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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Giveaway winnings and my twopennorth on the Great Copyright Debate

What's this inside this dinky little bag?

 Could it be a hand-made scissor fob with my initial in my favourite berry colours?
It could!  Stitched by Nataly of Nataly's Needle Creations and now attached to my only pair of decent scissors.  Which look rather shabby and are not berry coloured (unless you count blueberries I suppose).

So next time you're all trying to think of a giveaway prize, how about some new scissors?! LOL.

I got my subscription copy of Cross Stitch Collection in the post this afternoon and was delighted to see they've printed another of my stitching tips!!  I said stitchers on a budget should try stitching over 1 on 28 count evenweave.  You need a quarter of the fabric and an eighth of the threads!  For that tip I'll be getting a £10 voucher for Willow Fabrics.  Yay, more stash!  I think I'll buy the blue fabric I need for my cousin's baby picture.

I also treated myself to this magazine:

There are 16 different projects in this magazine with 6 of them being Lesley Teare designs, so if you're a fan then this is a must!  It's available here.  I've added the Contents Pages to my blog page for Magazine Contents Pages (see top tabs).  As usual, I've have only posted the contents pages and will not under any circumstances post or email any of the charts.
Which brings me nicely to the following copyright debate which is rumbling around the blogosphere at the moment ever since the Gift of Stitching decided to fold.  I think we're all aware of the Chinese and Russian file-sharing forums who sell the pdfs on to their group making large amounts of money out of it.  However I was totally unaware of just how much money is involved.  Nicole from Northern Expressions Needlework has been doing some research, here's her original blog post:

http://northernexpressions.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/sad-commentary.html

and here's a response from Laury Lyan
http://perlesdesoies.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/what-is-right-what-is-wrong/

followed by Nicole's answering post:
http://northernexpressions.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/in-response.html

I've commented on all three posts.  I think there are a number of problems for the "stitcher on the sofa" (as opposed to the man in the street!) in understanding this debate.

One is that we have nearly all of us photocopied a chart from a library book, a borrowed magazine or a friend's chart if we are brutally honest.  If someone has wanted to borrow a mag from me and I'm not keen to lose my magazine I have made a copy for her.  It's only one copy to one person isn't it?  She couldn't buy that magazine anymore or the library book is OOP now so it's only the same as borrowing it for 3 months etc etc.

When people start talking about copyright theft we feel guilty for making those photocopies and don't see the bigger picture, the wholesale illegal selling on of designs to 10s of 1,000s of stitchers which is the real problem here.

There is also a lack of understanding of the nature of a pdf versus a paper chart.  We see pdfs as less "real" and less valued.  I certainly struggle to see pdfs I've bought and downloaded as being worth the same as a hard copy chart because they live in my computer along with all those freebies I download.  I know they are but it's hard to feel it.  It's also hard to understand why it's ok to lend or sell my World of Cross Stitching magazines but not my Gift of Stitching mags.  If I want to show my Mum an interesting article in GoS do I have to buy her a copy or am I breaking the law showing her mine on my screen?  I wouldn't email it to her but can I let her see it on my computer?  Where do I draw the line?

I suppose the purists would say we shouldn't really be selling old magazine or charts anyway.  We should make people go to the designer and buy from them direct.  What about travelling patterns or exchanges or stash sales?  Where do we draw our personal lines?

Several people have been comparing the selling of designs online to stealing from shops.  This does show a lack of understanding about people's attitude to the virtual nature of the internet.  If I steal a Mira chart from my LNS they cannot sell that chart full stop.  It is gone.  However if I buy a HAED and sell copies of it I haven't deprived the shop of the original, because it never existed as an actual entity.  That is how these people justify their actions - "I bought it fair and square, it's mine to do with as I choose".  We need a better analogy here!

The trouble is the best analogy is the music industry where people download and share music for free online depriving the original musicians of their royalties.  And once again that is something that everyone feels is okay to do, we all download music and TV off the internet don't we? (actually I don't as our broadband is too slow, so my conscience is clear there!).

For me a commenter called Trish summed it up "People are just greedy and lazy of thought, and more to the point think they are getting one over "the man" if they can get something for nothing, forgetting that "the man" is actually a person who is trying to make a living, albeit a small one."

This attitude comes across in the anonymous person disagreeing with Nicole, she should more or less be grateful to be allowed to design at all and let us redistribute her stuff for free if we so choose!!

Here's Ellen from With My Needle's take on the subject:
sharing-is-not-always-good-thing
In her latest post she also comes up with a really good analogy for chart piracy, so pop along and read that one too!

So what can we do?  Keep spreading the word I suppose.  There are "innocent infringers" out there, people who don't realise how bad these sites are.  People on Facebook who ask for scanned charts to be sent to them without realising it's illegal.  But don't sweat the small stuff; if you've scanned a chart in the past then just buy another one from that designer and restore your karma.  If you see a designer's charts being offered illegally then tell the designer.  That's one of the perks of the internet, we have relationships with the actual designers.  I can exchange emails with Joan Elliott and FB messages with Nora Corbett!  I can say "my friend Nicole who's a designer" even though we've never met nor are we likely to.

There was a debate on the radio today about the proposals to monitor suspected criminals' emails and the hoohah of invasion of privacy comparing it to opening snail mail (which is, of course, totally illegal).  But we live in a changing world where the people making the laws understand very little about the nature of the generation growing up using the internet.  We have to make new laws which work in our new society.

What do you think?  Is it possible to stop this mass piracy?  Is it a big problem or is it being blown out of proportion?

Finally, I finished stitching Jacqui's Oriental Lady for the Joan Elliott RR but it's too late to start faffing around with cameras and leads now so I'll save that for the next post.

9 comments:

  1. Very interesting post jo! I admit I often feel confused about where the line is drawn when I see these debates raging. . .I for one tend to make a working copy of charts when I'm stitching them, so I don't ruin the original with my lovely highlighter marks (or can line things up properly if the chart goes over a page and a quarter or something). I always destroy the copies afterwards. . . do they expect us to ruin our charts and then buy them over if we want to stitch the design again? It's a tricky one alright

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  2. Thanks for bringing the issue to my attention! Congrats on the finish!!

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  3. I have been reading a lot about this topic lately; and I don't think it's all that wrong to share patterns; especially when a pattern is retired; when I started stitching 25 years ago the charts were from 2.00 to $5.00 and now they are triple in price; I ordered a chart (won't mention the company name) but they are a very well known company and the chart was $7.00 & when I got it; it wasn't wrapped in plastic or anything to protect it and it was made of cheap paper; not even a strong paper; I was so disappointed. Maybe I'm wrong to feel this way; but it's how I feel..

    Hugs,, Shar

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  4. OOH can't wait to see it!!! I've just got a little back stitch and beads and I've finished mine!

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  5. oooo love the fob :) well done on writing such a wonderful post on the tricky subject too :) ought to have borrowed you for mine ...lol

    and scissors do you need some ???? having one or two pairs myself ..lol love mouse xxxx

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  6. Ooh! Hot Potato! Here is my two-pennort:
    I don't understand why there is even a debate. The clue is in the name "copyright". Only the originator of the work has the right to make a copy. Simple.
    (I do put a disclaimer on all my charts allowing the making of a single working copy)
    Sure, the "stitcher on the sofa" (I like that expression) can lend out a chart, pass it on when they've finished with it, sell it on Ebay. Wrap their fish and chips in it if they want, I don't mind.
    They can take a photo of their finished work and share that round the internet. Be my guest, I could use the advertising. If someone is savvy enough to be able to stitch their own version from that photo I'd even say good luck to them.
    But. They. Can't. Copy. It.
    Why do people find that so hard to understand?
    I'll get back down off my high horse now ;D
    Beautiful scissor fob by the way.

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  7. What a cute little scissors fob!!!!

    On the piracy issue...I don't think it will ever end. People will find ways to keep doing it no matter what. Like with Napster and music downloads. Sure, they were told to stop, and they did, now it's a pay thing. But, other programs are still popping up out there doing the same thing. You shut one site down, two more pop up. I think it will be a never ending problem. I also think though, the more the word is spread, the more people are aware of what is happening, I would think anyway, they would not support sites like that. Why pay to join a site to get charts, when you can just go get the real chart?

    Thanks for sharing all the links, Jo. I had read one of them, but not the others.

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  8. I've read about this piracy issue on a few blogs, it's been on the blogosphere these last few days but it's not something new! Whether it's charts, it's music, movies, all! It's the good versus bad that the internet gives us.. I really don't think that it's possible to stop. Sure, sites can be closed but soon another will come! But it's so sad to see the outcome.. TGOS closing.. someday designers will go out of business too..

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  9. Super scissor fob.

    I've seen that mag, lots of lovely designs inside.

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