Mar 16, 2010

Rebel with a Cause! ©

By Sharon Teal-Coray
I am a rebel….yes I would classify myself as one and why? Well for one thing I have always had this strong inner sense of right and wrong and I get my feathers ruffled when I see things happening that are just plain wrong.
When you take a stand, you are noticed, you attract people who agree with you and become a fan, or you have people hate you for speaking up! Getting noticed is one reason some people never take a stand, they are afraid of being noticed so they stay in the background playing it safe.

I have always been drawn to people who will take an honorable stand even if I don’t agree with them. I figure it is much better to have a friend that has principals than a friend that sits on the fence.

Well maybe I am a bit dumb to do this. I may make people mad or offended they may verbally attack me which has happened in the past, but if you never take a stand on something when you see something that is just plain wrong and you do nothing, how do you feel inside? I can tell you that I hate myself for being quiet, I feel like I have dishonored what I believe in and I lose respect for myself. When I do stand, up for something, I feel physically and mentally better. What others think is not that important to me. I love a quote that Ronald Regan made: “If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”

In our world, we run up against all kinds of people, but remember that the ones who have gone against the crowd are the ones who have made the most permanent impacts on society. Think about these people: Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa Martin Luther King and the one above the rest Jesus Christ. People who are afraid to stand up are really just thinking of themselves. Don’t get me wrong here I am not putting myself in their league; I just want to emulate them.

Since I have moved from the fine arts field to the Decorative arts I have been attacked and had things taken from me that were mine so many times it makes my head roll! Most of the time I get attacked for bringing up the dreaded word “copyright” .I have pondered this over and over and in the fine arts field this is a very serious word, it is taken seriously and I have seen it taken into court and artists winning lots of money because their work was copied. In the decorative arts, it seems that anytime this word is mentioned people get real angry. Maybe this is because being a decorative artist they have learned by “copying” and it instills in their minds that it is ok to copy. Being a fine artist you come up with your own ideas and that is how you develop your style.

There are several myths that the decorative artists believe that are totally wrong, yet even when they are told the truth about copyright law they get very upset and still insist that what they have been taught is the truth. I see infringements all the time and it seems that no one cares enough to address this issue so it is constantly swept under the carpet. The industry is losing its designers, membership in organizations is down, and magazines are going out of business. Why?

It is hard to stay in business if people are constantly trying to steal something from you, it is hard to design if you know that you will only sell a few patterns and some of those will be copied and passed out at classes. It is just plain disheartening to work of something for years only to see it copied in a book or CD. It makes one ask, “What is the point of staying in this industry”?

The sad thing is that there is no support for the person who tries to do what is right, the one who is doing the infringing seems to get the pity….yet they are breaking the rules and causing trouble for the designers who are honest and hard working and trying to make a living.  What is wrong with this picture?

Every artist must remember: only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create a new version of that work. You cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, I repeat no matter how much you change it unless you have the owner's consent. Derivative works may be copyrighted, but only the owner of the copyright or someone with the owner's consent can create a derivative work. You cannot take a drawing off a painting and paint it in different colors or change something around and then claim that you forgot where you got the design from….that is no excuse it is still copyright infringement.

I have found that the people who are guilty of infringment are usually the ones that will argue until they are blue in the face about the copyright laws and often attack the people who speak out against it.

If we don’t all join together in stopping this there may come a time when designers are few and far between…..I think it is closer than we know.

Confucius: Integrity

Virtue is never left to stand-alone. He who has it will have neighbors.

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