You know, I’m really pleased with the slippers I designed. I spent hours looking for patterns for crocheted Mary-Jane slippers, and I couldn’t find any in the style I wanted, or even any close enough that I could modify a pattern to make my own. So, I sat down with a tape measure, pencil and paper, made a few sketches, drew the design of the slipper I wanted on my foot with marker pen, measured all the dimensions, researched international shoe sizes on the internet, and set about designing a pattern of my own. And it took ages – the swatching, the calculations, the planning on graph paper, the crocheting, taking notes, frogging, re-crocheting, taking more notes, frogging again… and again… but I ended up with a pair of slippers that I was really pleased with, and that were exactly as I’d envisaged they would be.
When they were done, and I had transcribed all my notes and doodles, I was happy to publish the pattern here, free of charge, for other people to use, because I have found so much inspiration on the internet from other crafters, and wanted to give something back. And it’s been lovely to see people adding the pattern to their Ravelry queues, posting pictures of the slippers they’ve made, and reading all of the lovely comments and emails I’ve received about them.
But now, I am sitting here wishing I had just kept my pattern to myself. Why? Because someone is selling slippers on etsy that are exactly the same as my design. I studied all of her photos and her slippers are identical in every detail to mine, down to the number of stitches, the number of rows, the design and the construction. So I contacted the seller via etsy asking if she had used my pattern to make them, and saying if she had then please note that she is not permitted to sell items made using my pattern. She denied using my pattern; she said, “I didn’t use your pattern… I just google imaged slippers and improvised. I apologize if you find them similar.” and offered to send me the pattern she had made.
If, as she said, she didn’t use my pattern but instead improvised a design based on google images, then either it’s a pretty big coincidence that she came up with the exact same design as me, or she must have copied my design from my images.
I wish I could be more philosophical about this, and just shrug it off, but right now I just feel really sad, and bloody cross. I’ve been googling “etsy and copyright violations” for hours today to try to decide what to do, and came across some thoughtful posts from people on the same issue, such as this one from Melissa at tiny happy, this one from chile con yarne, and this one from Flint Knits.
I haven’t yet decided what I will do – the similarity between her slippers and mine is so big that I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. (She is also selling some other items that look as if they are made from other free patterns on the internet, such as the lovely Durango hat by Catherine Lindsay.) But can I prove that she violated my copyright? I don’t know. Can I be bothered? Again, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I am going to think twice about posting anything I design on this website in future, because I really don’t want to feel the way I’ve been feeling today ever again.