Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A Question of Translation, of Ethics, of Beads
This time last year I was starting on a large bridal jewelry order- peridot-colored crystal earrings and necklaces for all the bridesmaids, "aurora borealis" clear crystal for the bride. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out, and posted a tutorial for the earrings on this website. One Pretty Thing featured the tutorial, and for a few days this blog had traffic like it had never seen before!
A little while later, I noticed a lot of traffic coming to my site from a particular website. Turns out their main deal is finding tutorials and translating them into Spanish, and including the original pictures. A link to my original tutorial was included, which is how I first noticed it.
So: how would you feel about that? Flattered that they liked your tutorial well enough to take the time and translate it? Miffed they never asked about using your photos? Creeped out by the way information travels on the web, and once you hit publish you have no idea where your words and pictures will end up?
I'm trying to be more vigilant in watching my traffic, but I know I can only see links to my work. If someone has lifted the pictures or text out, I'd never know. Recently a blog I follow considered shutting down- she writes about Monstessori-based activities she does with her small daughter, and found that a preschool in Florida was using her activities (great) and featured pictures of the blogger's daughter on the school website as advertisement for the activities done at the school (so absolutely not great.) This mother never would have known, had she not had a reader who saw the pictures on the website.
Another blogger, a craft blogger, was mailed a stuffed toy from a reader. A company had lifted a free pattern posted by this blogger, and mass produced the toy to sell. Another blogger, this time a graphics designer, found fabric with her designs at both Spoonflower and made into clothing in a department store!
I received a Flickr mail last week from a student asking to include pictures of my children on her blog- her college photography professor asked the students to create blogs to showcase their favorite Flickr pictures, and would I please let her use mine? I never wrote back, but I will. "No, please don't use pictures of my babies."
So, are we wrong to put so much on the web? I try to keep my children out of this blog as much as possible (now.) My private flickr account is mostly private (if you want to see pictures, you better be on my "friends" list or you won't see much! *grin*) But what about creative work? For most of us, the crafts and tutorials we make are just for fun, so only our egos are hurt if someone "steals" our work. Right?
I'm still not convinced.