Thursday, 22 July 2010

Branded as Pirates

© Randal Spangler's Fantastic Art Realm!

Please be aware that this entry may offend some people.
I'm going to talk about copyright.
The rule is not 'Thou shalt not get caught'.
The rule is "Thou shalt not do it!

“We have been alerted that over 5,000 charts have been shared amongst folks from customers in Australia and Canada (primarily) over the past 6 months. This is a violation of copyright and we have to take steps to prevent it” wrote the spokesperson of a well known cross stitch chart maker in a recent newsletter.

Great! Just what every Aussie and Canadian stitcher wants to hear. We were branded as cross stitch pirates. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Fortunately, the statement was modified a short while later in a second mass mail out (no doubt after several emails like the one I sent).

“I wanted to send an apology as I have offended folks in Canada and Australia. I never meant to say that these two countries were where the issues lie,”


The trouble with pointing the finger at innocent parties is that they sometimes go looking for trouble. I did. I spend 2 days (on and off) searching in English, Spanish, French and Russian for pirate versions of said company’s charts. I didn’t find a single one of Australian or Canadian origin but I am stunned at how many pirate charts from just this one company are online and available for download. The author of the original email has a right to be worried. At one site alone, I found hundreds to look at and download! I looked at quite a few, I admit, but like my email to the director of the company stated:

“The reality is that a [name of the company] chart has to talk to the stitcher. One has to like the artwork to want to take time. Most real stitchers actually buy their patterns [because] they want to stitch, not just to have (yes, I admit sometimes it may take a while if one has a stash pile like some people I know).”

In the end, I kept it simple. I want the company to stay in business so I told the director the worst offending sites and bought the charts I want to stitch from the company. Along the way, I also emailed to a few other cross stitch designers and companies that they might like to do something about the piracy of their charts on the same and similar sites. It's now up the the companies to do what they think they should do.

Why am I blogging about this issue? It’s certainly not to blow my own virtuous trumpet! In this day and age where almost anything you want can be found online or so I’m told (the best thing I ever found was The MOTH), not everything we find is good for us. Pirate versions of our favourite patterns may save us money in the short term and may be nice to have but they eventually put the companies which produce the originals out of business. Piracy kills the desire to create because, like the rest of us, artists need to keep the wolf from the door. If one is so busy working to provide food for the table, one can only work at what one creates in the spare time.

Think before you leap. Say no to piracy. Don’t do it!


Mayté said...

I completely agree with your post. We have to talk about copyrights and the consequences of pirate copies been offer under the umbrella of "sharing with generosity".

I have talked about it in my blog (in spanish) and have been threatened by many people, also declared me "Not a welcome person" in many blogs and online forums.

There is a new way to share ilegal copies of charts under "seudo SALs". I also pointed to this issue in my blog the last year.

I wish the best and hope this article may many people think twice before taking an illegal copies of anything.

Dani - tkdchick said...

I agree with you! I always buy my charts. I know one of the designers who this has affected personally and they really do make so little out of this. If we push them out of buisness by not giving them a paycheque where will we be??? With very little new and nothing exciting to stitch!

Daffycat said...

A very good post. Well done.

claire93 said...

I totally agree, Felicity.