as is, or in the creation of a new tartan based on it. Nor do you need to credit the copyright holder (though credit is appreciated, particularly in tartan registries/databases). There is further no requirement that these copyright details be passed on with any further distribution of the design (copyright applies at the moment of creation, so there is no danger of losing it in the absence of “enforcement”, as there would be with a trademark).

For new tartans loosely based on this one, the colours or the proportions or both should be changed. For example, simply substituting blues for the reds will do (the MacCandlish/McCandless tartan comes in red, green, and grey variants, no blue versions). One could also significantly change the proportioning and number of the stripes, but keep the colours. Better yet, do both, so confusion is less likely.

If at some point a family society is created, the original copyright holder is likely to assign all copyright to that body for safekeeping.