Saturday, August 29, 2015

If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

Designers make their living by SELLING their designs. Some even have 2 jobs because they make such a small income from designing that it isn't enough to live on.

So you stumble across a forum where you find all kinds of charts, which appear to be free for "gold coins", or "diamonds", or "points" all of which you can earn just by posting to the site. Let's apply a little common sense here. 

Do you really think that designers who are struggling to make a living would give their designs away for free on a website not of their own making  just because you make a few posts saying "thank you"?  
Not only that, but they scanned it in, sometimes in really crappy quality too!! And they did that all for you so that you don't have to pay for the design because you were smart enough to stumble across this forum, but their regular customers, they have to pay because they were too stupid to find it.
Do you really think that designers get royalties or income from sites run by a team of unidentified users, with innocuous e-mails or Chinese site owners? That the actual REAL MONEY you have paid will go to the designers who have worked so hard on their products?

Are you really that stupid or were you dropped on your head as a child?

Sometimes we just have to shake our heads.
Here are a few things NOT to do when you've been caught uploading or downloading illegal charts.

1. After receiving a cease and desist notice, it's probably not a good idea to immediately run to the illegal website in question and log into your account.

2. Denying that you have an account on that site while replying to us from an email address that is registered on that site is like posting on your Facebook wall that you don't have a Facebook account.

3. While denying that the account in question is yours, it's probably a bad idea to log into the site and ask for help deleting that same account just seconds after claiming that you didn't even know the site exists.

4. Log into the site to change your username. While it's really entertaining seeing what new names you come up with, it's pretty pointless. We can still see you. Even you (username 1) formerly known as (username 2). We won't say your real name here Lynne, but here's a tip - waiting ten days after receiving your cease and desist letter, then changing your name and continuing  your illegal activity did not throw us off your trail, it just turned the possible charges from "copyright infringement" to "willful repeated copyright infringement" and increased the penalties by about tenfold.

5. Join designers' groups to show off your WIP pictures that you created with your illegal charts. While stealing from us pisses us off, stealing from us and then sucking up to us at the same time infuriates us. If you ever wanted to get publicly outed, named and shamed, this is probably the best way to do it.

6. Don't act all surprised and shocked when designers refuse to sell you stuff. If you've been caught, here's the reality – an alert has been sent to every designer in our organization. If you apologize and reform, then that may change down the road, but it isn't going to happen overnight.

And what’s the best one?

7. Claiming you were hacked is like the lamest excuse in the history of excuses. At what point were you hacked? 2 years ago when the account was created? Or each and every single time that it was logged into since it was created? Or just now when you logged in freaking out because you realized we could see what you've been up to? How many of the 400 hours you were logged into that illegal site were you and how many were the hacker? And really, who hates you so much that they would risk ten years in prison for hacking just to make you look bad by downloading cross stitch charts in your name? Seriously, someone hates you enough to hack your email account (because they'd have to register on one of those sites with it) and the worst thing they can think of to do is create an account on an illegal cross stitch forum? Not get your banking details? Or your credit card information? If you're claiming this, either you think we're incredibly stupid, or you're incredibly stupid. We'll give you a hint: it's the latter.

And for bonus points... trying to sound smarter than you really are is just silly, especially when it results in phrases like "false allocations". Please stop doing this; it simply serves to provide entertainment to our investigators.
Actually, no. Please continue doing this. It just confirms the pitiful level of your intelligence.

Here is what you should do if you receive a Cease and Desist notice.

1. Stop logging into the illegal websites and stop uploading and downloading charts. The entire world can see when you last used your account and when you are online.

2. Apologize, admit you screwed up and stop doing it.

3. Delete all the stuff you downloaded illegally. We know it's painful, all those hours of celebrating how clever you were to find all that stuff that all those suckers out there had to pay for but if you really want to reform and change your ways, that's the best thing you could do. And if you're already stitching it, buy the chart.

Receiving information that your internet or even personal acquaintances are uploading and downloading is frustrating, annoying & sometimes even downright sickening, but we know that what we’re doing for our designers will hopefully give them the strength to fight for their Intellectual Property and not simply give in to the thieves.