Recently our lovely friend Pottymouthmama wrote a post about copying. The reaction was quite strong. It got me thinking about this article I wrote a while ago and have been wondering where exactly to put it. On some handmade forums?? I couldn’t decide. After showing it to a couple of bloggy friends I decided to just put it here but want others to feel free to forward this post or link to it on your own blog:
Inspiration.:Where does it end?....
Sometimes when we see things we like we are inspired by them.
For example you are flicking through a magazine and you see a dress that is purple and orange. Normally you may never have even considered putting purple and orange together but upon seeing it you think- that would be great for the next time I make a headband or softie or even a totally different style dress. You were inspired by the dress , it stimulated a new idea in you - it caused you to go in a new direction of an idea you already had or it caused a new idea to just start forming in your head....you loved the colours so you are thinking of using the same colours, in your own way- this is inspiration.
Sometimes we see things when we are looking around the internet and we think they look so good. Sometimes we wonder why didn’t I think of that? The idea is so simple you are amazed at how great it is. You start to think the internet is so big no one will notice if I start making them and selling them and calling them my very own design will they?
Well, maybe people might notice. Maybe people who have seen the item somewhere on the internet, say on an overseas handmade website, will get really upset at what you are doing. Maybe they have seen the original and successful product. Maybe it is robbing the artist who came up with the idea of what is rightfully their sale?
All of us know how long it can take to come up with the idea, the sketches, the how to’s lists make the prototypes, find exactly the right glue, fabric, shape, size, colour etc. When we copy someones idea we are taking credit not only for the initial idea but all the work they did prior to the item actually being for sale. Maybe when you copy what someone else has done, when you really honestly know deep down that the idea is not really your own but it is one you took from someone else, without giving them the credit, maybe you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach that one day you will be found out, maybe you have to worry all the time about the original artist stumbling upon your work and getting really mad at you? Maybe you are even breaching copyright??
What I am talking about is outright copying. Recently I saw some rattles on etsy. They were so like mine I just about cried. All my hard work!I couldn’t believe the nerve! I confronted the copycat and they were removed. Which was lucky for me. ( but don’t think I still don’t check to make sure the don’t come back!!)
What I find really upsetting is artists overseas are being copied and they wouldn’t have any idea. People who are blatantly copying are getting huge exposure on newsletters, blogs and in one case on a magazine cover, and they are exact copies of ideas I have seen on handmade sites overseas years ago!!! The items are always cheaper so not only copying but then undercutting the original designer- the worst of crimes.
When you really truly come up with your own great idea it is a powerful thing. It is a feeling of great excitement, a feeling of wanting to show everyone -to ask them what they think. That fantastic feeling when people tell you they love what you made and you are so proud because it all came from inside your head. You can take all the credit because it was all your idea and you did all the hard work. Hooray for you!!
So where to from here? I think as part of the handmade community it is up to us to protect the rights of our fellow crafters/ artists/ creatives- but how can we do that? I am open to suggestions.