Sunday, March 14, 2010

About free stuff:

Ok, so I have some free stuff on my blog, and these free patterns just came out in a magazine-- and so lots of people are as asking me about if I am scared that people will 'rip off' my designs and sell toys from them, so I thought I'd write a post about it!

The truth is, I'm not really all that concerned. Maybe I should be, but the way I look at it is that people will always copy other people's ideas, it's the way of the world, it does hurt my feelings a little when I spend such a long time trying to get a design right, upload it and then see it appear in a stranger's Etsy store (or worse, a blog readers), with the slightest little amendment, and a claim of complete originality. I probably won't be your friend on twitter if you do that, and I probably won't ever reply to your emails if you send them, but I'm not going to freak out over it.

I might be an optimist, but in reality, people who copy other people for monetary gain, generally speaking, never do it as well as the original did it, they are preoccupied with time vs. dollar concerns, and they don't understand the intricacies and details that make the original worth having. And, if someone is serious about selling their wares, they will most likely just copy to start with, as they gain skills, they will start to develop their own designs and preferences, and become their own 'creative selves'... copying someone else is not exactly the most sustainable or reliable business plan, unless you're an enormous company, and that's where the copyright laws are really worth enforcing.

I know that when I see a copied doll or toy at the markets or online, I question the maker's credibility, and I think of the narky people who come to my stall and stand right in front of me and say sneeringly say 'Oh, I could do that'.

So, why give away free stuff at all?? I think the answer to that is just because I can, and because the first truly cool toy I ever made was from a free pattern, and because I get a little inner-glow when I see the toys that other people make from my patterns... and I know, it sounds all mushy and sickeningly-sweet, but it makes me feel good, and money can't buy that... or so I'm told! This whole crafty blogging community wouldn't exist without free stuff... it would just be a bunch lonely, idea hogging, unconnected people.

Sister Diane over at Craftypod has been discussing 'free' and the other currencies that go along side free stuff for a while now, and if you're interested in this, you should definitely check it out.

Happy Sunday!



midge said...

good on you Bec. i love this post and couldn't agree more. In a world as big as ours and a crafting community as strong as the one we belong to there are bound to be many similarities in peoples ideas and work. I don't believe in outright plagiarism but i don't think that it worth getting bent out of shape over. I think your observations about people who copy eventually developing their own ideas are spot on. I also believe that the majority of people who make stuff do it for the joy of seeing someone else get pleasure out of it and the monetary gain is secondary. Good on you for making beautiful quality things and getting the appropriate recognition for it. Your generosity will come back to you many times over in rewards. Congratulations on the gorgeous article

CurlyPops said...

I couldn't agree more! In fact yesterday, two girls were standing in front of my market stall looking at my Superhero Headbands, and one of them said 'Oh, I could just make one of those'.... as I heard them, I piped up and said 'actually there's a free tutorial on my blog, and gave her a business card'!
She was never going to buy one anyway.

Mitsy/ArtMind said...

Bec, I really appreciate and applaud your post!
Spreading your love for handmade is worth more then getting obsessed about copycats. If you can convert only one person to loving handmade & make her/him try it out for themselves, you have already succeeded! Thanks for being so awesome! :)

Sarah said...

I just wanted to say that I bought Notebook this month just to get your patterns from it. I have made the bug for family members as gifts, and on the tag that I attach with the likes and dislikes, I always add your blog too acknowledging where the pattern came from. Thanks for all of your generosity. I for one will be giving Blinky's this easter and am happy to yell from the rooftops where the pattern came from!

Christy said...

I echo that sentiment! I'd love to share a pattern on my blog too if only I know how to use those darn computer illustrators.

Kellie said...

I agree with many things. one, I can't stand when people look at my stuff and say I can do that. I don't take it too hard anymore, but its annoying.
I think people to take other peoples work and try and sale it are not creative. It a talent to be bale to copy other peoples work, but its not creative.
All in all as long as you love what you do, then it doesnt matter in te end.
Doll making is hard and there are new ones everyday, so you just smile and keep doing wat you love.
There is a little doll out there for every little one.

victoria said...

I love your blog and your generous heart and spirit inspires me. Thank you for your kindess, your beautiful work and for sharing it with everyone. And congratulations on your magazine article!

B @ Sweet Limes said...

What a great way to look at it. Beautifully said.

Katie said...

Thanks for sharing your pattern, my Dew Drop is called Lucy Ida and likes spelling. I first saw your toys in Monster Threads at Newtown.
I hope to develop my own patterns once I develop my skills.
I hope Notebook continue it's craft themes.

Anna said...

You are a very wise woman. As a fellow marketeer (from a few years ago now tho) I started out offended by the rude 'I could do that' people (at least they could keep it out of my earshot) but I came to realise that maybe they could, but in all likelihood, they never would. So in the end, I was ahead where it matters.
You and Pip have given me a reason to buy Notebook again though, so I hope they're thanking you sufficiently!