Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on Sharing

I spend a lot of time working on and perfecting my patterns with the intent to share them for free -- for personal use. I love sharing what I have been working on, and providing patterns and instructions when I feel others might enjoy joining in the fun. Until VERY recently I have not made any money on my blog or my patterns, and what I have made is literally pennies when you look at the time, money and effort I have been pouring into my blog. My goal in blogging has not been to make money; it is to get others as excited about sewing and creating as I am. I am confident that I have achieved that goal time and time again, and I am more than happy to share.

That being said -- In providing my patterns for free I am trusting that they will be used for personal, non-commercial, not-for-profit use. The blogging community is, in general, very supportive of the "sharing" mentality, and I believe that I have good reason to be trusting.

Occasionally I receive emails from other sewists who would like to use my patterns to generate a little income for themselves. I have always respectfully declined, with very few exceptions. An example of one exception was when someone wanted to use one of my patterns to raise money for a charitable cause. Of course I asked for very specific and detailed information, and made a decision based on that information.

Then there are the disappointing cases where I discover someone using my work for their own personal profit. I have discovered other blogs re-posting my tutorials on their own blogs, claiming them as their own -- even going so far as to use my photos! I have also discovered others selling items that are clearly made from my patterns, obviously without my permission and without giving credit for the source of the pattern. It is frustrating to find others making money from my hours of creative effort and design and passing it off as their own idea. Upon contacting individuals about this, I have been greeted with defensiveness and hostility.

*******

After thinking all of this over, I have a few friendly questions on the topic:

~ If I "release" my patterns into internetland, is there really such a thing as "intellectual property"? Opinions?

~ I am aware that there are other bloggers out there who sell the rights for others to create and sell items made from their patterns. What are your thoughts on this? Have any of you done this?

52 comments:

Bitter_Angel said...

I am not sure on the whole thing, but I know there is such thing as a creative commons license. From what I recall, you set your license up how you would like it, for example, free to use for personal use only and from then on, people are not allowed to go against it.
Perhaps you will find the page useful.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Maria said...

I really admire those people like you who don't look for their own profit, but share their creativity with others. I'm very thankful to them and to you in particular since I've learned sooooo many things through free tutorials!
Please, go on making all this great stuff. Just think of how many honest and grateful people you're helping and making happy with it!

Cassandra {Sleeping or Sewing} said...

I am soo sorry to hear that. Maybe place a notice on the side bar about use of your tutorials. For personal use only. Or give an option to sell on a small handmade level with the purchase of the pattern, but with conditions stating they need to give you credit by referencing your blog where they sell your item (online and offline). You put in a lot of work into your craft if someone is willing to pay for it... then maybe reap the benefits.

Better yet tell us about the blogs/sites who stole your patterns and we'll go booo at them.

Connie said...

I can't really give any opinions or advice since I blog on such a smaller scale, but I feel bad that people are taking advantage of you and your ideas! It doesn't seem fair to me.

Emily said...

From a legal standpoint, yes there absolutely intellectual property protection for what you do. My attorney husband and I talk about this all the time. So, using your tutorials to sell stuff is a no-no unless you approve, so long as this is clearly listed somewhere on your site.

That said, "fashion design" has no protection, so if someone just SEES something you do and makes there own version, like "inspired by" yours, that may or may not have protection, depending on the circumstances.

I agree this is a confusing, gray area of blogging. I've actually got my hubby working on a series of guest posts for my blog on the subject, because so many people have no clue how intellectual property laws work, and they are confusing even for those who do know about them!

Gina Guillotine said...

The copyright laws are very clear. This kind of thing gets debated on the knitting community, Ravelry, all the time.

Once someone is in possession of your pattern, whether they bought it or not, they can sell what they make from that pattern for profit, so to ask people not to sell what they make is kind of pointless.

I can see being upset about someone claiming things as her own, so in the future, you may want to put watermarks on your images and patterns.

Or, you may want to just write a book and sell it. Lots of people do that. Once the patterns are sold within the book, you get compensated, but again, the owner of the book can do whatever she likes with the patterns except copy them for redistribution purposes.

You may want to visit the House of Congress web site.

The Hojnackes said...

As far as the selling a release to people who would like to use your pattern for profit- people are obviously already doing it without permission. They probably aren't people who are honest and have integrity and therefore probably won't bother with buying the release. I have seen many licensed patterns that specifically say you cannot make them for resale and yet people do. I am not normally a mean person, but it really upsets me when people are dishonest in this aspect.
I do not create patterns, but I love to use others' patterns and tutorials. I give them away as gifts, but I have never sold them. I love and appreciate all of the free or even inexpensive patterns and tutorials that are on blogs.

Amanda said...

I was going to say exactly what Emily just said. Back when I had a fashionn design class we made Cat in the Hat hats for Dr.Seus' birthday and I believe they were sold. We created a pattern just by looking at the hats, but because you cant simply copy something and sell it, we had to all add a whip stitch around the brim of that hat to make it different from the original to cover our butts.

A friend of mine is going through the same thing. She saw someone with a purse that was the same style as the ones she sells. Apparently the woman got it from a lady who now makes and sells these purses using "her" pattern. But the lady could have easily looked at her purse and simply made her own pattern. If the dimensions are different along with other little things, I dont think there is really anything my friend can do about it.

Hope this helps!

Crystal Hendrix said...

I am sorry!!! I feel bad that they don't give you credit!!

I personally fall in the line where I get the ideas from other people and don't write it down so that I Can give them credit later. I just have a stack of quilt pictures (I should say folder) that I just google quilt tops or quilt and I like them I save the picture.

I do try to keep the blog that I have used their tutorial from and when I post about what I have made, use a link. But the only time I used someone's idea to sell I did get their permission.

I do you think that once you have created it, you do own it. and people need to respect you. IF people are using your pictures, I would put some sort of logo on all of your pics, in the middle, but transparent/non erasable so that everyone knows that it is yours.

I feel bad because we all love some of your your awesome ideas and use it for personal use, but those few that abuse it ruin it for all of us!! I am sorry!!!

webdance said...

I don't know the solution, but I think requesting a fee for for-profit use is entirely reasonable. It is your intellectual property and you get to decide how it is used.

Then again, what works for you might be to 'let it go' and not let the theft get under your skin. I struggle with that--when I give time and energy to a worthy cause and they waste it. It's not easy.

I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate the work that goes into your patterns. I'm not that good with needle and thread, but it is a good, hard challenge for me. I made an Angry Bird for my husband for Valentine's Day and it was received with so much love. I could NOT have done it without your pattern. Even then, it was a little wonky, but he loves it. You ARE accomplishing your mission to "to get others as excited about sewing and creating as I am."

Thank you for what you do.

Darling Petunia said...

Is this about Angry Birds? I saw them somewhere and thought, "Hmm, Care's doing a guest post?" I was surprised when it wasn't you and no credit was given. But then I thought they could very well have come up with the idea independent of you, so who knows?

Someone contacted me about making my hedgies, and I asked if she would just please give me credit. That's how Amy Karol asks in Bend the Rules sewing, and I think that's fair. In most cases, I wouldn't even claim any kind of "ownership" but I think the hedgies were a unique idea.

There are so many ideas that get recycled--and it sometimes bugs me when someone acts like this is Their Brand New Idea, when it's something my mom did thirty years ago!

Using your pictures, making your exact patterns...NOT cool at all.

Jennifer said...

My understanding of the legal situation echoes what gina said. If you post a tutorial or pattern, its not illegal for someone to use it, even if you say/ask them not to. Its shady and rude and basically all over uncool but its legal. As for pics/blog posts, that is a different story because its using your exact work; pictures are property of the photographer.

In short, you can ask people to be respectful of your ideas but there will always be people who will be douchebags. :( all your stuff is so beautiful, so id encourage you to keep sharing (like you said, the majority of the blogging community has an understanding about shared content) but id understand if you felt like you couldn't post your patterns and tutes anymore. Its just a matter of how much it bugs you.

Kris @ everywhereorange.com said...

Care, You are awesome and I am sorry you are not getting credit for your amazing work!!! The tutorials you have done here are so great and i think it is so not cool that people are stealing your pics and posting them as your own. i wish i had a solution, but i can offer support and a promise that the next quilt i make using your awesome first quilt tutorial i will sing your name to the highest mountain on my blog. I am so grateful for the hard work you put into this blog and i hope that this doesn't discourage you from sharing your inspiring ideas.

Kelly's Korner said...

Of course you still have the rights to your free patterns! I have a friend who bought the right to make and sell a free pattern from a designer and she appreciated that. So I think offering a commercial version is a good idea. Just make sure you don't undervalue it!

Gina Guillotine said...

I wanted to post this link earlier, but the toddler needed something.

http://susanbanderson.blogspot.com/

This woman is someone you should talk to! She knits, and posts free patterns, plus she writes books so that she gets some kind of compensation for her work. She also sells patterns, like just a single pattern. And, she offers up some of her stuff for free.

She has legions of fans who buy her books and patterns, so if people really believe in you and what you're doing, they WILL buy your stuff.

She asks people not to sell what they make from her patterns, but like I said, this stuff gets debated on Ravelry all the time, and it's perfectly legal to sell a pattern once you own it, either through a free download or after buying it.

It's the same with sewing patterns. If you buy, say, a Simplicity pattern, make things from it, it's legal to sell those items for profit.

Anyway, I thought you might have something in common with Susan, and maybe she could be of some insight and inspiration for you. :)

Gina Guillotine said...

WHOOPS! I can't edit my post! I meant to say, it's legal to sell what you MAKE from the pattern, not legal to sell the pattern after you've bought it. sorry.

Tanya said...

I think it's terrible if people are using your photos and claiming them as your own. As for ideas and copying, that's a grayer area. For example, it kind of sucks that others are profiting from your work without giving credit, but at the same time, the Angry Birds plushies you make and sell probably infringe on commercial trademark and/or licensing somewhere along the line. Is one more wrong than the other?

The other thing to consider is that if you are to protect your work somehow, how do you enforce it? I don't know a lot about legalities, but it seems like the onus might be on you to follow through, which could take a lot of time, effort and financial resources.

I've used a couple of your tutorials (and recommended your blog to friends), but it's always been for personal use or gifting -- and when I blog about it, always with a link back to you. Keep up the great work, no matter what you decide.

SewTara said...

I'm not sure about the legalities of it all but I would hope people would ask you before trying to sell things made from your patterns and certainly take their own stinking pictures!

It's sad but I think once you put something out there you have to be aware someone might copy it. I think selling some sort of honest people copy of the pattern, or license is a good idea. I know I'd pay it for my personal use and certainly if I was going to make and sell items. Only other creators understand the time and effort that goes into things like this and I'm sure people would pay.

I didn't start my blog to make money either, but if someone sent me $5 for all my hard work and as a thanks I wouldn't argue :)

Also, can anyone clarify this, it says right on Simplicity's patterns, and other commercial ones, that they are not for commercial use. I assumed that meant you can't make and sell things from them.

Amy said...

I have seen people a disclaimer on their blog saying they are for personal use only. I think that is nice. If you are willing to sale your patterns for profit use, I think it is a wonderful idea! Either way, you have some fabulous ideas and I hope this doesn't prevent you from continuing!

Miranda said...

I wish I had some good advice, but I really don't. I subscribe to several craft magazines and have recently noticed people making items just like in the magazine and posting it on their blogs as their own idea. I think that is dishonest, too.

Also, my best friend is a nationally acclaimed sugar arts cake designer. She has a web site with pics of her work and also shares them on flickr. On multiple occasions she has found the photos of HER work (some published in national magazines) on other people's sites as work that they "can do." She doesn't take it lightly and makes them remove the pics unless they can prove that they have recreated the cake and they use their own photos. They might be able to recreate the cake, but the pics are her work and stolen from her site.

Unfortunately, this kind of things seems to happen across the creative board. Good luck and I hope you can find some peace about the situation.

Gina Guillotine said...

Yes. It says on the Simplicity patterns that you are not to sell them, but they can't enforce it because of what the Library of Congress (another mistake I wanted to fix in another post) says.

I lifted this from an actual discussion from Ravelry regarding a knitting pattern:

Question via email to the U.S. Copyright Office:
I want to sell a knitting pattern I wrote complete with step-by-step instructions and a photo of the finished project. I understand that my written work and photo cannot be reproduced or distributed without my consent. My question regards the finished product produced by the individual who made it using my pattern: Do I have any claim to what is done with that finished product such as how it can be used or if it can be sold for profit?

Response via email from the U.S. Copyright Office:
Copyright in a pattern normally pertains to the pattern itself, not to the object that you construct from the pattern. If the pattern, however, includes original artwork that would be incorporated into the work you make, then you may need permission to use it commercially. An example of that would be a needlework pattern depicting original artwork. An example of the opposite would be a dress pattern: the dress you make from the pattern is not subject to copyright protection.
*********************************************
U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington DC 20559
(202) 707-3000
www.copyright.gov


So, there you have it. You can sell what you make from a pattern according to the Library of Congress.

As for protecting the patterns and images, watermarks can help, or, like I mentioned before, write a book and sell everything in there, or, as someone else mentioned, offer patterns for a fee so you can be compensated for your work.

Aubrey said...

I am sorry people are taking your patterns that is indeed shady. I had an ex friend of mine do the same thing to me i.e use my pattern to make and sell stuff on her etsy site.
I do think its hard to control because lots of crafty things are takes on the original and if altered slightly people may claim as their own work. If anyone ever uses a pattern from someone else even if its altered I think credit needs to be given and you could say I did this to alter but the original pattern was so and so's....
As for stealing pics, that is super shady, legally Im sure something could be done about that.
Lastly, I have purchased several patterns from people in order to receive selling rights to the item, but it people already have your pattern I'm sure they are not going to pay you now.
My suggestion for you if you dont want to sell your patterns is to have a link to paypal with a donation thing. I have made several of your patterns and would definitely give you a couple bucks for each pattern.
Oh, one more thing...karma is a B, so these rude, thoughtless people will one day get theirs. :)

Veronica said...

Margot Potter had a similar post on her blog (http://margotpottertheimpatientcrafter.blogspot.com/) a while back regarding intellectual property. I am always grateful when I come across a free pattern and/or tutorial because I can make things but not dream up the blue print. Sadly, like most things, the few dummies ruin it for the majority and many people have decided not to share their talents and ideas because of this issue.

While I'm here, let me thank you for your angry birds tutorials, since I am planning on making a set for my son for Easter. I know they will provide some good family fun for us.

Jenny said...

In a perfect world, everyone would obey your guidelines. In a perfect world, they wouldn't even CONSIDER using your pics and passing it off as their own. I mean, the BALLS! And in a perfect world, when caught for above mentioned offense, they'd be so embarrased, they'd remorsefully confess and ask for forgiveness and remove the product from their sales. HOWEVER, it's not a perfect world, sadly. I am in total agreement with everything you said and I LOVE that all your tutorials are free. I think its great to share ideas and I wish it could just be as simple as that. IN thinking on it more, if it continues to be a problem, could you charge a fee for the tutorials/patterns that take you considerable amount of time to create but continue to offer lots of free tutorials and patterns that are a bit more general, simple, and don't take a lot of your time? I don't know what it does for you, but maybe you could put that copyright watermark on your photos so they could at least not steal those right off your page. I don't know. So sorry!

Lyndsey said...

People like that should not be aloud to know such a kind, sweet creative person like you if only we could see who these people were who hide behind their computers and forge others ideas it is despicable. I am also glad you offer free tutorials and it's not fair that others spolit it on everyone else I just wonder if people like them have a conscience

Cindy said...

I can't offer any advice or share a familiar experience because I'm not a blogger and am fairly certain I have never created anything original in my life. ;-) But my sister blogs (flamingo toes) and I know how much effort she puts into her original ideas and tutorials. It's too bad that there are dishonest people out there that would go so far as to copy and claim others' work as their own. You wouldn't think you'd have to state any kind of ownership of your ideas; it SHOULD be an unspoken courtesy to give credit where credit is due. I am a newbie to quilting and have been all over your site gaining tips, tricks, and ideas. (In fact I told my sister just this week that I would pay to take an online quilting class from you!!) I'm a part of the spoonflower i-spy swap and the smaller quilt I'm working on now has two ideas I got from your site. I know this has been full of randomness but I wanted to say thanks for sharing your ideas and being so generous with your tutorials...know that you are inspiring people like me who never thought they could quilt. Good luck with this issue and create on! :-)

Amy Kirchhoff said...

I have no idea about legalities, etc., but I can fill you in on my personal impressions. Keep in mind I've only been blogging less than a year, and I have not yet come up with patterns on my blog. So, therefore, I don't know your feelings of frustration.

But, I do use a lot of published patterns. And I ALWAYS link back to where I got them. When you do publish a pattern, it'd be fine to see a reminder (on every page maybe) to link back to you if someone blogs about or sells stuff made by or even inspired by you.

I have purchased a license to sell a certain handbag (and have yet to utilize it!!! :) The license was cheap - $22 - but I had to promise I'd link back to homepage somewhere in my listing. (And she said she was going to create a page that listed all of the shops that had the license to sell her pattern....That was cool.) This was a good and beneficial compromise for both parties involved. I was interested in another license once but didn't buy it b/c it was $65. Ouch!

Once thing that irritates me is when I see on the pattern that the creator instructs me that I may not use the pattern for anything other than personal use. It just seems kind of bossy or something...Just rubs me the wrong way, I guess, b/c I always link back and give credit.

But I bet no matter what you did, there would be people out there that took advantage of the system. All you can do is keep it classy on your end. Know that you inspire me, and I'm so glad I found your blog. If I ever do blog about something you inspired me to make, I WILL link back. :)

Joel Gardner said...

Care,

My understanding is that there are probably some gray areas here. The one area that is not gray is when people plagiarize your text and images. This is something that can clearly be shown to be theft of copyright.

Just keep doing what you are doing and good things will continue to come to you. People with no creativity who try to turn a quick buck through shady actions will NEVER find the level of satisfaction that you receive from exercising such exciting creativity.

Manda said...

I haven't read all the responses, but I've been formerly trained in copyright (although it is in librarianship and not fashion or home ec), but I think Gina is on the right track. (I AM NOT A LAWYER AND THE FOLLOWING IS MY OPINION) The pattern is yours to sell or give away... whatever- but what someone makes from it- really is theirs, even if you stress personal use only. I can't think of a good example, but I'll try. Dern, I can't. I can't take your pattern and sell it, but legally, I can do whatever I want with the finished product. It's my time, my materials, etc.

Manda said...

I've been observing the intellectual property discussions for quite some time. I think the world of digiscrapping has it the worse. When you post a page online, they want you to link back and give credit for every button and brad you've used- even after you've paid for it. I quit digiscrapping just because I had to keep a file open for each and every layout I created if I ever wanted to post it online.

I've seen quilt block patterns online before that required that you make a tag and give credit on the quilt. I think in the atmosphere of today people are more cautious to err on the side of the creator, when as a librarian, I'm more likely to err on the side of the freedom of information.

Manda said...

Imagine if you bought a book on constructing birdhouses, made a dozen to sell at a craft fair only to discover the small print- it's for "personal use" only.

I do have sympathy, don't get me wrong. But imagine today what quilting would be had our grandmothers and greatgrandmothers had only allowed them to make their quilt blocks, but only for personal use. People can and should be able to profit from their creative work. To play devil's advocate for just one more moment, when you constructed Angry Birds, did you contact the makers of the game to ask permission? Now, you aren't profiting off the patterns (as far as I know), and damages is something to consider when it concerns copyright. It is a trademark of Rovio. Please, please, I'm not being mean.... just trying to show the entire picture. (And if you did, kudos to you!) I don't want to speak for the maker of the game, but I hope they are flattered. I don't know if they sell their own plush animals, so they might not be, ya know?

Manda said...

IMHO copyright and patent have gotten really out of hand. I am still in shock that Taggies have a patent. I mean, who are we kidding? Copyright has gotten even MORE confusing since the Digital copyright act, and Congress keeps extending copyright. It gets a bit wishy washy if the transaction is pure digital, but people who purchase an item have rights too, and those are all too often ignored by the internet community. Having had said that, and as evidenced by the posts, there is definitely a stigma related to "stealing" someones original idea.

Imagine for a moment the artistry that goes into fabric these days. Imagine if Michael Miller put a copyright logo on the selvages and said that it was for personal use only. Those who make and sell patterns are doing something very similar if they stress "personal use only". The former is definitely protected under the right of "First Sale". I think it could argued that the latter is also. Although, when you do a quick google of it, the quilting community says cut and dry that you can't sell a quilt from which you've made a pattern (and has links to other quilting sights to prove it). I've not read one lawsuit that settles it. I don't agree with what you read. I might argue that you could change a pattern by simply adding sashing, or an extra border.

The rub is this- lawmakers kept copyright law ambiguous for a reason- so not to stack the deck for any one side. But, it is always important to realize that there are two sides- the copyright holder, and the public. What you read online about copyright laws, really isn't- it's doctrine. Libraries operated under the doctrine of fair use. What is it? Librarians sat around and looked at law and decided what their rights would be, what would be their "fair use" of the copyright law as written. Copyright questions are only settled when lawyers get involved. As in the simplicity example above, I think most of agree that it would be "fair use" for us to make and sell a dress from a pattern. It would be "fair use" of a fabric purchased (on top of the right of First sale). First sale BTW has been recognized by the Supreme Court, and is more than doctrine although still called so.

Stealing your photos is definitely copyright infringement. Poseing as an original maker is just plain rude. I've seen websites around that mine data from blogs. It's mostly machine run. I've seen blogposts I've written as part of a bigger website. A bot just went out and located my words and reposted them as an entirely new article on a website. I can't claim to understand it, but do you think this is what is going on?


In the end, I sympathize, I love your work and your free tuts. I'm taking the 3 little pigs and wolfie to the co-op preschool class I teach. They'll love it too. However, I am definitely frustrated. Licensing a pattern? I don't have a lot to say about that, because I know very little about licensing or why someone would license a pattern. In library school we were warned never to sign a license, and to only sign it if we'd read every word and changed it to work in our favor ;) I can understand why people do it, and are tempted to do it, but I don't think patterns can be licensed legally. Patterns are sold.

Oh, I just googled it and found one person who talks about licensing patterns:

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Patterns.shtml

(I've just scrolled up and seen the angry birds argument- sorry for a repeat).

Oh, and DEFINITELY watermark your photos. I haven't done it in a while, but I'd be willing to work with you on creating a watermark to keep your stuff from being trolled.

Manda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hillbilly Handiworks said...

I have been thinking on this a lot for my own blog. I have some designs I am getting ready to release. I think that I plan to release easy free designs...but for the more extensive ones I will charge.
One thing I will allow though--if they buy the design they can use it to create something to sell. So many designers don't allow you to use their patterns to sell something and some women just can't draw and all they wish is to make a bit of money for their family. They will have to buy it though.
Just what I am considering...

Kelsey said...

All this wonderful content is definitely your intellectual property! That's absolutely terrible that they are so sadly trying to steal your creations.

That being said, I really do think it's nice when people will license their free patterns for others to use for profit for either a fee or part of the profit. I kind of see it as a win-win: they can make a little money making something, and you can get a little money you wouldn't get otherwise for a pattern you already made. It can be part of license agreement that they need to credit you in the listing, etc. too. This can be especially nice because not everyone has the skills necessary to make the item on their own.

But that is just my 2 cents, and no matter what your licensing options are, it is NEVER ok to just steal your stuff!!

Blooming Mommy said...

Im so sorry to hear that people are being shady with you and your AMAZING tutorials! I LOVE your blog and appreciate all the wonderful info you put up. I know how long posting your work can take and how much heart Im sure you put in it takes..... It hurts my heart that some one would do that to you.
I think that its still yours for the claiming however so don't give up. I like the idea of having free EASY tutorials and then charging for the more advanced tutorials.....like your beautiful quilts and such!? IDK?

DJ Rose said...

I agree with Maria. Thank you for your efforts. Thank you that you share your talents with us. I have learned so much from you and other generous bloggers.

Belinda said...

I'm always willing to pay for a cottage license so that I can make and sell things I've made using someone else's design/pattern. Your designs are quite unique & very creative. I believe that most of us are honest & will use your work appropriately. Dishonest types won't no matter how you handle it. I can't imagine using your pictures & your text and calling it my own!

VickiT said...

I can surely understand your concern and how upset you must be. Sadly, whether you give patterns away for free or for sale, you will always find them being used against your wishes. Yes, you have a legal leg to stand on in some circumstances but, how much can you afford to defend yourself too? It is very frustrating.

It's very sad that in this day and age we're seeing this type of thing more and more mostly because of the internet and how accessible it is to do this type of thing. I wish I had the answer. If I did, I'd probably find someone else selling it as their own though. HA (sorry couldn't resist)

For the past week in one of the machine embroidery groups I am in I've been watching this type of thing unfold as well. A little different but still the same given it's against the law. The digitizer has a very successful website to sell her embroidery designs but she's also very nice and gives free ones many times a month to the members. About a week ago she put a coupon code in a post to her group and everyone in the group could go to her website to 'purchase' their own choice of machine embroidery design sets using the code and obtain it for free. It was only going to be available for two days. She did the same thing a few months ago and got bitten hard by a scammer. Well, it happened again this time too. Her sets normally run approx. $10+ each. One person managed to use that coupon code to 'purchase' 203 sets free. It clearly stated on the post and coupon code that it was only to be used to obtain ONE set of designs but because so many have no scruples any longer just from this one person she lost over $2,000 in potential sales. She immediately cancelled the code so it could not happen again and anyone that hadn't taken advantage of her offer was out of luck. She felt bad and said anyone who did not get their free set could email her and she would send them a code that was only good for a one time purchase and it would be only for them to use. One of those that did email her asking for the code did it again to her and they used it 15 times also. The last time this happened she found tons of her design sets on sale on Ebay as well as being given away through a group that does this same thing all the time. There are a large number of other digitizers who have also found their own designs they sell on their websites being sold or given free through other websites or groups. It's extremely frustrating for them because many are dealing with people that aren't even traceable. There was one group that worked together and would pool their monies to purchase many sets from different digitizers and then they would all share the designs with each other so they all didn't have to buy their own sets.

I know this is getting really long and isn't giving you any resolution to your own problem. I just wanted to tell you or make a point so to speak that the absolute only way to assure your own creations aren't going to be resold or given away elsewhere is to close everything up and not do what you dearly love doing and that is to create and share what you love to create. I am not saying that to be mean AT ALL so please don't take it that way; what I'm saying is that things are different now and many on the internet are always looking for a way to make money the easy way using the hard work of someone else because it is so hard to catch. It's so much easier than robbing a bank ya know. I WISH I had the answer for you like I said because I've seen the frustration from my digitizer friends and sadness in them having things stolen from them much the same way as you are experiencing. We've discussed it over the phone and short of them spending thousands of dollars to hire experts who can track people and IP addys via the internet and then hire lawyers to go after them they haven't got anything they can do other than just close it all down.

I'm sorry. I know how hurt you are. :(

kinslowfamily5 said...

I am so sorry this is happening to you. I really love your blog and have learned so much (for my personal nonprofit use,mainly to create
things for my daughter ). I sincerely hope that this does not stop you from sharing. I am a novice in fact nothing I have created yet looks like it is suppose to but without your and other blogs help I would not have any help because I am learning it all on my own without benefit of physical help. I think that people can be mean spirited and selfish. I am so sorry that they are like that.

Anna said...

gosh care, this is such a great topic, just looking through your comments there's a lot of opinions! It is really frustrating when people do things unfairly, especially when you put all the time and effort into making a project free for people to use. For me I kind of look at that people will do whatever they want no matter what you say or have posted on your blog about the usage of your tutorials/patterns/whatever, it's just given that some people will ignore what you say and do whatever they want. Maybe that sounds kind of stupid...but I just hope that a majority of people understand and read that it's not a free for all.

mummastimetocreate said...

This kind of thing also makes me SO cross. In the Blogger crafty community we do rely heavily on the honesty system. Unfortunately just as in the rest of life there are always those who do not follow good etiquette.... it isn't right, but its pretty hard to do something about.
I recently ran a feature week on Blogger etiquette which you may find interesting- in particular day 6 in which I had a guest Blogger cover copyright. I'd send you the exact link but I'm on my phone. But my blog is www.mummastimetocreate.blogspot.com and the week was at the beginning of February so you should be able to navigate from the side bar.
I can totally understand your frustration. In saying that there are SO many honest people who openly value and respect your work- it would be a shame to let the minority that don't stop you.
Keep up the great work... you are an inspiration :)

Lisa said...

First, I didn't read all the prior comments, I'm sorry!

Second, I really struggle with this. There are so many similar ideas out there that I find it really hard to say what is completely original. For example, crayon rolls. How many patterns and tutorials have you seen? I've seen at least 6. From what I can tell, the only differences are trim or fastenings or how many slots they have. I've made and sold crayon rolls. I didn't read a tutorial, I just looked at a picture and then made my own. I'm willing to bet that if I rounded up all the tutorials, someone else makes one exactly the same way.

Take quilting, with few exceptions, it's all been done. I've seen people publishing patterns (not just tutorial, actual printed PATTERNS) of quilts that just take two traditional blocks and mix them together into a new quilt. Sure, it's pretty, but is it new? can you tell people not to sell items made from that when the components aren't new? Can you be sure they didn't think of that on their own? What if they make it in the same colors? Because I just spent an hour planning an aqua and red scheme for my new house, and I can bet you that whatever I end up making has been done, even if I didn't see it specifically.

A year ago I had a brilliant (or so I thought) idea for a little softy rabbit. I got the idea from watching the kid's show Wow Wow Wubzie (no lie, I wasn't even online)(Wow my life is glamorous). I didn't make it then, but a month or so later I say a tutorial of very VERY similar bunnies pop up. I KNOW I didn't see it prior to my idea, that I sketched out while watching nick jr. But if I made them, was I stealing hers? It's just so hard to know when you read so many craft blogs, what is an original idea? what did you riff off of someone else? (By that, I mean, use their idea as your starting point.)

As you know, I recently asked you for permission to sell some of your tiny kitties (sold 6!) I wouldn't ever follow a tutorial that asked me not to sell it, and then sell it. But I WOULD sell items from a tutorial that simply explains a technique, say, how to make a wonky log cabin quilt. If I see 2 dozen wonky log cabin quilts and then read your tutorial, I don't think it's really an original idea. This is where it's SO hard for me. If I'm percolating the idea already, then see your tutorial, can I not now sell those things? I would take a piece of someone's tutorial, say, how to install a zipper, and make things to sell- not their item, but using their technique. The line is so fine, sometimes.

And last, it is NEVER ok to use someone's pictures and words and claim it as your own.

I would love to hear your response to this, because I rarely get crafty conversation on my own blog.

martilindsey said...

I always give you credit (and rave about your tutorials) if I post a pic of one of your designs that I have sewn. So far I've made the storytelling cubes and the disappearing 9 patch I-Spy quilt with much success. You make sewing things that look difficult VERY easy. I actually just started sewing in November 2010 and in Feb. I made the quilt....there is NO WAY I could have done it without your tutorial. You are amazing.

Jen said...

There is nothing in copyright law that prevents someone from selling items made from one of your patterns. Read more here. Many pattern makers write on their patterns that it cannot be used to make commercial items but this is not enforceable in any way.

The copyright applies to the paper (or digital) pattern/tutorial itself and not items made from it.

Eunice said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Seems like this is happening alot in blogland. I've used your Angry bird tutorial and direct the link to your site. Can't imagine owning them as my own as this is dishonesty. But then again, it is really hard to enforce copyright in the net. I hope you will not be discourage from putting your tutorial on your blog. It's really wonderful and I've always enjoyed your creativity.

sixtyfourcolorbox said...

It's true, you hold the rights to the patterns you create, but not the right to say you can't make this and sell it for yourself. Johanna Blaley explains it very well here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html

Your photos, however are yours and another person/company must have your consent to reuse them.

My attitude varies depending on the project. For example, I wouldn't thing to make and sell such things as the Angry Birds or the Peeps Bunny, anything that's very unique and original to the creator. When it comes to pillows, hand towels, bibs, hats, etc. these are less unique and when posting a blog about them will credit who inspired me, but have no qualms about selling such items.

Elise said...

It is such a shame - I am so sorry and can only imagine the frustrations you are facing. I know for you photos you can put the name of your blog over them/across them so that no one can use them as their own.

For your tutorials I am not sure there is a way to be sure no one uses them for their own personal use.

Su said...

Thanks for bringing this topic up. It's always interesting to read different thoughts and points of views.

I have not much more to add, Care, except that I send you my hugs and thoughts.

heydirac said...

I know nothing about intellectual property issues or whatnot about the questions you posed, but I just wanted to send my support. I'm a completely inept sewer and live vicariously through your posts and appreciate seeing what you've been working on. It truly saddened me to hear that someone is passing your work off as their own.

Melissa said...

I can't help with the legal stuff here. I hate that you are having to deal with this. It is sad that there are people out there thatsteal pictures and words claim them as there own.
You are very talented with your pattern making and I appreciated what you do. I have made several of the angry birds for my husband and kiddos, but have no fear I have not sold any and will never. :) I appreciate all the blogs out there with free patterns and tutorials. As a stay at home Mom, the budget it tight for crafting supplies so free patterns are important to me and my crafting. Without them, I wouldn't be able to do as much as I do. Thank you for what you do I appreciate you, your patterns, your ideas and your blog! I hope you can figure out a way to balance it all out, because you do deserve more credit for what you put out there!

Cammie said...

I just read this at Oh, Fransson! It's really well written and may be a great idea for you too: http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/freepatternguidelines.html