2/2/14

Hard Reset


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Some of you may have seen my recent post in which I posted an image I'd seen on Facebook and talked about my enthusiasm for making a quilt of it. Some of you questioned whether it constituted a copyright infringement. I had the same concerns myself, but did some reading about quilts and copyright. I'm not a lawyer, and you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but here is a resource that I think is fairly instructive as regards quilters in particular. With respect to my particular situation, I took my cues from this paragraph:
A copyright is intended to protect the livelihood and income of persons who create by preventing others from reproducing that art or image and profiting by it or by denying the original creator income from sales and licences of that product. (emphasis added)
In this case, I had no intention of ever selling, showing, or profiting in any way from making a quilt from the image in question. I gave full attribution to the artist, linked to her blog and to her Etsy shop, and waxed beyond enthusiastically about how much I liked her art. Since I had no intention of profiting from the use of the image, I did not feel that I was infringing on copyright. However, I felt an argument could be made that I had deprived her of income by not first purchasing the image from her. Upon arriving at that conclusion, I immediately went to her Etsy shop and purchased the print, thereby compensating her for any loss of income she might have incurred from me.

Nevertheless, I was dismayed this afternoon when I checked my email and found about a dozen hurtful and hateful comments from people who know the artist. The first of the comments was hers. I have responded to her request that I remove the image, and I have apologized to her privately. Also, I have opened what I intend to be an honest and thoughtful dialog with her about the use of images posted online, and especially those posted on Facebook. I have not yet received any response from her, but if it is appropriate, I will update you on what the two of us work out together.

The rest of the comments were from folks that I've never heard from before. Most were no-reply, and so I was left with no avenue to respond to them privately. The ones that left email addresses were hateful and cruel, and I did not dignify them with a response. Instead I have marked them as spam, effectively blocking said writers from leaving comments on my blog again. While I welcome disagreement, I will not tolerate abuse, and these folks were abusive.

With respect to my plans to make a quilt from the image, I have abandoned them. While I believe that what I do in the privacy of my own home is my own business, I made the mistake of publishing my plans in a public forum. If I were to decide to do something like this in the future, I will know to keep my plans to myself. With that in mind, the quilt would now have too much baggage attached to it. I quilt with joy, and frankly, the joy has gone out of this project, as has my enthusiasm for the work of the artist in question.

Please know that I have edited my previous post to remove all references to the image, the process, the artist, her blog, and her Etsy shop. I have also deleted any comments that made reference to it.

44 comments from clever and witty friends:

Tami C said...

Wow! I wonder why she posted it on Facebook to begin with? I don't blame you for removing all references to that person. It sure sounds like someone I don't want to know or support!

otterdaughter said...

Aw jeez, you'd think that posting about how much you love someone's work and linking to them and their etsy shop would be plenty to keep someone happy. Especially since you gave credit where credit is due AND bought the print.

I don't blame you one bit about not wanting to make it now. I hope the artist does get back to you in a reasonable manner so you can still enjoy her art without the sour taste.

BTW, In the old days, before the modern interwebs, bandwagon haters were called "flamers", as their comments' only purpose was to fan the flames, rather than add to the discussion in any meaningful way. Some old school trivia...

Kirsty said...

Congratulations on taking the high road with grace and understanding. What a pity this artist has missed out promoting her art to the world via endorsement by a much-loved and respected blogger like you. She could have made thousands from all of us that trust and follow your words of wisdom. Now ...not so much. Her loss. In the immortal words from Pretty Woman, "Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now."

Cath said...

I agree with what everyone has said so far Barbara and hope you don't lose heart. Furthermore, I would have thought that if you had bought the print, you could do whatever with it. I recently had professional photos taken of my dogs and when I asked the photographer if I could use them on my blog she told me I had paid for them so could do what I wanted with them. Just so you know...we still love and admire you! Keep on Bloggin'
Cathxx

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

That's horrible, I think you did her a favor. I never would have known about her shop if you hadn't directed me to it, I would think she would be pleased.

Lynn - JnL4God said...

I read all your post and have admired the fact that you always - did I say ALWAYS give credit to everyone and for who and what and inspired me to do the same when I am blogging. I can't remember whom you are talking about - But shame on her for being so unprofessional especially after the added steps you took to buy from her to further make good. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that - and I agree I would have a hard time making anything that had cause me such grief. Chin up - You may or may not have made a mistake - They made a bigger one. Hugs, Lynn

Doris Rice said...

I guess I missed the original post but so sorry for your grief with this lady. I would be elated if someone bought from me and posted a link, etc, etc as you did. Sometimes things escalate and get out of hand and negative feeds off of negative. You took the high road and I'm so impressed with that. Hang in there! You're awesome!

Doris Rice said...

I guess I missed the original post but so sorry for your grief with this lady. I would be elated if someone bought from me and posted a link, etc, etc as you did. Sometimes things escalate and get out of hand and negative feeds off of negative. You took the high road and I'm so impressed with that. Hang in there! You're awesome!

DeborahGun said...

so sorry you had to go through this.

Debbie said...

Ditto to the above comments. Personally, I think you were right and the "she " was wrong about the whole thing. When posted on FB it became public...meaning you had the right to use it. When we post on our blogs, photos become public and that is why I mark mine, but realize others may swipe them or my ideas. You showed wonderful grace in this, and rise above those nasty comments.

gpc said...

You didn't do anything wrong and I'm sorry you got those kinds of responses. You gave her credit and that's all any of us can hope for. The bottom line is that people who want to be private should not be using public mediums like Facebook and Etsy. And more evidence that people can create pretty things and not be smart or pretty people.

Sarah_L_N said...

I'm so sorry, that is awful :( I read the post in question and thought what a lovely idea it was. I would have thought an artist would love to see their art in another medium. And as you always do, you linked and referenced everything, so I really can't see what her problem with it was, you weren't stealing any profit from her or claiming it was your design, if anything it would have sent more custom her way, surely?! I hope you are ok, I can see why the joy has gone from it for you now :(

Kate said...

So sorry you had to go through that experience.

Sherry said...

You have bent over backwards to appease her. Your interpretation of her work would have created more interest in her work and provide more viewing but this reaction is very disturbing . . How sad people react this way.

Devon said...

I bet it is hard to be an artist these days with even large companies not respecting copyrights...

That said, I agree you credited and discussed. (And raved!). Sorry for the haters.

Quilting Babcia said...

Life is too short for such pettiness on the part of this so-called artist. Her attitude will cost her far more than she can imagine, both now and in the future. A spirit of gratitude for the enthusiastic praise and free publicity/promotion she received through your original post would have been far more appropriate. She would have paid dearly for that kind of promotion in many venues.

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

Barb, I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. I've seen and heard a lot of hate from angry artists who are both misinformed about copyright laws and petty. It really is a shame, since it drives their fans away. I would have thought that the increased exposure from your blog posts would have benefitted the artist greatly. I really admired the picture of her art and also thought you were very ambitious to attempt such a complicated quilt. I may have bought the print myself, only now I will be sure not to purchase anything from her. I can't support snarky artists!

Becky said...

I'm sorry some folks have no manners. It is your blog. You have so many links to sources. People claim copyright on things that have been in the public domain for a century because they made it with "modern" fabrics. They suck! Please keep blogging - you give me a boost every day!

NancyA said...

I was shocked and saddened by all the hateful comments. I am so glad to know that most were NOT your regular followers! I, too, am glad that you handled this with grace and have not let them intimidate you. My interpretation of the copyright laws was pretty much as yours, but I do know that people misinterpret them all the time. Again, congratulations on handling this issue so well.

fda84e44-8b88-11e3-add3-000bcdca4d7a said...

So sorry you had to go through such a nasty experience - would have thought the person would be grateful for all the exposure you gave them..
Hey don't let it get you down - you did all the right things.
Love your blog -enjoy hearing you latest adventures each day.. especially how helpful your cat
So make it a good day!!
Marylou
Fun4Me1249@aol.com

Junebug613 said...

Just like the rest of your loyal friends, I feel you did nothing wrong. You had covered all your bases. The artist' s followers had no right to be nasty. Sometimes social media allows for too much drama. I'm sorry for the stress and loss of enthusiasm it caused everyone. It's wonderful that you handle it with class. Now on to your next fun project!

Wendy said...

And I saved her blog address so I could buy a print... Not now. Three years ago I came across a really simple pattern on a designer's blog and thought, that's so incredibly simple that I can make that in a couple of hours. So I did and linked to the blog and acknowledged the designer. Immediately she posted about people who steal patterns without paying for them... Whoopsie. Lesson learned. I guess whatever you do, somebody else owns it, and most of them aren't sharing. So sad.

Lyndsey said...

My brother posts his pictures on Facebook, some so they can only be viewed by friends and others by all. The ones open to everyone he sells but he doesn't mind if people print a copy for themselves. As he says he has the original until it is sold and he holds the original photo. He would love it if someone turned one of his pictures into a quilt.

works4me said...

I'm so sorry your enthusiasm was misinterpreted. I agree with others that your blog post was a great, free, advertisement for the artist. I checked out her work only because of your post.

I believe the issue was your public intention to make a quilt based on her work. Still, it appears there was some severe over-reaction.

Hopefully, the artist learned a lesson about social media and how very not private it is.

Please do your best to ignore the haters and know that we are in your corner.

I'm also sorry that you will not enjoy the print when it arrives, or have you cancelled your order?

KJ

aliceinparis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Huey said...

I'm sorry for the way this all played out, but your grace and openness is a wonderful model for all of us.

Dana Gaffney said...

This is just sad, if she ever does decide to make quilt patterns your blog would have been an ideal place for her, pattern makers always need pattern testers, instead her "hater" friends have burnt that bridge.

Barb H said...

Wow! You got so burnt that I can smell it here! Barbara, you sounded so excited when you posted about making a quilt based on the print you saw on Facebook. I totally understand that the joy has been stripped from that project. I think the artist and her cronies did themselves a huge disservice in reacting as they did. I'll not go to her Etsy store now and I'm sure many of your followers feel the same way. I emailed a famous quilt designer once if I could use her patterns in a charitable endeavor and she agreed, only asking that I give here credit on the label. That's what I call classy.

Marei said...

I agree with what most have said....you praised the artist, you bought her print, you credited the artist, you linked to her, you even sent some of us there. What upsets me is hearing there was nasty-ness to the comments you received from her and associated friends. I think a simple, "please don't use my pic publicly" would have sufficed. This is not the first fracas I've come across re: copyright, and I'm afraid it won't be the last because everybody is out to make a buck. How sad.

Chaviva said...

Hi there...

I am one of the people who posted on the original blog entry about which there's been such controversy. As far as I can see, you certainly could've replied to me even off the blog, had I said something with which you took issue, or which was untrue.

While I'm glad that you took down the entry, I'm really surprised at this follow-up blog. I am NOT an artist - no artistic ability at all, sadly - so I have no vested interest in this at all. But I do KNOW artists - people who truly do make their living from creating art in various forms for other people to buy.

And while it's certainly true that I could take any image I found online and have it printed on canvas, for instance, to hang in my own home, or to perhaps make a quilt from it, as may be your practice, it's really important to me to explain just why I wouldn't do it and why I was so shocked that you would.

It's not just about producing something for my own personal use... it's that if I take someone else's image and make something with that image, the person who created the image has no opportunity to determine HOW it's used (maybe the artist wouldn't want a quilt made, for instance; or maybe she was already producing quilt patterns for sale herself?). And while you speak of giving credit, this does no favour for the artist - this is the minimum required, I should think, hence the adage about giving credit where credit is due.

But moreover, your very clear description about how anybody else could take any other image and create a pattern as you have done is rather startling. If I posted an image of something I've enbroidered, such as the prayer shawls I make to wear at synagogue, and someone else shares that image (credited or not), nothing prevents another person from taking the image and using it to create something else... for which they then get credit. That just feels wrong to me.

This matters so very much to me - I post images frequently on my Facebook page, for instance, but never, not EVER without finding out who created them and including that information.

The amount of actual business that any artist gets from our sharing & resharing of work they have created may or may not result in a sudden upsurge in sales of their work. I know that for some artists, posts on social media generate occasional sales. Mostly, they generate interest ans sharing of images.

I am SO surprised at the unkindess in the follow-up comments on this entry. From what I remember of the original blog, the artist had noted that if you had simply asked first, she probably would have said that you could go ahead and use the image for a quilt that would be yours alone. The problem, as I recall, was your instructional paragraph into how easy it is to make a pattern with someone else's work. I cannot imagine that a writer would take a book that is perhaps not well-known and simply change the character's names and think it was ok to publish a new book from it. This really was not so very different.

In terms of the "everyone's out to make a buck" comment," which was the last one I read, the artist whose work you had appropriated is not a hobbyist. She is a working artist, and this is how she makes her living. I love her work - it's whimsical, it's fun, it makes me smile, and ONE DAY, I will buy a piece from her. When I can afford it. Until then, though, I'm not going to print a handful of images for my own personal use and hang them in my home.

Chris said...

Not having seen the original post I am only getting the 'gist' of this. Was the artist a quiltmaker or in the paper medium? If you bought a print to make as a quilt for your own use because you liked it so much why didn't the artist thank you graciously for admiring her work so much. Without any legal knowledge, the print now belongs to you and it seems you could do whatever you wish with it for your own use - make Christmas cards, a quilt, embroider a tea towel with the design. If you framed this and put it on your wall and someone snapped a photo and made a quilt or tabletop of it where does your responsibility (legal or ethical) end? We create, we design, we publish or not. It's all part of life and there's always the 'delete' button. I enjoy your blog, Barbara.

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

Chaviva,

In terms of your last paragraph, if you read Barb's post you would have noted that she did purchase a print from the artist, thereby supporting a artist whose work she admired. You seem to imply that she was stealing the art, which I am sure you did not intend to do, as she states that she purchased a print.

Secondly, copyright laws CAN on some things, apply to derivative works, which likely Barb's quilt would be considered to be. This means that she can't profit from it. She shouldn't sell it and she certainly shouldn't publish a pattern on how to make one. However, there is nothing in copyright law that prevents anyone from making an item for personal use. If I see a chair I like that someone hand crafted and I think, "wow, that is a very unique chair, I think I'll try to make one like that at home" I'm perfectly within my legal rights to do so. And there isn't a copyright law in the world that could prevent me.

As a quilter with plans to publish my own patterns at some point, I am familiar with both sides of the arguement. I ran into a quilter whose patterns I greatly admired - and I considered purchasing some of them. What stopped me was the large disclaimer at the top of every page that claimed that all items made from the patterns were subject to the same copyright as the patterns and were not to be entered in shows or contests without express written permission of the pattern designer. Copyright can apply to the patterns, but it doesn't apply to the end use item that the pattern was designed to make.

I realize that we aren't talking about a pattern here, but again, I fail to see the issue with how Barb handled this. If I painted something, I'd be flattered if someone wanted to turn it into a quilt or other medium. I'd ask them to not sell the item, and to attribute the original work to me. If they mass produced it and began selling my art without my permission, then I would have grounds for a law suit.

Instead, it sounds to me like the artist got burned at some point and the anonymity of the internet is allowing people to say things to her in an email they would never say to Barb's face. Instead of handling it gracefully, the artist and/or her "fans", whether intended or not, alienated not only Barb but several of her friends. And that of course, has set off a firestorm on both "sides" of the issue, and it will eventually get blown way out of proportion (if it hasn't already).

Teresa in Music City said...

Well, holy smokes!!! Some people just go around looking for a fight and don't care a hoot about who they hurt in the process. Lots of narcissism going on here! I hope you don't let these self-righteous bullies rain on your parade. It would be different if you were intentionally planning to steal this artist's work by recreating it and calling it your own. You gave her full credit. We are allowed to be inspired by another's art and translate it to our own medium, for our own pleasure. Not for sale of course, but you never intended that! It's just unbelievable how quickly the "cyber-mob mentality" takes over and the bullying starts. I think it is a real shame that by sharing the ideas and projects that inspire us, we are also then opened up to the ugliness of others. I am so sorry this happened to you and appreciate the way you have handled it - with the grace and honesty that always shines through in your posts.

crazy quilter said...

I am so sorry you had to endure hateful and unwanted comments. I do appreciate you and agree what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business... I love your musings so keep on blogging and know that there are those out there that will never be happy! I just choose to ignore them! Keep on Sewing, your wind in the wiskers is coming along very well! Keep it up... Once you are done you will love this quilt. I did one of hers before and found the tiny pieces quite a challenge but when it was done I love the quilt very much to this day!

Sher S. said...

I'm so proud of you for the way you handled this. The artist is one i won't visit again, she really cut off her nose to spit her face. That's sad. You gave credit for her artwork, you bought the print, you now can make the quilt, BUT I totally understand why you won't. She was definitely in the wrong for the way she handled this and it's a pity that she is so petty. Keep on blogging and giving us your wonderful tidbits of info. Please continue to share with us what you love. WE are behind you 100%. Lots of quilty hugs coming your way.

Polyquats said...

The artist has every right to protect her work, but it's really sad that you had to cop all that flack from the haters when you were trying to do your best in a tricky situation.
It's clear from some of the comments above that most people still don't understand copyright. Copying someone's work, beyond fair use, is not tribute, it's theft. If you want to pay tribute to an artist by producing derivative work, then ask first. If they say no, do something else.

Andee said...

I missed the post, but sounds like you handled it like a champ, kudos to you for handling it with class!

Janet said...

What a shame for her. She has lost a fan in you. And we all need all the fans we can get.

Brown Family said...

She has lost several fans from this. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. It is best that you have moved on.

Judy1522 said...

So sorry that you got that kind of reaction from people. Anyone who has read your blog for any length of time should know that would never be your intention. I don't know why people feel it is necessary to be so rude. It is so much easier to get your point across without trying to devastate someone.

Dya said...

So sorry this happened Barbara. I think lots of people get inspired by other peoples work. If they (the designers)don't want that, stop putting it on facebook, pinterest etc.
And I like to add that making a picture of cats on a fence is not exactly a 'new' idea, there are lots out there, also as quilt patterns. Of course they are all different, but the basic idea is the same: cats on a fence or hill looking at the moon. :-).
I think she should have thought first before objecting to you using the image, it would generate a lot of interest in het site and shop. But apperently she couldn't think that far.
And the other people? Some seem just to look for an opportunity to write abusive mails and comments. IUf they 're not able to comment in a normal civilised way, they don't deserve any attention.
And to 'prove' my point on the subject of her 'art', here's an example of the idea as a quiltpattern. http://www.pettents.org/cart/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&cPath=114&products_id=2950&zenid=eftcep6vhg6cnu0j2rr0b4i770

Of course it's different, but it falls in the same category. Just google and there are lots of them, with just 1 or 2 cats or more.

hmmm, just wondering: is she still selling you a print or is she consequent enough to refuse that? LOL.

quiltzyx said...

Holy cannolis! Sorry to hear about all the flames you've had to endure Barbara. (((hugs)))

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've had that happen, too. A friend showed us a technique that another friend had shown her (and so on), and I showed it on my blog. I did try to find something about it on the internet, but, not knowing what it was called, it's very hard to research. I was contacted quickly by the lady who had written a book using this method, and threatened with legal action. I quickly took down the post, found and ordered her book, then found others who had written about the same method well before this lady had (one of those public domain things that someone thinks they did first). I've never made that block again, and now don't post things I learn from others. Sorry about the rude comments. They should have been nicer, especially if you linked back to them, and gave credit to the designer.

Betty said...

WoW! I didn't read for a few days and missed all the excitement! You are very good at giving credit where due and a link to find the product. I can't imagine how that could have done anything but bring her more customers. My mother would have said that person "cut off her nose to spite her face".