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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What would you do? Where's the line in education?


A friend of mine told me that someone was caught making and selling kits based upon one of her projects. This person had basically just rewritten my friend's article (with very few changes in wording even!) and was now marketing their own article along with the materials needed as a kit through a national chain store.

I think that most of us would agree that's over the line unless you've been given permission. But how about these questions:

Is it ok to teach a class based upon an article you read or a workshop you took?  Is it ok in a local bead shop but not at a national convention? 

Is it ok to teach a class that focuses on how to make exact replicas of someone else's beads, findings, or finished pieces?

What do you think? No one owns the stitches or the materials, but where is the line between ethical and unethical behavior in these situations? Sound off below...What would you do?



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10 comments:

Shaiha said...

This is only my personal opinion but I don't feel that it is right to make money off of someone else's work unless you have been given permission to do so. I know that in some cases, permission is given in a tutorial to sell the product. But even so, you should give credit where credit is due.

Cyndi L said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Shaiha. That's really what this post is all about...not so much what is the letter of the law, but where your own ethical line resides. Just because we *can*, does it always mean we *should*? Especially if we are trying to make a name for ourselves as designers.

KipperCat said...

A local beadstore offers brief private classes for any project that a customer brings in. But the customer has already bought the project (or magazine) and what the store staff offers is more tutoring than teaching. I think this benefits the entire beading community.

Cyndi L said...

See, I think that's fine! The customer has bought the magazine...the store hasn't xeroxed or slightly rewritten the article. It's pretty much impossible to think that everyone with a question about the project is going to be able to fly off and take a private class with the author, huh?

Paul Bishop said...

Both myself and my wire-wrapping teacher have been accused of copying each other's work. I have permission from her to make those wire-wrapped hearts based on a class I took. I have not recreated her tutorial, but I have permission to do that, with my own text and pictures. Since then I have posted notes on my sites about from whom I learned different TECHNIQUES. I will not stop calling myself the designer of my own pieces. I was accused once that I wasn't a designer if I didn't design my own pieces. I don't know where that woman thinks all the other stuff on my sites come from, but she kept sending me articles about design stealing.

In short: ask for permissions, get them in writing, and give credit.

Cyndi L said...

It hurts to be falsely accused. I think your summary is excellent, Paul. Even though you'd be under no legal obligation to do all those things, it's good form and it prevents misunderstandings and hard feelings.

You could send her articles in return about minding her own business ;-)

SharDon Exclusives said...

A "friend" gave me a pattern. I made up the pattern with a few altertations. I then placed the piece in a resort gift store. They used models so show off the jewely unknown by me and published it in a "local" brochure. The lady "designer" that I got the pattern from had a tisy fit that HER name was NOT on the magazine. I had NO idea that they were going to use the necklace for a store promo. I have gotten nasty notes amd local gossip and local back biting for something I had NO control over. I just wanted to sell the necklace/not the pattern. It hurt me desperately that the lady thought I crossed the "ethics line". What should I have done except appologize (which I did) but I had NO control over the consignment boutiques advertisemets? Ethics are a very touchy subject. I do NOT believe that there are ANY originals out there, just take offs of others ideas. Am I wrong?
I truly would like to know, SK

Cyndi L said...

It is a touchy subject, you're right. And the law itself is pretty cloudy too, which leads to some of the problems. You did NOTHING wrong. You were given a pattern. You decided to make the piece. You even made some alterations to it. You decided to sell the piece, which is totally your right to do. Anything past that was done by someone else, not you.

It must have been very hurtful and stressful for you to go through this experience. Please don't let it stop you from continuing to learn and grow!

KipperCat said...

I'm curious about the consignment store. I have no idea what the legalities or generally accepted ethics are from their point of view. Is is typical for a consignment store to feature merchandise in an advertisement without notifying the consignor beforehand?

Would the situation be any different with a gallery, or is the term "gallery" just another term for consignment store that deals in art?

Cyndi L said...

I don't believe that any of the galleries I've had dealings with in the past would have ever featured a piece in print without letting me know. But I don't know that for an absolute fact. Since I'm no longer putting my work in any stores, I can't even think of whom to ask.

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