Multiple times in the past week I have seen messages in my Twitter stream about designers whose patterns have been copied and sold illegally on various websites. This get’s my yarn in a knot. People who sell the work of others are stealing and that is unacceptable on any level.
It’s not just happening to designers though, I just had a client meeting last Friday and the owners of a product that is rather well known told me how their competitors have actually stolen the exact wording from their website. Furthermore, they told me about meeting with a large corporation regarding distribution of their product and the executive they met with informed them, “Oh we can knock off your product anytime we want.”
When the product owners explained to the executive that they had a patent and registered trademark the executive laughed in their faces and said, “So what, we’ll go to China for manufacturing and we’ll import the goods.”
This is ridiculous. I know the little guy can’t fight this, the litigation might get them some “justice” but it’s going to bankrupt them, and the big guy will still outsource the production. This is wrong, this is why our economy is in trouble. We collectively need to do something about it, and courtrooms obviously don’t do much for us.
You know that I am proactive so here’s the deal, we’re going to use our network of friends and colleagues and we’re going to collectively stand up for each of the little guys by doing the right thing.
If you know of someone selling patterns that aren’t theirs then for the love of all that is fuzzy turn them in to the appropriate authority. How can you know? Well if you see someone selling patterns on an auction or web site and they are not the author of the pattern which can be proven by having had a pattern published in a book, magazine or website that’s pretty obvious. Turn those folks in to the administrators of the auction or shop.
If they are selling it on their own website, inform the designer who has been wronged.
If you are the designer who has been wronged, send the infringer and invoice of payment due. My friend who is a photographer does this to websites that “borrow” her photos all the time. Funny enough she’s never been paid but the photos are always taken off their websites.
It takes hours and hours to create a single pattern, it takes hours more to write a good pattern.
It’s more than just crocheting something and telling someone else how to do it. You have to make sure the math works out, you have to have a readable style sheet, you have to have good photography, and you have to have the finished item to photograph. For the love of all that is fuzzy, this is not a quick, simple or cheap endeavor.
Don’t forget the ”Free” patterns from yarn companies are not really free. Yarn companies contract designers to write patterns for them and pay those designers. They use this as a marketing tool so that you buy their yarn, which is completely fair. But it doesn’t mean those patterns are cheap to make or write. Indy publishers bite the bullet to produce their own goods and often have to learn new skills to produce a quality product.
We can make a difference, but only as a unified group.