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Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

I had seen dolls using painted canvas but not bears until Lisa.

Copyright is such a terrible area because one person doing something can immediately inspire many others to do it.

People shouldn't copy but if it weren't for what other artists had done and not just bear artists I would never have had any way to learn new techniques. 

I have used alot of different materials because someone else used them and i thought Wow that's a great idea, so does that make me bad?   I have never tried a paint canvas and don't think I ever would, I can't paint.

People have always been inspired by new things they may try it out and sell it and as they do so they add their own twists and it leads to something different.  I do not believe they should flat out copy it.

Modern art was born because one person did something and another person said hmmm may try that and put their spin on it.

I mean there are kewpie bears, someone abviously likes the look of the kewpie doll and adapted it.  Someone had the idea of taking a barbie doll and painting them into fantastic creations and others saw it and went wow I like that, does that make them bad for doing it?

I have seen tapestries used in bear making and cross stitches as an artist part of our job is to inspire.  Hopefully yes they do something nice and different from ours but if we produce something different tehen people wil aspire to it, even if it makes us want to pull our hair out after labouring for so long for something so uniques.

Hmmm now I will go back into my hole and wait for the fallout

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

You all have great points here.  I would just like to add one more piece:

Look at all the people in the world.  Millions.  NO TWO ARE ALIKE.  The same goes for bears.  No two will ever be alike....but it's still annoying as all hell when some one "tries" to copy your work.  Just shows how insecure they may be with thier own work.

Look as all the stars in Hollywood.  How many people try to look like so many of them.  They may look similar but not exactly alike.....but I repeat....
it's still annoying as all hell when some one "tries" to copy your work.  Just shows how insecure they may be with thier own work.

Be original.  Be proud!

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

I will state that 'copying' I do not condone, using someone else's work for inspiration well.....

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Great points, all.  And thanks for jumping in, Kelly; I was hoping you were reading along somewhere in the shadows...

:)

Melanie, like you, I don't think there's any realistic comparison at all between dolls and bears, either, even with this oil painting example I used, where oil painting is featured on both Susan's and Lisa's work. 

Thanks for recognizing that I was not suggesting either woman made any missteps.  I was just trying to say, Hey... it's not always clear, cut, and dried.  There's some grey area.  And who gets to figure out what that is... and which person had "rights" and which person "copied."  And what, exactly, copying IS, anyway.

:hug:

I agree with the point made that there is a difference between using similar materials and techniques, and having bears with a similar "look" or "design" features.  Judi, who was used as an example earlier, needle felts as a somewhat "signature" look or style.  However, just a year or so ago (can't remember exactly), Jan and Jean Olsen won some awards -- maybe even a TOBY or Golden Teddy, and for sure an award at the San Diego Mullins show -- for their own needle-felted creation, whose name was, I believe, BAILEY; a huge black bear with a needle felted face which was, at the time, very cutting edge in the field. 

However, there is/was absolutely no similarity whatsoever between Judi's work and the Olsen's work, so the crossing of paths for those artists, where "needle felting" is concerned, has gone unnoticed.  As it should, I think!

Anyhoos... as I wrote before, it's just a shame that some people, for whatever reason (greed, laziness, lack of creativity, etc.) can't let their own inner souls into the work they clearly spend so much time in producing.  It seems especially like such a thing should occur in bearmaking.  As opposed to, say, a plastics company "copying" the design of another plastics company's salad spinner, or something.  You know... stuff without a soul.

Bears have soul.  And, personally, I think what makes them so special IS that soul; that little bit of the creator's spirit and vision.  When you're copying someone else, it just sort of FEELS LIKE a forgery.  Like it's absent the soul it should have.  Sorta... hollow.

Ya know???

ArtHeart Kran-Beary's
Thunder Bay ON Canada
Posts: 318

Just thought I'd drop in my two cents.  Copyright is covered by Law.  That means there are laws in place that are enforceable regarding copyright.  Copyrights don't need to be registered. They are an automatic right of the artist/creator.   Registering just helps the originator prove ownership in court.

Copying from books can get you in hot water cause most publishers have lawyers with big sticks working for them.  yikes.

Here's two links to stuff on my websites that cover copyright as it applies to bear patterns and instructions and such, should you like to read more.  The Canadian Copyright Act and US copyright law are very, very similar, as are the Acts of about 100 other countries.
This link is the NCTB copyright policy:
http://www.northcountryteddybears.com/G … yright.htm    (There is also an excellent link to the Library of Congress's copyright page within this article/policy page.)

This link covers works at the EbearZ U:
http://www.kranbearys.com/workshop/beagle.html

There's also an article on copyright in my book 101 Bears to Make.

Hugs,
nancy tillberg

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Lisa, given what you've written, I'm sensing that you're upset, at what you think I wrote.  Let me reiterate for the record that what I actually said, after clearly stating that I was merely playing Devil's Advocate (which means I was taking on a position I don't necessarily believe in, just for the sake of presenting another perspective), was:

If Susan DOES have those protected rights... does that mean you, Lisa, infringed on her copyright, when you came up with the idea of painting bears?  (That's not my personal opinion, by the way, Lisa... so, everyone, PLEASE don't shoot the messenger here; I'm just trying to make a point about the lack of objective boundaries in these things, and to point out the grey areas!)

... and that the reason I said this was not to implicate you or Susan in any kind of unethical behavior, but rather, for the sake of a more complete discussion, to illustrate how, when discussing what a person's "look" or "style" is -- what defines it, and what doesn't --  there's a lot of room for personal opinion and subjectivity.

It was not my intent to compare, in any real way, your work to Susan's work at all.  That's why I picked her; she's a doll artist who paints the entire surface of her creation to resemble human beings... which is nothing remotely like a painted bear tummy! In MY opinion, anyway. 

But my point was... what if SUSAN thought she owned some "right" to the idea of painting on canvas? on playthings? on likenesses of living creatures?  Would that mean that, just because Susan (or Susan supporters) thought so, you -- Lisa -- did something wrong, in translating that concept to bear bellies?

My personal opinion is resoundingly, NO!  I can't begin to see things that way.

But I was simply saying, or attempting to! (perhaps more clumsily than I thought), that this -- "copying" / "copyright" thing -- is all very vague and confusing until the lawyers actually get involved and spell it all out in plain English, very precisely, on a case-by-case basis. 

And even then, there are things that cannot be protected, that might still be considered "copying," by some.  So even with legal protections, there's no such thing as complete protection from "copying." 

And to illustrate this, I gave the example of low-placed, cupped ears.  Intending to say that, just because two artists place their cupped ears low, doesn't mean the one copied the other, and stepped on his/her copyrights.  Etc.

There was no part of me being argumentative or accusatory.  Rather, I was simply trying to add to the discussion my personal opinion that this subject is both IMPORTANT and CONFUSING and somewhat SUBJECTIVE until attorney's and written copyright actually get physically and tangibly involved, on paper, with signatures attached, and notaries on board. 

I used your work, Lisa, and Susan's work, to illustrate this point, simply because it was your work that was being largely discussed, by you... and thus it made for the start of a credible and pertinent example.

I'm sincerely sorry if what I wrote led to a misinterpretation of my meaning and content on your part, that somehow wounded or offended you.  That was not my intent and I thought I had taken pains to make that crystal clear.

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

<Whew!>  Thanks, and my apologies again, in case I spoke clumsily... just in case. 

:hug:

bhbears Bearhaven Bears
Merrickville, Ontario
Posts: 224

Hi Beary Pals,
OOOOOOH I love this subject, I did a talk about copy rights for a in the fur bear group I belong to and boy I think I upset a lot of people with what I had to say, that's okay I'm used to that .  I feel very strongly about this subject and took it upon myself to read as many books as I could about copyrights and trademarks etc...., though I found I came out just as confused as when I started, because the subject is not black and white but murky with many shades of grey.

My goal with the talk was to get new bear makers thinking and maybe some who have been in the business forever and are quite content with just borrowing from others and who are unwilling to get out of their comfort zone and try their hands at creating their own designs.  I know way to many bear makers who use other peoples patterns and think well I changed a few things, made arms longer muzzle shorter etc.... so there for it is now my designs.  This is where I think I ticked some people off, If you didn't design the pattern from scratch it ain't yoursbear_angry  bear_angry  Where this silly thought that all you need to do is make a few changes I think The magic number was 3 to an original design before you can call it yours came from I don't know where but it's so bogus it makes my blood boil.  bear_angry  These bear makers just pooh pooed this fact and said who is going to know the difference anyway.  I guess some people are quite happy being unoriginal and their will always be those who have no problem steeling from their bear siblings.

Here is a question I have it's along the same topic.  Do I have the right to speak up or is this an area that I should keep my mouth shut.  A hard thing for moi` to do.  Since I began my bearmaking I have always sewn a heart on my bears paw, so they will never forget where they came from. bear_grin  I have participated in articles on artists signatures my work has been published in many magazines showed up on ebay all with the same comment ( like all Bearhaven bears so and so wears his heart on his foot so he will never forget where he came from) My goal right from the start was to set my bears apart, a heart on it's foot it must be a Bearhaven Bear.  Now I know this concept is not new and I'm not the one who designed  the heart shape.  However I have never seen a heart sewn on a bears foot like mine.  Of course I have only been is this business since 1998  maybe I just missed it if there is an artists out there who does this.   Here the question part if I see another artists us this signature the heart on the foot do I have the right to ask them to stop using this?  I never registered this signature but it is public knowledge that  every Bearhaven Bears has a heart on it's foot.  should I just sit back and say nothing and relax already, or should one stand up, Am I just being to rigid. The idea of someone else doing this pisses me off.  I did a show and another artists (used to call herself my friend did just that then had the nerve to ask me how I got mine to stay on so well) I just walked away never said a thing I was waytoo mad an might have caused some bodily harm,  it did make me think though do I even have the right to say anything.
Anyway I could ramble on til the cows come home on this subject, it is a very important  topic I'm glad that it is being discussed here.
Hugs to all deborah
PS I hope I haven't upset any apple carts, I know how this subjects gets people all rallied up, which isn't a bad thing gets us thinking.

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Okay.  I've read through all the posts......took me far longer than I had anticipated.  Three pages!!  This turned out to be quite the topic ladies.  When Penny first posted I wanted to jump right in with what was going on in my pea brain.....but couldn't at the time.  So, here goes.

Disclaimer:  This is not put out there to offend, upset or create drama.  This is put forth as a "for instance" regarding something I've created recently.

Within the past few weeks I created a bunny pincushion.  Actually, I created a few different styles on the same vein inspired by toys of the early 1900's.  Totally of my own design/drawing, inspired by what I'd seen in a 1930's needlework magazine.  Let me tell you, it took me several attempts to get those silly little tummy gussets figured out.  Sometimes the simplest design can be the most complicated! 

Anyway, on another thread Shelli posted some fabulous websites that she admired for their design.  Low and behold on Jennifer Murphy's site I see bunny pincushions similar to mine!  Or mine were similar to hers.  Both are similar to the old toys.  I'd not seen Jennifer's work before.  Gosh, are those little darlings of hers cute or what?!! 

When I first listed my bunny design on my web site I wrote that this design was "inspired by" toys of the early 1900's.  Here's my question.  Does this make me a copycat?  And what of Jennifer?  Obviously, looking at her web site, she has been creating her little yummy things for awhile.....but not since the early 1900's.

Also, what if, in another 70 years or so, someone decides they want to paint a bears tummy because they were inspired by Lisa's design?  What then?  Is anyone even going to care by then?  If you look at it from that perspective it all seems rather silly, I think. 

In my opinion, there is far too much emphasis placed on "mine and me" when the world would be a much better place as a "we".  This is my Pollyana with the Rose Colored Glasses opinion.  It is not meant to inflame, enrage, or in any way hurt or upset anyone.

So, there you have it.  Questions, and a different perspective.

Warmest hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I like the "we" idea as well, Aleta, and we -- you and me! -- think alike in that.  Life seems just somehow better when we all breathe deep, accept, tolerate, forgive, and just... JOIN one another.  Rather than pushing AGAINST or ASIDE.  Ya know what I mean???

I'm recalling a recent event in the bear world that I heard about only peripherally; I don't know the artists involved personally.  But the event itself had to do with an individual(s) having a trademarked business name (ThreadBears, or something close to that), which ALSO describes a kind of teddy bear (thread bears --> bears made from thread.) 

Anyway, in this example, the individuals who owned the trademark -- clearly ENTIRELY within their legal rights!, as they DID, indeed, own the trademark for that phrase ThreadBear! -- apparently spent a lot of their time and energy reporting people on eBay for using the phrase/keyword "thread bear" to describe their teddies (even though that pharse had been in common use for many years by that point); and they spent a lot of time and energy explaining their position on web forums, so people would understand why they were upset, and why they were taking action (which I understand ENTIRELY); and so on.

Now, I don't know the people involved personally (so I am NOT judging them or their character(s) -- truly)... and I didn't specifically hear anything about the long-term effects of these choices on their part...

... but this behavior on their part -- legally sanctioned behavior, for which they were entirely within their moral and legal rights! -- nonetheless left me wondering, after the fact...

Did all that fuss, claiming the phrase 'thread bear' as "MINE!" really have any good outcomes for them?

Did it garner them new collectors? 

Did they  inspire other bear artists to be more like them, in terms of protecting their rights and businesses?

Did their prices go up?

Or... even though they were "right" to do what they did (and I do agree they were, in an on-paper kind of way), did their actions, just maybe, have the opposite effect ... ???

Did they earn respect... or lose it?

Did they lose goodwill with fellow artists?

Did they scare collectors away?

I don't have any hard-and-fast answers to this.  But my suspicion is that, for any gains they might have made with their claims of MINE, they may have suffered just as many losses.  Or more, even.

I hope not, for their sake.  Because I have soooooooo much empathy for them!!!  It must be just awful to come up with a name, and then have it "borrowed" -- even for a good reason like this one; the phrase really DOES describe a "kind" or "type" of something.  It must be awful to take the time and pay the not-small fees to register such a name, and then have it become community property.  And it takes a lot of bravery to stand up for what really and truly is their RIGHT -- to "own" that name.

Still... sometimes one has to take into account not just the small-focus items, but the "big picture."  And I just wonder if, in the big picture, being so strident about protecting their "rights" didn't possibly cost them more than it paid them in dividends.

???

That's the reason why I'm not much for getting riled about copyright and copying and the like, myself.  Blatant theft irks me a lot.  But the rest seems so... grey and vague.  And for the sake of the "big picture," usually just not worth getting riled up over.

As Aleta said before me ... these comments are just one girl's opinion -- mine -- shared not to offend or anger, or to malign the Thread Bear people (I sympathize with and understand their situation entirely)... but rather, to help form a complete discussion that considers all perspectives.

Hugs to all -- ESPCIALLY people put in the same awkward position that the "Thread Bear" people were put in, through absolutely no fault of their own.

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Wow, I have to say I agree with all of you. I can't imagine anyone fighting for the right to copy someone.
I started with other artists patterns, I still use them here and there to learn something new. I don't lie about it though.

But, my OPINION and my opinion only, is that you just never know. You can be as carefull as you like, but people will still copy you. They always do. It happens everywhere, not just in bears. Who made the 1st poly clay fairy? Now look how many there are? Can't be stopped.
To go with Shelli's example, Sure I can't use Threadbear on ebay maybe. But who's to say I don't have  garage sales and call all my bears threadbears? So I see this womans effort as a waste of time. Or almost a waste. I do wonder what her gain was.

I see people who's bears sell well, and they share their techiques. Shelli, Judi, etc. Their bears are still sought after, so at least it doesn't ruin them.

Like I said in an earlier post. You never know who is copying you, or who has also come up with that idea. Maybe there is someone out there who does what you think it totally original, they just give their bears away, and you'll never see them.

Like what happened to Aleta. Makes me think there are VERY FEW original ideas left, so yes, in that respect you want to guard yours, but alot of it can be wasted effort.

Now, if  see Lisa, someone trying to copy you, I'll get on them right away, and let you know. At least if we stick together as a community, it may help.

Rant over.......................

bearsbybeesley bears by beesley TM
Tofield Alberta Canada
Posts: 6,818

I appologise, but there are many different styles of bears out there and all of us fall into one of those style categories! Does this make us all copy cats? I don't think so. If I develop a pattern by myself from start to finish and the style is Old time, or modern or what ever that does not amake me a copy cat. The bottonm line is, that all bears have a head two legs and two arms, eyes etc.! It is near impossible to say one is a copy when there are similar traits to the style. I must say this entire subject buffalo's me?? How do we know when one is being copied? The truth is unless it is an obvious trait like Lisa's painting on the tummy, we don't!

Hugs Louise

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,649
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

psichick78 wrote:

....... Who made the 1st poly clay fairy? .......

And just being VERY lighthearted here.... who made the first teddy bear?  Was in Ideal or Steiff?   bear_whistle

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

You're so funny, Erin!! bear_original  bear_grin  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_grin  bear_original

Warmest hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Erin! LOL Too funny you are!

Just to response to Lisa's question.

I did have someone rip me off. I make polyclay dragons, here's a picture. I sold many of them on ebay, had my own cheesy little story to go with them and everything.

Well, sure enough, someone copied me. They made a very amateur version of my dragon, but you could tell she was using a picture of mine to copy with. Then she even had the nerve to CUT AND PASTE my auction description, down to the same font and everything.

I was sooo mad!! But I was also lucky. I am part of a dollmaking group, and after telling them what happened they all started to email her, saying they knew she was copying. Even I emailed her, telling her to change her auction or else...........


She took it off. But did try and sell the dragon later. Even though it was similar to mine, what could I say? Stop making dragons. Granted I wasn't the 1st one to sculpt a dragon, technically, I'm copying the person who 1st thought of them.

But it still made me mad! I had a horrible feeling, so I decided that I should just worry about how good of an artist I am, and hope no-one better comes along to copy me! LOL

Now as for a business name, that should be protected. I can totally see that point.

Man, this thread is out of control and I'm only helping he he he ehe h

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Yes, I'm back with my Pollyanna ponytail, rose colored glasses and warmest bear hugs!!  Loving every minute of it too.   bear_original I've done nothing today but package a bear and ACEO card for shipping.  The rest of the day I've been catching up on some (Lord have mercy!) but not all of the postings. 

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

toadbriar ToadBriar
western massachusetts
Posts: 532

lol I wish I was adept enough to make a bear look like someone else's bear!
I still haven't figured out how to make the sort of head I like yet! lol

Aleta don't worry about your pincushions. (I wanna see them, now!)
you might start off from a jumping off point similar to Jennifer Murphy's -
I love her guys - but by the time you're finished, your creations will be entirely
their own uniqueness. Sure the idea is similar - but no more than the Mona
Lisa & one of Rembrandt's self portraits - after all they're both oil paintings of
people from the Renaissance, right? But no one thinks one copies the other.
& the world would certainly be the poorer if either one did not exist.

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Lisa.. you ask some good and fair questions. Let me see if I can answer them.

say your a new bear artist starting up, you register a business name so you can trade (and or claim tax benefits) So you think of a name you want to associate your work with collectors..., say for instance the name is: POTBELLY bears...your doing well, you start a website, getting customers and all is going great, you've been in the business now for say a year..then someone else starts up POT-BELLY bears in another State of the USA, let's say New York, what would you do as your work is known as Potbelly bears and they are now POT-BELLY bears?

What would I do?

NOTHING AT ALL... that anyone but me, or my closest loved ones, would see.

I'd be upset.  I'd feel cheated.  I'd think very little of a person who would ride on the coattails of someone else's hard work and effort in an attempt to make less of those for themselves.  I'd be angry and then, probably, depressed, and feel as if everything I had done was for naught. 

And then I'd get realistic.

1.)  It was my responsibility to register a trademark and I haven't done that because it was just too dang expensive and time-consuming, so I can't be a pisspot about having an "imagined" trademark trampled on.

2.)  I'd remind myself that I "was there first" with the name POTBELLY BEARS and that, if things spiral into something icky, or they start doing things which impacts my pricing, collector base, and branding, I can always pursue litigation... and would.  And feel that, given the longevity of my use of this business moniker, I have a good chance of winning! 

3.)  I'd watch with patience and grab some perspective.  I'm doing really, really, really well in bear making.  I've made a lot of friends and have supreme fun here!  But I'm a very small fish in a very big pond in this world, and the chances that some newcomer, who trades using a name similar to mine, would really "upset my apple cart" in any significant way are slim to none.  Perhaps that's naive of me; but that's my take on it.

If you now know that by Trade Marking your name in the first place, this would have been prevented, would you not have TM it initially or would have you taken pot luck like Sonia's experience with her Sunnie Bears and the other artist Sunny Bears both in America..?

Truly, I would do what I did do, which is NOTHING... and just take the risk that it might haunt me later.  Which, I think, is a calculated and intelligent risk.  It wasn't even really a decision to be made, because I simply did not have the disposable income to apply for a trademark.  And when it comes to legal fanagling, there is something to be said for status quo and precedent.  I did a search for the name POTBELLY BEARS when I started out and it wasn't in use that I could find, except as a description/adjective phrase.

Since then, I have a long and consistent history of posting aucitons, having a website, owning two domain names (potbellybearS and potbellybeaR), circulating business cards and hangtags, and so on, such that if push came to shove, I feel fairly confident I could get whatever the equivalent of a cease-and-desist order is for the newcomer who is attempting to trade on MY brand identity.

are you annoyed that someone has also come up with your name,

YES!

or just don't worry about it as your work maybe perhaps different to theirs even if they are bears?

YES, that too!

Secondly: I'd like to ask what would you do if someone made a replica of say your cute Skunk as he is adorable and you did win an award so his now well known...and very original and you put so long in designing him etc......so BLA.BLA. BEARS decides to make one very similiar with hardly any changes and starts selling them and perhaps even changes the colours etc as their now selling well and then starts making your Flying Pigs, again not much change to your look of the pig they have copied...

That's a different story.  That's what I meant when I was talking in an earlier post about blatant theft.  If I felt really and truly confident that I had a strong case against the skunk-or-pig maker, I'd approach them directly, asking them to stop... and if that didn't work, I'd hire an attorney to send them a scary letter. 

If that didn't work, I'd have a tough choice to make.  Do I sue -- which is time and stress and money out of my pocket???  Or do I sit back with my fingers crossed and my hands behind my head and wait for karma to bite them in the keister... which, frankly, I believe it would.

Probably, the latter.  But it would depend on circumstance.

I think I'm pretty realistic about the work I do and the package I offer.  And while I have ten thousand truckloads of insecurity elsewhere in my life I do realize I make very nice little critters, which is a gift I'm terrifically grateful for and an occupation I thoroughly enjoy.  I think, and I hope this doesn't sound massively conceited of me, that it would take a lot for me to feel "threatened" by a copycat, if ever I had one.

That's not to say I think I'm "better" than anyone else, or that my work is "better" than anyone else's work.  Rather, that's me saying, Hey... I recognize my work as uniquely ME.  And even if someone used the EXACT pattern and colors I used to make a CHAUNCEY, or an IN HOG HEAVEN, the "me" part of that puzzle would be entrirely missing.

And don't think this issue of copycats hasn't come up for me.  More than several times I've received emails from artist friends and collectors, both, telling me, "So-and-so is copying you, Shelli!  Your teddies! Your auction wording!  Your style!"  And I just go... "Hmmm."  And then it blows past.  And my sales, knock wood/thank God, to date, have not been affected by that.  Which I like to think is my own good karma.  I tend to be forgiving and look on the bright and pragmatic side.  Like, "Wow... How flattering.  A smidgen annoying, yes... but mostly, flattering.  I feel really complimented by that."

I know there's not much you can do about it,

True... and that's mostly what I mean when I talk about "the big picture."  Why put out such ENORMOUS time and energy and frustration and fury, for an end result that adds up to nothing, or next to nothing?  I'd rather just spend the time working hard to make my bears that much better, more original, more different.

I figure it's my job to keep ahead of the crowd... and not the other way around.  It's not the crowd's job to keep from matching up with me!

would you say well done, you did a great job, keep it up, we all love to share? Would you be flattered only? Say nothing? Or confront them nicely?

Good question.  I'd likely say nothing.  If pressed, I'd say, "Nice work!" if I thought it was, and "Looks like you spent a lot of time on that," if I didn't!

If you do confront and express how you feel, they don't really care and just say i was inspired by your work and still continue to make them.....where does that leave you or how would you feel?

I don't think I'd get to this place, because I don't think I'd get to this place!!!  While I love a spirited and fleshed out, rational debate, undertaken with respect... I don't like confrontation, per se.  And again, I would think... "If I confront, will my email, or the story of my confrontation, circulate in ways that will hurt me or my business?"

BIG PICTURE stuff.

Hope that clears some of this up!

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Melanie, wanted to grab your point too.  You wrote:

would you not do what this person did over the thread ted name or what ever the name was, would you not want to protect your business reputation? Think about it, we are no different than the power house designers of the world, they spend millions protecting their business name and reputation when small manufactures come along and rip of the designs and name with inferior workmanship, so would you not do the same for you business reputation?

Interesting point.  But here's another perspective.

Every year those same big designers, say, Prada, come out with an awesome new pair of shoes!  And then, five minutes later, MARIE CLAIRE magazine publishes it's "Splurge vs. Steal" page which has the original Prada shoes (splurge -- $550), as well as the Prada lookalike (by Nine West -- steal -- for $89.50.)

I can get the PRADA "look" for $89.50... sorta, anyway.  And it's not REALLY Prada.

AND...

... PRADA is still selling their shoes for $550.  Nine West hasn't cut into their bottom line at all.  Even by being a "copycat"... and a good one, at that!

(All names and prices entirely invented by me, but the "Splurge vs. Steal" thing is actually a real column in one of the fashion magazines; can't remember which one, might not be MARIE CLAIRE!) <giggles>

I guess, again, it's just not worth it to me.  Or, at least, that's been the case so far; who knows what tomorrow will bring!  I reserve the right to change my mind and get entirely cheesed off at a crappy imitator!  Laughing here...

But seriously, folks... bear_original

...

I guess what it boils down to for me is that I don't know that someone else using my business name, or my creative style, really DOES put a damper on my business, or threaten or otherwise harm my business name or reputation.  I suppose it could; I'm not naive or stupid.  But, I mean, we're talking about TEDDY BEARS here.  Seriously -- I'm not kidding -- my one concern has been that some group of corpulent homosexual men would start calling themselves THE POTBELLY BEARS.  I support the group part, the corpulent part, and the homosexual part ... but not the "We're THE POTBELLY BEARS" part!

Still, unless my body of work were being compared to their "body" of work by an anencephalic monkey, I think it would be pretty clear to just about anyone with eyes open even halfway that THOSE Potbelly Bears are not MY Potbelly Bears, and my "reputation," such as it is, would therefore remain unscathed by controversy and scandal!

>>> As an interesting little aside... this example isn't as off the beaten path as you might imagine.  Have any one of you ever accidentally searched for Nancy's NORTH COUNTRY TEDDY BEARS, but forgotten the "COUNTRY" part?  (Hi Nancy!  Love you, girly!)  Give it a try; you'll see what I mean.  It's a different "bear" concept, entirely, that one.

bear_original

But back on topic.

I don't want to minimize or belittle what we do.  I think we're artists in the truest sense.. and I'm one of a lucky few who can make good enough money with it to call it "income" and a "career" rather than a hobby or funny-money-maker.

Still... if I came up with a huge invention that was going to make me twenty gajillion dollars and some nutcase copied it exactly and stole 50% of my profits that would be one thing.

But I make teddy bears!  And even if someone makes bears similar to mine, this is an individual and creative process, so it would take a very, very skilled copycat indeed to make them precisely like mine... especially since mine are all different and one of a kind!  Again, I'm not saying my bears are so great that nobody could ever copy them!  But rather, I'm pointing out that if I made a widget out of two pieces of plywood and five bolts, it would be easy for someone to "copy" that and steal MY profits from MY widget design.  But with a teddy bear, a work of art, something borne of a unique creative process that differs each time, it's not quite the same thing.  And I'm bolstered in my thinking because I sell every thing I make, and I can't keep up with requests.  So even if someone else were copying me exactly, how would complaining about that, or even noticing that, gather me greater profit, or more collectors, or otherwise enhance my business or person???

I don't think people are stealing my profits when they use a style similar to my own, so in the end, I just can't find the moral outrage to get that p.o.'d at them for doing so.  If anything, I look on it as a challenge to move one step past them and keep them guessing!  They THINK they're making a POTBELLY BEAR but in fact they're making YESTERDAY'S Potbelly Bear!  Or something like that.

I dunno.  I'm talking thru my butt here.  Laughing... bear_original bear_original bear_original

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Shelli,  bear_flower
I'm laughing with you!!  I talk out of my butt sometimes too.   bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh

Warmest giggley hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

Just Us Bears Just Us Bears
Australia
Posts: 940

Shelli..you are so sensible! bear_thumb

sewing stars sewing stars
providence, rhode island
Posts: 219

And even if someone makes bears similar to mine, this is an individual and creative process, so it would take a very, very skilled copycat indeed to make them precisely like mine...

coming from the 'hip crafty' community, i see the copyright/copycat issue come up quite a bit. and i think that what you are saying about it being totally individual to each person is a really important point. see, i can sell my patterns to someone else to make but it certainly won't look the same. it seems strange to me that anyone would purposely try to replicate another artist's teddy bear down to the finest detail, let alone be able to even do it!  since each person brings their own hand and mind to each creation, i think that most people are striving to make something unique to themselves.

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

Aleta and Shelli you express yourselves far better then I ever will.

Helena Bears-a-Bruin!
Macclesfield, UK
Posts: 1,291

Tricky subject and great discussion as always! I can only talk from a personal prespective. I have come up with ideas for my bears that I've considered original (I wasn't knowingly influenced by other artist bears) only to later find that the idea(s) had been used aplenty....ho hum! However, the outcomes were a little different, and I guess we each had our own and slightly different interpretations.

But this raises a point - intention is key, to my mind. I didn't intend to copy anyone. But how to prove that???

On the flip side, I've put certain minis up for auction on eBay and a week later found several similar types of bear where there were none or very few beforehand. Again, how to prove it was intentional on the part of those artists? And was it copycatting at all? Hmm. On those occasions I've chosen to be flattered, and used it as a cue to raise my game further....push myself forward a bit more. (But I'm only human, and have also been mildly irritated by it. Not for long though!  bear_grin ).

Geez, which reminds me....I haven't had a bear on eBay for a while.....must do something about that....  bear_wacko

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends.

To appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a social condition;
to know that even one life
has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882)



ps..and to forgive others of all typos


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