Not Such A Typical Morning...
It seemed like it was going to be such a simple morning. I’d put the kids on the bus, gone for a brisk walk in the woods near our home with a friend and returned home to check e-mail quickly before starting my day.
It the kind of e-mail that anyone, especially this dragon, hates to open. An e-mail from a concerned fan that had found something suspicious that seemed to be infringing on the copyrights of the patterns I create. She sent me the links to check it out for myself.
No matter how often this has happened in the past 10 years, the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach remains the same. To see designs that you took hours of time and energy to create being traded at the click of the mouse make me feel absolutely sick inside. It makes me want to scream and cry.
I used to want to just crawl into my cave and lick my wounds and wonder why anyone would want to hurt me like that. Why couldn’t they understand that sharing a pattern electronically by making a copy of the original is stealing?
Somewhere along the line... the dragon got grumpy. Grumpy Dragons aren’t much fun to be around. They smolder and tend to want to bite people.
I stopped designing monthly samples for my web site even though it was the honest stitchers that ended up being punished.
I started speaking out and setting up blogs on sites like Multiply to have a presence out there in cyberspace and stand up for the fact that this is NOT right and this should NOT be acceptable.
I stopped sending out patterns to shops or guilds that requested them for retreats as often because I had no way of knowing that those wouldn’t end up scanned or being sold on ebay.
I started working with other designers and stitchers to find ways of reporting copyright violations as a group instead of individually so that we could close sites faster than before.
I stopped releasing as many new designs because they kept getting stolen so quickly.
I started to find other sources of income and put my energy into new directions as my income from cross stitch fell to less than 50% and then less than 30% of what it had been just 5 years before.
I stopped being surprised every time I heard that an independent needlework store had to close its doors to stitchers and go out of business.
I started to realize that this problem is much bigger than just the cross stitch industry. I started to understand that if we don’t place any value on creative ideas or intellectual property as a society and remain focussed on getting things as cheaply as possible or downloading them for “free” rather than paying for them, that eventually, our world will be a far richer place to live.