A friend of yours knows that you do very fine beadwork, and she wants you to make something for her. Wonderful, you think, I'm getting a commission. But then she drops the bombshell on you: she wants you to make a piece for her that's "just like" the one she saw in a book or magazine.
Oops. You're no copyright skivver, but probably no one will ever know. And some magazines say that you can make copies for yourself or a friend. And you could really use the money from the commission...
What would you do?
I haven't had to face this exact issue, personally. I did have a gentleman email me and ask if it would be ok for him to use one of my how-to articles (in a magazine, not online) to make a piece for a customer who wanted THAT EXACT NECKLACE, but was unable to make it for herself. I have to tell you, I really appreciated him asking me. I'd never have known that he did it if he hadn't asked, but it made me feel really good about his personal ethics. Of course I told him that was fine.
I'm not sure what I'd do, though, if someone asked me to make something for them following someone else's instructions. It's just not what I do. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with it, as long as you handle it ethically. So, What would you do?
BTW, I added my answer to what I ended up doing to last week's post if you want to know!
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Shocker alert - you can even TEACH from that book or magazine as long as each student has a legal copy in front of them and you can charge for teaching them because you would be charging for your time and expertise. All through school I never had a teacher who wrote the text book... and yet they were paid for the time they spent teaching me.
All the WRONG info out there has all the beaders out there scared to death to bead anything. It's so very sad.
Of course I want people to make the pieces that I post tutorials for. But I'm not in the business of creating designs so that someone else can profit from them without my permission. Will it happen? Probably. Should it? No.
As for the statement of every publication "having its own rules" that is like saying it has its own laws. They may want something one way, but is it legally enforceable? I could post a sign in front of my house of speed limit 15mph, but the cops could not enforce it just because I want it that way.
Even with that restriction stated, it would be difficult if not impossible to enforce.
Yes, we designers must have our rights protected. But if we offer designs for others to use, then we MUST allow (enforceable by law or only ethically) beaders to use it. That some beaders may wish to sell one or two pieces with our patterns MUST come into the equation of our decision as to whether or not to make the pattern available via books/magazines.
If we wish not, then please, do NOT offer the darned pattern for sale.
That's my opinion as a designer.
I think you and I are pretty much in agreement. Its just the designers who want to keep the tight reign. It just goes back to my question, of why do they make the pattern/design available in a publication, know what many if not most with to use a pattern for?
Glory of being published?
It's really not such a big deal when you get down to it.(being published).
I think the reconciliation is in designers understanding and accepting the typical use that will occur. Not strong arming the average crafter.
Glad you liked my JC articles. And I have NO problem if you make/sell items from those articles!! None at all!!
I think the crux of the matter for me is in your statement about not strong arming "the average crafter". I agree totally. I want to help everyone who desires to learn the wonderful art of beading, through my tutorials, artist profiles, and educational posts. However, my business posts are not aimed at the average crafter, but at my readers who are also professionals or who are trying to become professionals.
I don't think any of us who make a living at art need to be copying anyone else's work, even if it's legal, except for the purposes of learning. Certainly I make demonstration pieces from other people's patterns and share them here...but I don't share the instructions or pass them off as anything but what they are...someone else's design. "See, if I can do it, you can too. Here's the book that has the instructions."
Ahhh, so many inspirations, so little time!
If you were just supposed to be looking at the pictures and admiring the art, then it would be a coffee table book with no tutorials.
Getting permission is not required for ANY designer legally. I enjoy connecting with people who make my patterns, so sure it's nice to be contacted, it just doesn't have to be to get permission to do what I encourage all beaders to do.
MOST IMPORTANT!!! GET A GOOD PRICE FOR YOUR WORK! When you don't it makes it harder for the rest of us to be respected for our skills, time and materials.
I've often seen pieces in bead magazines that intrigue me technically, but weren't something I would want to wear. Without permission to sell, I've skipped the project. The few hundred dollars a year I take in from beading are an important way to support my habit.
I usually prefer to make my own designs, so it's not a huge personal issue, But frankly, it irks me that the beading community has been taught that something is illegal when it is not. The idea that morality in beading should be different than in any other craft is also a bit insulting and elitist. Many dressmakers work from purchased patterns, and are not castigated for their lack of original design. Why should beaders be held to a different standard?
Thanks for your input! Thought-provoking stuff :-)