Friday, August 5, 2011

Let's not be small.

Recently, a room in a Pottery Barn catalog imitated Janell's son Max's bedroom, (from Isabella & Max Rooms); a design she created and executed herself.  Reactions ranged all over the map in the comments (is anyone surprised? lol), from super-positive back-patting to flaming denunciations of Pottery Barn's ethics.  Here's my take.

The concept of ownership of ideas and design and songs and written works is, imho, a source of conflict, grasping greed, and negativity.  Granted, it's supposed to protect from those things, too . . . copyright began as a one-man shop's protection against big publishing houses who could reprint his work willy-nilly and claim it as their own.  That's a great reason, right?  Right.

But.

It has gone far, far beyond its original intent.  We're all inspired by something, by someone . . . an amazing interior designer (whose name I have long since forgotten) wrote something I'll never forget:

"You're only as good as what you've seen."

Now, some may quibble with that . . . others will agree wholeheartedly.  But it does point up the fact that humans benefit tremendously from one another.  I say, if someone gets an idea from me that allows them to support their family, run with it.  The world is big enough, and the market wide enough, that there is plenty of room for the both of us.  Even if it's a mega-corp.  I'd rather compete in the realm of customer service, product quality, and innovation than feed at a wholly-owned trough of monopoly and stagnation.

It always saddens me to see people react vitriolically to these kinds of things . . . that does nothing to make the world a better place.  I call it high flattery that PB knocked-off Max's room.  And it has done nobody any harm in the process (well, unless they had a fit over it, I guess ;o).  On the contrary, it has brought a ton of traffic to Janell's blog . . . which is what all bloggers want, right?

Publicity is publicity is publicity . . . even negative stuff loses its sting after a while, and most people only remember the name, not the negative.

And as for "design theft" (a name summoned up multiple times in the comments) . . . Heaven Save Us.  Can you IMAGINE the bullying that would happen to small-timers (hello, bloggers) if big companies started claiming design theft when one of us blogged about how we made a cool PB-inspired mirror, or built a piece of furniture that looked like theirs?  (Hello Ana-White.com, which helps support their family, filled with free plans to build knock-off furniture!)  Design theft laws would probably begin like copyright did, where copying was only illegal if you did it for profit . . . but we all know where copyright law has gone ("You may not breathe on my cd/mp4 file without permission").

Congrats, Janell, for the huge pat on the back from PB. :o)  And let's keep design free, so we can all build on one another's work, and be free to craft at home as we will!

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