More About Respecting Intellectual Property and Copyright


I am still "simmering" over here over the fact that several of my favorite bloggers have had content pirated from their blogs and no credit for the source given. But at least I am not on full boil now, so I thought it might be safe for me to share a few thoughts!

If you missed hearing what put me on full rolling boil, read this post on Zencrafting about Intellectual Property and the discovery, by our beloved  Cassi of The Crafty Crow and Bella Dia,  that a site within the homeschool network has pirated verbatim work from many other bloggers.

I have received some lovely comments on my post on the subject which included a letter I use as a first step in dealing with this kind of situation.

But I am somewhat embarrassed by all the nice things said.

I did work very hard when composing the letter a couple years ago to first offer respect to the "offender" because there definitely is the possibility that the party who "borrowed" my material did so without understanding free doesn't mean it is yours to take and republish without permission.

But believe me, I experience all the frustrating anger, shock, disbelief, helplessness everyone else feels when I find my work on another site - completely republished in it's entirety even with a credit..

If a respectful letter does not do the trick, then I understand, there are other paths of recourse. I don't know just how effective they might be.

At the risk of upsetting some, if not most, of you, I am going to share the following thoughts.

When I started blogging I came to understand one thing very clearly. In this digital age, it is absolutely certain that anyone can steal anything you put out there. And because we are still on the threshold of this new world of shared information, there are most likely few effective remedies against piracy.

And even if there were, just how much time and money and damage to your health and peace of mind is it worth to exact the satisfaction of protecting what is rightfully yours.

Of course, this is a question each one of us can only answer for ourselves. But - each one of us MUST ask it and find an answer that works for us and that guides how we share our creative efforts.

The fact is, if you publish it - it is out there. And not everyone who finds it has the same set of moral guidelines in place. Believe it. And worse yet, you can not police them all.

By not linking back to the original publisher, the blogger who pirated so much material from others was able to go unnoticed for some time.

So what it boils down to for me is this: I won't publish anything I might consider "valuable". Period.

ADDED after publishing:   It has been brought to my attention that I have not been clear about what I mean by "valuable" in the previous sentence.  It is my hope that most of what I post is of value to my readers - especially tutorials and how-tos and links.  I only meant to say that if I consider an idea or technique or image to possibly be monetarialy valuable, I do not put it out there.

Any one of us who share free tutorials for making really cool items could one day walk into a big box store and see hundreds of them on the shelves.   This could happen.  And there is very little if anything that can be done about it - especially if they are being made and sold overseas.


Now for update on the offender!

After reading the comment left by Tina (Dynamic 2 Moms) on The Zencrafting post yesterday, I immediately plugged in the address of her original post and the address of the pirated post. (She provides the addresses of both in her comment.) And I have to tell you they were exactly the same. Exactly!

Tina's post was not a craft tutorial, it was a very thorough, well written, carefully prepared post about amphibians posted for the use of home school Moms.

As a part of the process of preparing for this post, I returned to the offending site today. And the pirated post is gone! At least the images are. Apparently the text is still there.  I couldn't check any of the others because I don't know what they were. But I am hoping that Tina's images aren't the only pirated items removed from this site.

Added several hours later after publication:

Just checked the offending post again to see if the text had been removed and there is a notification from Wordpress that the blog has been marked private by it's owner and you must log in with your e-mail to gain permission from the owner to view the blog. I am assuming this is progress?  I hope.

So maybe this points to a useful tool in our tool bag for protecting our rights in the blogiverse - EACH OTHER.

Hi dear Pam, i 've had

Hi dear Pam, i 've had sometime like that with a tute of mine, and some of my idea's
but after all, i don't think we must stop with sharing some solutions and idea's, because it don't help the good ones underneath us all to become better or helping with brithgting there craftings up.
After watching and shocked that i read in a book in dutch my own solution with crimpy dink i thought , shit, but probably i was her hero.
So i thought it allways happend like you'are telling.
and the advice to reblog is helping i think as well.
But an other fact is, that we all have to deal with trends in fashion and design.
So which one was the earliest one?
And by all the internet and sociale media it looks like we all have the same taste.
I hate that, but we have as well a sort of grounds collecting idea's in our brainsthat we humans all have, it's still hard, to find out whom was stealing ,or was it there one idea
On the art academie we where aware of this all, but protecting will not help only.
I found your letter a good one, and i hope that more persones will read this and think before they will steal an idea.
Because oversea's is just nowedays just a pond;-D by social media.
thanks for the advice and have a nice day with a nice cup of tea;-D

Pam, I was just notified via

Pam, I was just notified via a comment by Susan at Slow Family Online that Wordpress has suspended tug@nature for violation of its Terms of Service, presumably for posting stolen content. Thanks so much for getting the word out--I'm sure Wordpress heard from a LOT of bloggers whose work had been pirated, and the service responded appropriately. Etsy, take note!!

This is a very aggravating

This is a very aggravating topic. Once in a while I'll come across a site that has used my work - there's usually a link somewhere (encouraging!) but not very clear, or just my name with no link. I'll try to leave a comment and of course, it's moderated, so the comment doesn't appear.... Google analytics is handy with these things, as is their translator (Turkish was the language of the most recent site I recall having borrowed more than one image). I'm resigned to it and just am careful of not putting up more than I'm willing to lose.

I love how bloggers watch out

I love how bloggers watch out for each other. I have had bloggers that I have never "met" notify me of people using something from my blog inappropriately. I have done the same when I have seen things being used in a way different from what the original blogger had intended.

I know people are shocked when you say you will not be showing anything of value. It scares the people who enjoy your tutorials but I understood right away. When I make patterns (for free or to sell) I am always cautious about what I choose to share. If it is a complex design then I usually just make things to sell and not sell or give away the pattern. If it is something that is easy to copy then that's something different.

I am very grateful for all the wonderful tutorials that crafters have posted across the web. It would be a shame if the actions of a few ruined it for those that truly appreciate what is given.

Wow, Pam... I am pretty

Wow, Pam... I am pretty amazed that all of this is going on. I just don't get it. I am a person that has so many ideas, there will never be enough time to get them all done. THEREFORE, I can't possibly imagine stealing another person's work for my own. Sure, I mimic things (i.e. Craftypod has been a big influence on me) and I may use a picture from the internet or Flickr commons to emphasize my original writings, but I can't imagine not giving credit! Are some people really so intellectually challenged that stealing is their only option (I guess the answer to that is obviously "Yes")

I followed the same blogpost links mentioned by Dynamic 2 moms and saw that the blog is now private. (I will say that I am glad I found Dynamic 2 moms through this though- what a genius!)

I am reevaluating what I put up on my blog as well. I have been following Diane's explorations into free and sustainable, and as an artist, I won't be able to make a living if I keep putting designs just "out there," yet how do you establish credibility and get exposure? It's a fine and tricky line.

Thanks for shining a light here, Pam! (and I like the fiesty Pam!)

Love your butterflies!

Love your butterflies!