You know how they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery? Well, that isn't always the case. Sometimes it's just plain rude and even copyright infringement.
Remember those mascot hats I designed for the local college? Remember how I was selling them online and to the bookstore to help support Ben through school?
Well, today, Ben took a bunch of hats to the bookstore because they were running low on supply. The lady in charge kindly told him that they didn't feel they would sell right now because it wasn't cold enough yet. Which we are totally alright with. But then she said that they told Ben last week when he came in with a batch. He said, "We didn't come in with any hats last week."
"You didn't?" She asked all confused.
"Well, then someone has copied your design perfectly, because I thought they were yours." Great. Good thing they didn't buy them! Because my pattern and design are copyrighted. But it infuriates me, that there is someone out there, not only trying to cash in on my idea, but they are trying to sell them at the same places I do!
Now, I am a nice person. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. The person trying to copy me, is probably a student just like us. They could probably use the cash. I have sympathy for people like that. But they took my design, without my permission, copied it exact and tried to sell it. To me, that's just plain dishonest. They didn't even buy my pattern (which has the copyright notice all over it) and they can't even claim to, because I haven't sold any! My copyright notice is on the pattern listing, so there is no mistake. The pattern is for personal use only, but when my husband graduates in summer of 2013, I will be releasing it for resale. It's my baby. It took me literally months to design and even longer to write out a pattern for it. I worked really hard!
Also, what chaps my hide, is that it is probably someone I know. An acquaintance or friend. Because whoever did it, dropped it off just like my husband and I do. A bag of them with an invoice attached.
See I am an honest and trusting person. This hat design has saved our family in some tough times. I came up with it when Ben lost his job a couple years ago, I was 7 months pregnant with Jake and we couldn't pay the rent. We still struggle to get Ben through school and raising 3 kids. It's tough. But it was our choice to live our lives like this. So we both have worked very hard to make money in any way we can to keep our families afloat and strive to live the American Dream.
If people can't be original and come up with their own ideas or even their own versions of things, then they need to at least go about doing things in an honest and LEGAL way. I mean hello, my hat is a school mascot, I don't have dibs on that, why can't they think up something different of their own and take pride in that?? There is no pride in copying someone else's stuff. I NEVER do it to other people, EVER. When I crochet a pattern from someone else's work, I always make sure I credit them in anyway I can! Besides, I understand the hard work that goes into making and designing things. Now, I understand what it is like to be cheated too. I would like to believe in karma and think that no one would do it to me... but we don't live in a perfect world do we?
Ahhh.... well, now I feel so much better getting that all out. (Well, it felt good to email all the local school gift distributors and let them know what was going on too). I feel bad for the copy cat, but I hope they learn a lesson that they can't do that stuff.
UPDATE: So I just got an email from the lady who made the hats. I guess the bookstore contacted her and forwarded my email. She was very nice and apologetic and said she was really sorry for upsetting me. I think it took A LOT of courage to do that, and I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and sent a nice email in reply. I understand that the economy stinks right now and we are trying to pay the bills. I think sometimes we, even me, rush into things without doing our research first. I even feel a little bad for jumping to all sorts of conclusions... so I am glad I know now that there isn't an evil copy cat out there. AND I feel a little silly going all mama bear over a hat!! LOL.... All's well that ends well.