Monday, November 09, 2009


I just left a site with a giant copyright symbol and statement at the top of his side bar to return here with a clear explanation of why I see assuming the authority to control the interpretation of a voluntarily overt act second only to the usury such assumptions enable that riddles western civilization with the constant sense of oppression it exudes. Competition is beneficial only when it encourages everyone to expand their perspective and skills beyond the current edge with no energy devoted to retarding fellow vier’s possibilies; otherwise, such events are competitions in the most spiteful vanity.

When I first decided to sacrifice my graphic skills on the fires of the open market, I matted up the pages from several pads of watercolors, pastels and pen and sat on a blanket on the sidewalk along the “drag” with other art and craft vendors. Among the many things I learned by watching the faces of the people leafing through my work was how fraught with attachment to their reactions I was — to the point that the whenever I sat with pen, brush, chalk in hand after that venture, my mind leaped beyond any inspiration to faces in reaction to whatever it might have been. For me it was severe artist block. It was a full ten years before I was able to live by mypenchant and passion for art.

The one thing that has changed in the thirty odd years since that experience is my attitude toward the future of anything I might create once I offer it for public access. While it remains an inspiration or its incarnation in a drawing pad, note pad, voice recorder or computer program the work is mine; how could it be otherwise? But when I receive my commission from a client, sell my art to a customer or publish rants and ponders here, they are out of my hands and are free to be used for anything. To litigiously trace works into their future to ensure my desired interpretation is not only frustratingly futile, for an artist or author it is self-defeating.

My friend, Amber, began her own stained glass business making hanging creations she called Suncatchers. They are so beautiful that within a couple of years she began seeing “suncatchers” at trade shows underselling items so brazenly copied as to have the same names for the pieces. After much contemplation on the situation she realized the negativity and expense associated with legal action was much greater than any loss she might recover.

More importantly, she realized the value of any of her creations was in the quality she devoted to her own inspirations, a field in which she relished creating new pieces yet to be imitated by flatterers who not only demonstrated her ideas, but exposed the superior quality of her work as surely as an ad campaign.

In the case of the blogger who warns away plagiarists with a stay puff sized ©, I must assume he either wants to keep his ownership, income or integrity in tact although others’ misuse of his work can have no effect on the value of his intended meaning, while gratuitously drawing attention to the expressions he wanted out there in the first place.

Methinks © protests too much.


Brian Miller said...

take it all...its all i have to give...

Yodood said...

you understand me completely. how gratifying.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice to get the mention ;)

As one of my glass mentors, Paul says, "If the value of your work is founded on a proprietary technique then you may be a good technician but that doesn’t make you a good artist."


Yodood said...

Amber, your comment reminded me to link Suncatchers to your site. Oversite corrected.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I appreciate the link as well as the mention. And of course more than anything I appreciate your generous graphic contribution to my website, and the fun that we had putting the images together with the personalities of my designs.

Since you bring up corrections, however, I might point out the humorous irony, in that I did not invent suncatchers or the term. A suncatcher is any free hanging object, usually including glass or crystals in order to literally catch the sunlight and refract it in fun and colorful ways. They are wonderful because they remind us of the amazing sunlight that we so often take for granted.

What I did was use some available stained glass materials in a new way, and in expanding on that, I created a style of my own, that yes, has been quite popular, and yes, was copied many times by artists/manufacturers locally and overseas. Many have profited on this style of mine, and although in the dawn of this endeavor I did (eh-hem)copyright my work under the name Sunflakes on the advice of the experienced salespeople around me when I started selling nationwide, I have rarely found any instance of infringement worth the trouble. You see, the logic of the copyright was presented to me as merely a deterent to try to steer the professional copiers-of-craft towards some poor artist (who appears) less organized legally, who is less able to pursue infringements aggressively. This is pretty universal with all copyrights, I have learned. They are merely a threat to deter, but in practicality, are rarely acted upon. I have also learned that those who aren't creative and feel the need to copy something for financial gain are also universally failures. Because as you mention, they don't care about quality or the end consumer/customer, which counts in any lasting business. They all seem to try copying something, get it wrong, and then when it doesn't make them a millionaire, they quickly drop it and move on to copying something else, failing again, etc. Such is the curse or blessing of karma.

I don't worry about this stuff. I just make stuff that adds color to my day, and hope that someone continues to appreciate the quality and love that I put into each piece, whether a suncatcher or something else like your birthday bowls. The appreciation of hard work to me is worth much more than any selling price or feeling of ownership.