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. 


  1. Brilliant article! Very well said but I hardly think it is a rant :) Would it be alright if I link this to my blog please for others to read?

  2. I love this guy!! He tells it like it holds barredπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  3. As a Crochet designer I applaud you. Well said!

  4. Thank you. Just.....thank you :)

  5. so very well said! thank you to have taken time to post this.

  6. I have a friend who is a professional musician. We had a discussion a couple of years ago on this very topic. As I put it to him, if I walked into a shop and stole one of his CDs, I would be a thief. Everyone can see that. Why is that different to me getting a friend to make a copy of his CD and giving it to me. Or in this case, what is the difference between stealing a copy of the pattern from a shop or getting a copy from a friend or from an anonymous internet site?
    I do see why people are conflicted when it is out of print or otherwise unobtainable. I don't know the answer then, but when it is for sale, it is fairly obvious. If you don't want to pay for a pattern, there are lots of legitimately free patterns available or you could always design your own. I'm a knitter, and there is a whole world of free knitting patterns out there, and even so, sometimes it's just not quite what I want, so I design my own. It's not easy, but it's better than stealing someone else's property.

  7. As a designer I know all of this all to well.... Thank You.

  8. Before I began my crochet business, I spent a lot of time researching free as well as paid pattern offers on line. This is where I was introduced to the dark side of pattern making. One designer was very blunt. She said that she had seen blatant copyright infringement and outright stealing of photos - apparently it wasn't enough to sell the pattern as their own, they used the pattern maker's photos as well. I found another site where the designer had taken down all her patterns, because someone had taken the patterns, changed them in some small way, and then sold them on ebay. There is a service that encrypts your photos so that if someone tries to reuse it you are notified (I'm not a techy so I hope I got that right), but it costs $500 a year, which I can't afford.
    I was not raised in a religious home, but we were taught right and wrong, scruples and ethics. Obviously there is a generation or two that didn't get this (evidence - the economic disaster of 2008 that we are still living with). I am a member of a crochet forum and from time to time someone will ask for a pattern that had originally been purchased, and we have to tell that person it would be a copyright infringement. What the two people involved do between themselves is their business, but it's not done on the site. And let's face it - most patterns run between $2 and $7 - truly a nominal fee for something you would like to make. If that is too expensive, how is she affording the yarn? There are hundreds of FREE patterns available on line if you don't want to pay for them. Yes, I'm outraged too. And I don't have a way to prevent this. But I am glad you said your piece, because it's very possible that these people don't think about it as the crime it really is, or how it affects the designer and her family. Kudos, dear sir.

  9. Many thanks for this from a needlework designer. I've put a link to it on my blog.

  10. I agree with you 100%. I am surprised the Trolls have not descended upon you with their poisonous finger tips. You left some characteristics out .... these same people are the ones at Christmas time, drive around you and into your spot in the busy car park after you have waited patiently for 20 minutes. They will then proceed with rude gestures or profanities if you challenge them. Or they miss something at the check out at the Supermarket by accident but don't go back and pay for it, their logic being "big store, big profit, they won't miss this". No? Wrong, wrong, wrong. I could go on and on... I cannot write patterns, I could never even dream of it and I do appreciate very much when one is offered for free and I do pay for them. I admit, this is not often but I always will, why should I ride on the back of another persons hard work? I work too hard myself to do this. I agree a thief is a thief whether it be a pattern, music or a movie. There are people who appreciate someone else's gift of creativity, hard work and precious time and we do understand the rest of the family contributes to this. Anyone who has had someone struggle through University to a Degree or any challenge in life knows that the entire family does it, not just the individual. Thanks for your strong words and taking a stand. Devotion is hard to come by, please don't despair and thanks for supporting that creative, talented and giving person in your life. There are lots of us who sincerely appreciate it. I think if we copy a free pattern we should always say thank you or send a photo and pay a compliment to someone else's heartfelt work.


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