Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stealing Free Patterns

Recently one of the bloggers I follow pulled her free patterns from her blog because people are not only publishing but also SELLING her free patterns. This arrogance is unbelievable. As a freelance writer, I understand the frustration of having others steal your hard work.

There are mainly two groups causing problems for our generous designers. The first are people who take the free patterns and publish them on blogs, websites, or message boards from ignorance. They assume incorrectly that because the patterns are offered without cost, they are free to publish them and have no copy writes protecting them.

This is NOT true. If you notice there are no patterns posted on this blog. Eventually I may write some of my own, but for the moment, I have not chosen to do so. At some point, a designer may offer to let me share a pattern and I will make note of that on the pattern so people will clearly understand the terms of use. I do not publish patterns because I DO NOT have permission to use the designer's patterns.

The second group has a more devious issue. This group steals patterns. This is not a result of ignorance, but done to make money from the hard work of others. These people find free patterns and then sell them as their own designs. This is not acceptable.

Another issue that affects me as a blog writer is images. Images are not free for the taking. If you see a picture of a project you like, it does not mean you can grab it and use it because you lack one of your own. I have mentioned several times that I use Flickr and Morgue to find free photographs for my blog when I do not have my own pictures. I have worked hard to establish my own library of pictures to use for my blogs. These are my work and are not for public use. Yet people feel free to grab pictures without permission.

People offer free patterns for a variety of reasons. Some bring traffic to their blogs and websites. Others are hoping to increase sales for their paid items. The reasons they offer the patterns are not relevant to justifying stealing. They own these patterns and it is never OK to steal them.

If you want to share a free pattern, provide a link to the pattern. People can follow the link and download the pattern, just as you did. If you want to borrow a picture, send a message to the blog or website owner. Do not just take the item and assume it is OK. If you do not hear, move on and find another alternative.

This is not an isolated incident. Sadly, I have heard from more than one designer that they are reconsidering how they share their free patterns. At the heart of it is respect. If people continue to treat designers with disrespect, we can expect fewer free patterns.


C.Mahan said...

I hate that people have to ruin things for all of us. With so much information on the internet, why steal?? I never understood that really.

Terese said...

It's a matter of not giving credit where credit is due. I agree, if a person wants to share a free pattern, or blog post for that matter, they should make sure they provide credit and link to where it came from so the originator can reap some benefit for their work.

Sheltie Times said...

Actually it is not OK to take the pattern and post it on another site without permission, even with a link. You don't own the content, the person that wrote it does. You can write about the pattern and provide a link to where others can find it, but it is not yours to share.

Just because they are not charging a price for the pattern does not mean it is free to carry off. This has become a HUGE issue for writers and designers.

This already is causing some crochet and knit designers to move their patterns back into the limited protections of pay per pattern.

Anonymous said...

That is disgusting. I have never nor will I ever understand people who think that sort of action is OK.
Nine times out of ten, it's also stupid. I mean, crafting, in particular- if you hit someone up and you say, "I love this pattern, would you talk about it a bit on my blog in a guest post?" They'd do it- from an SEO marketing standpoint, everybody wins.

When they just gank it and to SELL it? Ew. How can you trust someone like that?

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