Monday, July 6, 2015

An interesting defintion of borrowing

How do you explain to your children not to take something that is not theirs? It appears not to be part of some peoples education.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Understand the consequences

How can we make someone who violates copyright that their actions are not without consequence?

Does it give you pleasure to know you have made a world famous designer cry today? 

That you have taken her artistic abilities & reduced them to nothing by stealing her images and designs, to give them out for free to anyone who wants it, so that the design is no longer marketable? That the design she has spent hours, weeks or even months to design is being distributed by people who have no respect for her talent, whilst congratulating themselves on their “skill” in reproducing that design?

Thousands of hours are spent trying to protect our designers Intellectual Property. Only THEY have the right to decide how that design should be distributed. Not you – someone who has probably downloaded software illegally to copy the designs, not you – someone who thinks nothing of the work, time, money & effort that has gone into the production of a design, not you – who considers herself talented because she has COPIED someone elses artwork.

Is this how you bring up your children, that taking something that does not belong you is fun? To have them in the playground saying “granny* is a thief” (*Mummy, Daddy, Granny, Grandpa).
Do you teach them to go into shops and take things off the shelf, put them in their pockets and walk away without paying? And justify your behaviour because the person in the aisle next to you did so?

When a designer and their assistants have to spend hours policing websites, that designer cannot concentrate on her creativity. Honest fans are insulted and upset to know their favourite designer is treated in such a disrespectful manner. An honest stitcher who has bought a chart or kit legally can hold her head high and stitch that design with pleasure & pride.

Designers have to spend many hours reporting violations on websites who make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have illegal copies of their work removed.

Does it give you pleasure to know you are contributing to the destruction of the needlework industry? Designers are forced out of designing as they can no longer pay their bills. They have to get a “real job”. The world is losing these talented peoples contribution to the needlework industry. Magazines, publishers, shops are closing.

Help us stop the thieves. If you know someone who copies & distributes designs, say 
NO. This is illegal, disrespectful and criminal.” 

Support your designers. Buy designs legally so that we can carry on designing without the continual burden of theft.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How do you understand the mindset of thieves?

2 Dutch women have been violating needlework designs for years, despite numerous legal warnings.
Diana Wiersma & Desiree Onnekink Griffioen run a club in which they continually distribute illegal copies of needlework designs. Dees also assists in running a notorious Chinese site.

Having reported illegal copies for removal for the umpteenth time, which continually takes up huge resources from our operatives, causing enormous distress to the designers concerned without even going into the financial losses caused by such nauseating behaviour, here are a few snippets from their latest conversation which shows the mindset of these women who are incapable of understanding that they are THIEVES.
Thanking themselves for “sharing” thousands of illegal copies, upset that their “work” should be undermined and trying to decide how to set up a new club to continue their activities.
Yes, Diana & Dees, Big Brother is watching you … it’s a shame you can’t find something legal to do instead of stealing from others.
We do not believe such specimens should be allowed the honour of sewing our designs, nor to participate in designers groups.
* * *
… Meanwhile, the second sleepless night .... and we are not yet out how to proceed.
The club still exists, as you see, but ..... there is nothing more.
I have all the "content" as the club master calls it removed.
In other words .... every "movement" that I make on clubs, is followed closely.
That feels very nasty .... "Big brother is watching me" ... it does not feel safe anymore, as if my freedom is taken away.
I have consulted with Desiree and we are not giving up yet.
I am in any case completely gutted, feel helpless and sad, because yes .... this club is really my passion and my life.

So we are still some time to find a solution ..... so today as no weekend pictures.

In any case, I want to thank everyone who through club mail, mail, or here in the forum has given a helping hand, it does really well and really makes us feel that our "work" is really appreciated. THANKS all !!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Choose where to spend your hard earned cash carefully.

We've been seeing and having a lot of discussions about illegal shops on Ebay and Etsy lately. You see these ALL the time. Not necessarily selling scans or copies, but selling unlicensed artwork, like Disney, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Dr. Who to name just a few examples, but it extends to thousands of independent artists as well. Many stitching groups are now making it policy not to allow members to even post pictures of their WIPs or finishes if they've used an unlicensed chart or haven't gotten the proper permissions to create their own charts. Why is this such a big problem?
Well partly because it deprives the original artist of deserved income. Legitimate designers will either buy a license or work out a royalty arrangement with artists and copyright holders to be allowed to reproduce their intellectual property in cross stitch. These shops in question do nothing of the sort. They find a picture they like on the internet and run it through a pattern program, save it as a pdf and sell it without any regards to who actually owns the picture. 

The reason these sell so much is because they're cheap. When you're not paying to use the picture legally, you don't have to charge as much. And the difference in time spent is enormous. Legitimate designers spend hours and hours on each chart. These guys spend a few minutes on it.
It's not a small problem either. These shops are selling hundreds and hundreds of these unlicensed charts. See the example attached. One is a legitimate shop selling original or licensed works and has been in business on Etsy for about 15 months. The other is an example of an illegal shop on Etsy, selling ripped off artwork from Disney and others, which has been in business about a year - their sales are more than double. And there are hundreds if not thousands of these shops all over the net. 

Much as we'd like to have them all shut down, the copyright owner is the only one who can do this. 
I spend a couple hours a week sending notifications out to various legal departments, artists and designers about these. Inevitably though, within a day or so of one of these shops getting shut down, they just start up again somewhere else or under a different name. 

This extends to free stuff too. There are lots of sites out there that like to make up freebies of game, cartoon, movie or television characters and give them away free. Just because no money is changing hands doesn't make it legal. That also means it extends to personal use. If you find a picture you want to use for cross stitch and it isn't already a chart, you should always get permission from the artist or copyright holder. Without permission you are risking legal action, it doesn't matter whether any money has changed hands. Many groups have gone so far as to disallow posting of self-made charts as well for this reason. 

The best thing you can do as a stitcher? Buy from legitimate sources - reputable designers or shops - and if you see something that seems suspicious, don't keep quiet about it. I know all the copyright discussions can get really tedious, believe me, I have at least one every single day, but sometimes a little education on the matter can go a long way. 

And if you're uncomfortable speaking up yourself, we're only a message away.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A rant from the husband of a *needlework designer"

Look out!
The Copyright Police are in town!

(foreword: I am not explaining laws and rules etc here, merely pointing out a few things that I feel are important for all in this Uploading/Downloading/Designing tornado of crap flying around, just addressing some of the points that I have read/heard)

For a long time now I have read, witnessed and listened to complaints about the copyright police, for those of you not familiar with this, it's a widely used term for people who rattle on for hours about copyright. These guys (you know who you are) spend hours every week, sifting through page upon page of uploaded charts, looking to see how many have been downloaded and then spend more time telling how the "Copyright laws" work and how they are being infringed etc.

Do you find this annoying?

They float from page to page, look here, post there, pick people out and name them or ban them, based on the "Proof" they have.
They like to use words like "Infringer", "downloader", "Uploader".... and so on.... personally I don't like these terms, these names given to those they point at.
The problem is, these designers and friends spend an awful lot of time designing a chart, picking colours, fabric etc, then charting it, then stitching it, then recharting it with amendments and then writing out instructions , then compiling it, then printing it, then sorting and packaging it and finally boxing it up and mailing it out.

It's funny how you can compress hundreds of hours of work into one paragraph isn't it.

Once this is all accomplished, the charts sell, now we take into account the cost of the materials for the model, the cost of paper, ink, packaging, boxing, mailing.... then remove the distributors fees and the retail shops cut.... suddenly that $20 chart just earned you maybe $3-$5... so you sell 100 of them (and for many designers this is a high number in the first few months of release), and lets put the higher price of $5, so that's $500 profit... for approximately 200-400 hours sometimes more ... of work, lets go with the lower.... 200 hours for a $500 return..... wait... isn't that like $2.50 per hour?... wow, that's pretty harsh, so it evens out when they have sold more right?.... so providing the chart continues to sell (which often drops off by huge amounts as time goes on), over the course of time, lets say they sell 400 charts, well now we're talking, that's $2000, not bad.... so that hourly rate is $10... wait, isn't that a little lower than the average Canadian MacDonalds worker.
Yet these guys are talented, talented enough to sell their artwork, to have it handed around the internet... the problem is when they are desperately trying to sell those 400 charts, it usually only reaches a quarter of that before it drops off and goes cold... why does it go cold?... well a chart comes out and sells 50 in the first week... 50 in the second week (these numbers are very high for most)... then it gets uploaded to a sharing site or pintrest or similar... once it's out there for free... it stops selling.

The amount of time and effort put into creating these works of art is huge, it's not something you can seriously attempt as a business and still hold a normal job, we are talking about 12-18 hour days, 6-7 days per week... EVERY week... and when it's uploaded, it's heartbreaking, and not only that but it's seriously detrimental to their income and more over, their ability to continue supplying the public with the products they crave. This leads to the supporting husband needing to work more hours to cover off the lack of income so the bills can be paid, oh I'm sure they have lots of money though and their bills are high because they have big houses and ferrari's... right?... could not BE more wrong, how about a POS 15 year old car and a 900sq foot house?... rented, get by paying the bills and eating and once per year maybe buying something nice, like a TV or microwave or sofa... THIS is the reality for many needlework designers, they are just like you and I, trying to make enough money to pay the bills from week to week, the only difference is they are brave enough to follow a very unstable source of income, but if nobody did this, we would have no art, no books, no music. It would be a sad world would it not?

Then there's the good old argument of what is legal and what is not, many of you think you know the laws as far as copyright, I'm not going into detail because you've already been told... but I will outline a couple of things that may sink into some thick skulls out there.
If you buy a DVD movie.... you own the disc, the case and any booklets etc that may come with it.... you DO NOT own the movie, you are paying for the right to watch the movie repeatedly. If you owned the movie, you would be entitled to a share of the profits it made.
When you buy a Music CD... again, you own the disc, the case and any paper materials... but do you own the songs?... Of course not.
When you buy software... you own the disc, the case and the manual... you do NOT own the software,  
you just own a license
  to use it as laid out in the small print.

If you dispute this, I suggest you talk to a lawyer and contact some companies legal departments, like Disney, Virgin and Microsoft.

Then you will argue that if it's on the internet then it's legal, or not illegal.

You all know it's illegal to upload and download and copy movies and music and software right?... come on, you all know when you download the latest photoshop that you have to crack it or find a serial key bypass etc... if you were allowed to get it free then why do you need these things?... surely it would just install and open?
No, you have to crack it because you have obtained it through unofficial sources... and you know it. 

What on Earth makes you think a chart is any different? ... it's been compared to shoplifting... and that comparison often leads to outcry's about how it's not.
Well lets break this down...
You obtained a product that is currently for sale, from a company that sells it... but you obtained it for free, when the company is most certainly not giving it away. You obtained it through unorthodox methods and you obtained it without the companies knowledge and really do not want the companies knowing you have it... why?
You spin word salad and plead this and that when you know damn well that you have obtained it by circumventing the need for paying for the product... now if you apply this to a shop and obtained a product they are selling from someone who "Has it free" when you know full well they have copied it from an original they bought, then you have received stolen goods from a shoplifter... please explain the difference... is it because one is physical and one is digital?... well yeah... so in that case, you should be ok with sneaking into a theatre to see the latest movie without paying, after all you're not getting anything physical are you... so I'm assuming many of you "Downloaders" do this no?... didn't think so.

Now the argument of "Well I didn't upload it", that's true in some cases, but by downloading it you are supporting the the uploaders, with no downloaders, the uploaders wouldn't bother, in the same way that 
if you don't buy stolen goods, then there would be no thieves. 

If you are uploading it, you are breaching a host of copyright laws that cross borders across the globe, you buy it and race to upload it because you want to be the one to upload it first.... yay, you're awesome!...   ...   ... 
What you are doing is the exact same thing as buying a DVD, copying it and uploading it... while you likely do this... you know that is wrong and you KNOW you are breaking the law... why do you insist charts are any different at all?
What is hilariously ironic is you uploaders actually get mad at someone who reuploads your upload and claims they upload it... all the time bitching about these designers who are bitching about you taking their 200 hours of works and giving it away while claiming some sort of credit... am I really the only person that thinks that borders on delusion?

What many of you don't seem to understand is pages like Pintrest/facebook are constantly breaching copyright, you seem to think that because you can upload and share charts... that's it's ok, it's not, it simply boils down to these websites not being able to keep up with what people post... that's why there's a "Report" button. Don't believe me?... ask them, or better still, copy a movie and put it on Youtube... you will quickly find out you are not allowed to take a work of art or product and share it online without permission and agreements from the owner of said artwork

Then I see the "My pintrest/facebook account was hacked!" ... Oh my god you are so full of shit, I'm a PC/Internet/Network technician, these accounts actually being hacked is very rare, hacking in North America and most of Europe is classed as terrorism and carries a very heavy sentence, the term hacking does NOT cover you leaving your account logged in on someone elses computer... would your car insurance pay up if you told them you left your car unlocked when it was stolen?.. No! why?.. because it was your own bloody fault!... If someone actually hacked your account, then they would have had to hack the password system of these sites, in which case it's an attack on the site itself and this is not easy to do, the only other way is by searching your account, linking through information on it and hijacking your email, again, pretty tricky and on the whole, very rare... but you stitcher downloaders and uploaders seem to be running into this problem often, but then there's the psychology of it...
why in the name of all that is green would anyone bother to hack an account to upload or download a stitching chart?...
if you have enough knowledge to do this then you have more than enough knowledge to just obtain the files or share the files anyway... or is it to make you look bad?... why?... what did you do to these people to make them risk heavy fines and prison sentences that makes them so mad they get back at you by... sharing needlework charts.
How freaking lame is that?

What really happens?... you get caught and try to blame it on a virtual mythical excuse of your account being hacked.... does it happen?... yeah sure... how often?... about 1 in every 2 million... kind of eliminates most of the stitching world, and yet you guys are always being hacked, scary huh... once again, your eyes are turning brown as you fill with yet more bullshit.

I also hear "I can't afford them though, I'm poor".... wait right there, I'll go get the worlds smallest violin and play you a sad song... I'm poor, I really really really want a Mustang, can't afford one... do I have the right to obtain one in a similar manner to the way you obtain charts?... really?

So uploaders and downloaders... both as bad as each other and cannot survive doing this without each other.

Then there's the great comment I see/hear often... "This sharing is forcing designers to quit because they can't afford to do it"
The response is often .. "Oh well, one designer quits, another one will come along.

This is where the line has not only been crossed, but been crossed with such flippancy it angers me.
The above statement about "one quits and another comes along"... if you've ever said, posted or thought anything close to that then you are a piece of garbage, you are the lowest of the human race in the civilized world, you have no care that what you are doing is directly causing financial and psychological issues for these guys who pour their heart and soul into making something you clearly think is beautiful, and then you just take it and say you don't care if that person that created something that brought you happiness loses their business and watch you pouring their dreams down the drain... you are scum, you are not worthy of the title of "Human Being"...

At the start of this word block I mentioned I don't like the term "Downloader", "Uploader" or "Infringer" or the like... I would like to briefly explain why I don't like them, the reason is very very simple and very short and to the point, while you can gloss it up to being an "Infringer", much the same way we gloss up a "Sanitation technician" and want to just say "You're a Janitor FFS!"... the term "Infringer:" and the like are just a glossed up way of describing what you really are.... you are nothing more than a dirty, common thief.

Have some compassion for these guys who are simply trying to make a living and the husbands and supporters who are picking up the slack, these families are just trying to survive in this world the same as you and your family, they offer you a product that makes you happy, for a nominal fee,  
they bring you a small piece of happiness... in return you offer them deceit, lies, theft and heartache.