By Jeannie Havel
Feedback on the Issue of Copyright & Trademarks
August issue of pcPolyzine was ready for reading, I posted a
"rant-and-rave" commentary about the unethical and/or unlawful use of
others' work without permission. This is a subject that continues to
bubble to the surface in the polymer clay world. Part of my commentary
was a true story -- I attended a craft show where an exhibitor was
selling polymer clay figures that clearly, to me, should have been a
licensed product. When I approached the vendor, she was very offended
that I would ask if she had proof of permission to produce the items.
The next part of my comments was hypothetical. Although I was
certain I had made that clear, some readers really believed I verbally
assaulted this woman. I did not! If you read the commentary, please
keep these points in mind.
I invited readers to send emails with their comments on the subject --
and they did. You can read them below, unedited except for deletion of
a name where I thought it inappropriate to publish it.
Here is a link to my comments: http://www.pcpolyzine.com/ethics.html.
professional writer in addition to enjoying PC as a relaxing break from
work, I'm completely in agreement that copyright infringements should
One interesting attitude that I have noticed among the
is that "if it was published in an e-zine or a magazine, or a book
(especially the book was expensive), and I bought the book, then I must
bought some of the copyright." So perhaps we
artists should draw the line in the sand, set clear boundaries for the
our original work, and take some of the reward for our long years of
work, and experience, and charge higher prices--up front.
As a professionally trained and certified medical writer, I was
frustrated at first when I did all of the work writing a report for
a peer-reviewed journal, whereas at publication, the research
who had done nothing but read the draft report once and changed a few
here and some there, were listed as the report authors! That was ludicrous!
However, I was NOT the person who had interviewed and examined each
decided which patients should be enrolled, sat up with them when they
fevers, or had bloody diarrhea, nor any other "doctoring" that these
brave people who volunteered for these drug studies, to provide good
the FDA to examine and decide whether to approve that drug for the US
girl! Keep up the good work and don't let the ba.....'s get you
down. Don't give up.
I was wondering
about the 'zine so i went to the site and read your ethics
article. Very good stuff.
I'm sorry to hear that you've been having this kind of trouble. I guess
with the amazing benefits of the internet, global access to people of
similar interests, also come the other side of the coin - exposure to
seedier elements. Isn't this the way of all things?
Glad you decided not to turn your back - you are a powerful force for
I was very excited at the arrival of polyzine on the Internet. You've
been doing a good job. This month's current tirade has gotten a bit
ridiculous. I agree ethics and copyright issues are important but
need to get over themselves.
If you teach and take money for
teaching... it becomes public domain.
Tough noogies if someone copies you! If you wish to keep
... don't share. I have taught classes... I make sure the class
I do are nothing like the work I sell. Seems common sense to
me. If someone copies your work... that is what
trademarks, copyrights and patents are for. See your
nearest lawyer. Stop acting like kids at
a school yard.
I also feel your little rant on the polyzine title page this month was
unprofessional. I may have had those exact same thoughts,
I have!) but to express them in that fashion in this particular
shame on you. That is the kind of outburst that should be shared
beer or coffee with your close friends.
Us polymer clay
artist, often have a hard enough time trying to be perceived as
without such petty drivel. I'm disappointed.
you don't know me,
but I have been a reader of pcpolyzine for years now, and in fact we
article on our guild for polyzine. I just had to drop you a note
the page you have up right now.
I understand your
frustration, I was upset by your fanasty you put up on the polyzine
I think talking about goons crushing all of some ladies polymer clay
going a bit too far. it's too emotional for a professional site
polyzine. please reconsider this. I think we should be
about copyright issues and ethics in our community, but I think it
handled in a mature way.
am sorry, I hope I haven't
upset you too much, but I have been thinking about this for days.
I was hoping to find Aug up
& ready .. but not yet & took a few minutes to read your note.
that was a
shock in several ways... to have someone making things that could have
illegal & then to have someone ask about the licensing to do
good move! yeah for you
it is confusing
when the copyright deals with actual physical things.. in your story,
sounded like a 'toy' issue.. [my kids are grown & no
when a noted
teacher 'teaches' .. it is like the stamp out 10-15- or more... little
people, capable of doing the same -stuff
an example, & don't
take this wrong.. as I really like Jane Doe<---name changed by
Publisher--->--- after her class
we had 20 little Janes running around]
Dustin's workshop.. she taught us *techniques* & I did not feel I
prototype of this artist... we did not make dolls or
am just as confused about
this as can be... & don't know really how to explain it
next part is from your
you have comments on the
issue of ethics in the polymer clay world?
- Should we report violators who are selling
on Internet auction sites?
would they be reported
- How can we stop unauthorized use of
material and images from our websites?
this would be a
really hot button if I had a web site & someone DID this... I guess
have to be using a *smart* site builder that prevents things from being
(so I am told- I have no clue)
- Do you believe show organizers should be
responsible for verifying that exhibitors are not violating copyright
and trademark laws?
but I can assure you.
.if they pay the entry fee to be there.. the vendors do not care... as
the check clears :< it would be nice to have
- Should venues be just as responsible as
the organizers and exhibitors?
- Should we take a "no tolerance" stand
against the violators?
would be hard.. as we
could not show, could not teach, could not demonstrate our *stuff* for
being 'ripped off' by others AND there is the case for
creativity... which would be more technique rather than
a few thoughts as
I wait for the laundry to finish the spin cycle :>
a great-clay day!
is a big deal... I
teach a pattern design class at a big quilt show each spring & we
touch on copyright.. I tell the students *keep up with what is
'used to be' 5-10 yrs
ago has long since changed..
get stolen toooo
easily... & ... since I am teaching them to be *creative* I
to avoid such 'theft' issues
is one thing I have a
hard time dealing with when I take classes.... when they are
like the teacher
the Donna Kato flower
canes... she taught it personally, which was fine & she also has it
Belle Armoire (?sp) & now I have had it 2 MORE times through
polymer guilds in our area... geeeeez enough IS
but she has put it out there to be used... & it is an interesting
I don't see this as a
violation as she has it out in print FOR folks to make it.. & there
zillion ways to mix colors & then make it into something else
enough from me
Jeannie. It can only get better.
I believe that
violators of the copyright laws should be reported. It's stealing.
a difficult task to
stop unauthorized use of materials and images from websites. But
has to be a way of turning these people in. What they are doing
is just as illegal as taking a candy bar from a store or even
grapes in the produce section before you pay for them. Wrong is
wrong. People work hard to come up with these ideas, it is their
livelihood and it shouldn't be taken away from them by those who think
make and sell anything they wish to. EBay does have a VERO policy
I see people making molds from polymer clay using items that were
someone else and manufactured by a company (buttons and jewelry
name a couple).
show organizers should
be responsible for makign sure that each vendor is selling "legal"
merhandise. Most of them require you send them a copy of your
tax ID number, at least the state I live in does. They also send
"rules" sheet and they do go around to each venue and check to see
that they are complying with it. It should be part of their job
I strongly belive that we should take a "No tolerance" stand
against these people. They are, after all, adults and they do
from wrong. If they designed something and found the booth next
had copied their item and was selling them it wouldn't sit well with
them. Once again I just can't emphasise enough, WRONG is WRONG!
you for your time in
of all I wish on the
person who infringed on another's creative work, I wish that all their
point in different directions and none work together.
person who did this deed
is the person responsible, it would be hard for the folks that put on
to make sure that the work is not A STOLEN IDEA....unless
a contract at the beginning of the show that says their work is
original and not copied...
I hope this helps you
feel somewhat better , I did like your comments to her ...made me smile
you didn't have some Storm Troopers with you...smile and have a
my fingers are starting
to point in different directions from Rheumatoid Arthritis...so I
what I am talking about...Only I never stole someones Idea.....
thinking well, the fantasy about the Queen of Copyright was a
fetched I had to say, it was very effective in getting the point
And I found myself remembering a very similar situation with respect to
stamps (I emailed a company whose catalogue had elements I felt looked way
too similar to another company's much older and much more popular
inventory); and a good friend who found out someone she knew was giving
her beading designs at a course. These were the designs that my good
invented and was selling on-line.
you are going to make money from it, play by the rules, have the stated
a perfect world the organizers SHOULD check, but they can't. They just
go to every seller and to a detailed inventory and recognize every
piece as a
popular "should be licenced" piece. Its a moral judgement thing.
Organizers can stipulate that if one gets caught without an agreement,
get thrown out of the sale, but other than that, it would be a chance
So, if we, in the claying community, or the arts and crafts community,
- like yourself in this good article - to bring this important matter
forefront, to remind everyone we need to safeguard each other's
ideas, its the better approach.
Rather than being the Copyright Police, I'd rather be thought of as the
Copyright Guardians. Lets protect each other's right to create and know
will respect each other's creations and never take advantage of one
Now that's a good artistic goal.