What is Right? What is Wrong?

Riding the Wave or being engulfed by it…

This is an answer to a post by Nicole from Northern Expressions Needlework on her blog:

Hello Nicole,

You wrote: “As I stated, I’m not claiming that what is being downloaded/shared equates to actual losses.” Well. I’ve reread your post very carefully, and I found no such statement, maybe I’ve missed it and so my bad, I’m sorry. On the other hand what I’ve read on the contrary is : “…I keep coming across a disturbing misconception that seems to be shared by many – that we’re over-exaggerting the problem, and that most of the people who downloaded it would never have purchased it anyway…” and also “…there are many people downloading who WOULD have purchased things…
And finally in your reply you write : “It’s probably more like 1% of what is downloaded, again, stated above…”.

So please let me repeat it, you are writing that only 1% of the amount of illegal downloads/sharing is actual loss of revenue for Designers/ The Industry.
THANK YOU! You just made my point!

One precision, for me there is a clear difference between a Designer and the Stitching Industry. You don’t seem to make that difference. Just saying, not criticizing in any way.
A designer has, in my mind, the right to live decently from their passion, I never discussed that and never said or implied the contrary.

Now you are a designer and you, yourself wrote that: “Let’s use as an example one of my charts that retails for $20, Antique Lace. After the shop and distributor take their profit for sales, my cut is $7.” I, as a customer always said: “Let me buy it directly from you!” and it’s going to be 100% profit for you (minus your printing costs and all the other costs you’ve enumerated in your post) and then you don’t have to sell it at $20! Even at $12 or $15 you’re still making a comfortable margin! AND you don’t need to go through the Industry!

And this is the main change the internet created: Not needing an intermediary between the one who creates and the one who buys.
The one who is cutting your profit IS the industry! If the prices were more reasonable for the customers the piracy problem would be much less important.

We saw it in such a wonderful way in France and when the Internet really let us see the price difference between a skein of DMC in the US ($0,35 at the time, now it’s $0,49-$0,55/skein) and the price of one skein of DMC cotton in France (1,35€/skein at the time). The same skein, produced and manufactured at the same place (France). What the internet allowed is for customer to have a wider look at what is available and at which prices. How did the “Industry” react to that? DMC Europe tried to forbid US shops, through DMC USA, to sell directly to european customers. How did the customers react? The “floss fairies” appeared…
Meaning the Internet created a Community of stitchers which didn’t exist before AND they found together a solution to a problem!

Exactly as it has been described by Yochai Benkler in a 2008 TED Talk. Well, this guy is not your small teenage developer from the garage, so, please don’t just dismiss what he says and keep in mind that this was in 2008…

You’re talking about applying the “Golden Rule”. Yes… Sure… I’ll answer by saying “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.” (Bryan Stevenson).
Meaning? You can’t judge others actions by your standards, not when their standards are so different from yours. I can also reply « Spend one day walking in their shoes and then let’s talk about it ». You can say “The law is the Law!” but within the same country you can’t compare a family with a $25,000 annual income and a family who has $5/day to feed its members. You can’t tell them “if you can’t afford it, then don’t steal it! Wait until you can afford it…”. That’s one of the very reasons why libraries have been created in the first place… Now, even if it’s kind of a misconception, for most people the Internet is a Library.

Another thing that as a customer I don’t understand, everywhere, whatever the branch a product which is more than 3 years old, costs less. In the “Stitching Industry” whether the chart has been created 2 months ago or 10 years ago it remains the same price! You can see it with Mirabilia’s, with Passione Ricamo’s, whatever the chart is, whoever published it, that is true! Why?
So the Stitching Industry is not applying one of the golden rule any industry applies: depreciation of the product value through time. You can’t have it both ways. You are an industry and so apply to all the rules, or you’re not and then you do whatever you want.

We see the same things with OOP Charts. There is some demand, the designers or the Industry decide not to republish it and we can see some charts be sold at some incredible prices on ebay and such. And when the designers are asked WHY they are not republishing them what is their answer? It is ours, so we can do whatever we want with it.

Ok… Where is the logic there? You have the choice between selling what you have and which there is a demand for from potential customers and not selling. They choose “not selling”.
Are you telling these designers to apply “the golden rule” too?

As long as there will be some double or triple standard applied, there will be some dishonesty. So if we go on with Christian quotes “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”.

Let’s say the chart is bought by a library. Then a stitcher borrows it, makes a working copy and stitches it, then she returns the original to the library and another stitcher borrows it, makes a working copy and stitches it then returns it to the library and so on. Is that illegal? No… But I’ve read a designer reply to this « No, it’s not illegal, but is it right? Is it right for me? I prefer you to buy the chart from me otherwise it’s a loss of income for me! ». Okay, I can understand her point of view, why can’t she understand the stitcher’s point of view?

I’ve recently read on a designer’s blog a russian stitcher who created an association to help promote and educate the stitchers of her country to copyright and prevent copyright infringement. She asked for help from the designer of that blog to donate one or two charts, to make a SAL to show the russian stitchers that it can be done differently, she was even ready to pay for that chart so that they could stitch it in a SAL inside the group and what was the designer’s answer? “I do not promote copyright infringement!” And also « They can buy it but they don’t want to pay for postal fee to their country »… Maybe that designer didn’t know that more often than not there is a HUGE amount of postmail theft, especially if it’s postmail from abroad. SO sure, they prefer PDFs. Does The Golden Rule apply to this designer too?

We even had a french designer who tried to forbid stitchers, her customers, to stitch her designs more than once per chart. Meaning if they want to stitch it a second time then they must buy a second chart, even if they still have the first one in perfect condition, an original, of course. What about the Golden Rule here? Come on…

Yes, Change is already here, and the tension is going to be more and more tight. The Designers and/or the Industry can ride the wave and so become actors of that change or there will be a drastic change. I’ve already stated it in many different ways, but Nature hates void… Anticipate the change and be part of it, or don’t and pay the price. Which option is more constructive? Which option is best for everyone?

If you are part of the change then you can partly control it, just partly. But for sure you can participate into preventing the possible abuses…

I don’t ignore the problem, on the contrary… I too have 20 and some years experience in the Computer Science World in many levels and that is why I can say that the internet as you have it today is obsolete. The dinosaurs of the different “Industries” are still trying to control it in their own way (and so resist change and refuse to adapt) and their latest avatar are SOPA/PIPA and ACTA. But that WON’T work, because people don’t want to be controlled, and more than anything they hate to be considered guilty by default.

Solutions exist, but you won’t EVER be able to control what will be done with a chart passed a certain point. But what you can control is the fairness with which you are treating your customers and in time things are going to stabilize and a new equilibrium will be reached…


3 Commentaires (+ vous participez ?)

  1. Nicole
    Avr 01, 2012 @ 21:10:28

    Laury, I’ve replied to your post here: http://northernexpressions.blogspot.ca/2012/04/in-response.html

    We do both tend to get a bit wordy, don’t we?



  2. Joanne P
    Avr 02, 2012 @ 20:19:42

    It’s been really interesting to read your post and I can see your point of view.
    I am a mere stitcher and customer not a designer but I have to agree with Nicole on many points.
    I’ve been poor and I simply asked for materials for one project at a time for my birthday and was a OAAT stitcher for many many years.
    The charts remain the same price over time because they do not date, in the same way a good book does not date. I am buying books for my son which I loved as a child, I do not expect to pay 25p for them as I did in the 1970s!
    The internet is an amazing tool for discovering new designers but the majority of us will find those designers via online shops rather than the designer’s own blog/website. It’s just an easier and more effective way of researching what’s out there.
    In the same way many authors are self-publishing via the internet but most prefer a publisher and bookshop (online or real) to stock their books. Again the public prefer to purchase their books via a shop rather than spend time browsing thousands of online authors’ websites.
    I do agree with you that sometimes certain designers are their own worst enemies when it comes to their designs. However the vast majority I have come across are reasonable people who love the stitching world as much as I do, they are happy for stitchers to organise SALs or Round Robins of their work, it’s all good publicity.
    Great debate, I’ll be following closely.


  3. GeorgiaMist
    Avr 02, 2012 @ 20:49:53

    Bravo, Laury!


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