PSA on Copyright Infringement
Ok So I feel like I should write this because I have been a victim of copyright infringement.
It’s a sad-sad thing.
So I am going to tell a story…..but before I start that story I just want to spread a little education on pattern designing.
Here is the bottom line.
It takes a HUGE amount of time and resources to make/release a pattern from start to finish.
Here is the down and dirty on the return on my investment. I am in the red on that part of my journey, Yes, you read that correctly.
So I have been picked up in over 30 magazines. I have published 100 patterns on top of that. I have offered a few freebies. I am still in the red on my bottom line. Designing patterns takes a lot of time and effort for not a huge investment on your return.
Now there are some of you who think I have “made it” right? I mean seriously, I have a quilt in like every other magazine that arrives on your door step, right? I mean….seriously. I am publishing patterns left and right. I am showing up on some people’s pages, right? none of that really affects my bottom line. It’s a whole lot of recognition but not a whole lot of dough. I am still making my money from longarming. That is keeping me afloat. There are so many costs associated with pattern writing, designing, printing and making samples. Sometimes I have to make more than one sample of a quilt. Last year alone I made over 100 quilts. yes! from start to finish quilts. That’s insane and I did it all myself. I don’t have elves. I don’t have a sweat shop …it’s me. Think about the yardage of fabrics just associated with that? the batting, thread and sweat. the printers, the computer programs, & subscriptions. The web hosting fees and listing fees. All of the time. Emails. Learning all of the ins and outs. There is work involved. I don’t just get to sit and sew for fun. There are deadlines. structure, discipline, insomnia and prayer. Tears, there have been tears.
I just got my first set of cortisone injections because of the wear and tear on my shoulder, due to the longarming. crazy, right? I will eventually need surgery but the down time that I need to rest for surgery will kill my business and my Dr recommended that I find a new vocation. Why not just kill my soul, while we are at it? I am not changing my vocation. we will go til my arm falls off. period.
I thought the best way for me to make money was to get into distribution companies so that my patterns can be picked up by quilt shops. YAHOO! I got into one. They have not ordered a bunch. I think they have personnel issues because there are several new employees rotating through. Still working. I will keep knocking and getting rejected until I find my way in.
I create designs that are not traditional enough for main stream. But they are also not modern enough for the modern community. So as always, I seem to have to carve a niche. Some companies want patterns that are easy for the consumer. Some want those niche patterns that nobody has seen…but not ones with 100 embroidery stitches. All want precut patterns. So I am starting a line of those.
I am trying to find my way. I have upsets like everyone else who starts any business. But I am honestly working my tail off. I keep up on my longarm quilting work as always. I am also making 3-4 quilts a week for my pattern business. Do you all know how many hours all of that is? I don’t get 8 hours of sleep. any night. I work 7 days a week and I am a wreck sometimes. This is the grind. I don’t have a life other than quilting.
When I get all of the rejections. I don’t give up. I keep trying. I knock on the next door. I don’t care about rejections if they give me knowledge that I can use to move forward. However….in my weak moments when I get rejection after rejection…..I sometimes want to give up. Then a victory will come through.
Also I PRAY! EVERY-SINGLE-DAY. I pray. I pray for protection, guidance, strength, focus. I pray for whatever I need in the moment. Before I open my eyes every single morning, I pray. I am not allowed to pick up my phone and look unless I have prayed. That is the discipline I have made for myself. IN the middle of the night when I wake up. I make myself pray. If I still can’t sleep, I get up.
So a few nights ago I wake up at 2:30. By 3:00 I have prayed, tossed and turned enough, I decide to grab my phone and open Pinterest because that is what all reasonable people do in the middle of the night. Look up recipes and quilts, My 2 favorite things. and right on my wall is “Things we thought you would like?’
And what do I see, you ask? One of my quilts being used in an advertisement that had been renamed and put on a different cover.
A company with limited design software lets people go in and mock up patterns and designs. So people sign in & make a design and then everyone in this community has free access. The software company has no idea what their users are doing. The best they can do is shut it down after something happens. However, this is a breeding ground for copyright infringement.
**Stunned, heart broken, hurt, angry, and flattered **** all in one moment.
So instead of sitting there crying like I wanted to do…….because in that moment —>I seriously felt like giving up. They had mocked up my pattern from one of my pictures and they were giving it away as a free pattern on a site to all of their users.
I try so hard to make something different….yet simple enough that shops might be interested and this is what happens.
I am not blind to the fact that people can mock up any design and use it for their personal use. Ok save yourself 10$. Don’t support a small artist. I have been in this situation myself. There is nothing to be done about that. However, it is sabotage and copy right infringement to distribute it to anyone else.
I wrote the company. I contacted all of their social media pages and I contacted a group of pattern designers. A few designs from my friends had also been stolen . So to the company’s credit they did shut it down. The owner also offered me a public apology because she didn’t do her due diligence to check and she is the one who had used my design for all of their advertisements.
On top of that they are having to change all of their policies. A copy right lawyer/professor went through this process and basically told the owner that she has not covered all of her bases and she could be held liable in cases. I am not interested in a lawsuit. As soon as she was made aware she took the steps within hours to shut it all down.
Here’s the scoop. Normal everyday blocks that we have been using in quilting cannot be copyrighted. However, the way we use them and present them, give directions on making them can. I am using every day blocks that we know and love. I am just presenting them to you in a different way and I am giving you instructions on how I would assemble them.
I would ask that instead of saving yourself 10$ ..please support a local artist if you can. If you can’t there are free patterns every where. Please partake. If you do mock up designs from others or copy..please give credit where credit is due and help that artist survive because maybe someone else will be inspired like you are/were and they might be willing to pay the 10, 12, 20 + dollars to help a small business.
If you can’t afford the pattern, there are other ways to help all of us. Share our sites. Subscribe. Leave comments to help us see that you are there supporting us…even if it is to bless us with a thumbs up. It really does help keep me going when I need someone in my corner. And please don’t hurt the community.
Thank you for all of you that do support me and my small business. I do appreciate it…so-so much. It keeps me going. Gives me hope and I still think Quilter’s are the best people…..even if our community has a few bad apples.
So sorry this happened to you. People will spend $10 a yard on fabric but won’t pay $10 for a pattern, shame on them. Don’t be discouraged, and keep going, your hard work will pay off. Thank you for writing about this, useful information keep going girl you’re doing a good job ❤️
So sorry you were a victim of this nightmare. When asked about a pattern I’ve used, I always send the designers name and where to purchase the pattern. I been asked several times about dimensions of pattern pieces. I again send pattern info so they can purchase the pattern as I did! I want to believe that people who copy patterns from pictures are just trying to save money, but it makes me so angry that they are really just stealing someone else’s hard work!