Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Whose Design is it Anyway?

No, the isn't a ranty post. Nobody has stolen any of my designs, or used them without my permission as far as I know, and I like to think the best of people, and believe in the integrity of the majority while being careful that my own isn't compromised in any way.

However, I have been lurking in the Etsy forums, and reading a lot of blogs etc. recently, all talking about the power of copyright and intellectual property. You can read up on any of these just by searching on Google, so I won't go into the legal jargon here.

Interestingly, it's not the legal side I am concerned about, it is the integrity of people. An awful lot of people know nothing at all about copyright law, or the wishes of designers. A few will blatantly copy a design and sell it as their own, either as a re-written pattern, or the finished pieces, and do not credit the original designer who has probably put in an awful lot of hours into that pattern, not to mention sleepless nights while a design idea keeps them awake, the monetary investment into that design, buying the beads, making the piece in different colours and the man-hours involved in that.

I came across this blog today, which is highlighting a movement that is quickly going global, just asking simply for more integrity when dealing with other people's designs. It's in German, but scroll down, the lady has translated in English too, so you get the idea. Sabine also has a Facebook Page, where you can pick up the logos to use on your page.

Here are examples of the English Version. Sabine has also made them in a variety of languages, the movement really is worldwide, and rightly so.

One of my favourite beaders, GoodQuillHunting, and a person from whom I take a lot of inspiration, especially on how to manage the tutorials side of my business, has also written about it on her own blog. I cannot disagree with any of it. Read it here:

I still like to think that morally, and ethically, shop owners, makers and designers all stand together to keep this fascinating and wonderful industry relatively problem free. There are always one or two that lack this, especially mass-producers from the far east who currently sell on AliBaba using designs, artwork and even the photos blatantly stolen from designers, and this is a problem that will have to be dealt with sooner or later, but as individuals, we can all display one of these logos to display and inform people of our own honesty.

It takes a minute to get permission from the author of the design to use it to teach, sell the goods etc. and most will give a positive reply, so if you do want to use any of my patterns, just ask. I am honoured that anyone buys my designs, let alone wants to use them to teach, but I just like to know about it, and be there to offer support if needed too.

So, if you are a designer, (not just jewellery, I'm talking about knitting, sewing, in fact any craft which you design yourself,), add one of these logos to your blog/website/facebook cover photo. If you are a supply shop, adding the third one will be great too. Let's show the world we are honest, moral and ethical businesses and we won't tolerate plagiarism of designer's work in any form.