I am on a Yahoo Group that is trying to fight the Pattern Piggies from stealing from designers.
I am so disgusted that there are people out there who think nothing of uploading someone's hard work to give away to their 500 closest friends for free. It's just as bad as shoplifting.
It's just as disgusting how they try to justify their stealing. They say "I'm on a fixed income and cant afford to buy them" (well, then just how are you paying for your internet access and printing supplies?) or, they post a quote from real copyright law, yet they've distorted the meaning of that particular law to make it appear as if they're just doing it for "educational purposes".
The one that gets me, I saw on eBay the other day. A seller had on one of her auctions (for cross stitch patterns) this saying: "It is not my intention to infringe on any copyright laws - all images used are obtained from the public domain. If you see an image which I have used and can prove copyright ownership, please let me know and the image will be removed immediately!"
Just what "public domain" did she get these images from? She had Thomas Kinkaide pictures, images of Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, Disney characters, The Simpsons...ect...
When did these copyrighted and trademarked images get put into the "public domain"?? (the internet is NOT the "public domain".)
I emailed the seller and asked where she got the pictures. She told me she copied them off of free websites, and then she claimed that the internet is public domain, and she didnt think she was doing anything wrong.
I told her she was, and that just in case she wasnt aware, she could end up having legal monetary judgements filed against her for each instance of theft. Last I heard, you can be fined up to $150,000 per theft!
Not surprisingly, this morning when I checked, she had removed ALL her auctions and is no longer a registered member of eBay.
But, I'm sure she'll be back in a couple of days with a new name, selling more cross stitch patterns with images that she stole from the original creators and designers...at least when she cancelled her eBay account she lost all of her eBay feedback.
And sadly, there are dozens if not hundreds of eBay sellers doing the exact same thing that woman was. People are using computer programs to generate patterns for several different needlecrafts using copyrighted and trademarked material they've stolen from the original creators.
I've monitored groups and websites that are known to be Pattern Piggy friendly... I just checked one group yesterday and was just floored by the amount of scanned copyrighted material I saw on it. (I'm not mentioning the name of the site here because I dont want to encourage anyone to go there and steal)
When I last checked that site, dozens of Pattern Piggies had been scared into removing the copyrighted material from the photo pages. I hadnt checked it for about a month until yesterday. Not only were most of the illegal scans back, they'd added a bazillion more to it.
There has to be some way to stop this...too bad a lot of people consider copyright theft a victimless crime. It's not. It cost the designers, the publishers, and all the people who are involved in the publication process money.
Imagine this. A hypothetical pattern book costs $5. A person buys the book, takes it home. Scans it, and posts it to a website for 10 of her friends to "share".
(EDIT: btw, if I screwed up on the math, tell me. I think it's right, but I have a sinking suspicion I screwed up the math in the second example, and that screws up the math for the rest of the point I'm trying to make. I'm just not sure if it's screwed up...I really really suck at math...I flunked algebra 3 times in high school. Hopefully my aunt, a teacher, will see this and help me correct the math if it's wrong)
5 scanned pattern books x 10 friends = $50. That's 10 sales the designer lost out on.
Now imagine that each of those 10 friends gives the link to 10 of their friends.
5 books x 10 friends x 10 more friends = $500.
At that point the costs to the designer and the publisher starts rising exponentially.
5 books x 10 friends x 10 more friends x 10 more friends = $5,000
This means that designers lose money, and since no one is buying their work because they'd rather steal it instead, they lose their jobs. A job that I am positive most designers love to do. The publishers cut back on their publishing, the employees of the publisher lose their jobs.
Eventually it will get to a point where it will become extremely difficult to find a crochet or knitting magazine in the stores.
The Pattern Piggies either dont realize the damage their doing, or they just dont care. I imagine it's the latter.