Thursday, February 16, 2012

Giving Handmade a Bad Name

So there is something I've noticed since becoming more involved in the world of crochet and knitting...

a huge amount of stolen images and sites stealing images from handmade artisans and hawking them as their own.

Here's the scenario:

Jill designs a lovely owl hat, possibly writes a pattern to sell from it. She has a professional photographer take pics of the hat per a normal photographer/handmade artisan arrangement. The photographer gets a cool hat for her sessions and the hat maker gets a professional shot of her images and the mom of the baby involved gets sweet shots of their little one. Great, right?

So the site in China steals the images without permission of the hat maker, photographer or the mother of the baby, then produces items like the hat pictured and sells them for pennies on the dollar.

Here's how all that is wrong:

1. Images are stolen from several people. While I was against the proposed SOPA law, there should be laws against this kind of garbage. The photographers creative rights were taken, as were the hat makers and the mothers personal privacy was stolen. Yes, we all know the risks when we post pics on the net and that is why good photographers have release forms, but does that make it right? no.

2. If the site is in China (I have one in mind but I will not link you because they do not need MORE traffic to fund their stealing.) here's the clincher: There is no MACHINE to crochet. While there are knitting machines, there are no crochet machines. If you pick up or see ANYthing crocheted, it WAS done by hand. By SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE. Unfortunately, in a situation like this, instead of you paying 40.00 for a hat made by a work at home mom, if you pay 15.00 for the same hat from a site in China (or worse, from an American reseller, selling the Chinese bought hats) should know that hat was made by someone, by hand, for sure, but for pennies on the dollar, making virtually NOTHING, very likely in unspeakable working conditions.

3. But here is what I think ticks me off most. RESELLERS of these chinese hats. Its no secret stuff made overseas is done so because it's done cheaply (for reasons you probably don't want to ponder.), but when a person opens up a shop solely to resell these items, whether or not they admit they don't make them, well that just exacerbates the problem. Yes, the items are handmade, but as I said above, by whom and at what cost.

Now you can argue, that these overseas sweatshops are providing jobs, giving these people a paycheck. That is an argument for another day. Is it really worth the savings though to contribute to image theft, fraud, and sweatshop production?? When you buy TRUE handmade you are helping mothers, college students, small business owners, retired people, disabled people, and many more varieties of people who depend on you buying locally and handmade and appreciating the difference.

There is no 'factory line' made crochet items. It's ALL done by hand. There is no machine. So if you are choosing crochet, why not STOP contributing to the sweatshop lifestyle and purchase something truly made with love and by hand.

And if you are a reseller, for shame. There is nothing wrong with owning a boutique, consignment shop, etc. But you CAN purchase well made crochet items wholesale from reputable crocheters, instead of overseas sweatshops. YOU can stop the problem. and YOU can stop stealing people's images of their hard work, photography skills and THEIR LITTLE CHILDREN.

Think before you buy.

If in doubt, don't buy.

Okay, I'm done now. I'm just so disgusted with all this. I never saw this when working in the sewing seems to be much more prevalent in the crochet world...I don't know why, but it's disgusting.


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