Monday, August 10, 2009

What are Free Downloads Costing Our Favorite Artists?

It was brought to my attention recently that several beading books by some of our favorite artists are being pirated. They are being scanned then offered as a FREE download, very poor quality, on a website. I am not going to give the name of the website since this would just serve to promote it. I have to ask the question, what is getting these books, or for that matter music, or movies or artwork of any type for free really costing all of us?

As an artist and author, I make my entire living from my artwork, writing books, instructions for my kits and tutorials that I offer on my website. It is more than a full time job to keep designing new things and providing wonderful projects to teach and make kits from. It may seem really great to get the work of others for free, but think about it in terms of your own job or work. Whatever type of work you do is a service you provide for a paycheck. Imagine if your boss came to you at work and said, "From now on, you will be working here for no pay. Since you do such good work and everyone wants you to do the work for them free of charge because it makes them so happy, I am going to stop paying you." Would you quit or just keep on working for free, feeling so flattered that what you do is so popular that everyone wants you to do your work for them at no charge? When the work of anyone is “shared” or offered for Free it is like telling a person you have to work for free because we love what you do. Ask yourself if artists and musicians, actors, bead artists, anyone who does work you love so much, should be paid for their work as you are paid for the work you do each day? Even if you love your job as many of us do, we all have living expenses. We all deserve to make a decent living for our work.

As enticing as it seems, I am asking everyone who sees the published work of others offered for free to resist downloading it. Check out the source first and find out if it is pirated. If you don't know, think about it for a moment. Would I allow anyone to offer all my books and instructions for free when I am still paying to print and distribute them. Would Interweave Press or Lark Books still hire artists to write books for them if you could just get everything for free. The publishing industry puts real people to work. Don't allow more jobs to disappear. Our economy needs to grow and that takes all of us supporting each other. We are all connected. If enough artists stop getting paid for what they do, they won't be able to afford to work at it any more and just may quit and get a "regular" job. Where would the world be without the wonderful creative arts and all the joy we get from beadwork, artwork, music, movies and any other of the creative arts that enrich our world?


  1. Amen, Sista!!!! Thank you for saying something that needed to be said!!! I'm going to your blog from mine today (hope that's ok). I think more people need to read this and you said it SO well.

  2. Well said, Jeannette! I'm going to post a link to this.

  3. A cease and dissest letter to the website via email, if you have their address, send it certified mail and that might do the trick. Contacting the attorney general may help as well.

  4. Thank you for bringing this up, Jeannette! The electronic age has brought us tons of access, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how this freedom is used.

    Along with minding ethical Ps and Qs for traditionally published instructions, copyrights also apply to electronic files.

    When you pay to download a file from an artist, you are NOT allowed to transmit that downloaded file to your friends. Send your friends the url so they can download their own copies.

  5. That is the same drum I have been thumping and same message I have been trying to get out there, in my own crass way! (See the Cracked Bead on, in particular the chapter called "If its not Free, I'm not gonna Buy it!")

    There are a lot of people who think what we designers do should be free, and that they are ENTITLED to it.

    Its enough to discourage the strongest of us!!


  6. Very well put. Where would we be if talented artists stopped sharing their ideas? I'm going to help spread the word if I may.

  7. Well written, this has happened in the beadmaking community as well. Tutorials being offered on CD and online without the artists permission.

  8. Well, all these comments are from designers. Hasn't anyone that is just an amateur beader read this yet? Well, I am an amateur and I thank all of you that try to make a living by selling your hard work to people like me. I don't understand how a person's mind works when they think these free downloads are ok, both to offer them, or to use them.

    I will continue to purchase patterns and books. Because I have a conscience? That's probably a contributing factor because if I didn't I would not be able to determine right from wrong.

    Thank you ladies, for sharing your talent.

  9. Huzzah! Jeanette! Very well put. Will be linking to your blog from mine. I've been fighting my own battles in this arena. It's very disheartening.

    See you in Philly?

  10. Amen! Very well put and timely. And unfortunately, so needed, still. It's crazy how this sort of thing keeps happening!

  11. Definitely something we should all be aware of.