Thursday, September 20, 2012

Playing Safe

Comments on my posts are usually few. Not-so-nice comments are ever fewer. In fact, I can't really remember any specifically, which is a good thing because I choose not to dwell on that. However there was a comment on my Moda Bake Shop post that spiked some emotion from me.

There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere this summer regarding copyright law. The comment on my tutorial was about this and I wanted to address it here in case anyone else was curious.Bascially the comment said that I had copied someone else's creation and that it might be a violation of her copyright. The comment also accused Moda of being in the wrong for allowing it to be posted.

This really upset and worried me because I try to be honest and work with intergrity in everything I do. We find inspiration all around us and it's hard to block that out of your mind when being creative. When I design a new quilt pattern or fabric collection I scan the internet for days searching for anything I can think of that might be similar to make sure that I am not copying anyone else's work. There are bound to be instances in which several people design things around the same time with the same basic idea- it happens, but I would never purposely put something out there and take credit for someone else's work.

For this reason I wanted to give credit on my blog to Avril Loreti for her placemat design. It was also this reason that I was worried that I hadn't done enough when the commenter made mention of it.

So I wanted you to know that I wrote Avril Loreti and email yesterday and I wanted to share it and her replay with you here.

Hi Avril. My name is Emily Herrick and I own a quilt company called Crazy Old Ladies.
 I design quilt patterns and quilting fabric for Michael Miller Fabrics.

I am writing you to because I recently wrote a couple of blog posts and I
wanted you to take a look. The first is on my blog
and the second one links from there onto Moda Bake Shop.

The reason why I want you to take a look is because I used your placemat as
inspiration for a quilted project. I try to respect other people and their designs in
all of my work which is why I credited you with the inspiration. However, maybe I
 should have contacted you before it was posted. I honestly didn't think it was a big
deal until people started commenting that I wasn't being respectful your copyright.
I hope that I haven't infringed on your creativity. If I have, it wasn't my intention.
Please let me know how you would like me to proceed. I would be happy to post
an apology and ask Moda Bake Shop to remove the tutorial.

I want you to know that I love your work and in no way was I trying to 'rip-off' your style.
 I am a big fan of color and paint swatches. Your style and color choices are superb.
I hope you continue to design wonderful things and acheive much success.

Thank you for your time.
Emily Herrick

This morning I woke to a reply from Avril in my inbox.

Hi Emily,

Thanks for getting in touch with me about this. I'm always happy to hear when my
designs have inspired creative exploration in others and It's nice to see that you've
made yourself a similar product in your own style and that you'll be making some for
your family for the holidays. This is totally reasonable. If you were going to start
selling them I think that would be a different story and infringement would be an issue.

I feel a bit uncomfortable that there was no inspiration credit in the tutorial post on
Moda Bake Shop. I work very hard to come up with original pieces that are intelligent,
interesting, and new to the marketplace. Before i launched my line of paint chip table
linens i made sure that there was nothing like it online and that it was truly original.

I appreciate that you have a credit on your site and i believe you did the right thing by
starting off with a credit. No need to take down the post! But Moda Fabrics is a large
company that should have also done their due diligence. They profit from the traffic
that goes on their blog, from the work that you put into your tutorial, and from my
paintchip placemat idea. Is there any way for them to update that post to include
the inspiration credit?

Thanks so much for being up front about this all.


ps. I just saw your reusable cup technique on your blog and will definitely be
trying that out this week. pure genius!

Is she not the sweetest lady EVER!?

I do want to clarify though that when posting a tutorial on Moda Bake Shop it is all up to the designer to write the entire post- not Moda. I wrote the whole post and therefore was responsible for the appropriate credit. I should have done it originally but added it this morning in my better-late-than-never style.  :o)

I guess that's all I have to say about the subject. People will be people and think what they want but I can still go on with life feeling good about myself because I know I did the right thing.

Now I'm going to go sew and I hope you do too. HAPPY SEWING!  :o)


Mommarock said...

Tsk tsk Moda!

Christine said...

Emily, good for you for getting this worked out so amicably. Love your blog and your work.

Caro said...

I'm glad for you that everything worked out.

Sarah PingsAndNeedles said...

nicely dealt with by both sides :) ... I strongly believe in crediting inspiration and following copyright, I have to - I teach it, but really, if we're going to trace back inspiration on paint chips we could go right back to Mr Dulux ...

Don't feel bad. You did good.

Cindy Sharp said...

Well done.

It is hard to declare any quilted item totally unique. Really, how many ways are there to arrange rectangles, squares and triangles. It is nice to include your source of inspiration, it lets others know how you think, but I don't think that it should be a huge issue. You handled it nicely.

Stephanie H said...

I think what you did to appease the situation was good, and the lady seemed to be gracious about it. However, with so much creativity and created items out there, I'm not sure it's possible to have something completely original. If you purchased a pattern from her and chose to sell items from that, I know people have issues there. But I'm not quite sure how putting a new twist on an existing product is a violation. Oh, well. Sounds like everything worked out in the end!

mary mahoo said...

Bravo to both you & Ms. Loreti for your handling of this matter. Very well done. As for the commenter at Moda,,,my parents' raised me so that if I had nothing nice to say, to say nothing. Well,,,I'm saying nuthin'.
Keep up the great work Emily.

Amy DeCesare said...

Look at how easily the two of you resolved this issue, with mutual respect. BOTH of your products are beautiful and each is unique, even though the theme of paint chips is the same. That's what is artistic about interpretation.