Sunday, April 16, 2006
Copycats & Moral Dilemmas
Here are 2 of my reversible purses. I have several different styles, & have been teaching the "Reverse-A-Purse Class" for 3 years now. Recently I stumbled upon one of my former students at our Alaska Fiber Festival selling these purses. She also informed me she was selling at the Anchorage Museum too, which is something I had planned on doing this year. I was upset to say the least. I felt as if she had stolen from me.
I consulted a lawyer, who advised that I write to this woman & tell her how I felt, & what I thought she should do to make it right. I also let the museum know that this is my design not hers as she had claimed on her purses, calling them "P--'s Originals". How can she call them original? I decided, to compensate me she should pay an annual fee in exchange for a certificate that says I'll let her make & sell my designs. I thought a fee of $100.00 per year paid to a local charity in my name, & the receipt sent to me, was more than fair. It's not about the money for me, it's about right & wrong. She has phoned me (several times), & at first she thought this was a good idea. Then she talked to her friend, & then said she laid awake listening to her conscience. Apparently she & it told her this would be wrong, validating my claim (regardless of the fact that it's the truth), & now she thinks this would somehow take away from her own"work" which just happens to be a pale somewhat lifeless copy of mine. So I told her I think she is probably going to be hurting herself more than it will me. We have a small community here, & I have some good friends in our art community.
I have been wondering if I should withdraw from teaching though. If this sort of thing is going to happen, & I'm going to feel so bad about it, maybe I shouldn't waste my time teaching. Maybe I should spend that time producing my own work, & getting out there to sell it. I don't know what I want to do now. I'm torn.