Enough is Enough!

sigh. Haulin' out the soapbox again, girls...

This post originally appeared on my personal blog last winter. But since the subject is such a hot-button issue and affects so many design professionals, I decided to post it here on my Retail Design Blog. I'm placing it in a high-priority spot here because I think people need to hear more about WHY this is so important. OK, on with the post:
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I just heard from a friend today that her fabulous business idea is being copied. By someone she has gone out of her way to help with their business.

Today I also read a blog post by an artist who was announcing that her own design has been picked up by a major chain. When I saw her design, I realized that another person, whom I know of, has been copying it and selling it as her own recently.

Last night, I read another blog post by an artist who was ripped off by the company she had licensed her art to. This woman has been through a nightmare - and it ain't over yet.

And last week, on Facebook and Twitter, I read that two friends' product designs are being ripped off - one domestically, one in Europe.

I've had my own run-ins with this over the past year - from having my design blog 'scraped' to make someone else money from ad revenues {generated from the content I wrote that he posted on his blog} to having my product designs for Retreat oogled at shows, 'covertly' photographed {um, yes, I saw you do it} OR had my photos snagged from my blogs, and then seen my products reproduced and presented as someone else's 'original design'. I even had my Facebook Fans & Friends falsely lured to another Page by someone using my name - and I wasn't the only one these particular people targeted. Oh, yeah, then there was the client/frenemy who took all my submitted design ideas and told her coworkers and the corporation who employed her that they were HER ideas. {Ahem.}

There's even a blog devoted entirely to link ups where people can show off the things they have copied after seeing them somewhere else. ??

{Warning: Rant Ahead}

I'm done, girls. Sick and tired and DONE with these people. 
I am tired of people thinking it's ok to copy, borrow, lift, reproduce, 'appropriate', steal, and whatever else you want to call it. IT'S NOT OK!!!! Immitation is NOT flattering, it's not 'inspired', it's certainly not nice, and it's most definitely not LEGAL.

BTW, I'm not talking about Debbie Sue who reads a blog and sees a cute thing and decides to make it for herself. Creating is often inspired or jump-started by something we see - we start there and it evolves into something reflecting our own style. I'm referring to the deliberate taking of an original, unique product/idea/service and reproducing it for sale as your own design.

What ever happened to manners? To ethics? Morals? Doing business based on the skills and talents that you possess - not by stealing ideas and product designs from other people? I am tired of people taking advantage of other people. They've been getting away with murder, we've paid the price, and it's time to put a stop to it, for God's sake!

Owning a business is HARD WORK, my friends. It never ends. But all that hard work and late nights and no vacations and sometimes no pay for yourself is worth it when you come up with a great product or service, and people want what you have.

Unfortunately, some of those people who want what you have are untalented and underhanded, and simply steal it from you. They start a duplicate business, or they lift your design and start selling it as their own. And usually, they manage to market it to the very people who were actually looking for YOUR product or service, so the impact doubles. These are hacks, theives, slackers who want the buck without the work, the fame without paying the dues, and the limelight no matter how they get it. It's disgusting. It's wrong. And it's spreading like a freakin' epidemic - H1N1 has nuthin' on creative & intellectual property theft.

Here's what I'd really like to see:
A watchdog organization for creatives, designers and artisans that will publicize the illegal activities that these unscrupulous people have been undertaking. Something along the lines of 'the 3/50 Project' - but instead of promoting a 'shop local campaign', this organization will promote a cooperation amongst creative businesses to stop the rampant theft going on. Something like 'Blog With Integrity' except on a larger scale - not just blogs, but web sites, B&M's, shows, etsy, ebay, twitter, facebook, everything. Something with viral visibility, worldwide distribution, and a spitfire spokesperson like Cinda Baxter who will grow this thing fast. I ALSO want Wonder Woman and her rope of truth - 'cause they all deny it when they get caught.

I don't know how to do that. I'm trying to make a living running not one but two businesses, and I am not as proficient at getting the word out about 'causes' as I'd like to be. But I am compelled to do something about this mess, so I am going to do some research to find out what is already out there.

My question to you all is this: What can we do?  

I know there is something we can do. I know the power of a group is far more moving than the ire of one person. I know we can move mountains and change the landscape of business if we stand up to this.

Any ideas, brainstorms, or fingers pointed in the right direction will be gratefully accepted! Leave me a comment below, send me an email, hit me on Facebook ... just let me know what you think about this. Have you been a victim? Do you know of a growing movement against intellectual & creative property theft? Let's get together on this issue and make a change for the better. Climb up here on the soapbox with me....

I've added a few links over in my right sidebar - these are other professionals who share their opinions on the creative copyright issue. Check 'em out! And many thanks to Cinda Baxter of the 3/50 Project for linking to my original post in support. Rock ON, Sistah!

NEW INFO January 2011: 
Please visit the newly created web site, blog, & facebook Page 
to join with creative designers & artists 
in the effort to promote a 'copycat free' artistic industry.

Image Credit: photo used by permission from design*sponge Biz Women Series 
{I wrote a blog post for them and have permission to use it!}

2 comments:

  1. I love this. Thank You for putting in to words what I'm unable to say because it makes me so angry! I am watching the comments - count me in - and I'm off to read your links!

    Thank You! Happy New Year!
    ;-D robelyn

    ReplyDelete
  2. REally nice post!! Love it.

    ReplyDelete

my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK