I hope you enjoy my new blog, with fluffy love and quacks, Mother Duck xxxx

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Should I really be flattered if my work is copied?

Why is it when people see a piece of your work or a picture of it they say "I think I might make one of those" rather than where can I get one of those? Even if said in jest it makes the designer of the original piece bristle and get upset.

How many times have you been at a craft fair and heard someone say 'I could make that' or 'that's expensive it's just a couple of beads(fabric or whatever)".
I have been creating items to sell via craft fairs and wedding fairs for a number of years now and I still hear it, yet every time I want to tell these people how long it had taken to make from inception to completion. Often at craft fairs or on the website we don't price items to their true value, taking into account the work put into the item, materials, cost of utilities used, transport to get it to the craft fair, your time for a day at a fair etc 
(the thorny issue of pricing our products are for another Blog) and we know that the people saying these things are unlikely to actually go away and do it but you never really know.

I spend a lot of my time making a product to sell; not just the physical time spent making it but the time spent sketching ideas, drawing or writing a pattern, checking the pattern works by making a prototype (often several to get it just right) and finally sourcing all the materials etc to make it just right BEFORE it gets to my stand at a craft fair or the website.

We are all told that pride comes before a fall BUT why shouldn't we be proud that we have designed something, if we've created the pattern, adapted it several times to get it just right and finally producing something beautiful ... even a practical item can be beautiful. Why shouldn't we be proud of the hard work, and final item?

Hold your head up high, say I designed and made that. If you are using someone's pattern then you can say I made this beautiful thing because such & such a person took the time to create the pattern; give credit where credit is due.

A word of advice if you use a pattern, whether knitting, crochet, sewing, jewellery or anything else make sure you read the fine print. Many patterns have a little note that says "for personal use only" which in a nutshell means you cannot sell the items you make from this pattern. You need to get written permission to sell items you make from commercially produced patterns; just because a crafter publishes patterns in their Blog it doesn't mean you can take that pattern, make it and sell items ... check with the Blogger first.  No matter where you purchase or find a pattern check the fine print ... even if the pattern is in a book there will be a note in the front or back of the book saying whether you can use the items made to sell. If you cannot find it in the small print then it probably means you cannot sell the items you make BUT no matter where you get the pattern from you should out of courtesy name the pattern creator. For example "this item is made using a pattern from ........." NEVER claim it to be your original design if it isn't.

Many designers of patterns that you can find in books or on the internet are happy to sell you a licence that will give you the permission you need to sell the items you make; obviously they set limits and these should be adhered to to avoid legal issues at a later date. A licence will cost you but better to buy the licence than risk a very expense law suit for breach of copyright. Some companies have what is called an Angel Policy which will mean that they give limited permissions for their patterns to be used, each is different so check them out don't make an assumption you can sell if they have an angel policy. The thorny issue of intellectual copyright is too complex to tackle here but is one you have to consider if using designs created by someone else.

There are many, many agencies that will register your unique designs to protect them; I haven't personally used these,yet, but if you do have a truly unique item and want to protect it then it might be worth checking the agencies out. The one I have noticed at larger craft events is http://acid.eu.com/  I have also had these two suggested to me http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/ and 
http://copyright.co.uk/index.html  I haven't used any of these Agencies and cannot vouch for them; you will have to make your own mind up whether you want to register your UNIQUE design/item and whether any of these can help in your own situation. You could also seek legal advice but be aware this may cost more from the outset.

As crafters, artists, and designers we enjoy making something new to share with the world but that doesn't give the world permission to copy what we have made and say that it is their own.

Be unique!
with fluffy love & hugs from
Mother Duck


  1. I read this Post with Interest as it is such a Mirror to what happens to me often. People looking touching my Items at fairs then putting them down and very loudly proclaiming "Goodness I could make that" Or, as happened at my last Fair some person actually saying to me 'I don't want to buy anything just come by to see what I can make for MY next fair!!!' Ppl often say my prices are to high!!! Yeah? Really? I am fed up if I see some crafters selling their Handmade's cheap. I know what the Time alone some Items can take...do you not charge for that I always want to shout at them...Okay rant one over!!!

  2. I have had problems at craft events with other crafters 'just looking' but I drew the line when one wanted to take pix and add a few notes in a book. I asked if she would be paying the licence fee for my designs she just turned heel and left.
    I now have a polite 'no photographs with out prior permission of owner'

  3. Goodness me I never knew people could be so cheeky as to actually do that!! That's terrible.
    As a customer I must admit that I am one of the "you get what you pay for" types, and I am more than happy to pay that little bit more knowing someone has taken the time to sit and create something of high quality and workmanship. Also if things are too cheap, then I am inclined to think it must have been made cheaply :/

    Great post xxx

  4. People do say and do these things regularly ... not only customers but some fellow stall holders can be pretty sneaky in copying your work too :(

    I prefer to have faith in human nature and would like to think that in the majority people are honest and wouldn't copy my work; sadly it is the minority that highlight where the theory falls down.

    I wish more customers had your mindset when purchasing handmade goods.

  5. This is all very true and scary, I have a pattern i have been working on for a little while now and when this topic came up on fb a while back i used a site recommended by another page to copyright my design but im not sure if its a good site or not as it was free
    myfreecopyright.com. Anyway i think i will go ahead and pay for a multi copyright as i would like to do more.

    1. I have myfreecopyright.com and I like them. When i post my creations using a watermark, I get an email unique to that post, as long as you keep those emails you have the copyright protection. Yes it is free but its good. Im a disabled single parent with a teenager just about to start college so I need every bit of money I can get. Yes, I do sell my cards cheaply, but I cover the cost of making it so i can make more cards. Its my therapy to stop me getting depressed as I was forced out of the best job iver ever had in over 30+ years of working...If you do go for the copyright and watermark, you will need a photo editing program on your computer. I recommend Photoscape, its free and does the job.

  6. Oh Im so pleased that someone has done the fabulous thing and talked about this!! Thank you Mother Duck. Im a seller of handmade cards and I, too, am fed up, totally, of other people assuming, for one, that they can get my design cheaper, a card at a cheaper price but what they dont realise is that, yes, we dont charge the full amount for making items as the price to sell at, would be too high and no one would pay it! Ive reguarly sold my creations at a loss but thats because, 1) other card sellers are selling "handmade" cards at such a low price even 25p!!I cant compete with that.. 2) too many card sellers at anyone craft fair 3) other handcrafters diversifying into card making and selling cards along side their original goods (thats so annoying as its not giving sellers like me a chance if only one table of such a craft is allowed at a craft fa L4 nded as a visitor I saw: every single table selling cards of one form or another!!
    I am now making cards for a hobby, making every occasion a special one and handmaking every card, I make for the month ahead and then settle down and craft for blog challenges and competitions. I will be checking out the copyright stuff as I do post on social network sites, I make for my regular customers too. people have come back to me time after time and I appreciate them. (Sorry I drifted off onto diff subjects) but Im happier now to have said all of what I have.

  7. What a fantastic write up. I've posted a link to this from my facebook page. Let's see how many people read it!

  8. Thank you all for your feedback. This really is a subject dear to my heart. I am so often surprised, even after many years, when I hear people at craft fairs.

    So many crafters are diversifying in an effort to obtain sales. At Dizzy Ducks Creations we have always made a wide range of items; because of this we have found many organisers of craft fairs will only permit us to display a small proportion of our goods, they are unable to pigeon hole us into one type of craft.


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  10. I am unable to sell at craft fairs/events now due to my progressive disability, so I sell online (facebook only at the moment) and through word of mouth only. When I was selling at local and further afield I was horrified to see other stall holders, as in bath bombs/candle producers/jams&chutneys all selling handmade cards, one event had every stall holder with a good selection of cards, even knitters!! Why of why cant they stick to their own crafts and give us card makers (some of whom cant knit or sew, let alone any other crafts) do our own creations.
    Ive not finished yet but im too tired to think properly. Good night dear friends ;) x