Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where Does Entrepreneurial End and Sleazy Begin?

This is my Garden of Eden / Apple and the Snake inspired chatelaine:


it's designed to corral sewing paraphernalia:

pin cushion - scissor keeper

It's the type of thing that my giggly imagination enjoys creating. I sold this item at my etsy store to someone that bought the only other chatelaine I had listed at the time as well. I'm not completely naive - I knew that such a purchase meant the customer was likely going to resell the items. More power to them. I was new to the business and had made the rookie mistake of underselling my wares. I am fine with this. Live and learn. That's the entrepreneurial spirit spotting an opportunity - even if it is at someone else's expense. That's what makes capitalism spin.

I personally don't like taking advantage of people and that is why I am a bit of a schmuck. But in the interest of full disclosure, I am also not very good at spotting said opportunities and have never had to put that altruistic statement to the test. And further truth be told, the design elements for the other chatelaine bought that day:

Swirly Chatelaine

were a hodgepodge cut and paste mix of two other people's unrelated yet publicly published patterns. So my ethics, at best, are subjective.

I digress.

What I wanted to write about today is that I found a listing for the Snakelaine at an unrelated online store. So it was indeed bought for resale; HOWEVER, the person had used my photos and my description directly from my etsy site without even a hint of attribution to their source - yours truly.

Lifted verbatim.... even calling it a Snakelaine.

This galls me.

How lazy do you have to be to steal someone else's three sentence copy? And don't try to tell me that only so many words exist to describe things and duplication is inevitable. My writing is fairly distinct. And even if they were able to come up with the same lame little puns that I prefer to pepper my copy with the odds against coming up with the exact same words in the exact same order under the exact same vaguely blurry photo and all under the exact same punny title are astronomical.

So what? Not illegal. Well, yes it is. However, proving plagiarism is difficult and any attempt to do so is tantamount to lunacy in a situation that deals with an item that sold for $10.50 and resells for $25 $21.

My question then, is this:

Is it worth incurring the sizable legal fees simply to prove a point?


and Hook On



arlee said...

That is SHITTY---and you need to name the person, if they have given you no fair answer. Represented that way, it is simply theft, not reselling as a "collector item"

Cecinatrix said...

Hi Arlee. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Unfortunately I made that sale back in Feb 2008 and only just found the listing in January 2010. I just didn't think that confronting her after all this time was worth the effort. But it still bothered me so I had to blog about it.

It almost bothers me more that it still hasn't sold after all this time. Almost.

Oh and I checked the website again and the description is different so I can't even remember now how much was originally taken and therefore how much my anger taints the memory - should have copied it then. Still my photo though.

From now on, I sign everything!