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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pattern Sharing.......

"The Axe Forgets....the Tree Remembers"
The proverb above is one of my all time favorites and sums up so much about life.  As human beings we often stumble and make bad decisions that, at times, leave a mark or memory that we carry with us forever.  We need to be more sensitive and choose words or actions carefully, even in the heat of anger, because it's times like this that can change the course of someone's life forever.....all actions have consequences.  It's often easier to blame someone else or circumstances for our bad behavior but the bottom line is we need to be responsible for our actions.  We need to be able to see the "Big Picture" when making decisions...get past the personal gain and think to ourselves if our decision will have an impact on anyone else or cause harm.  Unfortunately many people are driven by personal gain leaving many of us scrambling to survive in the wake of their decisions.  Case in point "Pattern Sharing"...

The last few days have brought names and faces to a problem that has infected the pattern world like a plague over the past few years.  It now has a name "Pattern Sharing".  Whether this was brought to light to punish one person because someone had a deep seeded grudge and/or this was the ammo they used to hurt said person we will never really know.  What we do know is that this "Pattern Sharing" is wrong on many levels and it's here now and needs to be dealt with.  Many of my fellow pattern designers have decided to use their energy in a more constructive and positive way instead of spending endless hours of finger pointing, name calling or just beating our heads against a wall!  We're going to find a way to stop this piracy in our industry whether that means we go to court as a collective group or one on one with the violator....we have to do something.  This isn't just sharing a pattern with a friend over a cup of tea at the kitchen table....this is someone taking a paper pattern, converting it to a PDF and sharing it with others over the internet.  If this is okay then why is it illegal to download music, movies or books from the internet and sharing them?  This is stealing and has a direct impact on our livelihoods.  I have yet to meet a rich pattern designer or one that lives comfortably.  Most designers started doing this as a way to subsidize their income or they are single parents who can't afford child care and need to work from home.  Regardless of the reason,  whatever they earn designing and sharing their talents is their income to buy food, heat their homes, fill their gas tanks and provide for their family.  Every pattern that was given away for free had a direct impact on their quality of life and their life options.  "PEOPLE.... THIS IS A BUSINESS NOT A HOBBY"!  

Now that the "Pattern Sharing" is out in the open I have heard many rationalizations why it was okay to do this or why a certain individual didn't do anything wrong because they only received a pattern and never shared it.  To receive stolen merchandise makes you as guilty as the one stealing and in some minds even more so cause you accepted it knowing it was stolen.  There are no rationalizations for theft...it is what it is!  Would you walk into a Craft/Pattern store and help yourself then leave without paying....NO!  Then why do you feel sharing copyright patterns over the internet any different....is it because someone already paid for it?  How do you know that they did and they didn't receive it free of charge from someone else. This is an epidemic and one that is causing many designers to close their doors and move on to something else.  How could anyone feel this is right or even fair....Shame on you if you do!   I quit doing e-patterns two years ago because of the sharing I knew was going on but I never dreamed that someone would actually be converting my paper patterns to e-patterns and sharing them.  I battle copiers all the time on Ebay and Etsy...you know the ones that always seem to have an endless supply of an out of print pattern!  I just NEVER dreamed that the sharing went as far as converting, without permission, to e-patterns and sending it out on it's way through cyber-world!  The individuals that are doing this must think very little of the hard work that goes into making a pattern or the designers making these patterns.  It just boggles my mind that ANYONE would ever think this was okay!

My message to all my wonderful friends, customers and followers of "Soft in the Head" is...be aware, be vigilant and be honest!  Support your favorite designers by purchasing their patterns.  Keep the shops they sell to in business by purchasing their patterns....keep your favorite designers imaginations busy with buying their patterns!  Let's try to end this....I know I'm dreaming to think it will ever end but lets try!  I love what I do so much and I love the people I meet doing this.....please help me keep it alive and well lets put a stop to "Pattern Sharing"!


NANCY said...

Hello, I have just read your post and was almost in tears. I design cross stitch patterns and frankly I need the income. Theft is Theft, no matter if it is given a pretty name or not.
Please keep us posted regarding what we can do.
And, thank you so very much for caring enough about all of us to bring this to our attention.

Sandy said...

Word!~ Way to go Pam! *sprinkle sprinkle*

WoolenSails said...

I just don't understand how they can get away with it, especially on ebay, they are copying and reselling other's patterns. I share by giving someone a pattern that I am not using anymore, but I would never think to copy one and then give it away. I only do epatterns and have been adapted a few times and they still don't get, it is still mine;)


Sweet Bear Creek Whims said...

Well, this is very discouraging to me! In February I made the decision to put my ideas out in patterns and have 6 behind me now. This puts a monkey wrench in this new adventure for me. What a shame! I am not naive and know theft happens, but this is just another level and a very bold step. I know how much work goes into designing, this group will ruin it for the honest folks. I hope there is something that can be done... Thanks for this heads up Pam!@


Deb Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

I saw the references on Facebook to the 'Pattern Mafia' Pam and didn't know what was going on; now that I do I'm very saddened. To think that this is a common(?) practice amongst my fellow crafters is very disheartening to me. I purchase patterns all of the time and am happy to pay the talented designers for their hard work. I design a few simple patterns of my own so I know that it is not an easy task to make one up. Thanks for speaking up as you always do, you are an inspiration to us all. Deb

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Very well written Pam!!!
I hope you can stop the person or persons that are doing the stealing. So unfair to us that purchase your patterns and also try to make a living ~ without you we don't have a business either. You are our inspiration!!!
Hope and pray that this stops.
Blessings to you!

Zan Asha said...

Oh Pam, I'm so sorry to hear this happening to you, you do such amazing work!

Yes, it's getting crazy from what I understand--what's worse is the person who buys the illicit pattern, creates a knock off of your work, then sells it as their own! Nuts!

I also urge others to buy DIRECTLY from the pattern or doll maker, so that you know your money goes towards keeping them in business!

Abby said...

Many are applauding you and agreeing to your case/cause. Sadly I’m not sure if I can. Not because I think your fight is wrong, it would be legit if I didn’t believe you were doing the same thing just as many of us have done and are still doing. And many think nothing of it.
What is it you ask?
Well how many photos do you have on your blog or have uploaded/shared on Facebook those that you do not own. The countless times you right clicked and saved/downloaded to your computer then shared. Never making claim to them but shared them none the less. Maybe those photos you so innocently took possibly were once someone’s lively hood. And in your own words "PEOPLE THIS IS A BUSINESS NOT A HOBBY."
With that being said how do you know that taking a photo from the web isn’t affecting the person who owns it, who took the time and skill to take the photo. Why because they aren’t making a stink about it, yet stealing is stealing is it not? You place the same blame on those who download these patterns as those who uploaded them. So then are you and the rest of us just as much to blame when we download and share a photos that we don’t own the rights to or have permission to use?
Is this not the same thing. RIght is right and wrong is wrong. You can't be a hypocrite and have a double standard for your work and the work of a different medium. Rules and laws apply the same to them both.
Just something to mull over.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

Kays Kids said...

You are an inspiration Pam, and your article is so well written. It saddens my heart. I like to think we can trust every one. (Not so it seems.)

Lorraine said...

I always wanted to venture into more pattern making, but this definitely scares the heck out of me! I'm so sorry that this is happening! Please support pattern desingers and purchase directly from them..they work hard to earn income to support their families.

Vicky said...

Nice write up, Pam! I just purchased a new pattern this morning from a talented designer! Those of us who buy are grateful for those of you who make them!

softinthehead said...

First I want to say "Thank You" to everyone that has left a comment. I have had over 400 visits to this post since I put it up last night and dozens of private messages and emails....thank you to all!

To Abby....well what can I say? I will start with defending my blog. 99% of the images on my blog belong to me the other 1% are either images I have asked permission to use, or have the owners signature on them or are to old and up for grabs. I once made the mistake of using an image I found at random on the internet and it carried a whopping virus with it so now I am overly cautious at what I use. Besides...most photos that you find in your travels on the internet are put there knowingly by the owner and with full knowledge that they are at risk of being used....not the case with the patterns. Sure we design and sell patterns, we don't give anyone permission to convert them to files and share them with anyone they choose over the internet....HUGE DIFFERENCE from what you're saying.

Cyndi said...

The copying is a huge problem. You're right, folks would not think of going into a shop and taking a pattern, yet won't think twice about stealing it from the internet. Designers, protect yourself. Copyright - LEGALLY - each and every pattern. This is the only way you will be able to recoup damages from theft. It may be a pattern sharer today, but tomorrow it might be an import company copying your design and importing the finished product by the thousands. The services like Free copyright is NOT legally binding in any way. It is no better than sending yourself a copy of your pattern in an envelope to get the date stamp on it and not opening it. You must register your work with the US copyright offices. You cannot go to court to sue for damages without it. Educate yourselves.

TheCrankyCrow said...

Very well said, Pam - and I wish you - and other pattern designers out there well in your battle. As for the comment from Cyndi immediately above, I would note that there is no need to "register your work with the US copyright offices." Original work is immediately and automatically protected. If it's yours, it's original, it's copyrighted. (Even that cutesy little copyright symbol is not necessary.) Copyrights are different than patents and trademarks. (Trust me, I TEACH this stuff....) That is one of the reasons I have a HUGE problem with the Pinterest craze..... Again, I wish you luck...Robin

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Abby "doth protest too much".
Just saying'