Kate has been working extremely hard on the quilting business. It’s something that I’m very proud of her for, and when something like this comes along it just makes proverbial steam shoot out of my ears. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Not long ago, Kate completed a project (a gift, not for sale) that I thought was really cute. Yeah, I enjoy seeing her quilty crafts. Yes, I realize this isn’t particularly manly. I’m okay with it.
At any rate, Kate found a listing on Etsy today (the same site through which she sells her items), that looked PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL to the project she had completed recently. She thought this was odd, and brought it up to me. I recognized the seller as somebody who had previously left a comment on her blog, confirming the probable source of ‘inspiration’ for the design.
I think I was more angry about this situation than Kate was. She took the high road and settled for a credit of ‘inspired by’ on the listing of the item in question. I’m not sure I would have been so amenable. I’m sure this person meant no harm, and is probably a very nice lady who is nearly as angry as I am that somebody would accuse her of theft. And to her credit, once Kate brought the item to her attention she gave at least some form of acknowledgement.
I was prepared to write a long (okay, that part came true), scathing post about this person’s questionable ethics. I was prepared to name names and point the finger. I’m glad I took a second to step back, because I think that would have been a mistake. As I said, I’m sure this person is perfectly well-intentioned, and very pleasant. This was probably just a momentary lapse in judgment, and she still may not see anything wrong with what she did.
The crafting community on the Web is seemingly fairly tightly knit (no pun intended!), and I’m not sure it’s worth the risk of alienating Kate from that community simply because of my righteous indignation.
Update: I wanted to qualify this post with this: we would have had no problem with this person’s piece if it were a gift or for her own personal use. It’s the fact that she was trying to sell it that was galling.
The listing has since been pulled down off of Etsy, although in her conversations with Kate the woman shows no remorse for her actions. Just because you found it on the Internet does not mean that you can use it for your own personal gain. She is deluding herself and over-rationalizing to an amazing degree, but I think that deep down she knows what she did is wrong. Okay, rant over. I’m moving on. No, seriously. I am. 🙂
Let’s make this comparison. Say you painted the Mona Lisa.
Now say somebody painted an exact imitation, except that there was a bow in her hair and she was frowning instead of smiling. . . or. . . whatever it is she is doing in that picture.
Obviously this is an exaggerated scenario. But that’s what this incident felt like. No, I’m not ACTUALLY comparing Kate to da Vinci. 🙂
I guess I never really thought of “Intellectual Property” as it applies to quilting designs. Being a former programmer and now a system admin, I can understand the theft of software, web content, and reverse-engineering.
If I see something on TV and think I can make it myself, say I watch “This Old House” or “New Yankee Workshop”, do I need to make a check out to Bob Villa if I sell it? It’s one thing to steal a patent, but it’s another thing to make something that resembles the original only superficially.
I guess it’s different in quilting. I’m sorry to hear about the stolen design.
You’re right. Don’t compare Kate to da Vinci. She’s much more talented, and probably doesn’t smell as bad. I hear Da Vinci smelled.