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I don’t get into deep, philosophical discussions very often, but, I do love it when it leads to:

WOW!  I had never really thought about this issue in this way. And, I can see why X might perceive it as this, and Y might perceive it as that, while I perceive it as something entirely different from both X and Y!  There’s a lot to ponder and consider!

I’m not able to respond to all the comments/questions in this one post, but there were some I wanted to highlight and try to show specific response to, and you’ll see responses not just from me, but, by fellow artists who have been following in this dialogue and, I appreciated their well-thought out commentary!  I will try, in the coming days/weeks to give more response/exchange thoughts on some of the others that were not, even though I did read through each and every one!

In answer to the following question, I defer to Asela’s comments:

"As a stamper that is relatively new to the online community my first question is "How do I give credit when it is a card born from a plethora of ideas or do I? When does it become my own creation?

My second question is, "Why do those that post give a "recipe" for the card if they don’t want others to use it? I truly am not trying to be sarcastic in anyway what so ever. I have had the thought in the past (it may be totally off base) that people don’t mind sharing their idea or they wouldn’t tell me how to CASE it. Does this even make sense?"–Amy

"I think where people seem to be having a problem with this is that they are confusing an Artist’s final work as something similiar to a color combination or a layout design.

When you complete a card design, that you have spent hours on, manipulating the elements, it’s yours . . .  When you are done it is in your particular "style". As I’ve said prior, ‘it has your fingerprint on it’ . . .

. . . when an artist uses a certain combination [of colors and layout] in their final piece then they have taken the time to try different combinations to come up with the final effect. It becomes an intregal part of the final piece of art (card design)

When you see something online that is shared by an artist they do so to inspire you . . ."–Asela

Amy, I think I understand what you’re asking . . . when you cull elements, each from distinctly different creations, allowing them to inspire you and combine them into a unique creation that doesn’t resemble any of the various originals from which the inspiration came–that is *you*!  The resulting combination is distinctive and integral to the finished piece, as Asela says.

*CASEing strictly for personal use, and, if shared publicly, with proper attribution to the original artist, should not be cause for paranoia and fear!

As well as Jennifer Pebbles, along the same vein:

"Sometimes we are influenced by the same ideas and coincidence just happens. The craft industry "designs" (like scrapbook paper, etc.) are heavily borrowed from ideas seen in fashion, media, product design and graphic design . . . sometimes a coincidence is just that. Sometimes it’s not. Only you "the creator" know the difference.

Allowing yourself to find inspiration in other artists and mediums is what drives most artists in the creative process
, Do you have to monitor and worry [paranoia] if every idea in your head is influenced by someone else?? Absolutely not!! It’s one thing to sit down and make a card with nothing in front of you but your supplies and a mind full of ideas from spending the day looking around galleries amd magazines and it’s another thing to sit down with your screen open to the card design you like or a RAK that you want to copy and work off of that design intentionally."–Jennifer Pebbles

Regarding KKblack’s comments of the other day:

" . . . I deal with copyright, patent and trademark issues constantly as the information specialist for my company. I am also finishing up my MS in Information Science which includes a class on legal research – my class this semester. One big elephant in the living room that NO ONE wants to acknowledge is that, if you are working for/representing a company or item is published by a magazine – THE COMPANY OR MAGAZINE NOW OWN THE ITEM. I just finished research on a "for hire" copyright case. THe artist was hired by a Native American tribe to design a logo for a non-profit business endeavor. The artist got paid. THe artist now has no claim to the design – the tribe does. I see this at work too. My company sells engineering equipment and our product marketing group will often get asked by a technical publication to submit a story on a particular industry challenge. While the author – my coworker – has no problem writing and submitting an article, they really can’t understand why it is illegal to distribute unlimited copies (photo copies or electronic PDF version) to anyone they desire. . . "–KKblack

Aaaah, yes!  This is an interesting and difficult concept trying to get across to artists who have had their pieces published!  In most cases, once the design, all written text, and diagrams have been contracted out to a publication for compensation, the creator no longer owns that piece; they have SOLD their rights to that piece. All rights to it and its use fall under the owner, which in this scenario, is now the publisher.

If the publisher wants to use that piece and reprint it 20 times in various publications, that they will sell and earn a profit from, they can do that.  If they want to put it online at their publication’s website, but, not permit the creator to post it online at their blog, they can do that, too.


Thank you to so many of you that have joined in this–especially to those of you that respectfully shared your thoughts, your honest questions, for being open to different perspectives!  The ability to have great compelling discussion–even passionate discussion–as long as everyone is respectful towards others’ whose opinions aren’t necessarily the same as our own, is such an awesome experience!


As we muddle and meander through all the "grey" areas (which seem to be expanding, as time and technology marches on) I think I can rely on the following, with a sense of certainty–of black & white, if you will:

  • It is false to presume/assume that anything posted to the web entitles me to do with it as I wish, beyond strictly personal use.  And, the only way to know whether or not the creator of a work permits any use of it beyond that, is to ask!
  • Respect and courtesy towards our fellow artists begins within each of us, regardless if we are hobbiests or professionals.  "One of the issues here is "respect". Respect for another’s creativity. Respect for the person that so willingly shared. And enough respect to ask that person before we use something of their’s [beyond personal use]."–Janetwmarks

On another very strong point:

"This will be an ongoing issue that artists themselves will have to solve by the way in which they choose to present their art to the public. Protect yourself and your time however you can…and wi th a breath of kindness blow the rest away."  Best regards~Barb

This really struck me, Barb . . . some friends and I have discussed it repeatedly and at length . . .

And, on one final, quasi-related story, that mebbe for someone on the outside lookin’ in, would seem rather comical, but, is very *real* . . .

Mona Lisa and I were each burnin’ the midnight oil one night, answering the same call for submissions by a major publication, and IM’ing each other back & forth.

We were so excited, and just bustin’ to share with each other these great ideas we were workin’ on’ . . . and then BAM!!!  We each shrieked:  "NO, NO, NOOOOOO!!!  NOT NOW!!!!!"

Until we each had finished, sent them off to the publisher and the submission deadline closed, we didn’t want our works to be inadvertently influenced by the other . . . (grin!)



On another matter of excitement, my new Prismacolor markers arrived . . . you know what that means . . . (wink!)

  1. Wow, my thoughts made the “front page”. Thanks for your respons to me.

    But, about the ‘tini bit happy card….I love it. I love that your Y looked like a martini glass. Why oh why haven’t I ordered any Bellas?

  2. Julie, you do such a wonderful job communicating on this issue! Thanks for your thoughts on this *sometimes* delicate subject!

  3. A deep thanks. What a great opportunity to be part of such a wonderful discussion. We all should do this more often. Almost as good as being in the same room with all of you. Now, what about those new Prismacolors and how do I get my hands on some?….janet in NC

  4. Once again Julie, well said. You are truely a gem in this industry.

  5. Wow..have I missed out! I read the first post in this copyright discussion a few days ago but missed the last couple! Great discussion!!

    As a demo, and blogger, I create cards to share. I create swap cards to share with other demos so that they can show examples of different stamps/techniques/etc, and I hope these samples inspire their customers to buy more. If someone wants to use my design for a class they are doing, fantastic! I have no problem with that. If they give me credit, great, if not – I’ll probably never know! So, there is one point I differ from you on.

    However, I do agree that deliberately copying a design for submission to a contest or for publication is absolutely wrong. When I create something to submit to Stampin’ Up! I make sure it is my original creation…with the caveat of previous posters that inspiration can come from many places.

    My feeling on the car analogy is this: I would certainly have no problem if someone wanted to copy the look of my car, the placement of the car seat (and cracker crumbs!), or how I’ve got my mirror angled, or any bumper stickers I may have attached if it helps them in their own driving efforts or in expressing themselves. However, I would not expect them to use my car, nor would I expect them to walk into my house and use my crafting supplies without prior permission.

    Thanks for the stimulating discussion!! Just what I needed on a morning where my daughter is home sick for the 2nd morning in a row..something STIMULATING! :-)

    Best Regards,

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