Monday, May 11, 2009

So, Why Do I Feel Like The Bad Person?

I've told this story before, but for the sake of comparison, I shall tell it again. When I first began selling my tatted goods, I had the designing skills of an untrained monkey. I had a friend who wanted a large tatted heart, so I searched the Internet and came across an uncredited photo clear enough for me to suss out the pattern. I made two of them and after I gave one to my friend I listed the other for sale. Shortly after, I was contacted by etsy who had been contacted by the designer. I was told to remove the listing as it was in violation of the copyright. Head hung in shame and embarrassment, I removed the listing. This event was responsible for almost every design I ever came up with. I decided that I would never put myself in that position again. I became a designer and if I didn't design it, the patterns I used would be clearly vintage.

I tell you this story as I finally had this happen to me on the flip side. Now, I can't imagine that the person did it maliciously, but I still felt a horrible sting of, well, let's just call it irritation. I don't care if anyone makes my designs from either my written pattern or from figuring out the pattern from my photos, so long as it's just for personal use. Seriously, knock yourselves out, but I make my pieces for sale and it just seems wrong somehow that I should have to compete with someone else making my items with my patterns and selling them. I sent a message to the person who did this and the item was removed quickly and I am much relieved. You might notice that I am being intentionally vague in my descriptions here. I really don't want to start a fight, or imply that I now hate this person, who I am acquainted with. I assume that like myself, no harm was intended. I felt horrible about sending that message to remove the listing, like I was being evil and mean, but if I don't protect myself, no one else will, right?

What is interesting about the whole situation is that when I started on etsy, there were a total of three tatters selling their goods. I never worried about being copied, there was no threat to me. Now, there are dozens of tatters, both experienced and novice attempting to sell there and I guess it is now time for me to be on my toes and keep my eyes open. I am no longer on the outside of the great etsy copier debate that rages on nonstop, I have now officially been there.

On another subject, I came up with a new shoe jewelry piece that will be listed later today. It's name was offered up by another twitter friend, Achilles. It seemed like a good name for something that hangs around your ankle. This design uses the same base as my Immortal corsage, which has been getting popular lately. Here's hoping this one will too.


ArtSnark said...

Sounds like you handled your imitator properly.

Love the new pieces - very bold

Rabid said...

I'm glad etsy resolved the issue quickly.

I worry about people using my designs (needlework), and I've seen other people trying to pass off designs I've seen in pattern form as their own creation.

It's rather frustrating, and part of the reason I haven't fully taken the etsy plunge.

Misafir (Ruth) Geldi said...

I think this is an interesting question and I don't want to upset you but I am not in complete agreement with you. I think you had the right to do what you did but there are some significant problems which arise from the copyright issue in handcrafts. I am going to post something about this issue on my blog later today, I hope, with experience from a different culture and different views on this.