Ethics In The Crafting World

The subject came up today at the forum I frequent. One of our members found out that a customer of hers bought several pendants in her Etsy shop and the buyer turned around and put them unaltered (not made into a necklace) in her web store for a higher price. (This is something I would never do without an agreement with the artist) The way they are described makes you think she made these items herself with no mention of the creator. I find this appalling, but the fact that said buyer used the artists own pictures and text to sell the items is criminal. I would say copyright infringement to be more exact.

With a little research it was found out that there were at least 7 other artists’ items she was reselling and making it seem she was the artist creating the items.

The seller from our forum, with help from a few forum members, contacted the other artists that were also being abused and they banded together. Complaints were filed with Etsy and the buyer has closed her account so she will hopefully no longer be making purchases from there. Now if only something could be done about her personal web store it would be a perfect day. I do believe her web host will be contacted about copyright infringement.

It’s a real shame that people like this exist. There are always those who are willing to set aside “the right thing” and do whatever will line their pockets. I am a believer in Karma and someday she will find herself on the receiving end, finding out what it is like to feel betrayed.

WE, as an artistic community, need to band together. Keeping our eyes open for these kinds of scams and being proactive is our best weapon. If you see someone selling “their work” and you have a feeling it was made by someone else, speak up and make it known. Spread the word in the forums and/or groups you belong to so these unscrupulous people can be stopped.

One thing we need to do is sign our work. I use either a logo rubber stamp I made or a cane (made for me by Leigh Ross) of my logo to identify my jewelry.

I am now stepping down off the soapbox 🙂

*Update – The buyer has changed the listing on her web site to include the artists names with the items they made. At least the artists that have contacted her and complained. I call this a small victory. 🙂


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rhoda Lynch
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 04:03:38

    I think I’m one of the first ten! Must be because of the weird hours I keep. This is an awesome offer for you to make, and I agree….something has to be done.


  2. Eva Eriksen
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 04:17:42

    It is a shame when something like that happens – and it does, constantly. Fortunately, artists care for their fellow artists and the word is spread through groups and fora all over the planet. I’m proud to be member of such groups and happy to know the people in them.
    Thanks, Tonja – for bringing it up – it can’t be done too much.


  3. Barbara P-W
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 04:27:11

    You’re absolutely right, it is unfortunate there are people out there willing to profit from others’ hard work. I have purchased other clayers’ items with the intention to wear them only to have decided later on that, since I was not wearing them, I should try to pass them on to someone who would. Before reselling, I have either redesigned them with my own jewelry design or, at the VERY least, clearly mentioned the polymer clay artist in my listing. I would NEVER pass someone elses’ work off as my own. Heck, I feel guilty when I use someone else’s canes in my work, even if I bought them legitimately!

    Thanks for bringing people’s attention to this problem, Tonja! I’m glad Etsy was able to step up and do the right thing for their honest sellers.


  4. Connie
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 05:17:15

    Cool offer Tonja!


  5. Kathi
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 06:21:28

    amen sistah amen! another thing we can do to stop the theft of images is to “watermark” them with our name. I always forget to do that but now I won’t!


  6. Melanie
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 06:28:16

    Sad….so sad….I too believe in Karma….How can people look at themselves in the mirror that do such things….shame on you is all I can say to the person doing this… 😦


  7. Betsy
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 06:39:25

    There’s a lot of gray area on the subject of using others’ ideas and techniques. But this episode was more firmly in the “Wrong” range of the spectrum. Good summary and thanks for following thru with the updates on how it turned out. I’m really enjoying your blog. I’m so glad you decided to take on the project. Keep it up! 🙂


  8. Sandi Sandilla
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 07:10:31

    I agree on unethical point, but I think there are specific laws on copyright infringement, like a mark, and something filed in D.C. or at the very least a photo of item mailed to yourself with post date, and don’t open it. I think I remember reading this at one time. But an artist mark is a good start, but I find some things I do would be hard pressed to find some place to mark. I have tried to make a stamp, but could never get it small enough. If you can make on I would be very pleased, with SMS or just SS. You know there will always be people that are mean and evil, and will do whatever makes them a buck, let’s just hope with all this brought to light more people will think twice before doing it again.
    Your friend,


  9. Janie Zetsch
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 07:55:50

    Great blog post Tonya! And great blog btw. I think it’s awesome that everyone pulled together so fast and something actually got done. We clayers have a great community, don’t we? The sad part is I have seen this happen to many times with nothing that could be done (or so I thought!)…not this time!


  10. Donna Ingram
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 10:01:31

    Thank you for the mention of this in your Blog. Hoping she and others like her will disappear as quick as she did and not resurface. I think the whole episode was handled very well for all concerned.

    Love your Blog,


  11. Moe
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 10:22:34

    THis is a great post and good information. I’m glad that everyone jumped in and we actually got a great result! THanks for your work on this!


  12. Beadcrzy1
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 10:24:20

    Variants of this issue have been a topic for discussion in the bead world for years, and it seems to be a giant vortex with no real resolution. I salute those who were vigilant enough to spot this and take steps necessary to correct the situation. Shame, shame on people like this!


  13. Macy Hall
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 10:46:23

    I like you new site. Very interesting topic. Go Karma!


  14. Tina Holden
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 11:07:16

    Great blog and post, Tonja! Some people are just shameless and inconsiderate to other’s hard work.
    Hey, thanks for mentioning me for inkjet transfers 🙂


  15. Susan
    Apr 10, 2009 @ 11:11:17

    Hi Tonja,
    Great post! I think we can all feel better that we took some action against a person like this and succeeded. One point….Etsy didn’t shut her down. I think she did so people couldn’t get any more evidence. I wrote to them giving them all the links to my listings that she had purchased and her listings on her websites that used my pics and descriptions…..and Etsy came back and told me if I was having a problem with someone copying my work I should talk to that person first and then contact them again! I don’t think they even read the email I sent.
    I just added your blog to my reader so I’m anxious to sit back and go through it!!!!
    Thanks again, Tonja!


  16. Nora
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 09:32:19

    It’s amazing what people think they can get away with. She didn’t give it a second thought until she got caught. It was reprehensible that she claimed she created the items she had for sale. Great work on everyone’s part in getting her to take down the illegal statements.

    Have really been enjoying your blog. Learning quite a bit here.


  17. vicky edwards
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 19:16:31

    Tonja, I think your ethics post is great. I find it hard that someone can have the gumption (old fashioned word that I have never written before) to claim someone else’s work as their own. So glad she got found out. BTW, thanks for the inks, I have been having a lot of fun with them. Vicky


  18. vicky
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 21:40:59

    Tonja, when I wrote my last comment, I forgot to tell you how much I love, and am enjoying your blog. Girl, you should have written this sooner. Also, I love the look of it and the colors you chose. It is great. Your pc buddy, Vicky


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