Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Yep, it's that time again. Time to share an anecdote of annoyance. You are probably aware that I often search the tatting on etsy. Why? Lots of reasons I suppose. It's a bit of a holdover from when there was a nasty run of copy cats and I do enjoy seeing what everyone is up to and of course the competitiveness in me is a factor as well. The point is I do it all the time as an after thought, not with any real intent to play tatting cop or anything. I'm not trying to squash all competition or anything, I promise, but every once in a while I run across something.

This time it was someone selling a necklace made with one of my free necklace patterns that's up on Instructables. I calmly messaged the seller beginning with a non accusatory, 'you might not be aware' and ask them to remove the listing because I ask that people not sell items made with my patterns. The whole time I'm a bundle of nerves because I absolutely hate these sorts of confrontations when I feel like I'm being the bad guy, but I feel like I have to hold the line. The seller was initially put off because she felt adding beads made it different and I disagreed of course. The next message I got back is the actual source of the afore mentioned annoyance however. She stated that she purchased the pattern from a friend. Well that's a whole different monster isn't it? So someone gets my pattern free off the Internet where I specifically evoke the language of copyright and blather on about personal use, turns around and sells it to an unsuspecting "friend". I put those quotes there because I'm pretty sure this is not something a friend does. No, a friend says "I got it online, here's the link", or "I can print you a copy if you like". A friend doesn't send someone off to make something to sell online likely knowing that the pattern asks them not to, so that friend is likely to raise the ire of the designer. That's just messed up right there.

The whole thing just made me shake my head in confusion. I ended the conversation by caving a bit and asking her to just acknowledge me as the designer of the item in her listing and to not use the pattern again for sale. I also gave her some names of designers that do sell patterns you can sell things from and some links to find free patterns as well as the most important advice I have on the subject, to design your own pieces or modify antique ones if you're going to try and sell them. That one thing will help you avoid all future drama.

I know not everyone has the same opinions on these sort of things and the copyright controversies will rage on for some time. The line I drew when I started giving out patterns was done to try not to end up competing with people basically selling my own work for less than I make it for, potentially confusing the customer base that I've spent years building up since tatting is my day job. Even if you disagree with my hardline stance on that though, you have to agree that friends don't sell friends free tatting patterns from the Internet. Please feel free to pass that message on because I know when I share something for free I mean to share with everyone...for free.


Liriel B said...

I don't think you should feel bad for standing up for yourself and your designs. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a lot of people think if they find something on the internet, it's their right to use it any way they see fit. I see this a lot in the photography world. I have a friend who is a pro and has a watermark on all his pictures. There have been numerous occasions where someone will post the image with the watermark deliberately removed and then think they did nothing wrong. I used to post alot of pictures I took on Flickr until I got tired of seeing them show up all over the place without and acknowledgement to me or, in some cases, used inappropriatly. Try not to beat yourself up over standing up for your propriatary designs. You put a lot of time and effort into your work and a lot of us appreciate the patterns you share with us.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

Copyright can be a polarizing issue, but I believe that since you have stated from the beginning how you wish your patterns to be used, everyone should be considerate and follow your guidelines. Taking a hard line on something you believe in just shows that you have high standards. I'm amazed that this person's "friend" sold your pattern to her... unbelievable! With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Although I'm not a needle tatter, I greatly admire your work. I hope you will continue to share your love of needle tatting with all of us!

Fox said...

If you go to the source of the problem and speak your mind - good. But unless you take legal action and you are not likely to get into that - $$$ - it is important to accept the fact that this will continue to occur - true integrity is not common out there in Tat-land, or anywhere else for that matter, so if you find it cherish it, for it is rare. People will continue to be people - downloading illegally, ripping off artists designers, stealing music... all of it.

I sympathize but would love to see you turn that frustration and wasted energy into a positive and ignore things that will not change.

Difficult to do! I have been trying to perfect this sort of attitude in myself for decades, as I do believe it is the better route to peace!

Copyright is huge now in the field of law as the changes are monumental and swiftly occuring.

People tend generally to understand neither the concepts nor the law, so it would seem your frustration is not about to disappear.

Just keep your eye on your own goals and your own art; keep creating gorgeous designs and try to harness all that energy into things masterfully!

End of rant!
I love your work and wish you the very best.
Fox ; )

TotusMel said...

Thanks for the commiseration all! I know I shouldn't waste too much energy on these things which will continue to occur regardless, but a good rant usually gets it out of my system.

Now if I could only go back in time and not read the anti-needle tatting rant I just read I'd be grand.

victats@gmail.com said...

How upset was she to find her friend sold her a free pattern? If you don't tell her that's she's infringing copyright she'll never know. Where was the anti needle tatting rant? I'm always amazed that people focus on the method and not the product when it comes to tatting. Why does it matter?