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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

An Honest Look At The Size Of Copyright Problem

For the last 3 days, I have been making a list so I can do some math as an example of the scope of the copyright infringement problem. This is in response to the opinions I have been told (via email etc.) that this is blown out of proportion, exaggerated, or in some manner made-up to hide a loss of interest in the needlework industry as a whole. 

I went through the 2009 posts for the site located at to give a clearer picture of just how large copyright infringement has become and to show that it is not being exaggerated as some would like to believe it is.

I made a list (available as a word document upon email request) of every entry from Feb 7, 2009 to Dec 30, 2009, that counted the number of charts, or magazine pages full of charts posted on those dates.  I would continue for 2010 but this has already taken me enough time (3 days) and I think it makes my point quite nicely the way it is.

On the pages where entire pages of magazines, leaflets etc were posted I counted the pages rather than the individual motifs found on each page when those pages had more than 4 motifs to the page. Otherwise I counted individual charts. I noted the copyright holders if I recognized them, or the copyright statement was part of the scan (as it is on many of the scans posted)

Here are some facts about that site:

This site has 213 followers as of 10:14AM (Central US Time) Aug. 4, 2010.

The site counter shows over 900,000 hits.

It links to 36 other blogs on its front page, left-side column.  Of those 36 links: 20 have copyrighted cross stitch charts posted for free download within the first two pages of their blog. 2 have knitting and crocheting patterns, including full copies of magazines (copyrighted) available for download (not counted in those 20) and 1 needs to be logged into before it can be read (also not counted in those 20).

So 20 out of 36, that is over 50% of her links are also stealing copyrighted charts. So right there you have 21 blogs (counting the original) and 21 separate people providing cross stitch charts for illegal download. The 50 people that MyMark Designs used as a figure isn’t looking so “made-up” now.

The site owner links to a second blog (on the right side of blog, not in list of 36 links) that she runs which also lists copyrighted charts for download. So this one person has 2 blogs providing stolen copyrighted charts.

Of the 5 commenter’s whose blogs I loaded, 4 also provide copyrighted charts for free download. Most comments are “Anonymous”. So that brings us up to 25 separate people providing charts, all associated with this first site in one way or another.

Total charts on offer during that time: 2242

Following copyright Holders that I recognized: DMC, Anchor, Rico Designs, Beatrix Potter, Disney, EMS (31 of her animal baby charts are on this blog), Brittercup Designs, Leisure Arts, Cross Stitch Card Shop (UK Magazine), Cross Stitch Crazy (UK Magazine), a Russian Magazine and a Spanish Magazine, Hello Kitty, Garfield (paws, Inc), Vervaco, Lanarte, and others.

Now let’s do some math. For the sake of argument, and to allow for errors I will use the following numbers for my math:

Instead of all 213 followers, I will assume that only half (213 divide by 2 = 106.5) or 106 people downloaded charts.

Also to allow for not every chart appealing to every stitcher, I will use only half of the available charts for the year 2009. 2242 divide by 2 = 1121

I will use an average of $5.00 (USD) per chart because magazines cost about that much, most of the charts I recognized were at least 10.00 (or more) each so we’ll use a slightly smaller number to allow for variations.
106 people downloaded 1121 charts each: total downloaded 118,826 charts downloaded in 1 year

118,826 times $5.00 each equals $594,130 dollars lost to the needlework industry if they were only downloaded by those 106 people and only downloaded once in the entire year.

This is just 1 site, using half of the followers and half of the charts available for the year 2009. My guess is that the actual figures lost (if they could be accurately calculated) would be a lot higher because I doubt that only half the followers downloaded these charts and I doubt only half of them were downloaded. I am quite sure many people who are not listed as followers also downloaded charts without making their presence known via following or commenting. Since those pages are all still visible, and the charts are still available, people are still downloading them even though they were posted a year ago. Due to these unknowns there really is no way of figuring out the exact amount of money lost, but even the conservative estimate I have created is far too much money.

Since 1 person with just one site can cost this much to the needlework industry, it is not exaggerated that 50 people can cause over 800,000 dollars to be lost on a single $7.00 chart.

Remember this one person also links to a second blog she offers additional charts on, plus 20 more people’s blogs that also offer charts. That’s 20 more people off this single site, plus the 5 commenter I loaded making a total of 25 additional blogs and people with stolen charts. If you follow the links on all 25 of those sites, you’ll find even more people providing even more copyrighted charts.

As you can see this is not being exaggerated, made up, or in any other manner lied about in order to cover up a loss of interest in the needlework industry. This is an actual, major problem that costs the needlework industry a lot of money per year.

I wish that I could just turn away and justify it to myself as being exaggerated, made up, or a lie to cover-up a loss of interest in the needlework industry, but I can’t because I have seen it for myself. What I have given here truly is a SMALL sample of the sites that are available out there.

There are sites out there that offer charts and magazines literally within a few hours of them first being published. Those sites have thousands of charts and magazines available for download with thousands of users downloading daily. Some of those sites even require the users to PAY for the privilege of uploading and downloading pirated charts and NONE of that money goes to the needlework industry, it goes to the site owner who provides the space for the pirated charts to be accessed.

Copyright infringement is a major problem and the figures I have provided here, based solely on 1 site, are not exaggerated. In fact, the numbers are conservative and in actuality are probably much higher.

You can continue to believe that the problem is not this large if you wish, but you can no longer believe that the problem does not exist at all. It does.

Now for something to smile about, a WIP update:

Quaker Welcome © The Stitcherhood
28ct Jobelen

This is where I am at on Quaker Welcome and I think it is coming along very well!


  1. Fabulous sleuthing Raven! Sad to see it puts a much larger $$ amount of what is really getting stolen.

  2. Thankyou for posting about this. Copyright infringement is theft, plain and simple.

  3. Sad to hear this, Raven. Great progress on your Quaker Welcome.

  4. Thank you for doing this. It's so sad to see how much this industry is suffering. :(

    Beautiful WIP, though. Definitely something to smile about.

  5. Hi Raven- I followed you back from my blog. I went to that website you surveyed and scrolling down she/he also has torrent downloads to videos- "Pillars of the Earth"- what looks like all episodes to date. I believe this is a series airing on Starz network. I suppose once a thief, always a thief. We can hope for karma- that anyone "borrowing" a "free" chart also downloads a virus as well!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  6. Thank you Rachel, Christine, Vinniey, Nicole and Xeyedmary. Writing this essay after days or making lists of sites that are pirating charts finally got to me. This really is a major problem. I appreciate that you read the post and considered its contents.

    Please feel free to link to this entry if you want to, in order to help spread the word about copyright.

  7. VERY well done and I so appreciate the perspective!


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If you have any questions (looking for designer information of a piece I'm stitching, how to do cross stitch etc. ) please feel free to contact me. You will find my email address in my profile and I will do my best to either answer your question, or find information that can help you get your answer.

Thank you again for the visit and I hope you have a great day!

Missy (aka Raven)