Monday, November 21, 2016

Thoughts on Pattern Sharing

Are you guys on Pinterest?  I loooove Pinterest.  I'm there every day, usually for far too much time.  I love the ideas I get just surfing around, seeing what's new in the craft world and what old stuff is still loved. 

I noticed earlier this year that a lot of old plastic canvas patterns are being shared on Pinterest.  Have any of you noticed that?  Stuff that's technically illegal to share because it's copyrighted and you have to pay for the pattern.  At the time I was actually really interested in seeing all those patterns, but as I've started to design my own patterns, I've begun to have some different thoughts, and I've decided that I'm conflicted about the whole thing.

On one hand, yes, it's illegal and it's not fair to the designer or the pattern company.  When you post a pattern that isn't free to share or Pinterest, you're taking money away from the people that worked hard to make that pattern.  And let me tell you, it's hard work to make a pattern.  I only work part time as a designer, but I still work my butt off and only get one pattern done a week, and I don't make a lot of money from it.  It's a job that requires a lot of passion for little pay or recognition.  I can only imagine how frustrated a designer must feel when someone's sharing their patterns without their permission.

There is another hand, believe it or not, and this I think is something specific to plastic canvas.  Plastic canvas isn't very popular right now, and there are only a couple dozen designers making new patterns (and only 2 or 3 that are very well known).  So new patterns are pretty hard to come by these days, which makes the old patterns really valuable.  The problem is again that PC isn't popular, so even the old patterns are hard to find.  Many, if not most, of the old patterns are simply out of print.  Where does that leave the PC enthusiast that wants new and interesting patterns?  Sometimes I see an interesting pattern on Pinterest that someone pinned illegally, but when I try to find the pattern to buy, it's impossible to find.  I can't buy it even if I wanted to!  Boy that frustrates me. 

I definitely think sharing modern patterns is not right and only hurts the people who are doing the work that they love.  If you like a pattern and you can buy the pattern, then by all means, you should buy the pattern.  If you see a pattern on Pinterest that you know is pinned illegally, you should do the right thing and report it. 

As for the old patterns that are out of print and simply impossible to buy?  I still don't think it's right, but I think posting it on the internet is probably the only way of preserving that very special creation.  If the designer or the pattern company asks you to remove it, though, you should definitely comply. 

What do you guys think about pattern sharing?  Do you do it?  Do you report it when you see it?  Do you think old out of print patterns are ok to share? 

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