Many people believe that designers aren't affected very much by piracy of their charts. This is not true. In my last post I did some math with very basic numbers to show a few different things, one that cross stitch charts are reasonably priced and do not reflect the hours put into producing them, and two to show how much money is actually lost through theft of the charts.
Well a designer, Monique of My Mark designs, posted a blog entry where she did the math surrounding actual piracy of just one of her charts. I feel it is quite an eye opener if people actually read it. Her figures show a loss of over 800,000 dollars in a single year for the needlework industry. This loss takes into consideration 50 people providing a single chart which is normally priced at $7.00 and uses the actual number of downloads from a single person in one year (2,470). It is utterly amazing! I would say that $800,000 dollars is a MASSIVE loss to the needlework industry!
See for yourself how seriously stealing cross stitch charts does affect the needlework industry.Go here and read it: http://mymarkdesigns.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/do-the-math-2/
Sadly another designer is closing her doors as a direct result of internet piracy crippling sales for her business. As of October 31, 2010 Lavender Wings will close and the charts will no longer be available for purchase. Ms. Hinckley makes it very clear on the first page of her website that internet piracy is the reason for closing her company. Her charts are beautiful and due to piracy the needlework industry is losing yet another wonderful designer. You can read her words here: http://www.lavenderwings.com/
Out of curiosity I started following the links that these thieves put in their emails to pirate groups. Each link leads to a blog or posting board that contains even more links. All of these links lead to yet another web site, posting board, email group, or blog that "shares" stolen charts for free. Thousands of people are doing this every day. The money lost has to be somewhere in the millions per year! These same people profess to love needlework yet they happily continue to steal charts and cripple the industry they say they love. To me, that is not love.
I have also noticed that not many people respond to posts about copyright infringement (either on blogs or facebook or emails). I hope that this does not mean that the majority of people do not care, but I suppose it could mean that. Heck, it could mean many different things. But if more people spoke out against copyright infringement, if more people notified designers when they find a site that steals charts, and if more people refused to share copies of charts then we could put a major dent in the number of thefts occurring every day. We can't keep waiting for "someone else" to work against piracy. It only takes a moment to fire off an email about a web site or email group that is sharing charts. That one moment could be the one that keeps a favorite designer from closing their doors and quitting.
This web page answers many of the common misconceptions about copyright of needlework and other craft patterns. http://www.skinnersisters.com/copyright/not_innocent.html
If we continue to turn a blind eye to piracy, and continue to think "someone else" will handle it, then we will continue to lose designers and the hobby we love so much will suffer.