Friday, May 2, 2008

No win

Yesterday was a no-win day. There are items on the to-do list that can no longer be pushed to the bottom. The reason that they are still on the list is that I have no desire to deal with them at all.

Too bad, it’s part of the job.

Numero Uno on the irritation list is a letter that I received from Judine in MN. Judine writes a lovely note requesting that I send her written permission to make six COPIES of my Select Six book. She goes on to explain that her small group will be getting together to make this project and they think it would be easier if everyone had their own copy.

Huh? My knee jerk reaction was to respond in a very sarcastic tone that the sole reason that I took 11 months to write, edit, illustrate, make samples, pay to have them professionally quilted, photographed and front the money to publish 5000 copies of the book, which by the way is protected under federal copyright laws, was so that I could then take MORE time from my life to actually sit down and write personal notes to small groups across the world and GRANT THEM PERMISSION TO STEAL MY WORK, because after all, I wouldn’t want 6 women from Minnesota to be inconvenienced. … Does that seem a bit harsh to you?

Maybe that response is a bit too wordy. What if I use the self addressed stamped envelope that she was kind enough to included to return a piece of paper with just the word “NO”. Do you think “absolutely not” would be too unkind?

While allowing my blood pressure to return to something in the normal range, I tried my best to come up with an analogy that would help Judine understand that writing, publishing and selling that book is part of how I make my living, pay my bills, eat. I’m sure that she has never considered the cost that is incurred in the process. She is probably not interested in the fact that I paid $500 alone to have the quilting done on the main project. I doubt that she understands that part of the process is providing free copies of the book to sales reps and distributors that take your book to shops and sell it to those like the one where she purchased her copy. She probably doesn’t care that part of the cost of marketing a book is paying the distributor 1/3 of the wholesale cost or that you need to sell about 2500 of those 5000 copies before you see a return on your investment. Nope, I’m pretty sure that Judine just wants a note from me to ease her mind about the illegal activity she is about to embark upon.

I emailed a MN shop owner friend of mine to see if she knew of Judines group. Sure enough, they have a reputation. They believe “sharing” books and patterns is the basis of what quilting is founded on. Sticky subject, “sharing” and “copying” are very different things. I look at it this way, allowing a friend to borrow your book falls into the same category as checking it out of the library. Making 6 illegal copies of a publication that is protected under the US Copyright laws is entirely different situation. It’s stealing. It is also something that is almost impossible to convince people that have been doing it, is wrong. Explaining it to them is futile. Saying “NO” to their request is worthless. I think we all know that they will probably do it anyway and most likely already have.

I know this won’t sit well with those of you that don’t see a problem with “friend sharing”, but I think I’ll take a stand here.

Sorry Judine, I’m not going to make it easier for you to steal. You are going to have to loose some sleep wondering if I think it is worth while having my attorney contact you. I’ve offered to sell her the additional copies that she needs for her group at a discount. Ball is in her court. Let’s hope she does the right thing. If not, ….. I hope their seams pucker.

Today is going to be better.



Sweet P said...

I think you did the right thing. It is nice to share, but to break the law to do it is wrong. Let us know what happens.

Anonymous said...

I agree ... you absolutely did the right thing. If she were a day care provider would she mind if the mom who dropped her child off brought the kid's other 6 friends along so they could play together and then pay her as if she were sitting for only one child. Bet she would.....but she'll never see the similarity....

Lynne in Hawaii said...

You have done the right thing. Yes, let us know what happens. We're behind you.

sister dela said...

It's not only your financial expense at risk, but also your creative talent. How do you put a price on that?
Keep up the narratives. I enjoy reading them almost as much as quilting.

Sandy said...

Well said. Why don't people see that they are stealing and breaking the law? It is the same with CDs. I wonder how much it takes to produce a CD.