Monday, February 16, 2009

Copyrights and Violations

Remember my mentioning Ellia of Greenbeanbaby Art in this post? Well, for the second time, she has her artwork ripped off and used without her permission or credit given for her work.

This time, someone has been selling items based on Ellia's work! This, despite a small copyright label on her work, and a paragraph in her sidebar requesting that her work be respected and the copyright honored. She's now been forced to superimpose a VERY large copyright symbol right over the top of her illustrations.

Honestly, I don't know why people do this! As a quilter, I don't expect to see anything of mine on someone else's site, because there are only so many different blocks and ways to manipulate them, though I did find one of my early photographs on a stranger's blog. But Ellia is a paper artist, and her drawings are very unique. I've been following her blog for about 18 months now, and I'd know her work anywhere.

The gal who did it, would not respond to Ellia's emails, and deleted her comments. Several of us tried to email this gal, with no response. I clicked on the names of those who gushed over her new designs and hopped over to their blogs, to let them know these were not original designs, but stolen from another, and provided the link to Ellia's work. I encouraged them not to support this deception. One person wrote me back, suggesting I contact the perpetrator personally, that inspiration can come from many sources, and that she did not wish her blog to be used for comments about another.

She's right about her blog; if I'd known any other way to get the word out, I would have. It really made me mad to see people praising this gal for "her" new card designs, when she had stolen them from Ellia. But anyone looking at the two girls' work could see there was no "inspiration"--it was an deliberate act of copyright violation. AND she had the audacity to have a similar copyright post on her site.

The thing is, this person had other lovely designs in her shop--and items I would have willingly bought, myself. However, in my opinion, her reputation is now tarnished and forces me to question the validity of all her designs. If you are truly talented, why the need to copy another's work?

I feel the same way about quilt designs and BOMs. In our quilting bee a couple of years ago, we took turns sharing our favorite blocks in a basic BOM. One of my favorites is Ribbon Star from Marcia Hohn's site. I was very careful to contact Marcia and ask permission to share her instructions for making this block. She very graciously said yes, and only asked that I give her the credit. I copied it directly from her site, which had her copyright at the bottom of each page, and made sure I announced to all at the meeting that these instructions were from Marcia. (Blocks are pretty much public domain now, but the specific instructions and illustrations are what are copyrighted.) She works hard to make patterns available free of charge to anyone who's interested, and her efforts and generosity should be appreciated, not exploited.

This is the reason I quit bringing my quilt magazines to work for a long time. One of the other nurses was a quilter, and we'd have our own little show and tell sessions with things we'd made, and we'd look over the new magazines as they came in. Then I discovered she was taking the magazine back to her unit and photocopying patterns she liked. That's also a violation of copyright. I paid for the magazine, so I am entitled to use any pattern in it; she did not pay, nor did she borrow it from a library. She was getting something for nothing, and I didn't want to be a part of it.

It's illegal, folks, and just plain rude and disrespectful.

Okay, I'll climb down off my soapbox now.

Today, Ellia has posted that the person is refunding the money to those who bought the first products and will issue a "makeover". There was still no apology to Ellia, but at least she is doing right by her customers. Many of her loyal followers have dissed those of us who protested, and that is their right, but I am satisfied to see the woman is attempting to rectify this situation.


janet said...

Good for you. I think it's always going to remain a problem as long as some are willing to share. I've had photos ripped off my blog but don't mind if someone wants to copy an idea. I like to ask permission first if I want to do that.and people are pretty obliging. We can all relate.

Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

I don't know if it'd bother me so much if my friends or family copied from my magazines, as a matter of fact I'd probably offer to copy the ones they liked for them, and I think what they are looking to avoid is mass copying in regards to the magazine copywrites. But I would be kind of irritated if someone just took my magazine and copied from it without asking me first, that's kinda rude. Especially when most quilters are very generous with their patterns to begin with. Stealing original art is pretty balsy though. I have created quilts from public domain quilt blocks that were inspired by quilts others have made, but I wouldn't dare copy the exact quilt or attempt to make a profit from someone else's idea without permission. I sure don't know how people can live with themselves doing that kinda thing. To me, legal or not, that is just plain immoral. I have heard of things like that happening on accident, people not meaning to violate copywrite laws, but the fact that the woman didn't apologize and gave a refund in my mind proves her guilt.

jacquie said...

sad...totally sad. her response was pretty lame in my book.

Anonymous said...

thx for bringing this up... in any craft arena, being inspired is one thing... as artists, we NEED inspiration- it gives us encouragement and motivation... and i am all about being inspired AND TO inspire... another thing to rip ANYONE'S designs, patterns, etc

thx again.. i really wish for

Carrie said...

Wow what a shame.
I've found some wonderful souls in the blog world, this is hopefully an uncommon event.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I also say well done, some people will try anything.

Gill in Canada

MightyMom said...

a few years ago I worked in our church office. One of my tasks was to come up with a flyer for VBS. so I sat on our church porch steps and drew out a flyer. typed it up...cut and pasted a pic from the book...the OLD way...actually cuttting out a copy. and pasting in place..then making a copy of the result....

these were distributed to all the elem kids in town.

the pastor had an elem kid in the local school....2 weeks after our flyer went out she came home with a flyer from another church's VBS...looked EXACTLY like mine. Same words...same fonts (I'd used several fonts)...same everything but the pic,dates,and church locale.

pastor brought it to me asking if I'd gotten the flyer from some generic flyer place...NOPE.

It felt weird to be plagarized. But as I had no money in the deal I chose to laugh it off and say "imitation is the highest form of flattery" and move on.

I still have BOTH flyers though.

Perry said...

I agree, good for you.

gardenymph said...

That is terrible, and scary! I don't know what to think of such blatant disrespect.

So glad that you and others were willing to stand up for what was right and decent.