Blatently copying. Is it wrong?

Now, I know we all see things in blog land or at craft shows and go home and make them for ourselves or to sell.  Do we copy them exactly? Not usually unless the person says go for it.  Usually, we take the item and store it in our memory then go home and use it as inspiration and create something similar but with our personality,  our spin on it. 

That I am okay with.  I am also okay with someone asking me questions on how it is made.  I usually tell them but ask that they not resell the items- especially if it is something I have worked long and hard on and spent hours getting it to work just right. 

But I draw the line when someone comes into our place of business and takes photographs to copy items.  
I do not mean photographs of the booth space in general to share with blog land or just to get the feel of the space.  
I mean the ladies this past Friday who came in my booth and others in our place and picked items up and photographed them from many angles.  
Pulled things apart at seams a bit to get photographs that show how to sew it.  
Ladies who kept taking apart displays to photograph items all the while saying, 
" we can make this and sell it ourselves".  

That pisses me off to say it bluntly.  And it is pretty lucky for these "ladies" that I was not there as I would have probably grabbed their camera, erased the photos, told them to come up with their own original ideas instead of stealing and then told them to not let the door hit them on the way out.

I am angry.  I am pissed and I am hurt.  
I work long hours on my items and to me this is just stealing.  
Will it happen again?  
Sure it will. 
Because some people just don't have any tact or integrity.  
Sad isn't it?

Well we have decided to put up a sign prohibiting photographs.  
This should help. Or at least I hope so. 
I mean people will still take ideas and run with them.  But they need to be able to do it from memory of seeing it, not from taking in depth spy photos of the items. 
With a little style from the Graphics Fairy I think this should say it quite nicely.  What do you think?



  1. I think that might help stop the photography of your creations but that won't stop someone from buying your product, taking it apart and then making it on their own. What truly AMAZES me is that they would make the comments and take the photos in front of someone. They had more nerve than a bad tooth. Some people have no manners, no integrity and certainly no scruples. You have every right to be furious!

  2. Hi Tammy,
    I understand your frustration and anger. I've had this happen to me too. In fact one lady took apart a rosette that I made so she could see how to make it. I heard both women say that they could easily make them. I saw her carrying it around as though she were going to buy it. Later on I found it in the back of the shop in another booth completely torn apart!!! Unfortunately we do have these types that would rather steal an idea than to come up with one. Sad, but true.
    Yes, I like your sign and I hope it works.


  3. This same type of thing happened to my husband's furniture shop, were an actual employee copied & sold without our graces into the exact same market. Underselling us along the way. Yes, it's hurtful, but really unless you have a trademark on your product you have no legal way of taking action. Not even legal to erase their photos while on your premises. We ended up praying hard & out marketing him. The karma came back to bite him & long story short he's not in biz anymore and we are still going strong.

  4. Wow!! That is truly nervy! And you absolutely have the right to be mad. I cannot imagine the mindset of someone to think that is ok.

  5. Nervy! That's saying it mildly! You have even right to be mad!

  6. i am soo with you my friend. so wrong! take heart....i believe in karma!

  7. I'm so sorry, that is terribly rude! I hope your sign helps but I will tell you this. I used to work at a church and we had problems with the kids running in our pretty flower gardens while the moms just visited with friends and never said a word. We thought about putting up signs but realized people who do those kinds of things don't care/pay attention to signs. I would chalk it up as part of the business, a really sucky part but none the less a part. I hope your booth is doing fabulous despite of these people! :)

  8. amen! i think you ae totally right in putting a sign up like that when they come in there and DAMAGE items . that is ridiculous! so sorry you are having to deal with people like that.

  9. That is terrible. You made me think though. I typically ask the owner of the store if I can take photos. I have a local store that I photograph in all the time for my blog. One of the dealers recently stopped me and was upset that I was taking photos. The owner told her that I had permission and that I often blogged about the store. Now, I think I realize what she was thinking. Probably thought I was going to steal her ideas. I need to be more considerate. Of course, I wasn't even handling the items and certainly not taking them apart. Thanks for the reminder though.

  10. that is sad! I'm sorry it happened to you

  11. Oh that's CRAPPY that they did that. Some people, eh? Yeah that sign is nice, I hope it works.

  12. I think your sign is a great idea. I wish something like that would work at smaller craft shows, but space is at a premium. I just had a (thought she was) dear friend who learned all about sea glass and wire wrapping from me. Every time she asked me "how do you..." I would show her and teach her and take time to explain.

    Then two weekends ago she appeared at the same craft show as me selling items almost identical to the ones I've been making and selling for years. AND she undercut my price (which is a very fair price to begin with). It was really damaging to my sales.

    But you're right, this is the way of business sometimes. And so I soldiered on and channelled my anger into coming up with a new design for my next show that she'll know nothing about. Frustation into creation!

    I hope your sign cuts down on the rude behavior!

  13. That really is rude to say the least, I think you need to have a talk with the people taking care of your booth. I know that most places will not allow cameras, when I was at an antique shop in the summer, I asked permission to take photos for my blog, and the lady on duty said it was fine with her to take photos of her booth but not the others. I was fine with that too. Wasn't doing it to steal ideas anyway, which is a bit different case as yours. Hope the sign helps :)

  14. Some people now a days just have no respect that is terrible they did that with your items and I would have a sign like that everywhere in your booth!

  15. I so agree with you~ You put in long and hard hours to make what you do and the nerve of someone stealing (that is what I would call it) is just not right. I would be hurt and angry!

  16. "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal." That quote is attributed to Picasso. *Sigh.* Of course he's wrong; great artists show the world new ways of looking at things, and make us ask questions about the material things that surround us.

    I think I'm in the minority here, because I have no problem with people stealing my ideas, or even profiting off of them. We live in an age where it's never been easier to DIY. There will always be those who copy. Always have been, always will be. It seems like every successful company has been sued for "copying" at one point or another. The trick to success, IMO, is to out-awesome your competitors, both the legit ones and the copycats. Rise above the hurt and anger (after all, these poor folks must have zip for creativity if they must copy from others to have anything to sell), and know that YOUR creativity is authentic. Don't fence off that creativity -- share it. If you share it loud and proud enough, nobody will be able to get away with copying, because the world will know your unique style.

  17. I completely agree with StephCreative. When we view blog photos of creations the photograph has been done for us, instead of taking the picture ourselves. Isn't that exactly what you did when you created the glittered letters inspired by MMS? Take it as a compliment.

  18. @jerri
    I can see your point jerri if I had done just that. But I didn't. I read Marion's tutorial and emailed her with questions and such. She also said in her post that she encouraged others to try it and such. I have no problem if I do a tutorial of items and they do it and sell it. I would be putting it out there with the intention of others using it. That is what a tutorial is for- sharing. But I don't think coming into a persons place of business and taking mulitiple micro shots of items and pulling them apart to see how it was constructed is right. That is stealing as well as destruction.
    I don't take that as a compliment.
    And when I do something that was inspired or even offered as a tutorial I ALWAYS give credit where it came from - I never try to pass it off as my idea. That is just rude.
    Sorry we will have to agree to disagree.

  19. Tammy, you are right! I was confusing blog "copying" with your circumstances of shoppers literally destroying your merchandise to duplicate. Your creations are wonderful!!!

  20. Most everything I do is at least inspired from something I've seen, however, I'm careful not to copy it exactly, and I'm certainly not going to use anything to directly compete with someone whose creation I was inspired by. For instance, I have a space in Lancaster, PA (Building Character). I had a set of three gourds for sale, which were painted with chalk paint and numbered. The vendor across from me sold gourds as well (which were stained with leather dye), which I didn't really notice until I had mine in my booth. After that, I didn't put anymore up for sale.
    That said, if someone wants to take pictures of my stuff to copy, there's nothing I can do to stop them. Most of the time, people aren't going to even make the items, much less sell them. Like the sign at the craft show said, "I know you can make it, but will you?"
    I'd say, chalk your experience up to rudeness, and move on. Ten percent of people will cause you ninety percent of your problems.
    Fondly, Tami