Thank you all so much for the thoughtful comments! I continue to be amazed by the kindness and empathy of people I have never physically met. I am grateful for the encouragement and the time it must have taken you to actually write out your thoughts. But mostly I am grateful for the other issues that came out of that original situation, and the honest questions you raised.
I first want to apologize to anyone who was suddenly thrown into a guilt-frenzy after reading that post because they might have used a photo from my site and linked to me but never asked. I'm not going to hex you. What I never knew doesn't bother me. If you've used a picture of my child, please remove it (unless I've OK-ed it). All else is negotiable and most of it is fine. I'm also sorry if I've made everyone feel like they need to walk on eggshells as a result of this issue being broached.
One thing (of many) good that came out of the post is some of you sending me email messages to ask about copyright stuff. I wish I knew enough to write about what's right and wrong. I only know what I would and wouldn't like for my blog. So I thought I'd make a hopefully helpful list or two. Some of these are rather silly and self-explanatory, but they made me laugh when I listed them, so I left them in:
Things that are perfectly OK with me; no permission needed from me:
- Putting ikatbag in your blogroll.
- Subscribing to ikatbag in your aggregator e.g. google reader
- Linking to ikatbag from your blog in some list, say, in your sidebar e.g. "Bizarre Blogs By The Mentally Unsound"
- Linking to a particular ikatbag post in some list, say, in your sidebar e.g. "Bizarre Projects That Question A Person's Sanity"
- Linking to a particular ikatbag post in your post e.g. "ikatbag made this bizarre thing today out of chicken wire, corn starch and a plastic pollypocket doll - check it out here"
- Using the picture of my banner (the thing that has my blog name at the top of the blog) on your site and linking to it.
- Writing (no pictures) about ikatbag or any of my projects or posts in your blog.
- Calling the blog ikatbag or Ikatbag or Ikat Bag or ikat bag.
- Calling me LiEr or Lier or Li Er or Li er. Or just "she". Or "her".
Here are things that are perfectly OK with me if you drop me an email to say so. Of course I'd prefer being asked beforehand but I also don't mind being informed after. If in the off-chance that yours is a blog I'd rather not be associated with e.g. one with adult-content, I reserve the right to ask you to remove my content.
Things that are not OK with me
- Posting/publishing any of my pictures without informing me.
- Posting/publishing prose I wrote without informing me.
- Posting/publishing any portion of my tutorial instructions (including printables) without informing me.
- Writing untrue things about the projects or my blog, e.g. "ikatbag made a butter sculpture of Malibu Barbie!" (when it was, say, made by the local confectioner down the road).
- Suggesting in your blog that readers make stuff from my instructions to sell.
Here we enter the big fuzzy grey area: selling.
I'm going way off tangent for a while and talk a bit about ideas. The root issue (the iffy part of it anyway) of copyright, as I see it, is the idea behind a project. It is completely possible for several people to all have exactly the same idea, especially if is related to a current hot craft thing out there. We all get some of our ideas from somewhere, if we are honest enough to admit it. Sometimes we use this inspiration as is, and make the very thing we saw somewhere else. Now if that thing were copyrighted by its maker and we were to sell it, that would be wrong. That's clear enough. If we took one aspect of this inspiration and created some new version of it and sold it, that's iffy. It's hard to say how much of it is copied and how much of it is inspired, isn't it? And are all sources equal? If the idea was from a book, or a store catalog rather than the internet or someone's blog, would that be less wrong? What if the idea was from something we glanced at fleetingly in the window of an airport store as we were leaving a foreign country we never intended to revisit? The spectrum is infinite. Worse, if we had an absolutely original idea, then saw a similar thing somewhere else and realized to our horror that while we were original, we weren't that unique after all, can we still sell the thing we make from that idea?
Clear as mud, isn't it?
Now this is going to be different for each blogger/entrepreneur, so don't take my word as law. I will, however, say this for myself: when in doubt, I'll email the person whose idea it is. If that person says, "bless you for wanting to make 50 of my handbags from that pattern you bought/my tutorial, to raise funds for abused children! Yes!", everybody wins. Or maybe that person might have a special arrangement (like a seller's license) to sell things made from their pattern. And if that person says no, all I've lost is one idea that wasn't mine to start with.
Trust your instincts and conscience. Talk it over with a friend (I did - thank you, K!) and don't live in fear. When in doubt, ask. There are a lot of friendly, obliging people out there, I've found.
What I'm also going to do is link this post to my copyright notice so people can read more about what is and isn't OK with me if they want.
If you have comments on this, or if I've left out something (because I'm getting sleepy again!) that you want to add, please share it in the comments or email me!
As a last word on the circumstances that started this whole discussion - thank you all for wishing that the issue get resolved. That would be nice, wouldn't it? But you know, I don't need it to be. I spoke up and I know here's where I let go :) If some of you have found that blog, may I ask that you let it be? I mulled over posting that one sentence in case it identified the blog in a google search (but I googled it and nothing happened, phew). Again, if anyone has questions, you can comment here or email me and I might comment back or email you. I don't plan to post again on this same issue because, really, why do a pictureless, projectless post when we can all be making stuff?
And so, gentle readers, we resume Summer Skirts!