Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stay or Leave...

I was emailed recently by a concerned blog reader that they saw one of my jewelry designs being reproduced without any credit being given to me or my original work which was clearly being copied. I have conflicting feelings about this. As someone who writes and creates designs for books and publications for people to follow, there is an undoubted chance that your work will be recreated. This is okay. I'm being paid and I'm putting my work into a forum designed for this. However, in this particular case, the piece was not featured anywhere else but my blog. This, in itself, was not so bad, but when I was later contacted by an editor of one of the publications that I was hoping to write for, that they couldn't accept my piece because they already had something similar... well... that's when my stomach soured.

So... here's a tough question: Do I continue to post about my jewelry designs?

When I started this blog, years ago, I wanted to be as transparent as possible. This has been painful, because I'm really a very private person. I'm not naturally someone who likes to be in the spotlight. I prefer to work from the wings and give support where I can. Through the years, I've strived to show a real portrait of a working artist... the ups, the downs, the inspiration and aspiration that fuels my work. I spend a lot of time creating a blog that I think is worthy of reading. But what do I do when this sharing starts to work against me, compromising my livelihood?

Do I edit my posts more? Do I selectively chose what best suits a structured and pre-planned agenda? This seems less authentic to me. The most direct answer would be to step away from the blog completely. If I can't really express myself without worrying, then what's the point?

Basically: Should I stay or should I leave?

53 comments:

Kym Hunter Designs said...

Although I understand your dilemma, I really enjoy reading your posts, and I'm sure others do as well. I enjoy seeing your new creations, but under the circumstances, I would understand you not wanting to post them on your blog. You are a very creative writer and you have a lot to offer with your writings. When I read about your brothers birthday, it really touched my heart. I wish that my words could flow from my heart the way that yours seem to.

Blessings to you!

Davinia said...

I would surely miss your blog, your writing and designs Andrew after only discovering you a short while ago. It's a difficult decision. All I can say is Karma. These people who blatantly copy from others and claim it as their own are sure to come unstuck somewhere along the line. It's a shame they can't be highlighted somewhere and revealed as the plagiarists that they are. (Is plagiarism relevant to designs or just writing) anyway I'm sure you know what I mean.

Janet said...

Hi Andrew! I would really miss you if you didnt post anymore. I dont know how anyone could do that but they do it all the time. I like to look at peoples jewellery for Inspiration but to copy to thine own self be true I would be a liar unto myself to do that. Maybe you should put a select jewellery on here, not some pcs that you might not want to see copied. Thats what I might do if it were me. If that was me Id be pretty put out to say the least. That really sucks. People who copy are liars and thiefs. Im sorry thats happened to you.

No Easy Beads said...

Andrew, I stop by and read all your posts. I love to hear about your adventures and see your work in progress. If this stops from you blogging someone also succeeded in stealing your joy of expression through words.

Don't let them win. Stay. Please

Beverly
Noeasybeads

Lorelei said...

How disappointing!!
I think you should definitely stay. We all need you here. You provide us so much inspiration!
And I think you should call them out on it.
Maybe only display jewelry that will be in the magazines/books- but only publish the pieces once they are out.
I hope you decide to stick with it. Don't let them win.

SueBeads said...

I agree with Lorelei - stay, call them out, only publish accepted pieces for a while... Hope this helps!

Round Rabbit said...

Stay Baby! And call their asses out. Show a photo of their copy and say "This is what a copycat looks like." Play hardball. It works. It sucks that it has to be done now and then but you have all the right in the world to protect your work. And no one will think any less of you for doing so. In fact, most will be cheering you on!

Heather Powers said...

I hope you'll stay around. I enjoy your blog very much.

I think posting your designs that have been accepted might be a good answer. Or only show partials and sneak peaks of works that haven't found a home yet.

Your blog is so much more than your jewelry designs. Keep writing if you find joy in sharing.

norma said...

Andrew,
Please stay! I enjoy reading your blog and getting inspiration from your pieces.

I agree you should call that person out and post what they published and then post your piece.

Hang in there Andrew.

Rebecca said...

Please stay Andrew! Like everyone else, I get so much inspiration from your blog and whilst looking at your jewellery pieces is only one aspect of it, it is one I greatly enjoy. Don't let unethical 'artists' win! I agree if you were to confront them with their crime it would probably be cathartic for yourself and hopefully make them realise its not something that you can get away with consequence free.Can you also let the publication know that they have been duped in such a fashion? It would warn them off publishing the offender's work again. It's really sad that people can and do do such things but the important thing is to not let their behaviour grind you down too much.

quiltingjewel39 said...

Andrew - I am so sorry someone has done that to you-I can only imagine how you feel. What goes around comes around-I really believe that. Whatever you decide on the design part - please don't stop your blog-it is inspirational and fun. I do love seeing the jewelry but understand if you have to change some of those postings.

jenna @sweet fine day said...

andrew,
sorry to hear about this dilemma. way, way, too common, unfortunately. The internet allows so many copycat designers to steal ideas freely and sometimes never get caught. I had someone copy our site design EXACTLY, but then he had the gall to email me to tell me that he did and offered me money for my "design services". When we opened up shop on etsy 2 years ago, there were only a few bakers on the scene. As pointed out by a few of our loyal friends and fans, the style of photography and even the products have been copied.

However, what can you do? I will not allow cowards who can't think of their own ideas to defeat us. I will, however, encourage anyone who is inspired by us as that is totally different. You forge on, ignore the haters and copy cats, and do it better than them. Don't let them defeat you! xo.

Margot Potter said...

You know, Andrew, this happens to me every day. There are days when I feel like curling up in a ball and giving up, because people are profiteering on my creativity and getting accolades and creating success. Half the time, people in the bead world don't even realize that I've originated that design or technique and it's endlessly frustrating.

One one hand, I guess if they're copying you, you know you're on the right track, but on the other when you're trying to pay the bills and make a fair return on your creative investments, it's incredibly disappointing.

At what point are we giving away too much? I'm still navigating that. It's a conundrum and the internet has made it far too easy for people to find and mine your ideas and not even bother to trace them back to the source. I do agree though that keeping the best for you is a wise idea, don't show your panties to everyone that asks. There is such a thing as sharing too much, too soon. I do that a little too often. I'm trying to find balance.

That being said, I say to follow your heart.

Love
Margot

Jean Hutter said...

Andrew so sorry to hear this has happened to you too - it has been happening a lot lately to people I know and respect. I have to agree with all of the above posts expecially Heathers on showing partials or sneak peeks. Calling them out is a good idea if you are comfortable with doing that. I would really miss you if you leave but you need to do what is best for you and only you know what that is. Hugs!!!!!

Michelle said...

Andrew, I'm so sorry to hear this has happened to you! I would miss reading your posts. I get so much enjoyment out of them--more than just your designs...your descriptions of events, family stuff. I agree with all of the other posts...this person will get their comeuppance. I have a sign posted in my shop for shoplifting that ends with..."if we don't catch you, the Man upstairs will". Most people have agreed with this sentiment and I think this so readily applies here. It is a stolen concept and design.
I hope you decided to stay.
Bead Happy...
Michelle

Cristi - 2 If By Sea said...

Please stay, Andrew! Your work and writings are very inspiring to me and many others.

I agree with the other comments that you could share with us the pieces that are going to be published.

You would be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

Andrew!
I never comment but I ENJOY reading your blog; it's a nice break in the busy days and I even have some nice lovely opal beads I got from you and one of your artist cards! Please don't quit writing---but do what you must to protect your wonderful art....
Please STAY!!!!
Kim W (Texas)

TesoriTrovati said...

Stay.
But do so at a level of comfort that works for you.
It takes a lot of effort and energy to call out the offenders, and I am all for it, but if that is not in your universe of coping then I wouldn't suggest that. But I do agree with others who suggest that you don't bare it all...show peeks, reveal after publication, hold some things back. That is something we all struggle with it seems from these comments. Striking that balance.
As for me, I come here not so much for reveals of your big designs, but becuase I respect you and hold your art dear to me. I want to continue to carry on a conversation with you through your blog. I think it is a beautiful respite from the rest of the world. Of course we would miss you. But ultimately you have to do what you have to do.
Just know that we are behind you 100%.
Enjoy the day!
Erin

Alice said...

It's so easy for us to tell you to stay since we gain so much enjoyment and inspiration out of your blog. It would be heartbreaking to see you go because of someone else's unethical behavior. But in the end it's your call to make.

I'm sure this feels like you have been violated in a way, robbed, taken advantage of. Call them out, send them a letter so they know they have been caught. And, as someone else suggested, only post about pieces after they have been accepted, or pieces that you do not plan to submit for competition.

Sorry you have to deal with this. You have such talent, and some feel they must take a chunk of it no matter how it is obtained.

jenny said...

Hello there-- I'm fairly new to your blog and I enjoy it immensely. I'll add my two cents to say I hope you'll stick with it, but I'm terribly sorry about what you've gone through with the theft of your designs. Seems like some of the other folks posting comments have some good thoughts on how to handle it, but in the end of course, it is up to you. I wish you good luck with your decision.

P.S. Bought one of your Basha Beads-- haven't used it yet but it's so beautiful. Thanks for being around.

Best--

Jenny

Boot ~C said...

When you had ID & $$ stolen, you worked hard( I remember) to get all that back. This isn't really any different. I'm guessing you start w/ sketches & notes so you have some documentation, so use those to show you did the original work. Contact the magazine again, let them know what kind of thief they are working w/. Showing pieces that have been accepted would certainly thwart plagerism for publication as well. I would hate to see you go

kate mckinnon said...

Well, you know. People do this. I often wonder, don't people have ideas in their own heads? Not a day goes by that someone doesn't send me an email of some copied work, of my own, or someone else's. Sometimes people even send me photos of their own pieces, with blatant copies of beads or clasps in it, and say, "Look what I made!"

I'm always stunned by that, because it's clear that these people simply don't grasp the concept that while it's ok to knock published or taught things off for your own wear, it's not ok to present what you make as your own work.

There is a huge gulf between making a piece based on another person's design, or stealing their name (this happens to me with both the Shag and the Biker pieces) or submitting your own version of someone else's work for publication.

You can't stop blogging. We would all just roll up and die. But you might choose to not publish and source pieces that you plan on owning, if you know what I mean, in the future.

And I would definitely let the editor know that your piece came first, because if they know that in advance, they won't publish it. And if it's too late, they will publish a proper credit in their next issue.

Gaea said...

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water! I tend to keep things close to the vest until published. I worry about the same thing happening and I'm sorry it happened to you. Don't give up! You are thoughtful and sincere and it shows in your blog (and work!) Go ahead! Rattle a cage if you need to! I have a feeling that more than a few of us would be there with you to do the rattling! I know "Yury the Ukrainian" is in pretty bad condition!

SharonP said...

Hi Andrew, it would be very lonely without you, please stay and continue to share your world with us.

Joan Tucker said...

Joan, A big second to all the above; and remember.. writing your blog is nourishment for all of us but it also all comes back to you in support, karma, and love..

Hide the new work photos carefully and keep writing because writing feeds the soul. Joan T

SummersStudio said...

Please do stay. I am with the others in that I would miss you. And as Joan said writing feeds the soul. There's a lot of good suggestions here about giving partial glimpses, saving your reveals until after publication/acceptance, etc. I think it's very hurtful that it comes to this and am so sorry that this has happened to you.

Pearl and Pebble said...

Please don't stop writing! You know there is clueless and there is intentionally self serving.(I know there is a better word out there, but it is escaping me) Confront the person and see where that goes. You are gifted with a wonderful spirit. Don't let anybody else, intentionally or not, take control of that light! (Just my two cents-hope it's not to sappy)

Jamar said...

Andrew, I'm so sorry to see that happen to you. I would definitely miss your postings...not just for all the interesting things you share, but just because you are such a nice person and your open heart and shared joys often really brighten my day (and often make me really hungry!) If someone copied and published I definitely think it should be addressed head on. Perhaps you could also add a note in your sidebar or somewhere on your blog that states your policy on copying or just stating that the designs and photos or whatever on your blog are your property and not to be copied. Hopefully whoever did the copying will get the message from these postings and it will stop. I have seen several postings of late with artists dealing with stolen designs being sold. Would these folks blantantly pick your wallet from your pocket in person? What they are doing is in reality no different.
My vote is definitely stay. They have stolen a part of you....don't let them take any more than that.

Nicki said...

Don't go.

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Don't go, Andrew, please stay! It just wouldn't be the same without you here to read. But keep what you want to keep private, that is your right and your choice. I do love seeing your work though and I only wish I could copy your style and talent, the things you make are so beautiful. But even if I ever tried to duplicate one of your pieces, it would always be "Andrew's", I could never pass it off as my own nor would I want to. It sucks that someone would do that, whether intentionally or not. But please know that we your loyal readers/fans appreciate your tremendous talents so much.

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Don't go, Andrew, please stay! It just wouldn't be the same without you here to read. But keep what you want to keep private, that is your right and your choice. I do love seeing your work though and I only wish I could copy your style and talent, the things you make are so beautiful. But even if I ever tried to duplicate one of your pieces, it would always be "Andrew's", I could never pass it off as my own nor would I want to. It sucks that someone would do that, whether intentionally or not. But please know that we your loyal readers/fans appreciate your tremendous talents so much.

Do Be Do Bead Do said...

Most important thing that I can say is that I'd miss you if you went. That being said, you'd have my support no matter what you choose. I am a huge fan ever since meeting you at a show once and read your blog avidly.

Anonymous said...

Please stay and share what you're comfortable with. As you found out in Tucson, more people than you realize read and are inspired by your work.

Tucson vendor-customer (Tracy)

Lynn said...

well, fooey! typed a long comment that appears to be lost somewhere...you'll get it if I retype someday! ;)

Diana P./Vintage Blue said...

Andrew, I would hate if you stopped blogging. I find your blog very inspirational. Perhaps, you could only share work you aren't submitting to be published or only give peeks of your work until they are accepted into publication. Either way, don't let this copycat win. ::hugs::

Patty said...

Andrew, please keep posting to your blog! Like another said, it feeds us all and makes us love you even more. We support you!

As for the copycat, well, you need to let them know that it's not cool, in whatever way you're comfortable with and think might be effective. Working with the publisher and showing them your documented design could be a good first step. The nerve of some people!

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

Oh please stay...do what the others are stating but I read to see what you are up to and drool over your food pictures!

Funky Monkey Girl,
Jolene

PS You inspired me a lot!

Jenny said...

There isnt much I can say that hasnt already been said...and I know you will find clarity and choose the right solution for you yourself.

In college, in the late 80's (Yikes!)my jewelry pref recommended a "Poor man's copyright". Now this was pre- internet if you can imagine... Take actual photoes with film of your pieces. Mail them to yourself. Then if needed you have a sealed, postmarked envelope of proof that it is your design, dated. I think thats how it went...

Right Turn ArtWerks said...

Please Stay! As a person who does much better at typing than talking I understand how expressing yourself in your art (be it the blog or jewelry) becomes a soulful endeavor. When an artist feels this purging has been betrayed it is crushing to their spirit. You must create and it can't happen in a vaccuum. Boy do I sound bossy - sorry for that. But, if you are the root of their expression don't let it be the cause of your despair. Think of a plagerist as the branch. Occasionally, the branch will grow strong - often it will break or distort - wilt or die off. It is always the root that remains strong sending up new growth. Continue to grow and blog and be who you are.

Besides, the karma will get them anyway!

Mary Lynne said...

Andrew,

I am so sorry that this happened to you. It's frustrating beyond anything - like someone stealing a part of your soul.

The thing is that whether you continue to blog about your work or not, you will grow beyond this incident. The person who can only rip off ideas will not. You are a truly creative and gifted person, and I'm sure you will always find ways to share your talent with those of us who appreciate and are inspired by your work. You will always be ten steps ahead of the copy-cats because your originality is genuine.

For myself, I treasure the art card you sent when I ordered from your moving sale. I look at it every day & think how great it was that you took the time to create it at a time when you were already crazy busy. It makes me smile.

However you choose to express yourself in the future, please know that you touch many, many people. Even if they do not comment on your blog, there are people out in the wide world sending you love & encouragement. Maybe I'm naive, but I choose to believe there are more wonderful, loving souls out there than parasites - they just don't draw as much attention to themselves.

So hang in there, Andrew. Go make something beautiful and let your heart soar above the pain.

Jeannie said...

This is disgraceful. I would miss you if you go, but completely understand. It would be sad to see you go because of this.

I limit my jewelry blog posts and no personal events or information. But that's just me.
I rather post other designers and have contests.

I have a line of fine designer jewelry that will NEVER be online in cyberspace. That works for me.

I hope you warn us if you decide to leave. It will create a big void in the blogging world.

A Fly On The Wall said...

Whether you get gratification from the trouble you're having from copiers or not - this out pouring of love from your fans has to offer some gratification.

I am with the majority here - STAY!

sandi m said...

Don't leave - pretty please?!
As others said, yes, you should let us see the faker and the real thing.
I hope that editor did NOT publish the copycat. If yes, would you tell us where?

I wouldn't show pieces that you're going to submit. Gosh, my first publication piece wasn't even seen by my family till publication!!
Maybe just show us sneek peek photo shots. At least if someone is so low to copy, they have to create the 'missing' parts!!

Craig Ferguson usually has a great word for these kind of people!!

Erin said...

Andrew, Oh, please stay! I visit your blog frequently. I love having you right here and I can stay connected with you. Please don't make us suffer for the unkind ones out there! :)

I have not(to my knowledge) had the unpleasantness of experiencing what you are going through. But if I did, I would probably look into protecting my designs.

You are such a well-known designer, that you probably should protect your designs to some degree. Every time you post a picture of one of your designs, you can protect it with a copyright. A copyright symbol, your name and the date on the photo. That should be sufficient for most of your needs, but for further protection, you can also apply for a copyright registration as well to have on file, if you ever need to start legal proceedings against someone.

I hope you stay with us! Love and Light to you always.

Gail said...

Everyone is being so polite. I would take a different tack...heal your wounds because this type of thing does wound. Then come back bigger and badder than ever with an "Is that all you got?" attitude. Slam-dunk the bitch.

Michelle Mach said...

We'll support you no matter what you decide!

Softflexgirl said...

I have nothing new to add and no deep words of wisdom. I think it is annoying too. I can't image your not blogging.

tamdoll said...

Stay! I love to check in on your blog once in a while and this is upsetting (yes, I'm a lurker).
You're very inspiring. (Some people stink and will be rotten no matter where your work appears.)

I guess the real deciding factor would be whether you like to blog & if you want to continue for other reasons that you enjoy.

Zoe Nelson said...

Andrew, I think you know by now that everyone wants you to stay in the blogosphere. I'm so sorry this happened to you and just remember that person will have to deal with their karma one day.

Elizabeth said...

Wao…more than 24 hours and 49 comments later I hope you have decided to stay. Definitely you went through a tough professional moment, this happens all the time even in the non artistic world. I’m sure you will create a way to protect yourself. That is why things happens sometimes…for us to learn. I don’t want you to go; you are a very important stone in this artist community!

Shaiha said...

Oh please stay. Don't let one bad apple ruin or stop you from doing something you enjoy. I know that I would miss reading your posts if you did leave.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Andrew, it's a sorry state when folks lose track of what's theirs and what's not, but it does happen. The most important thing is for you to come out whole and healed. Ultimately I believe you will win because someone who takes others' creativity lacks and fails to nourish their own, where yours is a wellspring and you will always come up with more ideas. I hope you won't let the hurt and stinging in the soul color the wonder of your life too much, if you can just think of it as a mosquito bite that's temporary ... Cheers and Big Ol' Hugs!

Pretty Things said...

Oh how nauseating.

And I agree -- when the soul is sick, the body does follow. Mine does that like clockwork.