Ok. So. Here it is.
My creative peers. My sewing friends, my crochet and knitting friends, designers, doll makers – all of you…….What are we going to do about THIS? How are we going to use this to make our experience better?
For starters, we won’t be doing that to each other anymore. Remember – I am referring to ‘Kate’s plight. We will not allow ourselves to think it is ok to steal someone else’s awesome. We won’t look at another designer’s pretty stuff and say to ourselves “I bet I could do THAT and sell tonnes of them.” We won’t deliberately choose to copy someone else’s work.
Let me say that last sentence again: We won’t deliberately choose to COPY someone else’s work.
Here’s a little quote for us all…
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed on imitation.” – Herman Melville
We won’t be cheap imitators. We will either get our own awesome, or we will find something else to do.
Right. That takes care of us, but what about them? What about the people who just. don’t. get it?
They will always be there – those people. Like Kate’s imitator. You can’t stop them. I know it, you know it, we’ve known all along. It’s just who, and how such people are. I can’t elaborate why they are how they are, I’m not going down that path. But who cares anyway, the simple fact is, if you are a creator or a designer or an artist etc, there will always be someone who will copy you, imitate you, rip you off.
Given that, what are we going to do to stop the pain it causes to us small business owners? Us WAHM’s? Us creative peeps? Us humble, gentle, quiet creative minds? How do we stop the hurt?
First of all – protect yourself by owning your work. Is your work your original design? Not made from a pattern? Not an imitation of someone else’s design? Copyright is automatic – so long as it is indeed, your original design. My beanies are mine. I put the pattern together = mine. So I own the copyright to them. I don’t have to put a copyright symbol or spiel on them, but I do to let others know that they are indeed mine, not an imitation, and they cannot be copied. It’s there for everyone to see, it’s clear, and it’s concise.
I suggest you start to give yourself credit for the things that you make, which if copied or ripped off, would tear your heart out, to show everyone they are YOURS. Kinda like a marking your territory, but with a little more sophistication than a dog….
Secondly – Don’t look for it. Don’t search for rip offs of your work. You don’t need to, so why do it? If you are actively looking for something, you are bound to find something that either validates your fear, or satisfies it. I deliberately keep my nose out of other Facebook or Etsy crocheter’s business as best I can – that way I am less influenced by their work (and less likely to inadvertently imitate it) and less likely to find something I don’t want to see. I have browsed pages and found some very suspicious goings on in the past, but seeing as I will always give people the benefit of the doubt, I put it down to a high likelihood of coincidence. After all, there’s similar, and then there is blatantly ripped off. We are only concerning ourselves with this remember.
So what about when you are made aware of someone ripping you off? Well, the first thing we are going to do, is remember this – “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” I know we have heard it a thousand times before, but our anger and grief overrides our understanding. How dare someone steal my idea like that to make money? It makes us feel violated. And we either lash out, or crumble. WE are going to do neither. We are going to be calm. We are going to take a deep breath, and turn the screen in front of us off. We’ll take a minute to remember how amazing WE are. How much we have achieved. How much we are adored for WHO we are, not what we are. We’ll ask a trusted friend their rational impression of the situation for some perspective – choose someone who can be frank and unbiased.
Has someone, without reasonable doubt, stolen from you just like someone stole from Kate? This is what you can do:
Block them from your Facebook page.
Don’t look at their Facebook page anymore.
** IF they have breached copyright – Write a short, calm, and in no way passive aggressive email to them. State your business name, and tell them that the design that they are selling is your copyrighted property and it is unlawful for them to pass it off as their own. Tell them to stop. And that’s it.
Then – continue being your own kind of awesome.
Leave it, and carry on. Laugh at how ridiculous it is that someone would see the desire to rip you off instead of come up with their own awesomeness. You don’t need to get worked up. You don’t have to be hurt, if you don’t want to be. You can carry on as you always have before. I’ll help you do it, I promise.
“No man was ever great by imitation” – Samuel Johnson.
Besides, such people are only in it for the money, really. I don’t know about you, but spending six hours designing a crochet beanie style doesn’t really rake in the millions… It makes my heart sing, not my wallet fat. And that’s precisely why I enjoy it so much.
Maya Angelou had it SO right when she said “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
We are all going to do what WE love doing, forget those that imitate awesomeness, and do it so well that they can’t take their eyes off US – we won’t lower ourselves to the level of the ripper-offer-ers! (I could think of a better word than ‘ripper-offer-ers’, but I don’t want to.)
Now, I am going to step off this soapbox. I am going to continue on, being my own kind of awesome, and supporting all others who choose to do the same.
Psst… Owl mobile raffle tickets nearly all gone… only a few left!