Lauren Meader of My Time, My Creations, My Stupendous has posted a great tutorial for making a Onesie Baby Card. It’s simple to make and very eye appealing. I haven’t tried it myself, but Lauren says you can make one in ten minutes.
The sad message on Lauren’s blog post, however, is that someone has copied and pasted her template and her words, and submitted them to a publication as their own work.Luckily, the editor in question recognized the design and notified Lauren about this issue.
This is not only unethical; it is a violation of international copyright law.
When a person puts a design or idea in “fixed format’ — meaning it is more than just an idea and has been written down somehow — that person owns the copyright on that material, which is known as the “works”. Owning the copyright means I can publish the material anywhere I want, but others cannot legally copy it without my permission. If, when I publish my works, I stipulate that others may use the design or the writing for certain purposes, then I have awarded others the “right” to use my work in the ways that I have stipulated.
Perhaps some people are confused regarding what is fair use when it comes to scrapbooking and card making theft of ideas. “Scraplifting” is commonplace, and for the most part, expected and even encouraged. Scraplifting refers to finding a design that you like and then duplicating it for your personal use. Unless otherwise stipulated, most people don’t object to this.
Lauren has stipulated her copyright terms clearly on her blog. If I copy Lauren’s onesie card design to make a few cards which I then send to people to congratulate them on their new infant, that is quite fine with her. If I take pictures of the cards I made using Lauren’s tutorial and post those cards on Flickr, that is still probably okay, although it would be a courtesy to attribute the design to Lauren.
However, if I copy and paste Lauren’s design and her tutorial and submit that to a crafting magazine or web site, claiming it it my own work, that is illegal. If I make cards using her design and sell them at a craft fair, that is becoming a gray area. If you take the design but modify it substantially, then it becomes your design and not Lauren’s and you own the copyright. However, defining how much modification is “substantial” is a murky issue — and one that puts money in the pocket of lawyers specializing in copyright and intellectual property.
With all that said, surf on over to Lauren’s blog and enjoy making a onesie baby card with Lauren’s template and tutorial.