Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stop Copyright Abuse Now

Well, I don't know if how I am feeling is quite "human", but it's definitely better than yesterday or even this morning. So, I decided to go Stitching blog reading and I found a lot of good stuff, and some really bad stuff as well.

If you look down my sidebar, you will find a new logo- Stop Copyright Abuse Now! Why this sudden, rather "loud" addition to my sidebar?

There has been an on-going problem for years now in the needlework industry. My favorite name for it is "pattern piggies", which, believe it or not, was originally a name a certain group gave ITSELF! Pattern piggies use modern technology to "share" needlework patterns. Now, "share" is such an innocuous word- sounds kindly and good, doesn't it?

It means that person "A" who has a needlework chart will scan it, then upload it to a "pattern piggies" group online. Then, everyone who belongs to this "pattern piggies" group can download and print out the chart rather than buying it.

We are all familiar with this problem from the major fuss about it over music downloads. Many people dismissed the seriousness of the issue because "musicians make millions". While that might be true- for a VERY small segment of the music industry- that doesn't make it right!

When this same stealing technology is applied to the needlework industry, the effects are devastating. Nobody in the needlework industry is making millions. Some are lucky if they are making a decent living; many are adding to the family income through a special talent.

Needlework charts each take weeks to months to design based on complexity. After printing, packaging, distribution and retail costs, each chart sold nets a designer only a dollar or two at most. So, EVERY chart that is stolen through a pattern piggie group make a BIG difference, especially since many of these groups have THOUSANDS of members! That's thousands of charts not sold and thousands of dollars of lost income.

Several years ago I was at a needlework industry event and learned a lot about this problem. I even joined a group dedicated to fighting against it and spent some time for a while trying to help with the effort. I am sad and embarrassed to report that I let my passion for this effort wane, and I have not been active for years in the fight.

Today, while following various links around the stitching blog world, I came across the blog of a needlework designer I knew. She is now working as a substitute school teacher because the "pattern piggies" have driven her out of business. Her blog tells of finding sites which are stealing her designs and her efforts to stop the theft- and of how she can no longer afford the massive drop off in her income combined with the time away from designing that protecting her work requires.

I wonder how many other designers I knew are out of the business for the same reason? Makes me mad, makes me sad.


Christi (Cici510 on SCS) said...

That is so sad. Since I am not a needleworker I would have never know that happened. I feel so sorry for your friend. :(

Etha said...

hmmm, pattern-piggies?? Are people really THAT stupid?? that is quite amazing. I think for punishment they all should come up with an original design and write the instructions for it and stitch it, then see how they like the process....
Glad to see your are feeling a bit better!