Stealing Work…and why it sucks *update…it gets worse*

So you all know that I posted recently about the Accuquilt block design program.  I entered on a wing and a prayer with just the thought that it would be really delightful to win those prizes but most especially that it would be wonderful to get that prize money for my charity.  They could definitely use it!

I was checking on the site last night and looking at other blocks since the voting opened up this week and wondering how people were doing.  The site is a bit complicated because I think that it is designed to mix up the blocks every time you view the page so that no one block is always on the first page.  That’s a great idea, but it makes it hard to tell people where to find your block…you really need to know the link to a particular block to find it.

But I was browsing and finally saw one of the two blocks that I entered, noted it, and moved on to find my other block.  I did find my other block and then to my surprise found my first block again.

Wait.  What?

I checked the block and it was mine.  I was convinced I was losing my mind so I popped back a few pages to where I had first seen the block assuming it would be gone in the crazy mix that happens with this program and how the blocks move.

Nope.  It was there.

But someone else had entered it.

My block.  My picture.  Slightly changed block name.  New entry, entrant, charity, etc.

Someone had stolen my work and entered it in the same freaking competition that I had entered it.  Let’s move past what a ridiculously STUPID idea that was in the first place and think about the COMPLETE LACK OF INTEGRITY this person had.

I share my work here on this blog to inspire, to teach, to document my own work for myself, to have contact with people who share my passion for fabric, sewing and quilting.  I was devastated to see my work so completely copied (and so stupidly done – did they think I wouldn’t find it? or notice?) Yes, Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but this was beyond imitation and into out right stealing.

I know that 99.9% of you would never do that.  I’ve always been really impressed by the quality of readers and commenters I have here in my little part of the internet.  I don’t typically get nasty comments and people are supportive.  So forgive me if I’m preaching to the choir.  But YOU CANNOT STEAL DESIGNS from other people. This is an obvious case of it being wrong, but there are less obvious cases and they seem to pop up more and more often for me.

I have to admit that this has lit a bit of a fire under me.  This person had votes on their block that they didn’t deserve or earn.  It was potentially confusing to my readers or friends who went looking for my block and saw this one instead.  Rest assured that I did immediately contact Accuquilt who obviously took the offending block down and it is no longer there. (I waited until then to share this so as not to personally shame the person who did this since her name and location were right there on her entry)

My block can be found by clicking on the picture below.  You can vote for it to win every day until the end of May.  It’s a great block and looks fantastic in a full quilt.  I’ve been holding on to this design for a long time.

And if you feel so inclined, you can vote for my other block as well.  Another design I love! Vote for all the blocks you like over there.  I don’t think there is a limit to how many blocks you can vote for in a day.

So…stealing sucks.  It destroys the spirit of the designer who worked hard to create something original and makes it that much harder for them to create again without worry that their hard work will be stolen.  Let’s not do any more of that, okay?

*update* Many of you know Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced.  She kindly commented here and then went to go vote for my blocks.  In doing so she found a block of HER design with the photograph she took on her patio entered by someone in the contest.  This is a DIFFERENT person from the one who copied me.

Please! If you see a block that you recognize from a different designer let me know!  I will be contacting Accuquilt with any other stolen block ideas.  This contest is for original entries ONLY!

55 thoughts on “Stealing Work…and why it sucks *update…it gets worse*”

  1. Angela,
    I am so sorry to hear about your problem with the block design entry. I am not sure if there is any way to copyright our work when we make our own designs, but you should find out before you enter a competition the next time.
    Read the small print – the entries may become property in part of the program too.

    1. I'm not worried about the details of the contest. I read that thoroughly. And honestly copyright wouldn't do me much good in this case. It still doesn't stop people from stealing honestly.

  2. That is truly unfortunate; but I am so happy to hear that you were able to get the block removed from the site.

    Good luck with the voting!

    1. I agree! So often when this happens the victim tries to protect the thief by not sharing their (publicly posted) info. If you choose to steal and use your own name to do it, you risk having everyone know you're a thief.

  3. Wow. This type of stealing seems to be on the rise lately. It's becoming a major issue. I'm glad you got the stolen block removed from the site. Good luck with the voting!

  4. Well that just stinks. If it hadn't been the same exact image, there would have at least been the possibility that s/he came up with the same design independently – but to be in the same exact fabrics? Highly unlikely.

    It also stinks about the other, less obvious, thefts. Though it can be difficult at times to do something truly original in a craft that's hundreds of years old, attempts should be made to at least provide a little credit. "I saw XX over here, and liked it so much I had to figure out how to do it…." etc.

    I hope these incidents don't slow you down too much. You have so many great ideas, and I know I at least love seeing them. 😀

  5. Glad you wrote the blog post. My husband is always aghast at the shiftiness in the quilting world. Down with cheating! And copying!

    1. sometimes it is silly, sometimes it is spiteful, sometimes it is innocent, and often it is just wrong. Original work is so much more rewarding than copying someone else. And there is fine line between being inspired by someone and directly copying them.

  6. that is terrible — I thought I saw your block on there twice the other day when I was voting but figured it was a glitch on the site because it was acting poorly that day. I am glad that you got it straightened out, the accuquilt people are good about working with you on these things. best of luck in the contest.

  7. It's unbelievable that it happens in the first place none the less in the same competition! I'm glad you took action and they responded so well.

  8. inspiration and stealing are two different things and this was definitely stealing. Espcially as a contest ebtry…NOT COOL. Good luck

  9. You know, this kind of thing always amazes me! It would never have even occurred to me to do something like that! I don't even understand how peoples minds work.

    That said, I love your blocks! You did a nice job. 🙂

  10. What the WHAT?? There has been SO much stealing in the quilt world recently. And for this contest, you don't even have to actually MAKE THE BLOCK, right? You just submit a mock-up? So somebody was so unoriginal and so lazy that they could not even take 10 minutes to create their own mock-up? I have no words. I really don't. This is becoming an epidemic and IT IS NOT OKAY. So sorry, Angela. Off to vote for your blocks now. (And I'll make sure they're really yours that I'm voting for!)

  11. WTH???!! I thought that I voted for your block but maybe I voted for the imposter block! That makes me angry and I can just imagine how you felt!! Your block is an amazing design and I think it would be awesome as a full quilt like you suggested. Glad that everything is fixed!! Good luck!

  12. Totally sucky. I hate internet cheaters. But I love that block – it would be an amazing full quilt (and I can't figure it out in my head, so it is a pretty awesome design).

  13. What the what? Good for you for catching the thief and getting it sorted out. Please know that your block designs are awesome and inspiring to bunches of quilters and we all have your back if needed. I hope this doesn't discourage you from making stuff in the future, because everyone needs a little amazing in their lives and your designs always deliver!

  14. Ps, I don't know if this helps, but some folks have been watermarking their photos to help prevent this basic style of cheating. But the burden lies on the quilting community as a whole to stand against this stuff, and not on your shoulders alone to police your own submissions. Xx!!

  15. Just to get it right. Someone did not sew or draw your block again, but took right away your picture? I cannot believe it, what a shame. Lovely blocks!

  16. I hope this gets straightened out. I stole a block from you and I told you, but all I did was make a baby quilt using your block and I tried to give you credit. I am sorry this happened, but whoever did this deserves to be called out by you privately. The concept of public flogging via your blog crossed my mind, but that would lower her to her level. You should contact her and explain the pain you are feeling that she respected your abilities and hard work so little.

  17. After finishing reading the whole post, I didn't steal at any where near that level, I admired your block and you hadn't created a pattern, so I made one and made the quilt. I did not call it my own and I did not claim to have the original concept. I respect your work and you.

  18. Happened to me last year – not with quilts but with purses that I was making. Someone emailed me to tell me that my photos were being stolen from my blog and used on another website. I immediately started watermarking my photos – it's the only way to stop this. And you have to put the watermark over part of your quilt block / product which is a bit annoying but is the only way it works.

  19. WOW. That is so ridiculous!! I wonder how many copies are in that contest? Some people have absolutely no shame. That is just appalling.

    Seeing how much this has been happening lately is making me think about watermarking… I haven't put up any tutorials or patterns (yet!) but maybe it would be best to get in the habit now!

  20. Yeah, I've seen several blocks that are exactly the same except for color. I'm disappointed in the way the contest is run because so many people are having troubles with the voting and rather than making the company look good, it is just a stain on a great company. I wish they would have had the judges pick their favorite block. I'm also wondering how much cheating is going on in the voting process. The whole thing makes me a bit sick. Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  21. I get ideas from lots of places, but, I try hard to add a link to the picture (or directions, etc) each time, and, if I ever make it, or even something similar to it, I try to link back to my inspiration. Fair is fair, and cheating is cheating. Sorry this has happened to both of you.

  22. It's so disheartening when I hear about this type of activity. I design my own patterns for sale and am always concerned that my pattern might be too close to something out there that I don't know about. I work hard, as I'm sure you do, to come up with new ideas.The idea of someone outright stealing just confounds me. I love both your blocks and plan to go vote for block two. Love the design.