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Plea To Stitchers re: Copyright Infringement

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this plea.

An Honest Plea For Help

Edited to add: I made an error, Dragon Dreams has not closed its doors completely! Please re-read for correct information. Mrs. Aikman-Smith, thank you for correcting me and again I am sorry that I posted inaccurate information about your company.

Earlier today I came across a web site. It is a Chinese posting forum that people have to spend money to get fake cyber money that they call "gold coins". The rate is 1 US dollar buys 100 gold coins. You then spend this cyber money to download stolen charts. I recognized many of the designers and made lists of their designs. I then emailed those companies and provided them the list with direct URL's to the files. I also created a fake log in and password so that I could access the "subscribers only" areas to get as complete a list as possible. I provided this log in information to the designers as well, so they could search for more of their charts. The site was just too large for me to find every chart. As it was I spent 4 hours getting that list. I was so sad by this. The Gift Of Stitching magazine and Heaven and Earth Designs recently made public comments about copyright and copyright infringement. I was sad to find that this site must be one of the sites they meant as many issues of the magazine and many HAED designs are illegally posted for download. Little House Needleworks, Country Cottage Needleworks, Lizzie*Kate, Tam's Creations, Barbara Ana, Bothy Threads, Brittercup Designs, Brooks Books Publishing, Casey Buonaugurio, EMS, Golden Kite, Mystic Stitch, TGOSM, UK mags like Cross Stitch Card Shop, Cross Stitch Gold,  and so so many more all had their charts stolen. This site requires that individual people scan in the charts and upload them so that others can download the files.

Don't people realize that doing this takes money from their favorite designers? That doing this will eventually cause those designers to stop designing charts? It is written on every chart and magazine that they are copyrighted and can NOT be copied or redistributed in any manner without written consent of the copyright holder, yet people still insist they did not know this. How can they not know it in this day and age? Especially after the massive news stories that arose when Napster (the music file sharing program) was sued and found to be breaking copyright laws? That was all over the news for weeks! 

Think about it, if the designers can no longer support themselves and have to stop designing, then the demand for such luxury threads as over-dyed flosses and silks and hand-dyed fabrics will also drop and as a side effect we'll lose those also; we'll lose the different magazines that are currently available. Every aspect of stitching that we currently enjoy will be affected. Stitching will go back to only those designs that the larger companies (such as Leisure Arts) provide us. People who run their own companies have many reasons for doing so and one of those reasons has to include profit. If a company loses money (such as occurs when their product is stolen) then eventually that company will no longer be able to afford to stay open.

Edited to add: Considering the number of hours it takes a designer to create a cross stitch chart, compared to the price those charts are sold for, their profit comes from the total number of charts sold, not from the price of a single chart. 

If charts were priced based on an hourly wage, they would be a lot more expensive. For example (using small easy number for this example only): 

small design/drawing/idea takes 10 hours..
charting the idea takes additional 10 hours..
model stitching takes 10 hours..
corrections to chart found during model stitching takes 5 hours
that small chart required 35 hours to create. 

At minimum wage (USA minimum wage $6.55/hr) that would be worth  $229.25 (35 hours X $6.55=$229.25). That's just the man hours required to produce a single small chart. The larger and more detailed the chart, the more hours and materials it takes and even a small chart probably takes more than 35 hours to create.

Now add in cost of printing the chart, materials with which to stitch the model, postage, and hours required to put it all together and the price goes even higher. Many charts are sold through a distributor, who takes a cut from each chart sold thus lowering the revenue that the designer receives from the sale of their charts. Yet charts remain at reasonable prices and selling a single chart of any design does NOT come close to even breaking even for the designer's time spent. Kits, of course, cost more as materials are included in the pack. For ease of understanding I am speaking solely of a chart, not a kit.

So every chart that is stolen and given to someone for free, directly affects the income of that designer's company and even a few such thefts are devastating. The more thefts which occur, the more damaging it is to the business. The less income that business generates until eventually the business can no longer stay open as there is no profit. A business can not operate if their costs are higher than their income same as a person's household budget will not work if they spend more money than they make.

Please, fellow stitchers, if you come across a person or a web site that is violating the copyright of a cross stitch designer (or other copyright holder such as an author), send an e-mail with the URL to that designer. If we don't all band together and fight copyright violations more of our favorite designers will be forced to stop designing or severely reduce the number of charts they put out per year like Dragon Dreams had to do. Some of these designers are running small businesses and thus can't afford to hire an attorney to fight this, but if stitchers band together, pass the word and refuse to tolerate the theft of a designer's hard work we can put quite a dent in such theft! If we don't, if we just sit by and think that it is no big deal, we will eventually find ourselves losing many of our favorite designers and the wonderful variations that are currently found in the stitching world.

So please, do not tolerate such theft when or if you come across it and help preserve the wonderful variations that are currently available in our favorite hobby! If you have copied patterns to pass along to your friends in the past, please stop doing so! It is stealing. It is illegal and it does take a toll, one that every stitcher including yourself will pay for when those companies have to close their doors.

If it makes a difference to hear this directly from a designer then go to Jennifer Aikman-Smith's old blog and read about how copyright infringement affected her business "Dragon Dreams" and how it forced her to stop severely curtail the number of cross stitch charts she designs in a year. She had to turn her focus to other areas (such as her beautiful illustrations) in order to keep her business open. designing cross-stitch charts. The entries are all still visible at this link:

**edited to add: The above link is to Mrs. Aikman-Smith's old blog. I provide that link as it gives her specific story of her battles against copyright infringement in her own words, and clearly states the major impact this had on her business including the percentage of income lost to such theft. To see what Mrs. Aikman-Smith is currently involved in please visit her current web-site at and be aware that she is still producing the occasional cross stitch chart through Patterns Online.

This is not a joke and we can no longer sit back and assume someone else will take care of it, or that it doesn't affect us, or that it can't be that bad.

It does affect us and it is that bad!

We all need to do our best to preserve our favorite hobby!

Edited to add: Mrs. Aikman-Smith, I am very sorry for posting that Dragon Dreams had closed. I went back and re-read your older blog and realized that I had misread it. I am sorry and have corrected the post. 

I am *very* glad to hear that you are still designing, even though it is not as many charts as in the past. I love your work and have many of your charts in my stash and on my to do list. Thank you for taking the time to correct me, I greatly appreciate it.