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Aaaaaaaah.  Truly, it was because of the radio broadcast.  What was the point of the radio broadcast on this topic?

To initiate and foster discussion, understanding, and recognition of an important, yet, often never discussed issue!

Someone mentioned "the elephant" in creative community forums!  Yes, it is a ginormous elephant!

Yes, there are plenty of grey areas, and no easy answers!


Well, criminy, there are so many reasons for that  . . . I’ll use some of my own observations, experiences, and opinions here . . . And, remember, this is "food for thought"–I’m not here to label or accuse, but to get people to THINK beyond themselves–to step out of their shoes, and into another’s. (wink!)

I’ve seen the term "share" take on a very broad meaning over the years, with regards to stampers/paper crafters, combined with that sense of "entitlement" that Madamecraftypants referred to . . . If it’s on the web, we are entitled to take it, and use it for whatever we want.

I was absolutely horrified, at one time, to see one person’s interpretation of anything and everything on the web falling under "public domain", and, that if you have shared something of yours on the web, you have given away all your rights to it–that if you put it there, you deliberately did so with that intent, and should "expect" that anyone who finds it will help themselves to it.

I nearly fell down dead when I read that.  I was so appalled at the logic of it, I could not utter a coherent response.  I had to leave the room–I’m talkin’ grab a paper bag, breathe into it, and take laps around my kitchen.

I understand that when I upload something to the web, I put myself "at risk" for abuse and mis-use, but, again, keep in mind my car analogy of the other day . . .

Once upon a time I was a demonstrator for a stamp company . . . A number of years ago, during that time, I discovered the gallery of a fellow demonstrator and found she had some amazing projects featured in her gallery, and it was obvious, that these projects involved some sort of complex pattern.  I politely asked her if she’d be willing to give me a copy of her pattern, so I could teach the project to my own clients–after all, we demonstrated for the same company, and the company’s philosophy was "share, share, share"!

She responded that she was willing to sell me the pattern.   Based on what I had been taught, in keeping with company philosphy, as you can well imagine,  I was taken aback by this fellow demonstrator’s response to my request–I was even, dare I say it, irritated by her response!

I decided not to buy the pattern from her, and go off on my own to figure it out.  After hours and hours, and lots of teeth gnashing, it dawned on me . . .

WHY in the world should I have expected her to willingly hand over something she’d obviously invested time, energy and resources into, FREELY, so I could use it at a workshop and profit from it?  Why in the world was I irritated that she wanted to charge a fee for it?  Who had done the work? Whose intellectual property was it?  HERS!!! Of course, I would have left her copyright and credit information intact on the document I distributed out to my clients, but, what was she getting in return for sharing this document with me?  Nothing, really.

Of a sudden, realization began growing in me, as I stepped out of my shoes and into hers:  I had NO right to feel miffed/slighted nor offended in any way that she chose not to "share" it with me–and, shame on me for it!

The philosphy of "sharing" I had been following during that time, was seriously misguiding me–it had led me to believe that the whole purpose of sharing everything with fellow professionals, was for the purpose of everybody else, including the company, profiting from it, regardless of whether or not the original creator, the intellectual power behind it, did.

Hypothetically speaking, put yourself on the receiving end of the following comment, as a professional, trying to earn an income in the industry:

"That’s a great project! But, you used ____ brand stamps; bummer that I can’t copy it and use that at my workshop."

What’s your initial gut reaction?

 Don’t forget what my intent is:

  • Lively, respectful dialogue
  • To see things from more than just one perspective
  • To raise awareness regarding intellectual property and copyright in creative industries
  • To point out that while creative pursuits are strictly a hobby for many, they are also the profession/livelihood of others

Sidebar:  And, trust me, if this were all and only about money, this is the last profession I’d choose to be in; presently, the only reason I have been able to work from home in this industry, which I love and am passionate about, is because I am *blessed* with a husband willing to work in a very high-stress occupation to provide for our family; if something happened to him, there is no way I could support my family with this line of work.

  1. I Love you girls


  2. “Hypothetically speaking, put yourself on the receiving end of the following comment, as a professional, trying to earn an income in the industry:

    “That’s a great project! But, you used ____ brand stamps; bummer that I can’t copy it and use that at my workshop.”

    What’s your initial gut reaction?”

    OMG!!! My initial gut reaction as the professional ? I would need an extra large paper bag but I do not think it would work for me. That “bummer” would be a “low blow” from someone who needs to be educated as many of you, “professionals” have tried time and time again. Did you in your hypothetical state think, “Inspiration sheet, other sets to use?”

    I see the stamping community in groups:
    professional artists
    professional artists and demos/consultants
    customers (clients)/potential demos/consultants

    Somewhere in the mix are also: artists, store owners, hobbyists, and the wanna bes.

    The wanna bes:
    The person who wants to be a demo/consultant, someday.
    The demo/consultant who wants to make their business grow.
    Everyone who wants to be “published” anyone who dreams of being on a design team or having a store of their own.
    The newbies/client/customer who are in awe of everything and may someday take their first steps.

    There is a definitive line, to me, between an artist, a professional artist and a professional demo. I believe this is a point for discussion as well. For many, the only thing that may be holding them back is $$$.

    Julie; once a teacher, always a teacher. The lesson plan is not down the tubes. T here really are some of us that eventually “get it”. The opportunity for discussion is interesting and stimulating to me.

    Thank you for the privilege of enjoying your blog!


  3. When we are in junior high we love buying matching outfits with our girlfriends. It is a sign of flattery and connectedness and being part of. By HS we think we dress individually, but it really is still pretty cookie cutter in many ways. In college we don’t think about it much, but when people start going to fancy parties, I have actually seen people flounce out of a room when someone else showed up in “their” dress. This is kind of how I feel about this issue. Friends get miffed if one of them names their name they had picked out for their baby. They get miffed if their friend paints their dining room the same color and buys the same table. What IS this about? It is about immaturity in my opinion. If I did not want people to want to make my cards I would not put them on my blog with ALL the directions to do so. Galleries like SCS nearly demand you put the directions and then when someone actually uses those directions and makes a similar (not possible to make an identical card anyway) people get themselves worked into a blather. If you don’t want people to copy it, don’t show it to the world. Just the fact that we use the same stamp sets moves us from the junior high to the high school level in my analogy above. Nothing is that original unless YOU design your own images. As for patterns and things that take hours of work? Well, why should another person have to go through the same trial and error when sharing is the logical thing. There is some karma to this. If we make every idea have a price tag, the sense of community and fun of this hobby is going to go out the window. I get ideas and I give ideas because my heart enjoys the sharing and the creativity and the fun and the community. Not because I want to make a buck on a template or pattern. If you want no one to copy, then keep it private. Also, as far as giving credit? I make cards that I have seen probably months or years ago. I have no idea where I saw it and I have literally thousands of ideas running around in my head. Heck, I can hardly keep my stamps organized much less my ideas and what and where I saw something.

  4. I whole heartedly agree with Asela. This is a subject that can make a person completely paranoid. Like, I think, Joan said, no one can see thousands of cards and not be inspired by different things here and there. Lord knows that I have!

    I think that the problem lies in a person trying to take credit for that final work. I know that I give credit to people, as much as humanly possible, but I DO apologize if there was something that I (innocently) missed somewhere down the line. You can only be human.

    Thank you, though, Julie for making us all think differently than we did (or reminding us). You rock, and I hope that this discussion circulates throughout the stamping community!

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