I posted this on my personal Facebook account earlier this week, but I think it really needs a larger audience. So here I am. I may also expand on it a bit… As I renew my Elmow designs and begin to get a bigger following in the great wide world, I think about this more and more – and it takes more and more time away from designing, choreography, and getting my arts to you.
There are only a few things I dislike intensely in this world of ours. First is a student of any art form charging less than professional rates in a professional venue – it lowers the *perceived* value of everything any true professional does. If you’re ready to perform or sell in a professional venue, charge professional rates. If you’re not ready, don’t offer. The other? Finding out that someone I have a relationship with is blithely scanning someone charts or artwork and “sharing” it with an online group.
The first is majorly irritating, but people have the right to sell their work and services at the rate they feel is appropriate, not what I do. Anti trust laws, anti cabal laws – I want those to work in my favor in the bigger world, so in the artistic world they still have to work that way. Oh well. We fight that one by education.
The second – is illegal theft. Pure and simple. Over the years I have been told “you have a gift from God, it’s your duty to share it for free.” Ummm. I have skills I DEVELOPED over YEARS of work and study, in dance, design, writing and stitching.
I do not have a duty to give you my hard work and study for free. I have a *duty* to pay my mortgage, because I contracted for it. I have also been told, “It’s only a copyright violation if you make money off of the scans.” No. It’s not. It’s a copyright violation as soon as those scans (or photocopies) are separated from the original. We have already lost many many needlework designers who have gone on to other things because they couldn’t pay the bills: do the names Theresa Wentzler and Liz Turner-Diel ring any bells? We are on the verge of losing several more because they see their designs stolen and that they can’t pay the rent and begin to think that a job as a receptionist for XYZHuge, Inc. will pay the bills better than doing what they love and are great at.
You say you only do it because you love our designs. Do us a favor and allow us to feed ourselves by BUYING those designs you supposedly love so much!