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Much ado…

Nope, nope, nopeWarning: this post will be full of clichés and catch-phrases.

Law of mass conservation:

“Dans la nature rien ne se crée, rien ne se perd,
tout change.
In nature nothing is created, nothing is lost,
everything changes.”
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier

There’s a play with this quote (in Brazil, at least) that states that in TV nothing is created, everything is copied.  The same principle can be (and is) applied to the fashion universe.  It’s a quote I’ve had to remind myself of many times since I started publishing patterns.
I know of at least two designers who started their careers by “reinventing” patterns of mine.  A few months ago I saw a book with a stitch pattern that came straight from one of my designs (to be honest, I wouldn’t call it a stitch pattern, but this not the point of this entry).
This introduction is to make it clear that I know all too well what it means to have your creations -errrrrrr- re-created.  I made the decision to not go looking for this, because the alternative isn’t healthy.

Enter the Chinese website:

Last year, thanks to a thread on Ravelry, I became aware of a website/online community that was breaching copyright left and right.  Against my better judgment, I went there to check it out and sure enough there were patterns of mine available there.
I had mixed feelings about the whole thing – the website is really confusing to navigate, there’s no visible way to contact the people responsible for it…  I felt sorry for some of the stuff I saw there and more so for the people who use the website.  From what I understand there’s a currency thingy going on there: meaning people would have to pay money for the patterns available.  I felt like those people were being duped.  At least as far as my patterns are concerned, since the ones I found were free.
Based on the fact that people were paying for stuff they could get elsewhere for free, I decided to investigate the website a little further.
Well, it turns out the website is hosted in China, which pretty much translates into “Good luck getting the website’s host to take any action”.
I Pmed the person who posted the link to the Chinese website, told her what I’d found and explained why it would be very hard to get the patterns pulled.  This was the last I dwelt into it.  Well, until the beginning of this week.

Outrageous indignation :

At the beginning of this week (yet) another designer found out about the (by now infamous) Chinese website.  Much gnashing of teeth happened, a few pearls were clutched, some great (NOT!) ideas shared.  I even saw a hilarious threat (aka: flounce).
People contacted Google, Google Ads,  Adsense, random companies…you name it.  Some even shared info on how to contact consulates and suggested contacting the Chinese government.
Most of the suggestions led to dead ends (and probably a lot of people on the other end of the missives scratching their heads).  The “best” they achieved was that Google doesn’t show their patterns on Google searches anymore.
And I died laughing.  From here on this is being written by zombie-me.  Zombie-me is also responsible for all the clichés that will follow.

Be careful what you wish for:

If you add up all of the many, many threads and posts from designers wringing their hands and wondering why their patterns aren’t selling/how to sell more/ variations of the theme, you’ll find out those people spend a huge amount of time thinking, posting and tweaking in pursuit of the perfect SEO, all social media, blogs etc..  Some of them even go as far as making questionable posts on Ravelry, trying to plug their work.
In an amazing and unexpected (to me) turn of events, those people who work so hard to get recognition shot themselves on the foot by asking demanding Google excluded them from searches.
Well done, dimwits!  You just lost a venue that you were working so hard to get.

You can’t have it both ways:

As I mentioned on my previous section, those people are chasing after fame and fortune (ROFLMAO), they want their patterns to go viral, to become a well-known (read: lots of sales) designer.
Here’s the thing, though.  The more your designs become desirable, the more visible your creations become, the more people will try to copy your work.
Don’t believe me?  Take a look at ANY fashion show (pin or add links to your favorites, if your memory is as bad as mine) and then check out what the more affordable brands come up with for the same season.  Yep.  A boatload of “inspired by” and a handful of plain copycat designs.
Pick your choice: you can either remain somewhat invisible (and not be able to design as a full-time job) or you can become one of the industry’s big names (and see your patterns/emulations of your patterns) all over the internet.

When everything else fails…

Spam Ravelry and make sure to earburn Casey.
I’ve seen at least four different threads created to discuss this copyright infringement.  I didn’t even do a search, those were in fora I usually check anyway.
The brilliant (NOT!) idea of having Casey code something that would plaster a watermark over any sold pattern was brought to the table.  This watermark would have a text that read something along the lines of “Sold on Ravelry.  Bought by soandso@emailaccount.com.”
Enter the nope octopus.  There’s no way I’d let the privacy of my buyers be violated that way.  I do not want to deal with angry (and reasonably so) buyers who can’t see my pattern clearly because there’s a huge, awful watermark all over it.  I won’t send a message that basically says: “I got your money, but I don’t trust you.  So I’ll make it very difficult for you to knit this, but not so difficult for you to take it off and breach my copyright.”.
The people who will have problems with a watermark are the people who don’t have the skills to erase it, and those people are less likely to make a pattern available without authorization.
Then, there’s the problem of the size of my charts – they are big, and the new designs I’m working on right now have even bigger ones.  I could make them smaller to accommodate for the stupid watermark and in the process alienate those who, like me, lack a good eyesight; or I can say no to the idea – which is what I did.
I alienate enough people already by not offering written instructions.  I’m not going to prevent more people from working from my patterns by making them impossible to follow (Heck! I wouldn’t be able to follow them myself!).
Casey has offered a great suggestion: not happy?  Take your business elsewhere.  Other venues do offer what you want.  It won’t stop piracy from happening, though, and it will come back to bite you.

Hoar de Fleece (day 1 and 2)

29/6 Day one:  I wasn’t sure if the Tour started today or on Monday, so I went through my day doing more mundane tasks – like grocery shopping.  I finished knitting a prototype for another design and decided that I wanted to over dye the shawl, as the original color of the yarn didn’t do much for the beads I used.
I put all the blue dyes I had in the crock pot and added black and all the purples.  I ended up with a very saturated dye bath, so I decided to over dye some silk fiber I had lying around:
This roving (top?) is 89.7g, which is odd.  I usually dye stuff in 100g or 4 oz lots – depending on the purpose.  If I’m dyeing to spin it myself, I go with 100g, since that’s the weight of a normal skein.  When dyeing to sell, I make it into 4 oz lots, as this is the average weight fiber is sold.
I suspect some of the fiber was used to make a batt, mixed with some other wool and fibers.

30/6 Day two:  After procrastinating for a good part of the day (spun silk is fabulous, but it’s such a PITA to spin), I finally sat down and started spinning it.  I had to take an obscene amount of breaks because I have to grab the fibers tight and after a few minutes my fingers hurt.
I’m hoping to have a heavy lace weight yarn by the time I’m done.

No time for that

I just deactivated my Twitter account.  Lets face it, I don’t use it properly and it was a royal PITA to log in every time.  I’ve had a malicious link sent to me at least once, multiple “marketers” spamming me, my account hacked and just now, a re-tweet allegedly made by me.  Never mind the annoying emails Twitter sends out, with a heading that claims someone I follow has twitted me – and I open those emails to find out that it wasn’t true.

I can deal with the emails by deleting them without opening, I can deal with the messages on Twitter by ignoring – as I do some follower who are clearly using the platform just for marketing.  But dealing with hacks is another matter.
When my account was hacked, I told Joel if it happened again, I’d close my account.  I deleted the fake tweets, changed my password (again) and for a while, kept an eye on it – just in case it happened again.
Months passed with no suspicious activity on my account, I got busy with other things and forgot to check my Twitter.  Well, today, because I was bored and had some time, I decided to check it again and found out someone (or something) managed to hack into it again and re-twit something.  The kicker is that I cannot delete it.  The only thing I could do was block the user, which I did.  Then it occurred to me that it will eventually happen again and I really don’t have the time to do damage control.

Now, if you’re thinking about deleting your account too, a warning.  Very much like Facebook, they don’t just delete your account.  The account becomes “deactivated” and if you don’t log in in 30 days, it will then be deleted.