My soapbox...

Forum: Jewelry Design and Inspiration

Ok, I need to vent a little bit here. I’ve held my tongue as long as I can on this.

I’ve run across it so many times on this site, and on many others. I see, time and time again, when people post photos of jewelry they’ve made, and don’t give credit to the original designer. I know, because I am very familiar w/ the pieces, have made them myself, have the patterns, etc. I’m sometimes shocked to see that people actually boldly post jewelry they’ve made, thinking that no one else will recognize the stuff. C’mon, folks … it’s a small community. Many of us belong to many of the same sites on the web, on Facebook, etc. We all see what’s out there! Many of us follow the same bead artists on their youtube channels, etc. It’s not like you’re the only one who knows these artists exist and you’re the only one who has used their designs. But just give them a nod, the credit they deserve for their work!
I think it’s only fair and ethical to credit the designer, if you know who they are. Most patterns boldly state that you do so, when taking photographs of your creation, showing it on the ‘net, selling it, etc. They’re only asking for a little love, people. They work hard on these designs. It takes a LOT of work to come up w/ a design, put it into tutorial form (written, photographed, or video’d), photograph the steps, etc. … it’s very time-consuming!
I try to give credit to designers any time I can. Not tooting my own horn here. But the reason I do it is this: I’m a professional musician. I sing and record. I’ve had soooo many people “steal” my music, and think nothing of it! So, yah, I’m a little sensitive to it.There’s such a thing as “mechanical rights”, and we have copyright laws and piracy laws in this country. People seem to not care and they totally ignore them. I feel very strongly about giving others credit for their work, because I know how hard I work on my music, concerts, etc., and I don’t want people passing my work off as their own. It’s just not ethical, and lacks integrity, IMO.
So please, guys … when you re-create and then post someone else’s design, please give them credit. There’s NO SHAME in re-creating someone else’s pattern/work … that’s why they make the patterns for you! But they do ask for – and deserve! – credit for them.

Ok … I’ll quit my rant now. Thanks for listening. :-)

Tags: soapbox rant copyright designer credit piracy integrity

Terrie ... " a many-Swarovski'd thing!"


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35 Replies

Donna's trinkets, LLC ...

As a musician, writer, poet, and former English teacher, I have a strong feeling about plagiarism as well. Let’s remember to give credit where credit is due.

Linda Foust ...

Totally agree. Everyone deserves their credit

Marta ...

Totally agree too. Good rant!

Terrie ...

Thank you, ladies, for the affirmation. I was afraid I might offend, and yet, still I might when others read this! But I make no apologies. The designers are due their credit! Thank you for the thumbs up!

Cheryl Lojewski ...

In my previous life I was a web designer where I worked. I can’t tell you how many times I had to preach copywrite to folks wanting to post things. I would always ask them if they could afford the law suit and would it be worth it. I also found out that most of the time if you just asked the designer/creator they would give you permission to use it and like you said, just ask to be recognized. I try to be very careful of things I sell to not copy anyone. I might use an idea, but try to change it to make it mine. With that being said, I sure hope I didn’t copy anyone here! :O)

Terrie ...

I think the people who’ve done this know who they are …. and it’s none of you, to my knowledge! Either those ppl have not seen this post, or they have seen it and think it better not to comment.
At any rate … I went back thru my own submissions on this site and others, and made sure I had, indeed, listed the original designer, if known to me. I don’t do a lot of designing on my own; I’m just not gifted in that way (clothing design, yes … jewelry design, not so much. Maybe in time, I’ll get better at my own ideas and putting them into the beads). So I rely on others’ ingenuity to design beading patterns for me. I do pay for patterns, because I feel those who’ve put a lot of time and work into really upscale designs deserve to be paid for their efforts! Some ppl feel that it’s “not necessary to buy patterns when there are so many freebies out there!” And others who say, “Oh, I won’t pay that! I just study the design really carefully and copy it!” [Yes, someone actually said that on another site]. So, stealing someone else’s paid design, basically.
Well, sometimes the “freebie” just isn’t cuttin’ it, and isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. So, it’s the paid pattern that gets the nod from me. Just another way of recognizing designers’ hard work.
Shakin’ my head here, at people, and how they just don’t “get it”, sometimes.

Linda Foust ...

Agree Cheryl, I try hard not to copy but use variations of things and see my own ideas with them. I as well, hope I have Not offended anyone or copied their designs here. I feel privileged if they want to use my designs, if any, and hope they would recognize me as well. I also agree, this has probably been seen by many members and they just don’t want to comment.. I never seem to have the problem of closed mouth. I do see some copying here and it would be nice that they recognize that person in their descriptions. When I first started out my sister use to copy everything I made to give to her friends**because they just couldn’t afford to pay for them**. I didn’t say anything for a long time, then one day she finally asked do you mind and my response was no, not if you would ask first or give me recognition. She was stealing away potential customers from me and it really upset me that she didn’t even recognize what she was doing. Now she always ask and I also comply and sometimes even give her the parts if she doesn’t have them so she can still make for things for those cheap friends. She only does it for the fun, I do it as a supplement to my income. She Never Recognized that until that day. Okay I have ranted on enough. If you see me doing this and I don’t recognize that person, please send me a private message to wake me up!

Marta ...

I think the majority of us try to use our own take on things we’ve seen that we’d like to make. In the jewelry business it’s hard to be original…a lot of it seems to already be done. Which is why it is important that we acknowledge others. Myself? I pledge to acknowledge another’s idea or name them with any changes I might make if I use one of their designs! I do have a question though, what if that idea has been out there forever and you have no idea where it started? Example, one of my gimmicks was a mirror with spools that I beaded and that idea has been everywhere. So how do you go about giving someone credit?

realmenmakejewlery27 ...

I agree with Marta. If the design has been out there forever how do you give them the credit when the person(s) did not even put themselves out there to be agnowledged. Another thing that I’d like to bring up is the copywrite issue. To my knowledge there really are no copywrit designs out there but there are companies that have patend there beads but not designs so it makes it all fair game to use such designs to full extent of the creative mind with no repercussions. I feel that copying other designs are a form flattery but I do feel that when the first person posts a design and someone else copies and reposts the design and receives more positive feedback than the first person who posted the design is unfair and falls under favoritism……Another topic. I know everyone is entitled to there own opinion but this RANT might discourage beginning jewelry designers, such as myself and force some to quit period.

Terrie ...

My understanding of this is that if there’s something out there that has been used and used and used and the original designer’s name has been lost somewhere in all of that, then you can’t control that. What I’m referring to is patterns .. actual bead patterns that are printed, copyrighted material (and it is copyright, not copywrite .. two different things), and they are so recognizeable if you spend any time on beading sites, youtube, etc. People recreate those patterns, post them on here, and never mention where they got the pattern. These arent’ patterns they made up themselves, and there are no tweaks to them…they are just re-created, as-is in the original pattern. And I KNOW those patterns, because I’ve made them myself!
If you’re talking being original as far as STITCHES go, well … who knows who actually designed the right angle weave, or the herringbone, or the peyote stitch? Those aren’t copyrighted. But patterns are. They are a person’s intellectual property (look it up). When people use another’s intellectual property, they are stealing, if they don’t have permission, or haven’t paid for it, or don’t give credit to the designer of the pattern. Now, with that said, there are a lot of free patterns on the ‘net that have no designer’s name mentioned … then they are fair game. But if a person specifically ASKS you to give credit if you use or photograph of sell or display something that is their pattern, then they deserve to have that honored.
I don’t think this should have anything to do with discouraging people from making jewelry, whether they’re beginners or very advanced. Bottom line is. … right is right. Keep making the beautiful things you make, continue to learn and experiment w/ new techniques, and so forth. But if you use someone else’s design (which I do, OFTEN!!), just give a mention as to where you got the pattern or the design. Simple!

Cheryl Lojewski ...

Terrie’s discussion shouldn’t discourage anyone from making jewelry, but bring an awareness to a real problem all artist have whether it’s making jewelry or recording songs or taking pictures…just to name a few. All she is asking is give credit where credit is due.
Most beading patterns I have seen are copyrighted and you can get into loads of trouble if you copy them for profit. And I think that is where you can make a bit of a distinction. If you are making a piece and giving it away, you are probably safe, although I think you should still give credit to the original designer if you know who it is. But…if you create a piece from a pattern that is copyrighted and sell it as your own design, without permission, you most likely just committed a copyright infringement. Not a good thing.
I may be wrong on this, but I draw a distinction, too, between patterns & techniques. Types of stitches (peyote, brick, herringbone, etc.), crocheting with wire, wire wrapping, etc., I would say are techniques, not patterns. Techniques usually are not copyrighted, at least I haven’t seen any that have been. Of course, if you learned a certain techniques from a certain individual, it wouldn’t hurt to credit them, too.

Terrie ...

Absolutely, Cheryl, re: your comment about technique versus pattern design. I guess that’s what I was trying to say above. No, I don’t think individual stitches can be copyrighted, but I agree, that many pattern designs are definitely copyrighted! Just like McCalls, Vogue, Simplicity, and other companies that design dress patterns. You better believe they are copyrighted! As far as a selling pieces, I wasn’t even going as far as that, but you are right. I was really only referring to people who post designs on this site and others [whether they sell it, or not, or just keep it for personal wear] & sort of imply that they made this pattern up, when I know, plain as day, it was someone else’s design! Because I’ve either already made the design, purchased the pattern and am waiting to make the design, or had studied it and looked at it and want to make the design at a future date. And there are lots of people out there like me [you included, Cheryl], who belong to lots of different jewelry sites and see hundreds of photos and patterns posted daily! And these ppl never even mention that they found the design on such and such a site, or were inspired by so and so’s creation, or whatever. They just sort of fail to recognize that designer, at all. It’s just not right. I know if I designed a beautiful pattern and it was being made by people all over the world and pictures posted all over the Internet, it sure would make me feel better if people at least said that it was my design. The same goes for my music.

Yes, you are right, that this is a very sensitive topic. And it certainly is not intended to discourage anyone from continuing to make jewelry! Quite the opposite! It’s simply meant for consciousness-raising! It should encourage people to design and be very creative and continue to learn more about their art. And when you’re in a creative field that leaves so much open to discretion, as in making jewelry, it behooves all of us to be aware of what copyright laws say, and just show good old fashioned respect for other people’s work. That’s the only way there is any integrity in this type of creative field. As stated above, as in any art, we should all be aware of stepping on another designer’s / author’s / creator’s / musician’s toes! As artists, we should insist that other people recognize our own and other designers’ hard work.
Ok. I’ve ranted enough. Lol! Thank you all, for your support on this. Glad to know I’m not the only one in this corner!

Marta ...

Well said!

Annah Kay ...

I have to agree too, Terrie. I rarely use tutorials, and have never used a pattern (yet) but credit should always be given. I can not remember who, but one of the ladies posted a wire ring tut here, and I was thrilled to give her a shout out when I tried it. Only way to get people to share more of their talents imo :)

Linda Foust ...

I agree Annah, I have posted a tut for the clustering and I know several have used it because I see them. It would of been nice to have a recognition. Few have recognized it to me, and those that did I appreciate them very much. I now only get tut’s by email from those that are willing to share them with me. And Eventually I will get to learning those tut’s and will recognize those that are so generous to share them. I have fallen behind on my learning new techniques lately. But a Big Shout Out to Terrie for always sharing her talent.