Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Beating Your Head Against the Copyright Wall...

I am SO mad right now, I had to come home and put it all down in a blog while the anger, frustration and almost tears are fresh. I’’ve been having “pre-show jitters” already, even though Columbus is just over 5 weeks away. Then my show release lineup had to change yesterday because one of the designs I had planned to release has to wait longer until after the publication it will appear in (long story). So... maybe I am not as objective as I should be.

I walked into the local Staples store to drop off my master patterns for 3 orders that just came in and as I stood and the counter I noticed a woman with a stack of over 40 cross stitch patterns and books making copies at the self-serve copier. The store was really busy and I am not generally one to like making a scene... but this was just such a HUGE amount of copies being made, methodically, one of each page, that I would have hated myself if I had stayed silent.

I politely introduced myself and explained what I did for a living and then asked her if she knew that what she was doing was illegal. The woman got quite defensive and replied that patterns cost too much money, so she had no choice but to copy them... and besides... everyone was allowed to make ONE copy. I explained about the concept of working copies and how that was different from making your own copies and then handing the pile back to “her bowling buddy” who had lent them. I asked her if she had thought of just borrowing the originals from her friend a few at a time and making her working copies while she had them in her possession and was actually stitching them. “But I want to do them all and I got not enough money to buy them!” she insisted. “My friend said I could make my ONE copy!” I explained that it was her choice, but that making copies was as illegal as downloading music without paying for it or taking that pattern from a store and then left before I started to either foam at the mouth or cry.

The whole way home, all I could think of was how much money I was investing in myself during the next 60 days in terms of airfare, hotel, display unit to be shipped ahead from Canada because that was still less than renting it onsite, pre-shipping models because I am going alone and will only have 2 suitcases, model stitchers, framing costs, table rental, Sample Spree, meals etc. in order to produce patterns that SOME people feel they are justified in copying because they are “too expensive”!

Sometimes it really feels like we are beating our heads against a copyright brick wall. I have no idea if that woman will ever change her mind about what she was doing, but I know that at least I have said my piece as politely as possible. (Maybe I should have had an ultimate Dragon hissy-fit and made the whole store aware of what was going on, been hauled away for disturbing the peace and appeared on the 11 o’clock news..... that would have gotten a lot of media attention for copyright issues!)

Then I remember the Barry Manillow song from last week’s American Idol... “One Voice” and hope that will be true eventually.

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