Monday, September 2, 2013

Designer's Alliance

Ah the issue of copyright infringement.....There are so many different facets to this discussion and I've been doing this long enough to experience my thoughts on this from many different perspectives.

I may or may not have told this story previously, but in my very very early start as a beader, another beading enthusiast admired a necklace that I was wearing.  No problem I said, I'll bring you the directions, and I did.  I went home and copied them from the book they were in and delivered them.  It was my nice nature, my wanting to share my enthusiasm for beads, my not understanding that this was wrong.  So I do have empathy for those nice people who are sharing and not realizing this is wrong.

Also, I am a huge believer in sharing and will gladly discuss technique, taking a project and explaining to an interested beader in gory detail how they can bead my piece.  But that is my way, and I don't expect it to be everyone's way.

I like to think I've learned and I now pass on what I believe to be appropriate protocol, which is to please purchase the book, magazine or tutorial for your own use.  I do this with knitting as well, although knitters seem to share pretty freely, I always purchase the pattern from the designer if it is something I am going to make.  I also try to educate anyone who would willingly share a pattern with me by thanking them and letting them know that I will purchase it to make sure the designer is paid for their work.

Seems simple but there are so many gray areas.  There are some patterns that are quite easy and more technique.  Over time they become kind of public domain.  Spiral rope comes to mind, I wouldn't know who to credit for it.  I'm currently doing a cubic raw bangle with crystals and pearls, but it is cubic raw, a stitch, not something I feel that I can own in anyway  (although mine is sort of pretty, with a beautiful and classic magnetic clasp)

There are projects like this where the original designer gets lost over time.  But there are also times where people knowingly either share someone else's tutorial or set out to copy a piece bead for bead, or maybe changing up a bead or two and then calling it their own, sharing it with friends or teaching it in stores.  This of course cuts the original designer out of the revenue loop, and since beaded designs is how we make our revenue, it becomes rather problematic.  Making a living being a bead artist is hard enough without losing the income from our own designs.

The discussion usually cycles around to 'how do we educate folks to how they should behave?'  I think that Sabine Lippert has totally the correct approach in wanting a positive outcome for both designers and bead shops.  So along those lines she has created a campaign of education where there is a mutual respect for one another.  In return for agreeing to not share or teach projects that belong to a designer without permission, a group of designers will provide free projects that they can openly share.   This would appear to be a win for everyone, as often bead stores do not have the time to design, yet they want to promote the beads that they sell.  The designer is acknowledged and everyone has more awareness of appropriate protocol.

I've changed my facebook banner to reflect my alliance with this group.  As we move forward with the concept, badges will be available for stores, and free projects will become available to those that respect designers rights.   I will keep you posted as I learn more about how to participate.


Chelsea said...

Thank you for your kind approach to this topic. I almost quit beading because bead designers can be very scary on this subject. I'm excited about the new direction you are suggesting and look forward to the positive results in the beading community.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

I love this new approach! It's so nice to see something positive come out of what can be such a contentious situation.

Susan said...

Hear hear!

Unknown said...

Thoughtful and well written as always. I'm very excited about this movement of Sabine's, and looking forward to the impact it will make on the beading world.

rocknrose said...

Amen, hallelujah.
I took one bead embroidery class last year, bought a pile of beads and books and motored on. I had never looked at the instructor's web site or seen any work beyond the ad for the class. I am humbled to say it was the awesome Heidi Kummli. We all get lucky sometimes! Is my work inspired by her work? You betcha. I admire and respect her skills, that's why I paid to learn them. We also live in the same area and I am inspired by similar things. Does my work look like a copy of hers? Only the items I made in her classes, which are for my personal wear, not for sale.
I will proudly display the designers alliance logo on facebook and my website. People need to know about copy rights and that copying is stealing.
I have only purchased one tutorial, from Mikki Ferrugiaro, for a series of complicated rope peyote designs that have been intimidating me for weeks from my resource shelf. ;)
We really do need to assist other beaders, both with technique and education.
Thanks for a great blog, Marcia.

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Since I do not write patterns, I am finding it hard to post this message. My ideas are still mine, and I don't want people to use them without my permission. I have had my work copied sitich for stitch, and I have also just had my ideas copied to make work that looks different from mine. The latter I am always OK with, but the former poses a challenge for me. How ever does a designer ask for respect for their ideas, when those ideas are not written down and published? This is a band wagon I will happily follow, but I don't see a reasonable way to climb aboard. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful and articulate discussion of this important topic. In addition to designing beaded jewelry I am a grad student, so I frequently see similar problems pop up in student writing. There is definitely a widespread lack of understanding of copyright and what qualifies as plagiarism. I think it is awesome that members of the beading community are taking a role in educating people about these issues and helping to protect all kinds of creative output.

Sunyoung Park said...

Great appriach, and great idea! Where can i get the logo? I woukd like to add it on my web store and make stickers to share with beaders and customers. Would that be ok?