Originally posted on Holy Matrimony. I apologize for the copious amounts of cross posting lately, but I think this was important enough to appear in both places. So be a lamb and bear with me!
There’s been quite a lot of chatter within the DIY community lately about intellectual property and copyright infringement. Questions have been asked, most notably the question of lines. What are these lines in the sand between “inspired by and stolen from”? When are these lines crossed? What can we, as a responsible community of artists and creators do about it? This subject is one to which I have given a lot of thought. As my business is undergoing an overhaul, a reinvention if you will, I wanted to take a little time to clearly articulate my views and my policies.
A couple days ago, whilst on my daily blog rounds, I came across this post on Decor8. You can read the full post and comments here. While it is a topic without easy answers and its existence is outside the ease of black and white, the importance of it isn’t lost on us. I have encountered many of these situations both as a wedding consultant and as an event designer. In most cases I have dealt with the issue swiftly and succinctly. In one instance in particular (a bride and her mother kept taking photographs of the invitation suites I was showing them. I heard them say they would just use the pictures and have a friend copy them…even after my repeated appeals for them to stop) I was less than composed. Ah, that temper of mine… .
I believe in creation. I believe it is the thing that rousts me from by bed each day. . My life has been spent making art in one form or another. I have sung, danced, painted, photographed and acted out my triumphs, my sorrows, my insecurities, and my inadequacies. I have spent my life trying to make the world around me a little more beautiful. My heart swells when I am inspired by something and am able to ingest it, interpret it, expand on it and make it mine. My heart breaks when an idea is stolen, repackaged and re-sold as something it is not.
I believe the Internet is an exceptional thing. It has allowed us to “meet” and share ideas. It has given us new ways to promote ourselves and the amazing work we do. It has allowed small businesses to become more visible, more viable and more vibrant. But it, like all of us, has a dark side. It has made theft so much easier- so much more accessible. Our identities, our bank accounts and now our recipes and designs have become vulnerable. The idea of “intellectual property” has so many gray areas. I believe it is my duty, as a responsible member of the online artistic community to site every source, credit every picture, reference every author and include every link. I know what I didn’t create. I know what isn’t mine. As I learn more about the blogosphere, I know I will miss some things and I know I will make mistakes, but I believe it will be my task to correct them, learn from them and move on.
Now, to clarify... I would love to help you bring your vision to life. If you let me, I will do it in a way that no one else can. I will look at everything you bring to me, I will talk with you about your ideas. For me, the interaction between us will be the best part. Based on our discussion, I will create a unique experience for you. I will go through my quote with you, line by line and together we will make it fit your budget and your vision. I will never do the same event twice. Your event will be uniquely yours and uniquely mine. I will not recreate another artist’s work. Please do not bring me an existing design and ask me to reproduce it. I will not copy another designer’s designs, nor will I ask my fantastic designers and vendors to so. Copying doesn't allow us to show you what wonderful things we have in mind for you. Copying isn't honest and it isn't fair. I reserve the right to say no and politely direct you to the person who created the work you are actually interested in. I reserve the right to protect my integrity and the work of the talented artists and designers with whom I am so closely and so happily tied.