March 22, 2010

Copying, where do you draw the line?

I have thought about whether or not to post this over the last couple of weeks, and have decided in the end to go ahead.  This may be a controversial post, I may end up deleting it, but for now, I would like to ask for your views on this subject, and that subject is essentially ...copying.

There have been quite a few small instances of my patterns and tutorials being used commercially (something I do ask not to be done), most of these I query with the maker and do, eventually, get removed (although you'd be amazed how many people try and deny what is glaringly obvious!).  Recently, this has been compounded by an incident on a craft forum when someone posted a copy of my Peacock.  I'm not going to link, and instead use this opportunity to talk about events from my point of view.

The Peacock was seen and admired in my photostream on Flickr.  The person involved decided she would like to make one as a gift as part of an organised swap.  Instead of being inspired by my Peacock, and coming up with her own, she proceeded (without asking if I minded) to work out a pattern, copying mine exactly, for herself.  The finished Peacock was then posted online to great exclamations of praise.  However, instantly, another crafter recognised the Peacock as a copy and emailed me a link.  I messaged the lady in question regarding her motives and also the initial lack of credit as to where the design originated (she has, as a result, now added my name).  

There are a number of reasons why this bothers me, the lapping up of the compliments over design and choice of materials (and I know there is a danger of sounding like a toddler having a tantrum, but hey, it's my design, and I was the one who spent the time working out the shape, how to put it all together, which parts should be fabric, which parts should be felted wool!), the encouragement of others to also 'work out the pattern', and the continued praise by other forum members (and indeed the forum itself as it was selected as a featured project), for what is essentially a rip off!

The Peacock pattern is indeed about to be published and can I make it clear there would be no problem in the slightest if this had been made using the pattern once it's available.  It is the fact that my design, something I had worked very hard on, and something I am attempting to make a living doing, has been deconstructed like it's free for all to use that I take exception to.  If everyone did this, the whole craft pattern market would pretty soon become defunct.

I have been concerned I'm being petty, making a mountain out of a molehill, and if you do think I'm overreacting, please say so, my reasons for posting this is to gain other views and help me get some perspective.  In the meantime, I have contacted the forum direct and expressed my feelings on the matter, although at this point they are yet to reply.

For me, it is about where to draw the line on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to copies.  When does it move from being flattering, to just downright cheeky?

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edited to add - there is a fantastically written post by Erika Firm over on Decor8 covering this subject too, well worth reading.


Unknown said...

It's more than cheeky - it's rude. I'm sick of people thinking it's absolutely fine to take someone else's hard work, copy it and pretend it's their own. It's a lazy, stupid, rude thing to do. Uggh.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Ah, this sort of thing happens to me so often (as we've discussed!). It can feel really horrible, but it unfortunately seems to be part and parcel of putting your work "out there", especially in the crafty community where so many people read blogs etc just looking for projects to D.I.Y.

For me the line is drawn when people are making money from my work (using my photos or my designs for something they are then selling).

I also consider contacting people when they are using my work without credit (or, worse, claiming it as their own work) or posting about my work purely to encourage people to copy it. It's a bit of a grey area but I go with my gut and if something bothers me I try to sort it out in as friendly a manner as possible!

I used to get incredibly stressed by all this, but it sucked up so much time and emotional energy worrying about it that I try to let the "little" things pass and save my energies for the bigger things... and for making newer, and better things! :)

I'm also always greatly cheered by the fact that for everyone cheekily taking advantage of my work there is a kind person who takes the time to email me about it. The support of the crafty community in this sort of thing is invaluable.

K said...

I usually just take the photos I see as a source of inspiration (I'm unable to copy) and even when I do that, I try to name the source (I became more diligent noting the sources down in the last year or so). If I was on the other side, I agree, I'd draw the line if someone was making money on my ideas/designs.

Dolci Fusa said...

You're absolutely right, Amy!
It was totally dishonest what she's done.

I'm not surprised of forum messages to her: most of people are like blind sheeps following a braggart pastor.
An applause to the person who advised you, a loyal fan and honest person.

The worst thing is when people makes items from copyrighted patterns and sells them without shame: I daily view this things, and always notice it to the authors and to the shops where members post them.


Pamie G. said...

I am sorry to see this happen -- but I am excited to see that yours will be coming out so we can all make and enjoy it and feel good about it! I love your blog and all that you do, I hope this does not slow you down from designing!

Craftcherry said...

I think it's horrible that, that happened. I'm not talented enough to come up with my own patterns (not anything complicated anyway), but when I use someone else's I always make sure to credit that person and link back to the creator. I hope this is the right way of doing it. I would hate for anyone to think I was using their stuff like that.
By the way, I don't think I've ever noticed your peacock until today. It's beautiful!

christinedown28 said...

I know what you mean. I have my designs copied and also people actually selling my free tutorials. It is very unacceptable. I am sorry this has happened to you. As you say, it is your time and talent that someone is ripping off.

Gigi said...

i agree w/ the other commenter. i think it is imperative to mention the source of "the inspiration" (aka: whole idea :) when posting creative work online. to do otherwise is trying to pass off what you created as entirely yours (including the idea) and that is dishonest.

but if care has been taken to make sure the "inspiration" source has been duly credited (at the outset, not after you've gotten caught) & the item is for personal use, i think that is all well & good. in fact, i think this sort of creative sharing & recognition & inspiration is what makes the online crafting community so wonderful & can lead to amazing ingenuity. we all can be beneficiaries of such an exchange.
take for instance, martha stewart (like her or not) her popularity has lead to more & better variety & availability of crafting supplies.:)

hope you have a great week! & thank you for always being so generous with your creative talent :)
gigi kennedy

Shell said...

I saw this Amy (after your contact as your name was in the post) and I recognised it right away as "your peacock" which is why I even went into the thread as I really admire your work.

I wish I could give you my opinion on the topic.. it's such a hard one. "Immitation is the sincerest form of flattery" but yeah, it's also ripping off all your work. I used to get annoyed (on a crochet forum) when someone would claim anything that was the same as their patterns (it might be a star and she designed a similar starfish) and rant and rave for weeks over "stolen patterns" and then have to eat humble pie when the other person was able to provide a copy of a vintage pattern used etc. In this case, the work is so clearly yours, but in many it's just similar. We can't assume no 2 people will never come up with the same idea, and execute it in similar ways to get a very close end product. Again, this is not the case here.

As someone who has many Barbie original designs etc I hesitate to even post photos for this reason. I was encouraged to write my patterns and refused, for this reason. Once it's out in the public I have NO control over it and I don't like that idea one lil bit!

But, I am also the kind of person who might look at something and simply think "I can do that" and go off and make something from that idea. Which is why I feel like a hypercrite whos opinion should be kept to herself ;)

I know it's difficult financially, but as you are doing this for a living, and this is a copywrited item in a book (although unreleased) I think legal advice is probably a good idea. We can copywrite our words, but we don't have the same protection on our items.

Needled Mom said...

Yes, it is a shame that some people will take the credit for what you have created. I think that one should acknowledge the fact that they are using an idea and tell from whom. I know they always say that copying is a form of flattery, but I think some folks just need all the raving comments to make them feel good about themselves. Glad that you got it sorted out.

Anonymous said...

It has always bothered me when someone blatantly copies another's work without proper credit. I mean, jeesh, how much time does it take to say "inspired by........."? Unfortunately, there are those out there that have no problem taking credit for another's hard work. That makes me sad.

I think you're handling this issue in the perfect way, making your thoughts clear in a very mature and "not mean" way. I hope this does not hinder your creative gift because it truly IS a gift.

I've always felt that, if we live our life without "cheating," we will be blessed. There's always going to be someone who "cheats" but don't let it bring you to a point where you stop. Your gift brings so much joy to so many, Amy, and, in this crazy world, that's something to be very proud of.

Have a wonderful week!

Shell said...

Just curious, is there anyway to link your flickr to you, to your blog? If I was on your flickr by chance after doing a google image search or something, would I know who made it, where to find that person? I know my photobucket doesnt. I only ask cos it seems relevant in some regards. She didn't take the design from your blog, but from a photo in a pool. With said photo from said pool, was she technically able to know who designed this?

I am in no way criticising your feelings Amy, I completely understand where you're coming from. It just seemed like a rational question :)

Ada said...

Siento mucho lo que te ha ocurrido. Yo creo que copiar algo no esta mal siempre y cuando reconozcamos que se trata de una copia o una adaptación de un original y a quién pertenece ese original y sin que haya animo de lucro en la copia. Una cosa es hacerte algo para ti o para un regalo y otra muy distinta dedicarse a vender el trabajo de otra persona como propio. Entiendo que te sientas indignada.
Animo. Tus creaciones son verdaderas maravillas y es una delicia entrar a verlas. Un saludo desde España.

leahinlondon said...

Personally I think if someone is making an item for themselves or perhaps as a gift for a real-life friend or relative then copying is OK. It's got a long history, and for many it forms a useful mid-point between following a pattern and developing original designs.

But the moment the item is put "out there" -- in a competition, or a swap, or even a "come and look at what I did" upload to Flickr or to a blog or a forum -- then that ceases to be OK without (a) explicitly acknowledging the inspiration up front, and (b) if the two items are so similar that one is clearly effectively a copy of, rather than "inspired by" the other, asking permission from the design's originator first.

Lucykate Crafts... said...

shell, what i understand from her opening post on the thread, my peacock image was favorited on flickr by the person she was making something for in the swap, and that's where she spotted it. when she clicked on it to have a closer look (which she must have done to work out the pattern), it would have linked straight to my photostream, so i'm pretty certain it was clear who's design it was.

she does admit it's a copy, she always has. but she initially didn't really make it any clearer other than to say 'as seen on flickr' and credit it back to her swap partners favorited images. i think she knew exactly what she was doing, i think it just didn't (and still doesn't) occur to her she was doing anything wrong. i also think she doesn't understand why i would be cross about it.

thank you all for your input, and to shell for bringing up other scenarios, it all helps, x.

leahinlondon said...

(Oh, and Amy's photostream does link to the blog. From the peacock photo ( you just need to click on "amy adams (lucykate crafts...)" and then on "Profile" to get a link to this blog)

Tiffany said...

I completely understand your frustration which is why I choose to share very little of my work in an online atmosphere. However, as long as the person makes their own pattern, I don't think that there is actually anything that can or should be done about it even if they are selling it. This problem has been going on for as long as people have been making things, but it gets exasperated by the easily available information on the internet. For instance, walk into any department store and look at the clothing or purses section. There are a lot of pretty much the same styles being put out in different fabrics by a lot of different companies. If one design tends to sell well, look out, because there will be at least a couple of companies that will copy it. I'm not a lawyer or anything so I have no idea what your legal rights are, but this is just how I think of it. Actually, this is the very reason why fashion designers keep their fashions literally locked up until they are ready to start selling them. They want to be the first to have their unique designs on the market not someone's inspiration that doesn't get any credit. So, for what it's worth, those are my thoughts on the subject.

glamlawlib said...

It's rude and unthoughtful and shows a lack of appreciation for craft, inspiration and the design process.

You might find some useful info here:

I've noticed when taking craft classes that often only scrappy notes are given, not full detailed handouts like I might do when carrying out an academic teaching session. I think there is a reason for this, many crafty people have had their fingers burned and it is very simple to scan and copy instructions and publish other peoples' work to the world.

It saddens me because there are so many free tutorials and inspiration in blogland, it's completely unnecessary to steal!

Big hugs to you :)

Unknown said...

Oh this is so annoying.. I was in the graphic's community for a very long time and this was becoming a frequent occurence. People stopped sharing and the community became not a fun place to be, where everyone was accusing everyone of copying.

You know what, it's stealing, not cheeky but theft and people like that spoils it for people(like me) who are just starting out and need all the advice/inspiration we can get. It's spoils it for the community and obviously it deflates the creator to the point of 'well why should I bother?'

I think you did the right thing by confronting her directly and not bring everyone in for a witch hunt, and she obviously knew she was wrong that's why she added your name. Unfortunately this is the www and we can't stop people from copying. *SIGH*

Evelyn said...

The Hazelnuts blog had an interesting discussion of similar issues in this post. In the comments on that post, there is an explanation of some legal aspects of copyrights for patterns and designs. I thought it was very enlightening.

paper-and-string said...

for me I think that the line has been stepped over when the creator feels 'funny'. you obviously feel weird about what this copier has done and so, quite frankly, I think you did the right thing by contacting her. (I also think it's very dignified to not link to her.)
I have been surprised by other's comments that copying is so prolific...I assumed that people would be being inspired and making similar items with a view to learning new techniques and make designs of their own...I can't imagine that there's much joy in copying so blatantly..what a hollow feeling to accept praise for a beautiful design and know that it's not yours!!
perhaps the answer is to put more work on the web so your style is so widely known that no one dare copy it??
chin up, be proud of your peacock and feel happy you have righted a wrong :-)

Alice Regan said...

I'm so glad you posted this! This practice is downright WRONG! And, I don't think you are making a mountain out of a molehill! People need to recognize the hard work that goes into creating a pattern or project and respect the artist's ownership.

It's beyond me why people just can't follow the rules, or just play nice and give credit where credit is do!

the shoppe owner said...

it really saddens me how many people are so quick to STEAL. i've seen it all too often on etsy, and i immediately flee from those shops when i come upon them, from patterns to shop type to even using other people's pictures! it's not just in the craft world, either. it's happening on baking sites and everywhere else.

i adore your designs and i wish you great success. you are so generous. it really is wonderful how much you share, and i hope you won't have to change that in the future in order to protect your business. remember. cheaters never prosper - at least not in the long run.

a dear friend of mine came upon some cards/prints that really helped her when she was dealing with people ripping her designs off, too. she doesn't get into the details of being robbed, but she does rant a bit. the main thing is to see the cool shop prints she found, though.

here's the link:

Ali said...

I live in fear of accidentally creating something that somebody else has created before me. If I feel I am making something that was heavily influenced by anyone else's work I would without a doubt link back to that person, even if just to say I was inspired by what they had done enough to do something vaguely similar. When I was writing essays at university I wouldn't have quoted a source without referencing that source in the bibliography, it's the same with blogging about crafting - always link to the source!
Your beautiful peacock is so unusual and individual that it would be very obvious that somebody had copied, especially if they were using the same combination of materials, very cheeky!
This was a really interesting post and I think it is quite understandable that you are cross!

x vInTaGe VioLeT x said...

when i saw the copy i clicked on it immediately because i thought it was yours - to give her credit she never said it was her design but and i think it's a BIG but she should've credited the design to you in her opening post that is just good manners isn't it? She knew exactly whose design it was there is NO WAY she could've drafted a pattern without having bookmarked that photo.
she did a very good job and it turned out lovely BUT it really p'ed me off all the praise she got for it!
you are perfectly entitled to be annoyed by this in my opinion.

Closet Writer said...

To me its theft of intellectual property. i have battled against it for years. Working in the wedding cake industry with cakes on display in the shop its never ceased to amaze me that people think its ok to photograph my work...some even without asking with the intent to get 'someone' to make it cheaper. There is an organisation called CID (copywrite in design) that can help with the legalities.
Most people in craft based industries are happy to share their knowledge and skills by running workshops and selling their patterns so why do people abuse this by copying.
I am new to sewing and love your peacock but would be happy to buy the pattern to enable me to make it but could never lay claim to having the skills to have had the inspiration that brought it about.
I would say that the more we point out the error of peoples ways to them then the more the message gets home that copying for gain is wrong.

carefreestamper said...

I understand your frustration and hope that you do not let this consume you or impare your creativity. The only advice I can offer is to not post anything that you would not mind someone trying to copy. There is no real way to regulate what people will do with what they see on the internet. If it bothers you that much then maybe you should only post after the products have been published. Then you have official copyright over them and can actually sue if someone breaches because you would have the magazine or publication behind you. Best wishes.

ChrisC said...

It sounds like I'm in the minority here, but I don't actually think this is a huge violation. I mean, the woman in question saw something online and created a look-alike. She didn't take a pattern you labeled for personal use only and try to profit from it, she didn't pull apart one of your creations and trace it exactly. She didn't, as far as I can tell, even claim the original idea was hers -- she said it was inspired by a flickr photo. Should she have explicitly named you as the inspiration? Yes, probably. But she's not profiting off this, and try as I might, I just don't see the issue here.

Frankly, I think if this wrong, well, than where the heck DO you expect craft inspiration to come from? I see clothing I like online all the time and try work out a pattern to recreate it myself. Is that stealing? I do the same with dishes I have at restaurants, home decor, other craft projects, etc. Part of art has always been being inspired by what others have done to create something yourself.

Sam said...

First - I love your peacock. I have to agree on several aspects. First, using your pattern to make money without permission. Thats a no. You've already said please don't. Copying the pattern by looking at and making it for yourself, I'm cool with but if you are going to post it on Flikr or your blog. You really should give credit where credit is do. Its tacky to imply it was you who came up with the design when you just stared at a photo and made it. Atleast say "inspired by" and link it so that untalented people like me can purchase the pattern benefiting the one who really came up with it. I think you are just for being frustrated.

Chloe Miklos said...

To me, copying is okay if it's just someone who really likes something you made, so they decide to figure out a pattern and make one for themself, not to be used commercially or as a gift, just personally. If they give it as a gift however, I think the original source of the idea should be at least mentioned to the receiver.

When someone copies you exactly, shows it off claiming they made it and/or uses it commercially, all without stating the source, that is just rude and uncalled for. It is perfectly understandable to be angry.

Jenn S said...

Flattery is when someone either gets an idea from you but makes it their own or borrows your idea but acknowledges their debt. In both cases the key is acknowledging your work! Anything else is stealing.

T'lia said...

I'm really sorry this happened too you. Without sounding 'up myself' I'll tell you that I get things copied off me too (I don't sell my crafts though, so this is a whole new ball game).

I know it's flattering, but it's also... annoying. I think it's very rude when people don't acknowledge that the idea CAME FROM YOU. That they didn't think of it themselves.

I had an issue with a recipe. I didn't make up the recipe, but I modified it quite hevaily from it's original source, and then a friend started making it. One day I went to a family thing with her and everyone was talking about HER recipe etc. etc. I was so annoyed. It was MY recipe. I spent time modifying it, trying different ways of doing it and I only shared with a handful of people. And they all thought it was hers.

She realised her mistake, and now everyone know's it's my recipe, but it stil hurt.

I don't think there's anything wrong with getting inspiration from something, but when the entire thing is copied, it's then that we have a problem!

T'lia said...

Also, I noticed in your 'leave a comment' section is says "i try my best to comment in return, when blogger makes this possible, as i enjoy visiting all your blogs and adding to my ever growing blogroll!" is a great alternative to blogger, and it's always possible in wordpress. You get people's email addresses too, so you can reply via email and they get the response. :-)

Then you can get people's URLs as well (I think you can turn this option on in blogger as well). This is good because while these comments will link to my google account, I don't blog anymore with blogger, I blog at so you might never find me!

Jacqui said...

I think the person in question was definitely in the wrong. They erred by omission, and tried to take the credit for your lovely design. You can see the temptation, heck I've felt it! I've made several of the Wee Wonderfuls dolls and everyone says "you should sell those!" and I'm honest and say that I can't/won't (the legality on that is somewhat hazy but morally I think it's distasteful) and not that I'm a perfect person or anything, but I can see how it would be easy to claim it was my design if I thought no-one would catch me out. So claiming the credit for your idea is tacky and I'm glad she got caught, but worrying if she doesn't understand what she did was wrong. However, as someone pointed out above, you can go into any dept. store and find knock-offs 5 minutes after a designer collection has gone down the runway. That kind of copying has always been around, probably from the first cave paintings, but the internet simply makes it easier to do and easier to spot when it's done. Personally I guess I'd say that the copying isn't such a crime - I might be tempted to take an idea and replicate it fairly closely, like a bag or something, but I would keep that private, and I'd certainly never EVER blog the result or even put a photo up on Flickr. There's probably no real moral justification for that kind of rationalisation but it's where I'd feel comfortable at and no more.

Oh, and per the comment above about commenting on Blogger, I recently shifted over to Disqus for my blog and really like it - you can do the nested responses and reply via email as well as having the person's email there to do a personal response to if necessary. Plus it's free and they do the coding of your Blogger template for you.

Bigbluebed said...

I think that you have a right to be annoyed.
It is definately wrong not to give you credit.
And yes one can be inspired by someone else's work but not to the point of making an exact copy - why not go and do another bird or a peacock but a different design.

Kate said...

It is so frustrating to see people take credit for work that is not theirs. Frustrating and rude.

Karen said...

It is so important that these matters are put 'out there' for discussion and to make people aware it is NOT acceptable behaviour.

Lucykate Crafts... said...

chrisc - i know your comment is in the minority here, but i am glad you have said so, i do want views from all sides on this, life would be dull if everyone always agreed!

TopCat76 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Using someone elses design for profit is a huge no-no for me. I feel that if you make something for personal use and you are aware that your inspiration has come from a specific place then you should credit the designer as a matter of curtesy- its just good manners! If you posted a pic of something you made (heavily inspired by someone else) and people started praising you for your design then if you haven't already you should say that it isn't yours and attempt to credit the designer. I credit the designer if I make things for myself from published books even if I am allowed to go on and sell said creations!
Sometimes you don't realise where your inspiration has come from. An idea pops into your head, inspired by a pic you saw years ago or something. Your creation can end up similar but with your own twist as you don't have the original in front of you to copy. If I made something inspired by something but can't remember what then I would probably say something like, "This was inspired by something I saw years ago but can't remember who made the original. If you recognise this can you let me know so I can credit the orginal disigner." I think sometimes it is possible to recreate something without realising. If this were to happen to me and I were contacted by someone saying that this was there design I would look at their original. If I remembered the pic then I would definately make sure I credited the designer and apologise saying that I did not intend to copy.

I feel I have rambled on too much now and have no idea if I made sense. So many thoughts were running through my head when reading your post and everyone's comments!

TopCat76 said...

Copying bothers me no end, it's not petty or toddler-tantrum-esque in my opinion.
I have been asked by people who have admired things I've made how I put it together and I'm often reluctant to share!
Like you say, if you've spent time working out the how-tos and they why-fores, then why should someone else feel it is ok to jump on your bandwagon and take all the credit?? Even more so if you're planning on selling the pattern?!

I've been umming and aahing for a few weeks now whether to tattle-tale on someone, who has blatantly, absolutely and completely copied someone else's soft toy design, seeing how it irks you that someone has done it to you I'm seriously considering it now! Now that I see this person is selling the items I'm even more irked.... time to throw some toys out of the cot I think!

I would like to say that I deleted my comment as I'd forgotten to add that I only get really irked if people copy directly and then try to sell on the items. If you've just seen something and thought I want to try making that, and it's for yourself or a gift then that's ok I guess... however, if you post that item you've made online you really MUST credit the originator.
Copying for profit is wrong and kind of stealing. Copying for inspirations sake is not so bad in my eyes.

Lucykate Crafts... said...

topcat, i would say if you've seen something that's a copy, forward it on. i often get sent links people think i ought to see, i'm always grateful, never ever give away my source, and then take a few days thinking about before deciding whether to pursue or not, i don't pursue everything, some are not worth it, but some are!

Karen Lewis Textiles said...

I think the big issue here is the rudeness of not acknowledging the source...since it is so obviously available. There is a lot of 'inspirational' creating going on that boarders on copying and it is the cheekiness of not stating where the inspiration comes from that gets me. When we see someone SELLING work that is an out and out copy there is a serious act of violation. At least she hasn't done this but I can completely understand and have sympathy with you for her shear inability to state you as obvious inspiration.

Kristy said...

I really understand how frustrated you must feel.If she had created the copy for sale then I would say you had every right to be furious! Because she hasn't and has made it as a gift I think she has been very thoughtless in her approach.She should have checked with you whether it was okay and also linked to you from the start.
Crafters who create as a hobby very often use others for inspiration and because they don't have to create original pieces to make a living won't see the bigger picture of the problem the copying causes.
I think the only comfort you can take is that the people who condone her taking credit would probably have never bought your original in the first place but would have copied it themselves.If you know what I mean?
What a shame though as if she can interprete your creation into a pattern from a photo imagine what she could create herself if she put her mind to it?

Katie Jean said...

I find this discussion very interesting and have enjoyed reading everyone's perspective. In my opinion, in this particular instance with the peacock, I think the "copier" really had no ill intentions and was making it as a gift for someone who obviously admired your work. Is it annoying & frustrating that she did not give direct credit? yes. However, in no way was she trying to make a profit of it or did she make a pattern/tutorial for it. Like many others have said, I also draw the line when someone is trying to financially profit off of one of my creations. Had to tried to sell this and pawn it off as her own creation I'd be much more upset about the situation.

Copying has been going on forever and will continue long after we are all gone. In many cases, I think sometimes copying is unintentional, i.e. someone thinks they are creating something "original" but it has already been "created." In fact, I have a lot of very old craft books and I have seen a lot of reproductions of these works all around the internet. Whether or not people have seen these books too I am unsure of.

Unfortunately it seems that creative work does not have the same level of copyright protection as written word does. From my understanding (and I'm not a lawyer or anything), you can copyright a pattern, but you cannot prevent work made from the pattern from being sold. I don't really know how "fair" that is, but I also think there is not much you can do it about it legally. Anyway, I'm not sure what the solution is, but just wanted to share my opinion. Hope that it is helpful!

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry that you've had this happen to you - seeing someone else claim credit for your design is horrible and it's completely understandable that you would be upset. From having a read through the offending forum she doesn't apologise to you or even give any indication that what she had done was not acceptable behavour.

Sadly though once we release photos of our work there is always the opportunity for someone else to come along and claim that work for themselves. Most people don't though and you just have to try and remember all those people that you truely inspire to make something that is unique and not just a copy.

jenny allsorts said...

**sigh** This depresses me no end. It happens to me all the time and I struggle with it, too. Why is it that when someone else rips off your design and you point that out, then YOU are made to feel petty and selfish? I hate that.

And it is always the people who do the copying that think there's nothing wrong with it, and give the example of knockoff fashions as justification, or imply that if you put it online then it's your own fault when it's ripped off. This makes my blood boil.

Thanks for posting about this frustrating experience, Amy. I hope it shines a little more light on an ongoing problem.

Izabela said...

thank you so much for this post, I totally agree with you, but few times I saw things made in a way I do things and never responded to that as it is a very delicate matter - in your case everything looks more obvious - in my it doesn't but I already have emailed this person and waiting for response, but as I don't like to make anyone angry I don't think that that email will work in any way,

many times I see things crocheted on the net and I make something similar but then I am not able to sell things as mine if they look to similar to someone else's work and then do not sell it, if I sell things that are not my design it is clearly stated in the description and if there is something that I post on the blog what is not mine there is a clear link to the author, when I get inspired I always tell that as well

why anyway people don't do research now when they have such a great tool - internet, if something is already there it should not be described as my own design? it seems so easy to me but maybe I am wrong?

do not delete this post please because it touches a very important question here

thank you again


Sarcastra said...

I'm going to be a half minority comment here, I think.

First, she straight off copied your design. But, she did it for a gift, not to sell and I would do that, too. Especially if I couldn't afford the book or it wasn't out yet, like this one.

However, I would not then go and advertise the gift I'd made on a craft forum and let people think it was my design. Even if she didn't say, "Oh, I designed this." she implied it by not stating whose design it was and then by doing the "aw, shucks, thanks!" thing for pages and pages of praise. And she got a bit snarky when you put up the book info the pattern will be in. Not cool. Copying is thievery, but as crafters it is sometimes what we do, especially when we can't afford the $300 dresses we see in stores. Accepting credit it for the design was a poor choice. I'll never be able to look at projects that person has created without wondering if I'm going to see it one someone else's website or come across it in a book some day.

I think when the book comes out (that your peacock pattern is in) and starts getting attention around the internet, it will become clear where the very unique design came from.

Stella said...

I think the line can get pretty blurry very easily. I'm new to blogging, and when I first started looking around I was stoked to find so many beautiful things that I thought I would be able to make. It took me some time to realise what the correct protocol was (ie. linking back), and I now generally always try to use ideas for inspiration, in order to create something of my own design... It's much more fun that way anyway.

Hopefully this was just a learning curve for this girl and she will know better next time. I can understand how frustrating it would be though, especially if you are making a living from it!

Stella said...

I think the line can get pretty blurry very easily. I'm new to blogging, and when I first started looking around I was stoked to find so many beautiful things that I thought I would be able to make. It took me some time to realise what the correct protocol was (ie. linking back), and I now generally always try to use ideas for inspiration, in order to create something of my own design... It's much more fun that way anyway.

Hopefully this was just a learning curve for this girl and she will know better next time. I can understand how frustrating it would be though, especially if you are making a living from it!

kathchown said...

Heya, I read this lady's blog ( and she had the same problem with copyright etc but had to battle the giant corporation of Tesco!

I think once you post something on the web, yes it really sucks, people are going to copy it. Nobody gets something from nothing and we all get inspiration from somewhere. The biggest hope is that people who do this will credit you... which wasn't really happening in this case. On my own blog I try to link every time I borrow or get inspiration from something I make. The only things I sell are things I've sat down and nutted out myself. However, this process usually starts by looking at what everyone else is doing.

It's really hard and what you're talking about is a kind of theft, just one that's not policed. The main thing is you've acted on it and come to a reasonable and amicable outcome!

CC said...

don't think you're being petty - it's stealing. i know some people have problems being original, but are great w/ technique. but they must give credit where it's due. i've had people rip my stuff off detail by detail but will give give credit. i've also had others take a tutorial i've done & sell them on etsy. it's stinks but don't let it dampen your spirits. keep creating, selling, doing all of this because you love it & deal with the trolls as they come along. you have beautiful things, would hate for you to stop blogging for fear of this happening again - you're very talented!!

antmee said...

I agree with Chrisc. For too many years to mention I found it very hard to buy clothes (Mainly simple skirts). Being a sewer I always found myself saying "I can make that for a fraction of the price". Sometimes even buying a pattern so I can make the latest fashion instead of buying. Am I a thief? Stealing artists work who are making skirts for KMART?

Nowadays I do purchase things from Etsy etc when I could easily make them myself but its 100% only to give the most sincerest compliment to the designer by putting my "money where my mouth is". I could make them myself and find no fault with people doing it.

The only issue here I think is internet manners. Credit must always (where possible) be given to the original owner of designs. And no selling from others designs.

Love your work by the way and no I haven't made anything of yours. (I'm not that clever) Will buy your book though and then make myself your peacock since I missed out in your giveaway lol

Carolyn said...

People are going to take inspiration from what you put out there. If you are putting out a tutorial or a pattern then I think you have to assume that people are going to copy it. That's why you put it out there. If you say in the pattern that it is not for commercial sale then it is not for commercial sale. Some people are going to ignore it but they should gracefully take it down when you ask.
Something unique as your peacock I think it is hard to argue that they thought of that by themselves but some things are simple ideas that people can legitimately thing of on their own.

Traceyr said...

I would say the rule of thumb is if you see something that SOMEONE ELSE has created and make it yourself, whether that be clothing, papercraft, cooking or toymaking, you should always credit the designer and/or originally creator in your blogging or wherever you are showing your finished acticle.

That is called giving credit were credit is due.

I don't think you can stop anyone from figuring out how to make one of your designs and I'm sure you don't mind it happening as long as they are not profitting from it or stating it is their invention.

Your work is very inspiring and although you are (rightly I feel) annoyed you should also be very proud to have produced something that so many people have admired.


Unknown said...

If you planned to publish a how-to of the peacock and also the stork, it may be a better idea next time to hold off on putting photos of these things on Flickr. It's best NOT to publish photographs of things that you plan to publish if you can control it of course.

Also, if you are this sensitive about people making your peacock then I wonder why you are going to have a tutorial of it for all the world to see soon in a book? There will be hundreds of people attempting to copy it at that point. If they are making them and selling them, that's a problem. But you said this lady made only one to give as a gift in a swap. I guess I don't understand why you'd have a problem with someone who was doing only what you were basically going to give her and a million others permission to do once the book published.

May I ask then, what are your motives for showing how to make this peacock then in a book?

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Unknown said...
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Lucykate Crafts... said...

cathy, i am not sensitive to anyone making a peacock, you are missing my point (i did explain this in my post). i am well aware that there will be peacocks turning up all over the place once the book is available. you have hit the nail on the head with using the word 'permission'. my point in this case is she didn't have 'permission'. she saw, she assumed, she took. if she had worked from the patter, naturally permission is granted by having purchased the book in the first place.

my motives for having the peacock pattern in the book, is the same as any designer who has work published, to earn an income. if other crafters continually take liberties, it will ultimately have an effect on the whole craft pattern market (again, i did explain this also in my post)

monda-loves said...

Where is the real satisfaction in copying someone's work?
I think a true crafts person strives to invent something different (as much as they can) or in a style of their own, and that in itself is half the joy of making for me.
I sometimes see work from other designer/makers and think 'damn, I wish I'd made that or thought of that'. This usually inspires me to make something of my own, to call my own, a little bit of individuality to express my creativity.
I just think it's a little sad when people copy - they clearly just don't have enough creativity in them, and that can't feel good.

I'm not sure I can offer you any advice on how to feel about this, it's a very personal thing. It looks like you've made the right steps in order to get this situation clarified, and if there is any doubt in anyone's mind, they just need to come here and see when you posted your work and look at the quality of it. I'm sure they'd be suitably persuaded :o)

x said...

You are very couragous to post your feelings, I understand that you feel like your just throwing a fit, but you have every right to. It is YOUR design and YOU deserve the credit. People that are not creative assume that it is simple for someone like you to pop out a great design and think nothing of stealing ideas.

This happened to me at a very young age, and I feel like it crippled my creativity for life. In the sixth grade, my teacher asked us to come up with an inspirational poster design. Everyone was looking around at each other, unsure what to do, and an idea popped into my head. I started to draw (I am not an artist) and I wrote a caption. The girl next to me wanted to see what I had done, no one else had come up with anything. I was very shy and tried to tell her no, but eventually, I gave in.

Everyone in the classroom ended up using the same design, with the exact caption, two words "Think Big". The teacher posted about 10 posters on our bulletin board, all of my design, but not my poster. The teacher would not listen to me when I told her that everyone copied me, it was very frustrating.

I was already very insecure and shy as a young person, so when one of the agressive boys in the class told everyone that it was his original design, I just gave up my arguement.

The way the teacher and the class treated me, made me feel like I wasn't creative enough for anyone to believe that I could have come up with the poster. For years, I refused to write down any of my thoughts. I have only recently started to gain the courage to attempt to be creative.

Due to my experience, it really frustrates me to see people use someone elses exact design and sell it as their own. I read blogs, check out tutorials, and search etsy daily, and I see it constantly. It is very unethical and immoral.

Thank you for continuing to share your beautiful work and tutorials. I am a true believer that everything we do in life will come back to us. Do good, and you will receive good.

Clair said...

When I saw your peacock I thought "Wow!" I immediately looked up the book to see where and when I could get it..........Yes, I could have a go at copying but I like books and patterns, and anyway, you already give so many free patterns away on your blog.
I reckon, when in doubt, e-mail the author.

Vintage to Victorian said...

Sadly I haven't time now to read all the comments, but I did pick up on your response saying that the girl didn't, and still doesn't seem to understand that she's done anything wrong.

Having been caught in the middle of a couple of blatant copying 'discussions' on other blogs, I quite agree with your comment. I was caught between 2 friends over one such case and ended up saying to the copier that I was sitting on the fence purely as it was all getting too nasty and I valued each party as a friend. That comment of mine resulted in the end of that 5-year (face-to-face, not just blogging) friendship as there never was any apology, nor acceptance or understanding of any wrongdoing. The person whose work had been copied has been copied since by others, and blogposts have been written.

It's all very sad but seems to be a part of the "I want" and "lazy" society we live in today. There's a whole world of crafty people out there who have no concept of imaginative thought and their only route is to copy. All the time and energy used by your peacock copier could, surely, have been put to far better use coming up with her own design.

No doubt I've upset a few more people now, but I'm old enough to take it on the chin! I'm just thankful that I sell the raw materials rather than the completed craft item. So much less stressful ...


Mimi said...

I've never commented here and I'm not someone who designs, so I appreciate your feelings about someone stealing your design and not giving credit. I appreciate someone is out there designing (like you) and gladly purchase designs from the designer and recommend her to others. I do so because I want the designer I like to have the exposure and it might enable/encourage her to do more so I can buy her great, creative designs. I'm one who 1) isn't smart enough to steal designs; 2) wouldn't do that to someone; and 3) hope that the designer I like gets all the credit so it can help her. I'm sorry you had this happen, but remember for a person like that out there, there's one like me (I hope) who happily gives credit to the designer. And, no, you're not being petty or throwing a tantrum. You were rightfully justified in your comments. Mimi

'Joyce' said...

Oh this is awful, and just WRONG. She should have credited you, she should have made it VERY clear where her inspiration and pattern come from. I love your beautiful work, I love the love you put into your beautiful work and I love cruising through your beautiful blog. No, I don't think you are 'being petty' one single bit. Your time, your drawing, your work that YOU put together should never be treated this way. Amy, I wish you all the very best and may Karma do it's work.