what do you think about knock-offs?

paper wall panel at anthropologie
[simple great idea - paper wall panel I saw at anthropologie yesterday - unrelated to post]

I'm not a controversial kind of person. I'm not one to rock the boat. But let me get on my soap box for just a moment. I've thought about this for a long time but I've never had the need to speak up until now—maybe because I can't take it anymore.

After reading this interesting conversation about knock-offs and differing opinions on why they are Ok and why they are not, I just had to write. I'm in the 'it depends' camp.

As is natural, the crafting community is made up of very capable people that handle all sorts of mediums and tools. So, it is very natural to see something like a $100 cushion and say "I can make that—and I can make it for $5".

I have nothing against you making it, if it's for personal use only. Make hundreds if you'd like. What I am against is broadcasting how you made it (with tutorials and such). I'm not an attorney, so I don't know what the legal ramifications are, but I do know that ethically I don't believe in it. It simply is not Ok in my book.

If, as a creative community we condone this behavior, what right do we have to complain when it happens to us? I don't care if you're copying a big chain store object or a small Etsy shop design. It's all the same to me. You're still bleeding that company or designer from their creative endeavors, diluting their brand and possible income. If you figured out how to make the knock-off, the very capable members of the creative community we belong to, will figure it out too. It's up to them to proceed or not.

We should work together, not against one another.

As a designer and crafter I have had people commit blatant copyright infringement of my work on several occasions. These acts have been committed by individuals and small to large companies alike. That's why I'm passionate about issues like these. That's why I know how it feels to have your ideas taken and disseminated in an unapproved fashion.

Legal or not, it simply is not Ok. I think it's more about ethics than anything else.

Instead of spending time on a tutorial of something that already exists, why not create a new tutorial that is inspired by someone else's work and includes your own unique twist? Isn't it better to stretch the boundaries of your own creativity as well as that of others?


Not the tone I wanted to end the week with. But there it is. Any thoughts?

EDIT: I just want to add one more thing. I don't understand why there seems to be an underlying thought that it is more acceptable to make a knock-off when the copied item comes from a large store vs copying one from an indie designer. Just because you're not making the slightest dent in the profit of a large company doesn't make it Ok. The standard should remain the same, shouldn't it?

Ahh well. This is just an opinion. We will probably have to agree to disagree on some of these points. The important thing is that the conversation is happening.
• • •

Thank you so, so much for all your lovely comments on yesterday's post. I was blushing all day. Remember that there is still time to enter the Paper Quilt giveaway. I will close the comments section of that post tonight at midnight.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment