Monday, November 15, 2010

Who me, naive?

Erm, yes. Apparently so.

I had no idea that there was a secret underground of people who exchanged scanned copies of patterns, magazines and books over the Internet until someone clued me in that my patterns, photos, and name were being used without my permission on one of these sites.

I'm not going to name names, or provide links; I don't want to give them any viewers or publicity. Contact me privately if you are concerned that your copyrighted material may have been stolen, and I'll give you a link to get you started looking.

I'm not really all that surprised that this is happening; there are lots of people who want to own things they haven't paid for. There are lots of people who think that just because they can scan a printed page, or email a PDF, they have the right to do so. I get that; or at least I thought I did.

Until I spent some time this afternoon, digging a little bit deeper, and I found the names of people I had considered my friends and acquaintances participating in this activity. They're not face-to-face friends, or close friends, but they are people whom I've been in contact with via email and on beading forums; some of them are people I have "known" for years.

That made me very sad. I'd expected better from them. If you are reading this, and you have been exchanging patterns, magazines and books over the Internet; please think about what you are doing to your friends. Even if you have never exchanged one of my patterns, it made me very sad to see your name linked with someone who has.

It's wrong, y'know.


Lois Moon said...

Yes, this makes me very sad also. Over at La Bella Joya, Marcie also discovered that her patterns were being swapped an a Spanish language bead forum. I was taking a class from a beader and she said something about not understanding the big deal about this problem. It really put a wedge between the two of us. While I'm not selling or publishing patterns, I understand that intellectual property is property.

I got an email from a bead instructor in Spain (all the Spanish stuff because I happen to teach Spanish and so did Marcie Abney) asking about one of my patterns. Well, the long and short of it is that she had been teaching this pattern to her students and wanted more like it. But it wasn't mine - it was a bracelet in my Etsy Favs box on my blog. I pointed the woman in the direction of the seller of the piece, but had a weird feeling. Did this beading teacher/bead shop owner really have no idea that she could not just copy the pattern to teach?

I feel your pain and have been seeing this issue all over artist blogs and magazines. As I told Marcie, if you sell a tutorial for x amount of money, it is like buying a virtual lesson with you the artist - a bargin for any amount.

Releases by Rufydoof said...

This is very sad. Not only that people are doing this but people you considered your friends.

I have bought a lot of patterns online and will admit I have only shared one. This was because I was having so much trouble with this particular pattern that I emailed it to a fellow beading friend for some help AFTER having emailed the designer several times with no reply. Between the two of us we figured it out and the designer eventually emailed me back around 2 months later. I did tell her that I provided a copy to my friend, and thankfully she was ok with that. If anything she was disappointed that I had so much trouble reading her pattern! I have to admit I felt very guilty about sending my friend the copy though and even though I wasn't intentionally sharing the copy to save her from buying one I still felt bad.

Call me a scrooge but I also figure if I have spent my money buying the patterns then why should I share them with others... they can spend their own hard earned dollars buying them!

It amazes me how you guys find out about these copiers though. I am glad that you do but in this enormous world it amazes me they are found. It's commforting to know that wrong dooers get busted!


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

I do believe that some people just don't think about what they are doing, or how it affects others. I hope that they will eventually think about it, and that they will stop doing it. Obviously, some people are not going to care who they hurt, but I'm hopeful they are in the minority.

In the case of getting help with a pattern, I don't see that as the same thing at all. You tried to get help from the author, but for whatever reason, that just didn't work out. If someone were having a problem with one of my patterns, and I couldn't help them solve it, I would have no problem with them consulting a more experienced beader. In fact, I'd be very grateful that someone else was able to help.

I've heard people say that it's not taking sales away from the creator, because if they couldn't get it for free, they wouldn't buy it. I have to admit, though, that I don't know why they don't understand that if they're not willing to buy it, they don't deserve to have it.

Beadorigami said...

Having gone through the same thing over the past few days, I know all too well how you feel. I can't say that I'm surprised that this happened to either of us, but it doesn't make me feel any less nauseous about it.

Copyright and digital distribution is a complicated subject in this day and age, and while I don't agree that people should be sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars for sharing a dozen songs, I think that artists, writers, and other creative people should be able to use digital distribution to share their ideas and be compensated fairly for their work. It saddens me that there are people out there who would do this without putting any thought into what they are doing, and how it not only hurts the individual artist but it holds back the development of this distribution method. There are many talented artists out there who will not consider using digital distribution for exactly this reason. And in the case of many high-profile bead artists, it's certainly not for the lack of technical expertise. I can't say that I blame them either.

The silver lining to this whole thing is that it reminded me that we have friends who will graciously inform us if this is happening with our patterns, and students who will cite our designs when posting their own art inspired by our work. It's comforting to know that I consider such thoughtful people my friends.

JaneLock said...

I had a similar (though less well organised) experience after having a design published... I found items made from the pattern being sold on Etsy. I contacted both designers and asked them to stop. One agreed immediately, the other asked: "...just a bit confused as to why you would publish a step-by-step detailed instruction, spanning two full pages, with detailed graphics and material resources, in a widely distributed beading magazine...if you were concerned about anyone making a few of these earrings and actually selling them?"
I replied with a sweeping statement that no beader publishes with the expectation of having their designs copied for commercial gain. I was swiftly contradicted by another (more published) designer who says she has no problem with it, expects it even. So while I think the concept of Copyright is absolute, not everyone agrees with me

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

I agree, there are a lot more good people out there than bad ones!

JaneLock, both of these issues are important - some designers don't mind if people make things from their patterns and sell them, others do. The main point is that people should ask if they're not sure, and then respect the artist's copyright.

As artists, we can choose to give up those rights to others, but they shouldn't be taken from us.

Kokopelli said...

Ouch! I'm sorry that you have to go through this! It is sad that people don't think about it before doing such things. And when they think, they don't care. We had this discussion on BD several times and the only thing I can really do is NOT sharing any patterns. I can tell people where to look, share links, but no patterns, even if they're free, people should go to the page and download them by themselves.

FeatheredGems said...

replying to JaneLock... if you buy a pattern for something with a Disney design on it, right in the copyright it says something to the effect of "for personal use only, not for sale for profit or personal gain". (I'm not sure of the exact wording). This means that you can make the item from the pattern for yourself or for a gift, but you are not permitted to make them and SELL them, or are you permitted to copy and sell the pattern. It's sad, but some people choose not to read copyrights because then they can interpret it however they want to.