What does the language we use to discuss copyright issues actually communicate?
The copyright warning. One of the pesky obstacles to re-publishing and selling my handknitting patterns. I’ve mulled this over for years, in a variety of contexts.
The language I find in the knitting community often reminds me of a scolding schoolmarm. The underlying assumptions project negativity into the hobby.
I worked in my local yarn stores in Boston and Pittsburgh for over four years. I loved teaching people to value their experience with the craft, and build skills based on those experiences. So many of my students had never been empowered by learning from their successes. So many of my students began their knitting journey with little or no value for their own perspective.
Many non-knitters state they don’t understand the value of the creative journey. “You buy all the supplies, and then you have to make it?” Much of American culture values consumption cycles to the point of addiction. The consumer valued only because of what and how much they consume. The active, mindful handcrafter knows, value comes from within.
I think each knitter takes their own journey from ‘consumer-knitter’ to ‘mindful-knitter’. I think that the copyright discussion is a part of that journey; at times it can be the initiation on that journey.
To Knitters : The copyright message from Studio Drawclose Knits
Assuming each knitter makes her or his own journey of discovery, the conversation about copyright, use rights, and paying the designer for the pattern remains constant. In bringing it up, I assume nothing about you. I simply inform you, dear knitter, of my point of view, regardless of your place on this journey.
People don’t like to pay for what they want (when a price is provided) if they don’t value themselves and the activities that are enabled by that activity. Let’s consider that. Poverty mindset runs rampant in a culture that encourages people to remain constantly disappointed; that mindset poisons activities that are ‘ours’, encouraging us to constantly search for ‘more’ or ‘something else out there’ to provide us with value. I’m not interested in that, for myself or others.
My copyright message becomes an invitation to respect those who enable your creative process. In creating this pattern for you to knit, I have respected your ability to enjoy the process of making, maybe learn a few new things. Please return that respect by purchasing the pattern, and keeping it away from the xerox machine (or the “copy-paste” functions of your computer) as a ‘gift’ for your friends, knitting group, etc. All making takes time and energy, both mine and yours.
Respect your time, your work, your joy. Thank you for considering these ideas.
For Non-Knitters :
I am distributing hand knitting patterns under the imprint studio drawclose. You can find them for sale at the social knitting site Ravelry. Look for me, drawclose, there.
As the craft of knitting has spread and grown via digital culture, the ease with which people can steal (or share) the patterns that enable their activity stimulates ongoing conversations and interesting behaviors on the part of designers. Some resort to ‘locking down’ the digital media in ways that mirror DRM efforts. Others simply throw nonsensical warnings at their audience. With each visit to a local yarn store, I study how the conversation has grown and changed over time.