Wednesday, July 29, 2015
There, I've said it, the great big scary word. If you know me, you know that while I may talk a lot, I rarely get on my soapbox. When I do get on my soapbox, the topic is typically ethics in business.
I will assume you are reading this because you have some level of interest in needlepoint and what I do.
I do what I do because I love it yes, but also because it provides for me, my family and my four-legged creatures. It's my job, my livelihood, something I am good at.
Most of what I do is no secret. It's simply pretty threads on a pretty canvas in a pretty combination.
But then, there is what I sell. The documentation of those pretties. Hours and days go into documenting what I do and how I do it, so that you can follow along. Let's not even get into the cost of the state of the art computers and software that allow me to make the document that you will follow. Then there are the photographers who get paid to photograph the pieces when I don't and the web programers who created the website where all this pretty stuff is sold. There are expenses.
See where I am going. There's lots of behind the scenes stuff that boils down to a very small profit margin.
There are many other designers and authors like me. Tony Minieri, Robin King, Kelly Clark and Brenda Hart to name a few. We all work quite hard hopefully bringing joy to your corner of the needlepoint world.
The documents that we create, print and sell are copyrighted. Which simply means that you can't copy it and resell it. You may sell your original. We have no control over that. You can shred it if you would like. It's yours. What you can not do is make multiple copies of it and sell those. (Documents that are sold as online downloads have entirely different laws behind them.)
What, you are aghast! People would do that?!!! Yes, there are people who will do that. It is sad. They are out there, making copies of various stitch guides and selling them over and over on ebay. We see it all the time. We have friends that look out for us and we see it. It's not hard to see how many times one item has been sold by the same seller.
Sandy Gilmore designed a canvas for us for our anniversary, Beadazzled. Brenda Hart wrote the stitch guide and I market it. That guide has been sold on ebay several times by the same seller. Probably several more times if we knew all the aliases for this one seller. (Insert big sigh here.)
We as designers are spending a significant amount of time creating clever options to protect our work. There's expensive paper that when copied will show a great big mark in the center marking it illegal and useless. There are embossers that will show a raised medallion so you the purchaser know if you have an original or not (No embossing? It's a copy.) There is also software that will put the purchasers name and purchase date on the stitch guide so that if a copy is made and several copies show up we will know exactly where they came from.
All of these are bandaids and they take time, effort and money. Which in the end means that prices could go up and you will then be paying more for your needlepoint just because someone decided it was okay to make and sell a few copies of a guide.
We've seen it happen. As I said, I've seen several of my guides sold numerous times on ebay.
If you would like to see us keep doing what we are doing and making pretty things, buy guides direct from your LNS. You know you will get an original guide this way. If your LNS can't supply the guide, contact the designer. We will most likely be happy to help you out. We will also know if the item for sale on ebay is a legitimate copy or counterfeit.
We understand you want a fair price for what you are purchasing but enabling those sellers with stitch guides on ebay has ramifications that will in the end increase costs all around.
And if you are reading this and copying my guides, please stop. It's getting old.