3 September 2011

Mumbling about copyright!

I saw an interesting blog post the other day about this over here.

There have been many, many interesting discussions and arguments on this subject over the years and I always read them all with interest and sometimes a certain amount of 'grumpiness'!!!!  

If you've the time (or inclination!) then read on but if you haven't then don't bother - this is only my opinion!!!  

Over the years I've been doing this craft things have changed dramatically but I think the most dramatic change has come about with the internet.  This has given us access to many, many more patterns, techniques and friendships than anything else.  New tatters come along in droves (thank goodness) to try their hand at our craft.  After a few patterns have been made up they can then see 'improvements' and other ideas stemming from these.  Great - BUT.  Hang on, shouldn't we not only encourage this but also add a word of caution here?  

I read many, many blogs each day and get very bored with the same old, same old claims by people who have 'designed a new pattern' for us.  Great - if it is new.  But what if it isn't and mostly they aren't!!!!  They are what I call 'generic'.  A lot of the current - 'this is MY new pattern' claims are just these.  They ARE new to that person but NOT new to tat land.  I feel we should encourage these 'wannabe' designers to check, check, check to see that their 'designs' haven't been done before!!!  This is now SO easy through blogs, forums and groups and by just asking around!!  Also internet searches are a lot easier too.

I feel that through these simplistic generic 'new patterns' we are actually 'cheapening' our craft.  I think we need to stimulate new tatters by offering more interesting ideas.  Not those beyond their capabilities (I am so often guilty of that!) but by putting more thought into what we do.  Let's not criticise those who 'steal' these simple generic designs but rather point out that they must have been done before because they are so 'simple'.  Let's encourage more checking out of our work before publishing it as 'ours'.

Many years ago I came up with the medium seahorse which was commissioned by and published in a weekly magazine in the UK.  Imagine my HORROR when the Ring of Tatters published it a few years later in their Newsletter, very badly notated and altered and with somebody else's name on it as the designer and owner of the copyright.  Imagine PICOTS all over it and you get the idea.  To say I was unhappy is to put it mildly.  This was actually a case where the new publishers were MORE to blame than the person who had 'stolen' my copyrighted work simply because they HADN'T CHECKED.  The old lady who'd 'stolen' my work thought that as she'd paid a few pence for the magazine that the pattern was hers to do what she liked with.  Simple (to her!) alterations to something which took so many hours of my time.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings - I'm off to have a shower and my breakfast!!!!!


TAT19540 said...

That is why I proably have never really done the patterns. I know that most things have been done before and what ever I came up with would be too close to someone else's work. I appreciate all you have shared with the tatting world!

RandaGray said...

It irks me as well that people do something as simple as a flower & expect it to be "their" design forever, despite there being a bazillion very similar ones everywhere. There is on particular (not you Jane!!)blogger who is so protective over their designs that they acutally put forth the effort to search certain sites every day to make sure no one has "stolen" or "copied" their designs. Designs that are what you call "generic", & "inspired by" other pieces. How is that not hypocritical, when what makes your design original is the fact that you added jewelry pieces to it??

Jane Eborall said...

Ah RandaGray, another of my 'hates' is somebody thinking they can change a pattern by 10% and then it's theirs!!! That's SO not true. It's a myth that seemed to go around and still rears it's ugly head from time to time.
It seems to be becoming 'acceptable' that if you add a different piece of jewellery to something then it's 'your new design'!!!! I didn't realise that people make a 'career' trundling round the internet checking on others. Pathetic. Send them to me - I'll chop their heads off!!!!

TotusMel said...

I went back to intatters to read up on this after I read your post and I commented there too, but wanted to comment on your comment too.

I am so guilty of making simple changes and designs though I try to never claim those as 'mine forever'. I too am guilty of trolling etsy & I fear I am the one Randa is referring to, looking for my designs, though not everyday, just every so often and I do pounce when my 'original' designs have copied but not those simple things that many of us have come up with. If I don't protect my hard work, no one else will.

It does come down to an ounce of prevention. I try to look about and make sure I haven't seen something somewhere else before and I try to consul new tatters to do the same thing, but I'm far from perfect. I could keep rambling, but I think I've said enough.

Margarets designer cards said...

Hi Jane,

We had a conversation recently over generic patterns and I agree with you, it is far better to check that something you have put together is not from another idea from a tatter the other side of the world.

The trouble with the internet is that it has opened up a whole new world to tatters, which is fine but some ideas are being misused and then treated as their own.

We are all crafters with an art of tatting we should enjoy our art not pinch over peoples ideas and treat it with disrespect.

There seems to be very little respect for copyright.

Well said Jane

Martha said...

All too true. How many times have I seen someone "invent" the 4-ring butterfly, and other simple bits. I agree too it is odious to purposely appropriate someone else's truly original design. And then there's that gray area when someone unconsciously recreates something they had seen before. I agree wholeheartedly, check your books and ask around to make sure your "new design" is really new.

Jane Eborall said...

Ah, Martha, the dear old four ring butterfly!!!! Then they don't lie flat with the feelers in the right place!! Same with the endless five ring flowers!! The hours I've spent checking my new stuff to make sure I've really got something new - and helped others do the same too. It DOES take time but it's worth the effort.

Lelia said...

In a nutshell, people are either lawful citizens, or they are not.

When I tat a doodle, a simple butterfly, a bug, or something, it is what it is. I'm not selling - i'm practicing and giving my tatted pieces away.

When I do find a pattern on-line, I put the designer's name + project name (and a link) on the humble blog.

I'm not publishing a book! I just enjoy tatting.

Ridgewoman said...

Huzzah Huzzah to all the tatters who DO think about these things. I agree whole heartedly. I do not design; but I appreciate the work that goes into an ‘original’ design (after having participated in a design class)
IMHO new tatters who become designer’s overnight are just embarrassing to the art as nothing is truly new but a rendition of another’s concept. Often it becomes a copy of a copy of a copy...the blind leading the blind.
As far as becoming a ‘watchdog’ over one’s work...that seems a bit obsessive to me...100 years from now, who’ll know the difference. AND there’s a big difference in generic patterns offered on line and published works that I’ve spend my $$$ upon. I bought at least 3 books in 2010 that were REALLY not books I could recommend. One was a rehash of work the designer had previously done and the 1st book I bought of that designer was truly a good pattern book...the successive books were a big disappointment. My point is, I digress, that a published book of copyrighted designs has a bit more gravitas than some hacked thing offered on a blog. Makes me grumpy too, Jane! BJ

Bhavani Harikrishnan said...

on the issue of copyrights, one blogger actually had the gall to copy and paste an entire tutorial that took me weeks to prepare and pass it off as her own.
Yet another copied and pasted and simply said she was so active online that she could not remember where she got the tutorial from.
I remember you were one of those who sympathized with me.

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

Happy Beaks
I beg your pardon? I didn't quite catch what you said.