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Guidelines for Respecting Intellectual Property
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 05/27/2011 - 23:07
There has been a lot of activity in my e-mail since Patricia at Zencrafting and Cassi at Crafty Crow focused our attention on a blog that was illegally pirating material produced by bloggers in our community and re-posting it. No credit was given to the original bloggers and worse yet, the pirated material was presented in such a way to appear as it if had been written by the pirate!
I felt compelled to participate in the effort to spread the word and hence the e-mails! So many of my blog family, including myself, have been victims of piracy - out right stealing of content. It was shocking and disturbing especially because so often the piracy was employed in the effort to make money on the internet .
Mulling over this whole situation of crafty blog piracy, I decided that since there seems to be little any of us can do to prevent outright, systematic, deliberate predatory behavior, I would try to at least do something positive and hopefully helpful. I thought it might be useful to provide guidelines for using and referencing craft tutorials for bloggers new to the community. And maybe for some that are not so new.
Image taken by Mega Crafty
And then, almost as if on cue, my friend Meg who writes MegaCrafty provided a perfect example of how to share a tutorial written by another blogger. Her post made my work so much easier!
Meg has posted an image of her own Saori weaving, a link to my tutorial on the process, and clearly gives Gingerbread Snowflakes credit.
What is it they say - a picture is worth a thousand words? Meg has just saved you from a thousand words!
And while you are connected to my post, take the time to read the comments, please. You will see two readers who have written to request permission to make printed copies of the post and share them with children. Of course I gave my permission, and my appreciation for their courtesy and respect for my intellectual property..
What is not acceptable?
1. Re-posting the process images from the original blog. Even if credit is given. If you do not intend to make the item so that you can use a photograph of your own work, then write and request permission to use an image - one image not the whole set - from the post.
2. Recreating the process step by step using your own photos. When I choose to make and then share the work of another blogger, I show my finish piece and then refer to the original post as I did here when I made these adorable Tomte's created by Kathryn at the Pickled Herring.
I found these creatures so charming and adorable and not only could I hardly wait to make them, I wanted very much to share with my blog family. However, I deliberatly did not show my own step by step process - I sent readers over to Kathryn's post for that. This is entirely her creation.
I did make a little alteration on the beard material and shared that only.
I try very hard to always ask permission when I wish to use the image of another blogger on my blog - even when I intend to give them full photo credit and link to their blog.
Of course this process of asking to use an image would be completely unrealistic for some of our favorite linking sites like CRAFT, One Pretty Thing, the Crafty Crow, Stumbleupon. But they are and always have been quite clear about the fact that they are there to share as much crafty goodness as possible through linking to images and posts.
I personally see them as providing a huge service to the community, making it possible for all of us to access crafty inspiration and on occasion, when we are the lucky one to be included in a post, a bump in readership and thereby the opportunity to make new friends and connections. They are all about community.
OK. Now a few thoughts to share and then links to how a couple of my friends feel on the subject.
As many of you know, my profession is photography. My sweetie and I are very familiar with copyright issues. The thought has occurred to me that any blog which is designed with the sole purpose of making money by blogging (affiliates, sponsors, google ads, shop merchandise) and which places the intellectual property of another blogger on the site without permission is breaking the same copyright laws that are in place to prevent you and me from using a photograph of a person or of personal property in an advertisement without a model release - ie: permission.
Of course most often it comes down to just how much any one of us wants to and can invest in pursuing pirates. But believe me when I tell you that engaging in piracy could very well be an expensive risk if you use intellectual property belonging to someone with the time, means and inclination to pursue legal channels.
One of the reasons I believe that so many new bloggers are unclear about what they can republish is what they observe regarding recipe sharing.
I see recipes reprinted all the time - some sites are completely built on republishing recipes created by others and printed in magazines and books. Apparently it is OK to republish a recipe (with a source reference) but not a collection of recipes. It is the collection for which copyright protection is written.
I was bewildered when I first encountered sites republishing recipes so freely and immediately went to my guru Diane at Craftypod, for help. She sent a bunch of links which I will happily forward to anyone who e-mails requesting them.
I think many new bloggers see this practice in action and don't differentiate between recipes and craft tutorials. But there is a big difference.
And FYI, I don't republish recipes - even if I can. If it is not my own, I link to it. But that is just me and definitely not a suggestion that you do the same.
Some more food for thought! Take a few minutes and read Joanie's (Nini Makes) thoughts here and Meg's thoughts and additional links here. And take advantage of all the links to information on copyright and intellectual property provided by Patricia in her post on Intellectual Propery Day.
And if anyone reading has written an article regarding this subject, please link to it in the comments.
One last thing I must mention! As Diane will tell you is often the case, I have a talent for saying one thing that comes across as quite another!
In my follow-up post on intellectual property, I made a statement that apparently gave many of you the idea that I would no longer be sharing tutorials! Something to the effect that if I felt the tutorial or idea valuable, I would not publish it.
I was trying to make the point that piracy and predators are out there - constantly. Don't fool yourself into thinking they are not. It is completely in the realm of possibility that you or I might run into our most treasured idea in our neighborhood big box store one day or republished on a blog we have never heard of before.
So what I meant was simply this. If I have an idea for a craft project that I believe might be potentially valuable for making money (ie: book, e-book, on line sales, shop sales), I will not publish it as a free tutorial on my blog.
But I will always, always be publishing tutorials and other crafty stuff. It brings me great joy and I totally love the process. I love the people I have met, and the community I have become a part of. And then there is this - blogging and writing tutorials keeps me constantly crafting!
To those who were concerned, never fear! I am here! And I plan to stick around! And I have lots of tutorials on the calendar!