Friday, August 26, 2011

Pirates in the needlework industry?

A note from Tom
Several days ago, Ellen showed me an internet site with a scanned version of one of her products. This was a full-sized scan that even included the copyright declarations. A stitcher had found this site and had kindly notified Ellen. Clearly, the "pirate" was motivated to enable other stitchers, but such action is actually disabling.

The needlework industry is amazingly interdependent. Designs are created, produced, distributed, and offered for sale. Paper, printing, packaging, shipping, and retailing are required. Piracy hurts designers, but every owner, worker, and stitcher in this chain suffers when a chart is illegally copied.   Where will the chart pirates get their fibers and fabrics when the local shop closes? Where will the honest stitchers get their supplies when the local shop closes? Who will you talk to when your colonial knots or queen stitches don’t look just right? And what happens to the framers and finishers?

In some circumstances, it is permissible to reproduce a copyrighted document you purchased if the copy is for your personal use. For example, if you want to cut out a template or customize a chart for yourself then it makes sense to do this on a copy instead of destroying the original. If you are vision impaired or if you can’t quite see a detail in a chart you purchased, then making an enlargement would be helpful to you and does no harm. The key test is this: if you purchased the original and a copy will aid you personally in your work, then it’s fine to make a copy. But if it enables or aids someone who hasn’t purchased the product, then harm will be done and copying is not permitted. In no case is it permissible to copy a product to circumvent a sale.

So, please think again if you’re ever inclined to scan, copy, print, post, or distribute any copyrighted material. Please don’t accept copies offered to you by other people or download copyrighted material from the internet. And please report illegal postings of charts to the copyright owner.

A note from Ellen
Tom wrote the note above last week.  I have since learned that Cynthia of The Drawn Thread has posted a note on her blog about the same sort of thing.  Sadly, the posting of pirated charts has become rampant with more and more sites popping up.  Almost every designer I know has been affected.

Another issue that affects designers is the posting of photos that are so large and clear that you can see all the details on a piece.  Of course, it is so much fun to post photos of your stitching for your friends to see, but please take care as to how large and clear they are. Sometimes other stitchers are stitching from those photos.  I've even heard of a designer who mistakenly posted a very clear photo of an upcoming product on her website, and a needleworker stitched the project from the photo before the chart was released.  Can you imagine that?

Also, please don't post photos of the assembly process unless it is your own technique or a generic one.  We spend a lot of time developing what we consider to be excellent assembly directions, often with lots of figures.  All too often I've seen stitchers assemble my projects and show the step-by-step procedures in photos.  It makes me wonder why others would want to buy the chart if someone is showing them exactly what I did. I know a few other  designers of three-dimensional projects who have had the same experience.

Also, as Tom wrote, if you see any pirated copies on the internet or in person, please let the designer know so that she (or he) can handle the situation.  We all need to work together to keep the needlework industry strong so that it can successfully continue to thrive. 

Thank you.


dixiesamplar said...

Dear is so sad that you & Tom even need to address this issue. You would think that as adults, we would all know the difference between right and wrong...I sure hope that the people who would benefit the most from this post actually take the time to read it. I, for one, will be sharing the link to your blog so we can spread the word...yet again!!

barbara r-g said...

it is sad and makes me angry, but it does happen all over every industy and the art world. the computer has made it easier and i think that the majority of people do not do this. i hope it doesn't stop designers from sharing their creations on their blogs or web sites. i would hate that we would all have to suffer due to a handful of bad people.

diamondc said...

Ellen: Thank-you for printing this update about piracy I was at a second hand store and found many patterns that had been copied on a copy machine, I informed the lady at the counter she promptly tore them up.
I applaude her for that action.
Blessings to you thank-you for such lovely patterns.

Peggy Lee said...

Thank you Ellen for spelling this out for us. I just recently started making a copy of a chart here and there so I could mark on it and not damage my purchased original. I still feel weird about even doing that!

Anonymous said...

Something even more worrisome is the fact that many otherwise ethical stitchers seem to think that the pirating is not that big of a problem for designers, because they believe that most of the people who download pirated charts wouldn't have bought the chart anyway.

I'm not sure that is even true, but even if it is, what people fail to realize is that stealing somebody's intellectual property is a crime whether or not it impacts a designer's income. Theft is theft!

Jacqueline Korteland Boller said...

I visited the website that Cynthia Zittel wrote about on her blog, and I was astounded at that blatant theft of those designs and the members earning "gold coins" and thanking the person who download the chart. Absolutely wrong wrong wrong...they might as well have stolen it from the cross stitch store!! I just hope this behavior doesn't discourage you or other designers from producing your lovely charts and projects...

Barb said...

This is such a problem. My daughter is a wool fiber artist. She does make much of her living through the kits she sells. She found someone had purchased several of her kits and sent them to China to be very cheaply reproduced!! We stitchers really depend on wonderful designers like you. I know this is frustrating but know that many of us are totally on your side!

Anne said...

Wow! This is unbelievable. I'm surprised there are crooks in the stitching industry. I never make copies of my charts and send them off, only for a working copy for me. Then I shred them. How can people not have a conscience and go about stealing from our designers?? I can't believe that there's a pirate site to download patterns? Those sites should be taken down, although I know that would be a lengthy and probably expensive venture. I will spread the word!