Have a CD that floats your boat? Did you burn those tunes onto your ‘puter as a series of MP3 files and disperse it about the net for mass consumption? Have you downloaded a bunch of songs from the net without having paid a dime? Sure, I’ve done it. I don’t do it anymore, but I have in the past. Come on, you’ve done it too…
Do you find yourself partaking in hundreds of channels on your tube without paying any cold hard cash for the service? You don’t steal cable? Good, neither do I.
How about photocopying a knit or crochet pattern from a book then distributing said copies to a few of your fellow yarn addicts? Please, I don’t even want to hear the answers to this question…
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ownership of ideas as of late. This is mostly due to the fact that I currently find myself in the position as owner, operator and seller of ideas. Now, moving from sole idea production to idea producer and distributor was truly a difficult transition for me. Why? Well, I’m fundamentally paranoid, that’s why! LOL
Let’s face it. I am a trained as an artist, not a designer. In art school, we learned to make fabulous, unique, amazing objets d’art while bantering obfuscating art-speak with our milieu, simultaneously balancing a glass of wine in one hand and a pat of brie atop slice of baguette atop our egos in the other, all the while clad in cool artist garb, which is like wearing a neon sign that flashes, “Here Stands A Creative Genius!” Yep, I paid lots o’moola for that variety edu-prep, which really doesn’t prep you for anything, but life in the art world. And the art world? Yeah, that resides waaay outside real world city center, let me tell you.
So, copyright infringement? Trademark violations? Intellectual property rights? Fair use provisions? Creative license? Plain old stealing? Yeah, we didn’t touch on any of those concepts while I was in school. We read a lot of Freud though? Does that count? I digress…
Truly, when one is showing their objets d’art in brick and mortar galleries, the only people likely to partake in this experience range from family and friends to other artists, gallerists, art aficionados and art critics. Not a big pool o’peeps, peeps. Sure, ideas can be infringed upon or hey, just plain old ripped off, but with such a small incestuous pool of peeps, this is not as big of a problem as you may perceive. Despite this fact, there are artists who are nonetheless paranoid, secretive and/or covetous of their ideas. For the rest of us, it’s all about showing your stuff, pointing to it and exclaiming, “I made that piece of genius. I am artist, hear me roar!” Like I said, real world city center? Yeah, not even close. Nonetheless, this small world and the people who inhabit its core seem content and safe to continue along the path of art for art’s sake and well, I don’t blame them.
However, ultimately I am who I am. And who I am is a restless creature not easily satisfied by life in a cage. Doesn’t really matter how great the cage looks, how much studio space I have in that cage, how safe it is to express my ideas in the cage, how cool the peeps are that reside in the cage or how many bottles of red I am able to consume at the Friday night cage-gallery opening. It’s a cage nonetheless. I love freedom, discovery, adventure, invention, and well, yarn. This is a completely different post topic, but yarn ain’t exactly a respected art material down at the old art world rec center. In fact, the word “craft” or any derivation of that word is a pretty derogatory term in the world o’art (like I said, ‘nother post entirely). All of these factors combined forced me to put pedal to the metal and hightail it away from the art world rec center pool over to the coast for a dip in the ocean. The world wide web version of the ocean that is.
And what do you get when you take up residence at your very own domain name, web pages available to anyone with an internet connection? Um, lots and lots of peeps. Lots and lots of peeps from all walks of life who have access to literally anything and everything a little techno savvy heart could or would desire. We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. Nope we’re in the big wide world where art, images and creativity are ubiquitous and intellectual property rights violations are too. Yee haw! WWW also stands for wild, wild west oh, by the way.
Yeah, so knowing this, I was a just a wee bit paranoid to begin showing my work, publishing my patterns or selling objects on my website and blog. I hail from the safety of the art world after all. In spite of this fact, I slowly but surely let all that LabLinoleum has to offer hang out. And you know what? In doing so I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the goodness of people, the badness of people and everything in between. I have learned that copyrights are very important. I have learned that written contracts are a comforting convention. I have learned that I have lots of good friends out there in blogland who are watching out for me and my creations. I have learned that one needs to do unto others as they would have others do unto them. Therefore, I do not download “free” music, I always pay my cable bill, I purchase art and craft items from the source or a reputable dealer and when I know someone who is interested in a pattern or a compendium of patterns outside the Monster Crochet universe that I happen to already own, I purchase an edition of that book or pattern for desirous individual as a gift.
I am certain that there are many individuals out there who do not agree with me. I am positive that some will view me as a stick in the mud (or other less affable terms). I am also certain that taking the high road, though it be difficult at times, is the road I prefer to traverse.