Sunday, October 18, 2009

An open letter to my latest copycat

Dear L,

Some months ago my attention was drawn to you by several of my loyal and oh-so-perceptive customers who felt that your ceramic jewelry work was just a little too close-for-comfort-looking-way-too-much-like-mine. I was already aware of you, as I am of all people who feel the need to copy my work (I see everything), but the fact that others were able to pinpoint the copycat made me pay even more attention to you. Since that time you have copied much of my style and many of my designs. You have also branched out and copied the work of other ceramic jewelry artists. You photograph your work on one of the same backgrounds that I used to use (you can have it, I am done with it). You even give your work similar names and use similar descriptions in your Etsy listings. Basically what it comes down to is that you seem to have no imagination of your own.

Now I realize that sometimes people unconsciously make things that look very much like other artist's work. What you are doing is NOT unconscious. In fact, it seems to be rather calculated and without a conscious. You sell blatant copies of other people's work at shows, passing them off as your own (you seem to be under the impression that if you don't list the copies on Etsy that it's OK). Even your booth display and earring cards are copies.

I could rant on and on about ethics, dignity, creativity... I could even give the PC response and say that "I feel sorry for you." But I don't. You know what you are doing and you are doing it without a care in the world. I could also out you right this minute and publish your name, business name and even your address. But I won't. It is absurdly obvious to any and all who see your Etsy shop and (especially) Flickr account where you are getting your ideas from so I will spare you the outright public embarrassment. You have done it to yourself already.

What I will do is offer you a little advice. Work on the quality of your pieces. It's not very good. Rule number one of being a good copycat is to do it well (wasn't that in the handbook?). It's one thing to rip off other's ideas but at least try to do it as well as they do. And you, my dear, have a long way to go. Your pieces are crude and the commercial glazes you use are muddy. Your wire work is amateur at best. You may find that once you turn your focus to improving the quality of your work you may actually develop some ideas of your own. (In your case, probably not, but it was worth a shot.)

Sincerely,
Nancy

20 comments:

Dorothy said...

I recognize my work in her shop too, and I see some other designs in there as well.

I just discovered her stuff a couple of weeks ago when I thought one of her listings was mine, and I was stunned that I posted such a lousy photo. I've sort of been mulling over what to do, but then decided that I'll be creating some new designs, and good luck to her. She'll need it.

Round Rabbit said...

Yes, she does need it. At this point she is ripping off so many people it's almost comical.

We can just forge ahead! She will be out of breath trying to catch up! :)

Altered Beauty said...

I am sorry you are in this situation, but I applaud your response. Etsy buyers will see the quality of your work and move on from her inferior shop.

Abeille à miel said...

I don't know who the culprit is, but must say that your response shows the professionalism you carry on into your work. I echo Altered Beauty in applauding your response.

Round Rabbit said...

Thank you so much! It's hard to remain professional when dealing with certain topics and I do think I got a little snarky with this one, but I tried to keep it to the point.

I really appreciate your support Altered Beauty and Abeille à miel!

SummersStudio said...

Hey Nancy, snarky is just what you should be in this situation. I actually saw this work a couple of weeks ago, I think. And frankly, am appalled at the blatant copy of your very unique style and design. I also noticed that the work was so inferior in quality to yours that I would never mistake it for yours. Good on ya girl for speaking out on this. I for one think you've handled this in a very professional manner.

Katie said...

I think I've run across the person you're referring to (I remember thinking to myself that it looked an awful lot like your stuff).

But, I agree with everyone else that you have tackled the issue in a wonderful way - it's hard to take the high road, and I think you've done it with loads of class.

With so many of us out there trying to create things (beads, jewelry, whatever else we are creating) that are uniquely our own (and trying SO hard not to re-create the work of others), it's sad to see people blatantly copying others.

Just know that quality will always win out and that your good karma will always triumph over the bad karma in the end :o) (I've seen bad karma bite people in the hindquarters...it's never nice, but it can be a valuable lesson...)

mairedodd said...

brava! you handled this so incredibly well... that you are a professional and have dignity and poise is most obvious... you are right in pointing out that creative people are often observant people and seem to soak things up like sponges - so that influences may sometimes be gleaned... but outright copying is unacceptable... good for you...

Dani said...

Good for you!!!!!

Take this advise copycat...you need it!!!

Nancy, we all are behind you!!

sundownbeaddesigns said...

Ouch!! How brazen to copy your work...and to the extent that other people notice, incredible! What a GREAT! letter...you handled the situation well! Kudos to you!

Mountaindreamers said...

Soorrry you have to deal with this, clay is so tell tell too. maybe she will get the hint, ; ) hang in there . it is all about karma , don't put anything bad out there.

kelleysbeads said...

Copycats, their lack of ideas and conscience over attempting to replicate other artists makes me sad. Typically their poor work and lower quality speak for themselves. But it doesn't make it any less hurtful or aggravating for the original artist who has busted their butt over years to perfect his/her technique and unique designs.

Nice job taking the high road and not naming names. The copycat doesn't need any extra attention. Your work is excellent...and reflected in your etsy sales!

becca.elpy said...

darn, what a mess! i hope she sees this letter, whoever she is, and feels all kinds of convicted.

you'll always be one (or more) steps ahead of her.

Gaea said...

That's not fun. It must be hard not having any ideas to call your own. Take pity.

bellajoya said...

I've never seen said artist, but I'm amazed that someone was even able to copy your pieces. I consider your work to be some of the most original among those who work with your mediums. There's no way her work can even come close to the quality and creativity of yours and her attempts to even try to do so show her lack of creativity. I hope she finds her own voice and it's sad that she can't access her own creative spirit. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll keep loving you for it.

Alice said...

Just coming into this medium as a buyer, I don't know who you are talking about. But I am sorry you are having to deal with this, it must be very frustrating! You have taken the high road by calling her out with grace.

The others are correct in that she can't keep this pace for long. It's clear she doesn't have the strength or character to endure.

Annette F. Tait said...

inspiration from others artists is great but to replicate their work and sell it as your own is completely unacceptable.
It is a small world online and any 'artists/plagarists' using their lack of integrity to make money will damage their reputation for good unfortunately.
I have already informed two etsians of their work being stolen and used by a female with a lack of standards. She has now closed up shop.
It is a sad and sorry person who can 'make' stuff but not come up with their own designs or ideas. They must have a thick hide and no morals and that is a real shame.

Emi of FTLOB said...

Pretty ridiculous what people think they can get away with and nobody will notice.
At least if the copycats work is as bad as it sounds, no one will ever mistake it for your work. Or choose hers over yours.
Good for you on taking the higher road and not outing them and ranting angrily - as others have said, it really shows your professionalism.
Good luck!

Erin said...

I'm 99% sure I know who you are referring to. She does have a very similar style and look to her pieces and photos are strikingly similar,too. I've noticed her on Flickr for some time now. Every time I would see her photos, it disgusted me. I was pretty sure you were already aware so I saw no need to say anything to you. I figured it would just aggravate you even further. It is so frustrating. I just hope that I don't have to ever find out how this really feels! I'm glad you got this out of your system! You just have to get things out sometimes so you can let go and move on.

The Noisy Plume: said...

Hey babe!

You should change your name to Round Tiger. I admire your willingness to deal with this quasi-publicly when you need to. I can't deal with it anymore, except behind closed doors, in the arms of my husband, where I cry my eyes out and then go out to my studio and make something so fanfriggentastic that it won't EVER be ripped off by a person with scum on their soul.

Humph.

In solidarity,
The Plume