Forget Peter Ustinov playing Blackbeard or Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow – piracy isn’t cool, it isn’t clever, and there is nothing endearing about it!
I don’t usually attempt to produce topical posts – my embroidery is a very long-term sort of occupation! – but I care about the health of the needlecrafts industry, and there is something we all need to be aware of. I’ve let my thoughts settle over the weekend, and this is my two-pennyworth.
Monique over at Inside Number Twenty has recently discovered her charts being “shared” without her permission and has done a few sums to see what the actual financial costs are to her and to the other businesses associated with hers. The results make sobering reading. No wonder designers are shutting up shop, as Jen Funk Weber reports – not merely because designs are being “shared” (read “pirated”), but because people are downloading free charts rather than paying for a designer’s work. Eventually the designers will have to do something else to earn a living, and then the range of designs available will no longer develop and grow.
A few months ago Tricia Wilson also discussed the financial and social aspects of needlecrafts in a post on The Embroiderer’s Story. There’s a great deal of subtle interplay between the buying decisions we make and the ongoing effects that spread throughout the industry.
The music industry has been complaining about piracy ever since file-sharing became possible, and has been ignored because people consider that pop stars make so much money they won’t miss the few pounds from file-sharers. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know about margins in the entertainment industry, so I can’t comment on that.
Copyright and intellectual property law was originally devised to support and encourage artists – in all media – so that society as a whole can benefit from their work, while they receive just recompense for their efforts.
As for needlecrafts – most of the businesses are so small that “industry” conjures up entirely the wrong image. The margins are small, and loss of even a small portion of revenue may make a difference between a viable business and a designer giving up and getting a non-creative job to pay the bills.
As Yvette has already commented, sharing a copyrighted design is theft. There are a whole range of people who suffer as a result, including ordinary people who enjoy stitching and would never dream of using a pirated chart.
We were all told at kindergarten that theft is wrong. How come people have forgotten?