Stealing is a distasteful subject. I suppose we all do it to some degree or another. Pens and Post-it notes which are accidentally tossed in bags at the office and left at home, for example. I am shocked by the premise often espoused in the quilt world that every quiltmaker is nice. Quiltmakers are people who are part of the world just like sanitation engineers, app developers, salespeople and receptionists. We all like to think that our little subculture is different. I have found out recently that quiltmakers can be just as mean and just as likely to appropriate what is not theirs as shoplifters.
Fortunately, there was no meanness or malice intended as far as I can tell.
You might think stealing is a harsh word, but that is immediately what I thought when I saw the image above. Someone took my image of FOTY 2015 and created this project on FB. I only saw it because TFQ pointed it out to me from a post she saw on Instagram.
I have a small brand, but the goodwill and brand identity I have built I would like to keep.
When I contacted the person via Instagram, she apologized profusely and immediately removed the post. I would have loved that to be the end, but she said she was just sharing it from a post she saw on Facebook. Sigh. She kindly sent me the link and I tracked down the image above. [Nota bene: I have removed the name and image so the person can remain anonymous.]
This all took place on Christmas Day. I didn’t have to deal with it then, of course. However, with the ease of sharing on social media, I felt that I needed to get to the heart of it as soon as possible. I contacted the second person, knowing that she did not want to hear from me on Christmas. I received an answer yesterday. She, though I don’t know why she thought she had the right, gave me three options: attribute, add the copyright or remove the post. I suppose she wanted to keep the project in play. Mean as I felt, I chose remove. It is my image and while I might like the attention, I didn’t like the tone of the email. She removed it and sent the following response to my comment about removing the copyright “I added the text to the top of the image. Not sure where I found the image, but I don’t remove watermarks or links unless they go to a scraper site, so I assume it was a direct upload to Pinterest or Facebook by someone.” While not out of the realm of possibility I find this hard to believe. As far as I know I only posted the piece once without a copyright and that image is angled differently than the one above. What I don’t find hard to believe is that someone else took the image and this is just a digital reprint of part of the quilt.
I found it shocking that someone would take a random image and create a project like this out of it. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked and should blame how easy it is to do without thinking.
Awhile ago someone posted my image on Instagram as “time capsule” quilt. I am looking for that image and will tell them to remove it, if I haven’t already. I haven’t been able to find it thus far, so I hope I already did. I have started to search Pinterest to find the origin, if the origin is there. I have searched Google Images to see if it posted anywhere I didn’t authorize and I have done some searching on FB. It is a genie out of the bottle situation, however, and I don’t expect to be able to contain it. I am not sure how I would feel if the image had had the copyright attached and my name had been mentioned. I suppose if I had been contacted in advance, I might have collaborated with the person. To discover that my image was being used out of the blue, however, was a shock. I was in no way inclined to allow the project to continue. Of course, again, the genie is out of the bottle (see Instagram photo), so there isn’t much more I can do other than pointing people to my link to the FOTY quilts.
Screw you, Mercury in Retrograde! You will not defeat me.
Be kind. We need kindness in the world and you can be a part of that.