Thursday, May 29, 2014

On My Soapbox

I just need to address this situation.

I never spent much time on Etsy except to look at yarn bowls. And I never used Pinterest. Until recently, that is. I found it to be an extensive resource for free crochet patterns. But I also found it made me aware of something troubling.

I recently found a pin of a photo of a pattern that I recognized. The reason I recognized it is because I made the same garment (for Sydney when she was a couple years old). It was the same photo as in the pattern book that the pattern was originally printed in. I own the book so I went to my personal library, looked it up and confirmed it was the same pattern. Then I followed the link to an Etsy shop where the owner was selling copies of the pattern for $5 a piece! And there were 2 other patterns from the same book she was offering for sale. First I was shocked....then I was livid. I found out who published the book the pattern was printed in and I shot off an e-mail to them to alert them. Then I reported the Etsy shop for copyright infringement. In less than a day, the shop was gone.

But I was curious. So I began perusing through Etsy looking at crochet patterns. I was floored as to how many people are scanning patterns, creating PDF's of them and selling them! Even patterns I have found online for FREE are being sold! I can believe that some people may be ignorant of the law....but not all of them. A lot of them know they are doing something illegal, but they are getting away with it...and have been for YEARS. And are making decent money at it. Doesn't Etsy realize what's going on? Or are they simply turning a blind eye until someone reports a shop? I couldn't report EVERY shop doing this...would take me forever. Many of these shops try to cover themselves by selling copies of  "vintage" patterns from the 50's, 60's  and that makes a difference. They are still copyrighted....even if they are out of print. One woman  made me laugh....she retyped her copies so you can see the text better and cleaned up the photos....and she has the NERVE to put at the bottom of her listing that her copies are COPYRIGHTED because she retyped them!  WTF???

Now I know there are a lot of nice, vintage patterns out there and lots of people would like to make included. But you don't break the law just because you WANT something. It may seem like a victimless crime but its not. If you crochet...or knit...imagine how you would feel if you put work into creating a pattern and some person came along and started selling digital copies of it....stealing YOUR work. I bet you would be pretty mad. I have to say that I have literally HUNDREDS of patterns I have purchased over the 45+ years I have been crocheting. If I opened a shop and started selling copies of them, I could make a pretty good income. But I would be committing a crime...and I am not a criminal. And that's what these people are.

So I ask you all.....please....make sure when you purchase a pattern its from the designer of the pattern OR its an ORIGINAL hard copy that has to be sent through the mail or buy the book or booklet its published in. Don't give these thieves any of your money. Seek out the original pattern (I find a lot of them on E-bay) or even check vintage pattern sites online....some very old patterns from the beginning of the last century are no longer copyright protected and are available for free. And if you still can't find it, move on....there are a LOT of gorgeous patterns out will find another you can legitimately purchase.

Thanks for reading and, as always,

Crochet, Away!


Sue Pinner said...

Hi I so agree with you it's Ben going on for a long time on Etsy...a huge problem in general with crochet patterns I'm afraid....thanks for the post a message a lot should think about when they 'borrow ' other people's ideas.
I have given away original pattern for a long time only expecting a link back or a thank you but I'm afraid it just doesn't happen in a lot of cases, patterns get tweeted and called their own and passed off as their creations..very annoying.

Sue Pinner said...

Oops sorry a couple of mistakes the iPad thinking for me sorry

Sandra Roarty said...

Thanks for your comment, Sue! I had no idea this problem was so common. And its not just a few people doing this...its a LOT. I reported another shop where the woman freely admits she scans the patterns and makes PDF's to sell...but Etsy hasn't done anything about her shop. Probably because the patterns are no longer in print.

When I was a kid, crochet patterns were copied and passed around...everyone did it. We don't do it anymore because we know better. But these people don't care. As long as there is money to be made so easily, its going to continue. I know my post isn't really going to make much difference but I needed to say it. Thanks again!

Naida said...

Sadly, this is a common thing with patterns. I've had fellow crocheters email me because they have found people selling my crochet patterns online and claiming that they were their own.

I found one woman selling my patterns and claiming that they were her deceased grandmothers crochet patterns, and that she was trying to make some money to buy her grandma a decent burial plot by selling these crochet patterns :( That lie was in her listing as part of the pattern description!

I reported this woman to the online vendor who promptly shut her down. I also emailed her, but she never replied.
I found another woman scanning my crochet patterns that were published in Crochet Pattern a Day calendar. She was making photo copies of the calendar pages and selling them online!

It's sad what people will do and what they get away with. It makes it so hard for pattern designers. I've been very tempted to remove all my free patterns from my blog so they don't get stolen anymore. It's a shame really.

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