Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
The post "I love your work and want to make one for myself" is raising a lot of discussion and tons of comments. For this reason, I am bringing a blog post to the Crafthaus community.
To avoid duplicate content, read the original post on ASK Harriete.
For Crafthaus, I thought that this post could include an another story brought to my attention. The names have been removed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
The unfortunate problem right now is that digital technologies have developed faster that the social mores surrounding them. People copy images without attribution, or copy content they didn't write. Whole pages exist on Pinterest about "I want to make this." Makers stand at their wholesale/retail booth display which cost them $1,000's while enthusiasts make deep inquiries "I love your work and what to make something just like this for myself."
Here is a sample story:
It has happened again! "Minutes before reading your post, I had actually responded to a "tell me how to make one" request. Here is one of several stories (of many) that I have on this topic:
"Several years ago while I was attending a conference, I succumbed to overwhelming pressure to share a technique I had developed. I did a demo of the technique for a small group of 6 or 7 people who all swore they would not pass it along, since I was actively selling the work made with this technique."
"Only a few weeks after my demo, a free online tutorial was posted by someone who had not even been present at the demo. I discovered that one of those who saw my demo at the conference reproduced it during a large guild meeting after she returned home, and the written tutorial was derived by a third person from that guild meeting."
"When I contacted the tutorial author to ask her to take the tutorial down she said something like "No, the community NEEDS to share this important new technique". My BAD for naively sharing in the first place, but I was amazed at this attitude and the disregard for the effect on my livelihood."
"I have had more than one person very nicely ask me "Since you do not plan to teach or write a tutorial for technique X, would it be OK if I did?" To me, it felt like they were asking: "Could I please profit from your hard work and also undermine your business?" I was baffled as to what they could be thinking, how they could see this as an ethical thing to ask."
"When a friend sent me a link to a direct knock off of one of my new designs for sale on Etsy I contacted the owner of the Etsy page and explained why they should remove it. The response was to send me links to two other copy cat pieces as evidence that everyone else was doing it, so she should be able to as well. It was eventually removed after I persisted.
"I saw an advertisement for a class featuring the technique I developed, which had now long since been out there. The image for the advertisement was an exact copy of one of my recent designs. There is often confusion about the difference between a TECHNIQUE (which can not be copyrighted, keeping it confidential is the only way to protect a technique you have developed) and a DESIGN (which is automatically copyrighted in the US)."
This one story demonstrates many "BAD and UGLY's in the AGE of the Internet including, but not limited to:
I am sure that many of you have stories to share and welcome hearing what you have to say. (If you want me to share your story anonymously, send it to me privately. and I will post it as a comment.)
The issues are numerous, but our first step is to recognize the problem and bring awareness to all levels of the arts and craft community.
"It is not our abilities that show who we really are, it is our choices."
Harriete Estel Berman