Monday, April 29, 2013

Create, copy, or what?

Orignal design by Genny Smiith.

There has been an interesting discussion on copyright, with a new twist, over at the Beaddreamz yahoo group. It all began with a member sharing the link to Jean Power's blog post over this, and two articles in Bead and Button magazine.
Here is her post:
"If you've seen the Bead & Button Feb. '13 issue, you may have read the article
(yes, another one!) on copyright thoughts by famous designers. The same issue
included a pattern for a 'knock off' of an Elizabeth Taylor necklace. This
bothered lots of beaders, including Jean Power. Jean has just published her take
on the issue, and it is a long but good read for ALL beaders. Here's the link to
her blog post:
This has also been linked on her Facebook page where scads of beaders have also
 left their comments. Put the needle down for a bit and please read"

This was my reply, mostly in agreement.
"Here is a photo of a bracelet variation on a pattern by Smadar Grossman. I am
lucky (or anal enough) to be able to see how to do many patterns by other
beaders, after years of beading.
So, this bracelet is a variation on hers- I made it thinner and put crystals
down the center bits, and used two colors in a different design.
Would I write out and sell this pattern as mine, now?
Do I give Smadar credit for both inspiring me and the original design?
If someone wanted to buy this off my wrist, would I turn them down?
Would I make a lot of them and sell them on Etsy or Artfire?
The latter would be more because I am not fond of making the same thing twice,
but still, if I wanted to make and sell them, I would contact the designer and
ask if it is OK.
That is just common courtesy.
After watching a friend, who is struggling to support her family while holding
down a full time job, and creating, then spending hours and hours getting a
pattern with photos and diagrams just right, to supplement what her family
needs, I can understand the teensy extra she adds for commercial use patterns.
If someone is going to be teaching a class, making way more than the extra $
paid for the commercial use pattern, why would they complain? They don't have to
figure out bead counts, thread paths, etc. The students that don't finish in
class end up with a pattern they can take home (that was NOT purchased from the
designer!). I don't understand why this is a problem.
I do not see a problem in teaching a friend who loves something I am wearing how
to do it, though. I am not making money on it, and they probably would not
purchase the pattern.
This is Earth, not a perfect world, and so we have to accept that people are
what they are; some nice, some not, and try to not get our knickers into twists
over it. That takes our attention from beading, enjoying our lives, and being
nice, ourselves.
I do have to say that if someone sees a design of mine, and takes the time to
figure it out without purchasing a pattern, I am more than flattered! That is an
awful lot of work, often involving much frog stitching, and that they would go
to all that trouble means they really like what I created. I hope they would
give me credit for the original design, but if they don't, the Universe is not
going to stop spinning, I will not stop designing, and Life will go on being
happy for me, because I decide to make it so.
Karma is a b*tch with a long memory, so I do my best to play fair, I give the
others the benefit that they will do the same, and don't worry about the ones
 who don't. It will all catch up to them eventually."

The photos above are:
Earrings, my design after seeing a photo of some a friend made, using a different style hole crystal, and a different stitch altogether.
A bracelet I watched a friend design, that I understood the principles behind how the stitches went together, and had a photo she shared that helped with bead counts.
A bracelet I figured out from seeing a photo online.
In all three, I give the original designers credit.
Why would I not?

But, bottom line is, if you put it out into a public venue of any sort at all, even just wearing your creation to the grocery store, you run the risk of someone copying it.
Realize that, and let it go.
Life has many more challenges that require our attention.
Be happy. Be nice. Play fair.
You will sleep well at night and your friends will love you.
Happy Beading AND Creating!

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