Theft, Copyright and Inspiration

The Invisible Line

A large issue in our community of beadweavers is theft, copyright & inspiration and where exactly the line is drawn. It is a complicated issued that quickly gets tempers flaring and has been exabated by todays climate of entitlement and our easy access images on the internet. And then there are different copyright laws all over the world, adding more confusion to the matter. So what exactly is acceptable? I won’t pretend to be an authority on the matter but here are some basics, to keep you out of hot water.

Plagiarism: is using someone else’s work without giving them credit – So if you are posting photos of someones else’s work, or bead work you have made with a pattern you brought or were given you need to give them credit.

Copyright infringement: is using someone else’s creative work, which can include a number of things including a piece of visual art, and other creative works, without authorization or compensation, if compensation is appropriate. – This can also include selling someone else’s pattern or teaching their pattern without their permission.

It is illegal to copy large sections of someone else’s copyrighted work without permission, even if you give the original author credit, so if you are inspired by someone else’s work and want to make something similar you are required to buy the pattern if one is available, or ask the designer permission to copy the item if it is not (and give them due credit) or make something similar but is different enough to be its own unique creation.

Fair use Exemption: Allows you to copy small amounts someone else’s work but make sure that you still give them credit.

Now there are many patterns out there with a footnote or disclaimer that you can only make the pattern for your own personal use. This is actually not true, it is only the pattern that falls under the copyright law. You will find these disclaimers in many craft patterns and in every case the are blatantly not true. Unless it is made clear before you buy the pattern that it can only be use to make items for personal use, it has no legal base and even then it is dubious. However I would recommend avoiding patterns with these disclaimers if it is your intent to make items to sell, because really who needs the drama. And if you are writing patterns and want to have this disclaimer make sure you have it nice and clearly visible before the purchase is made.

That said I feel that if you are actually making items to sell from someone else pattern then you should go out of your way to support them, Follow them on social media, engage with their posts and drop them a comment or two, give them a shout out on your own platforms and don’t forget to give them credit where credit is due. Every little bit helps. If you are making money then making sure some of it goes back to the person who created the pattern is a must, even if you are just buying more of their fab patterns, so that they can create more, because they have bills to pay too and from my calculations its damn hard work to make a living creating patterns and items to sell.

And then there are Stitches, Techniques and basic designs.

Stitches and Techniques are not protected by copyright law, though if you do know who came up with them, if they are a modern stitch or technique then be a decent human being and give them credit.

Basic designs are murky water, the thing is it is very easy for several designers to come up with the same basic patterns on their own or to see a basic pattern and copy it with a quick glance at a photo. So if it is easy to copy with a glance then it is rather hard to even determine who owns the original copyright if anyone. The rule of thumb in this case is to try to avoid copying other peoples work but if it is a basic pattern and you do not need to have an image of it in front of you to copy then you can generally copy it without breaking the law. And if you have a photographic memory then remember that dosn’t give you a free pass to copy whatever you want.

And sometimes more than one designer has come up with more complex pattern or design separately and only find out later that their patterns are the same or very similar. In this case because no one actually copied another’s work it can get complicated quickly though copyright dose technically belong to the first person to make the item and can prove that they were the first. In this case designers typically work things out themselves as suing for copyright can be a lengthly and costly process.

Recap:

ASK PERMISSION

ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT WHERE DUE

DO NOT COPY OR SELL OTHER PEOPLES PATTERNS

If IN DOUBT GET ADVICE FROM A LAWER

CHECK FOR DISCLAIMERS AND BE RESPECTFUL

ITS OK TO BE INSPIRED BUT BE INSPIRED TO DO SOMETHING NEW

WHEN IN DOUBT TALK IT OUT

And if you see that someone has not given a designer credit please give them a friendly nudge to do so, it can be as simple as saying hey looks like you forgot to credit Designer X in this photo, I really like your personal touch to the design btw.

All the best until next time Lou and at least two of the cats.

Some places you can find information on copyright law:

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/copyright/180154/copyright-law-in-australia-9-facts-you-should-know

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_Australia

https://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_States

https://copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_Kingdom

How I got started

My first 3D attempt.

When I was a teenager my mother dragged me into our local spotlight store for a jewellery making workshop, way back when they still did those kinds of things. It happened to be a beading workshop and we made a charming little net bracelet. I talked my obliging mother into buying several large lamp work beads (that I have never used) and some beading supplies. That was about the end of it, I made one or two bits of jewellery, from some beading books I had also purchased at some point and decided that it was just another craft to go on the scrap pile.

This discarded hobby, only caught my interest some time later, when procrastinating in the ocean of internet images I saw a beaded sphere and thought to myself that I could make my own. With no reason to believe that I could actually make my own and with only a photo to go by I managed on my second attempt. It was a challenge and as you can see in the photo above its not the best sphere ever made, though a good second attempt. Eventually I found a better way of making the spheres and then decided to use only the one type of bead, making them form much better.

If you look at the progress of my work you will notice that spheres are a constant part of my collection and I am sure that they always will be in some form or variation, because they are such a dynamic and interesting form, that you can do so much with. And much of my work is done with only one type of bead, though I do use more from time to time and am waiting on supplies to start a new project I will tell you about later that incorporates a new material (still made of glass) into the mix.

So I have been beading on and off ever since, with more frequency as the years passed and have been beading full time around full time work for the last two or three years. I have found so much inspiration on the internet that keeps me wanting to push boundaries and explore what is possible. To be honest part of the attraction to beading is being able to try something new that may not have been do already, and find a way to make something work, or even turn it into something else if it dose not work. I am nothing if not a sucker for a challenge.

Beadweaving in the modern age.

Looking down on a 3d CRAW cube (C) Louise Carter

These days there are many types of beadwork, beading stitches & techniques ranging from ancient embroidery and peyote stitch right up to CRAW – cubic right angle weave. And beadwork can be done in flat 2d, raised 2d or even 3d. And then there are the beads. Today there is an abundance of different types of beads, so much so that I would have to do a post all about bead types and then it would be out dated soon enough.

Many projects are done with just one or two stitches but some of the more complex projects can incorporate several stitches and techniques to create a complex creation. Most of my own projects to date have been made up of just one to two stitches and of only a few techniques, and I am still exploring what can be made in this way. I also typically use only one type of bead in a project and only one or sometime two sizes or bead. But most beadweavers will use several types of beads in a project and include materials other than thread.

All over the globe there are beadweavers working on discovering new techniques and there are even teams of people scattered across the world working new projects, techniques and figuring out the architecture of beadwork. It is an exciting time to be beading as new techniques are discovered and shared.

Types of projects range from jewellery, embroidery, tapestries, miniatures, boxes, decorations to sculptures. Patterns are abundant for those who don’t want to design their own creations or wish to lear a new technique with a pretty pattern. And for those who do want to create there own patterns there are programs such as BeadTool and Easy Bead Patterns to help the process along.

Well that is all for now, Louise and Millie.

Something Like Obsession

Welcome to my very own art journal/blog and the crazy world of beadweaving that I inhabit. I have no idea if anyone will actually want to dive into my thoughts on this odd and particular topic but the truth is I just need to express myself on the topic even if my ramblings go unnoticed in the void that is the internet.

If you are actually reading this than I would actually like to know what you are interested in seeing or reading about my beadwork and please understand that this blog will be an ongoing work in progress and like everything I do it is rather unplanned and spare of the moment. It might be a surprise for some of my current followers to learn that I take the same approach to my bead work.

Some times I will spend months if not years contemplating a project and other times I will have and idea and start right away even in the middle of another project. Most of my basic drawings and vague figuring outs are done after the project has already started. And to the frustration of many I still have not gotten around to producing patterns, though I have half heartedly made some attempts.

As haphazard as it all maybe I love beading and when I am not working I will spend most of my day at my desk beading and listening to audio books. To be completely honest I will also spend most of my time before or after work depending on my shift also beading. It seems that often my intensity freaks people out for some reason and it dose leave very little in the way of conversation to connect over. But that is just the price to pay for having an obsession.

Anyway I hope you enjoy studying the results of my obsessions and find some item in my beaded collection the inspires or amazes you.

Love Lou.