February 22, 2012

Not going to link, not going to name names...

...that would just be crass.  Now, I know people are making items from my book and selling them.  If you go to Etsy and search the term 'fox softie', a fair few of the front cover design pop up.  Officially, you are not supposed to.  It says so within the copyright section at the front of the book.  But do you know what?, I actually don't really mind.  Lets be honest here, I'm not made of money and I don't know anyone in the legal profession, so chasing down small independent sellers is not something I can afford to get into.  That, however does not mean it is open season.

A few sellers have emailed to ask first.  A few have gone ahead anyway, but have credited the book in the product description, and I appreciate the honesty in doing so.  

A small few have claimed my designs to be their own.

Just bear in mind that I too, am a small independent seller.  I still make things from my own patterns to sell.  Any confusion over copyright can potentially impact on my business too, which, given how much I do already give away in the form of free tutorials, is frustrating.

I didn't make a huge amount from writing the book.  Enough to buy a new washing machine after destroying my old one felting wool.  The book was a labour of love so, please play nice.


23 comments:

x vInTaGe VioLeT x said...

aww that is really sh!@#y :(
chin up my dear x

Kate said...

Really, really well said. It is a shame there are people who claim others work as their own.

trash said...

Bastards.

Lucykate Crafts... said...

thank you kate. i now you'll know where i'm coming from on this subject ; )

raspberry said...

They are horrid people, but you must remember that they are also talentless and stupid :)

Jacqui said...

Actually that whole search is a bit skeevy, I'm sure I recognise quite a few of those designs! The first one of yours I found made me choke a bit "This sewn fox is an [sic] one of a kind unique stuffy" I'd really hate to think what that would do to my blood pressure if it were my design! I do hope you're reporting them although I couldn't see a category that would allow me to report it as stolen intellectual property myself.

willywagtail said...

Very nicely put. Shows you are a good person. Cherrie

Leah said...

The thing about your designs are that they are so distinctive that even if I didn't know you had made a new softie, I would automatically guess at you if I saw one - if you see what I mean! - so they are daft trying to say they thought it up themselves.

Hopefully you can get the offending ones pulled to at least teach them a lesson x

May Britt said...

I really hope they are ashamed of what they are doing.

SuzeJones said...

Oh, that really sucks! Amy, I'd want to hunt them down if I was you, you are clearly a nicer person than me! Can you report them to Etsy?

grrl + dog said...

You do get that..

consider once the book or item is out there, it is common license. I get annoyed when I see my designs copied, however if anyone thinks they will make a squillion by copying, then they are dreaming...

it's just a form of flattery..

Simone de Klerk said...

I have heard this frequently from designers. Not a good thing and even worse if they claim to have designed the softie themselves.
Hard to believe there are poeple like that, but unfortunately they are there.

pennydog said...

Let me at em let me at em!

Seriously though I would definitely just say, "I see your item for sale and I wondered if you would care to read page 4* of my book again please because I think you may have overlooked something..."

*change as applicable

Doreen said...

Integrity and ethics are foreign words to many (just take a look around....politics,closer to home,local officials,neighbors) so really isn't totally surprising. What is surprising is how absolutely BOLD these people are in their claims of originality. Do they not think that the original creative artist will see their product??? Amy, you are to be commended for your stance. I have purchased your book ("Countryside Softies") and am so in love with each and every little critter. My great grand daughter will be the recipient of most of these. YOU have the gift, not those others!!! Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Hmm. to me it looks like people are are using your Idea in there own direction. I wouldn't really call it copying unless its a exact replica. Sewing small animals is not a new idea nor is the style they are done in. Those of you that are artists understand that ideas don't come from thin air. It takes inspiration either from others work, nature, emotion, the list goes on. Instead of badgering these so called "copycats" you should just feel honored that your work has inspired them so much that they are willing to put countless hours of time into there work as you have only to be criticized. That is very bad form in my opinion. We will probably lose a lot of potentially great art because these "copycats" are getting burned before they even had a chance to fully express themselves.

Lucykate Crafts... said...

i don't badger anyone, in fact most of the people selling using patterns from the book don't hear from me. like i said in the blog post, i don't have a huge issue with it. there are a few though that cross a line. and as it is my book, i feel fairly certain that should at the very least allow me to be the one to choose where and when that line is drawn.

writing about this isn't bad form, it just puts my position on the subject out there clearly stated. a 'copycat' will only feel burned when deep down, they know they have overstepped the mark.

stella harding said...

I've just written the text for a project book 'Practical Basketry Techniques'. My co-author tried to sell work we'd collaborated on as his own. You sort of expect it from readers but it's hard when it's someone you've been working with. I joined OWN-IT which gives free advice on intellectual property/copyright issues and got excellent advice. But you are right to clearly state your position at the outset and stand up for yourself and your rights as a designer/maker. There are moral as well as legal issues at stake here. Copyright theft is stealing - it's wrong. Designers/makers/artists have a moral as well as a legal right to be acknowledged and credited for their work. There's a fine line between being 'inspired by' someone's work and ripping it off.

Suzanne Vaughan said...

LK - I think that the difference in quality is noticable. I can understand your annoyance, and it must be really difficult. Keep going with your fantastic, original ideas.

Plushpussycat said...

You go, girl! Tell it like it is! I appreciate hearing your view and understanding your perspective. :-) Jennifer

littlewrenpottery.co.uk said...

Oh dear, thats sad to hear! Your designs and work are so lovely its a shame that others don't have as much of an imagination when it comes to making!

Ulla's Quilt World said...

Your quilts/crafts are so fantastic! It's so nice to find other quilters all around the world!
www.quiltworld2.blogspot.com
Hugs, Ulla (from Finland)

DangAndBlast! said...

That's in a slightly nebulous category legally - of course, if they're selling the pattern itself (the words copied from your book), it's a copyright violation. But if the finished product were, say, a dress or some similar item that falls under the legal category of "useful good," it's not legally possible to copyright the item (you can say "this is copyrighted" all you want, but it won't hold) - that's how you can find cheap knock-offs of the designer dresses a week after the Oscars (logos are something else - they'll bust you for a bag with a Gucci logo if it's not made by Gucci, but one in the identical design is fine). Art, however, is not a "useful good"; you can't copy someone else's art and claim it as your own (see, for example, Shepard Fairey's legal case with the Obama Hope posters). So it depends on where softies fall; I don't know of any legal cases involving something like that, so I can't speak to it directly, but I *think* they'd fall closer under "useful good" than "art," especially if there are instructions given for how to produce them. (Probably even applies to art, if it comes with instructions - if you find a buyer, you're likely legally fine to sell the painting you made while watching Bob Ross ... or even your completed "paint by numbers" kit - but I'm quite sure there's never been a test case there, so I'm just assuming on that front!) So you can say "please don't sell things made by this pattern without permission," but there's likely no legal standing there. (Of course, everyone *does* say that - I know McCall's patterns, for one, at least used to say that about their dresses - but it's legally non-binding.) The way to protect something process-based is through a patent... like the patent-troll guy who holds a patent on taggy baby toys ("evenly spaced tags" or some such - been a few years since I read his claim) and tries to shut down people selling blankets with ribbon loops at the edges... but anyhow...

[/intellectual property law geekery]

That said, whether legally required or not, they really *should* at least cite you, and, better, ask permission. (I've bought licenses for patterns I plan to sell products from, even though I know it's not legally enforceable, just because that's the right thing to do. So I'm not just saying that for when other people are involved!) Even tackier if they claim it's their own design.

liniecat said...

I have your book so I could make one of your foxy's for my grandson! But I also make to sell, though if things dont sell Im not too worried ( at stalls).....I figure stitching keeps me off street corners! lol
I find that the ideas of folks like yourself spur my own creativity, so if I used your basic design, Id have altered it somewhat anyway by the time Ive made it.
(I simply cannot ever follow a pattern all the way thru............sometimes with disastrous results LOL especially menus !)
But I would inevitably take the book along to put on my stall and show where my inspiration has come from, if it was anywhere near a copy of anothers design.
I would think it rude and morally wrong to claim it was my own design and if its inspired me to create a 'abit like' item, I still think its right to come clean and say............it was this person, whose ideas inspired me....does that make sense?!
I applaud your work and admire the dedication and discipline it must take, for anyonbe like yourself, to put together a book of your creations.
And I love your book and grandson is having one of your owls next, to keep his fox company!