Lots of people do it. Good people, even. Because they don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s hard for me to even call it what it really is.
I’ve been mulling something over and over in my head the last couple of days. I was pinged on Ravelry when “verypink” was mentioned in a group. Usually I visit these groups and I’m pleased with what I see. People I don’t even know saying nice things about my patterns and videos! This, of course, always brings a smile to my face.
But this time was different. I went to the group and read a post from a woman who purchased one of my patterns + video tutorials, found it helpful, and offered to share the file (for free, presumably) with anyone reading the post. All of my patterns are copyrighted and this isn’t okay – and it’s even worse in a public forum.
I didn’t know how to proceed for a few reasons. First, this woman isn’t really a thief at heart. She offered the pattern up to be NICE to the other folks in the group, not really thinking that it would impact the person selling the pattern. Second, I have to assume this sort of thing happens all the time, so I can’t really control it. Third, to say something in the forum against this could make me look like a raging bitchhog, and that’s not an image I want to be associated with me and my business.
Then I got pretty annoyed with myself. Why would I worry about looking bitchy when I’m only asking people to please not steal patterns? These same people would never consider stealing yarn or needles or row counters or stitch markers for a project. But emailing a copyrighted pattern to their friends feels different than a real five-finger discount.
So I ask on behalf of all of the designers that sketch an idea, buy yarn for it, swatch, cast-on, knit, rip out, re-knit, take notes, measure, calculate, bind off, block, size up, size down, type out, photograph, publish, and post. If you enjoy knitting our patterns, tell the world about it! But please don’t share copyrighted patterns with your friends. Even though it seems like no big deal.
I imagine most designers (myself included) would not be able to afford to do what we do if everyone continues to think it’s okay to share. This issue is huge for me as a designer, considering the weeks of additional work it takes to shoot just one video tutorial.
A follow up to the story – I asked my friend Kelly for her opinion on the matter of the woman on Ravelry offering to share her pattern. Kelly is a friend, a regular student, and a moderator on the Verypink Designs group on Ravelry. Kelly jumped into action right away, and posted a nice reply in the forum, reminding everyone that copyrighted patterns are for personal use only. I checked Kelly’s post a few hours later to see if there were any replies, and two people had hit the “disagree” button.
Makes me sad.
Okay, off my soapbox. Here is a handsome photo of Ike to lighten the mood. 🙂