Wednesday, December 12, 2012
There are going to be some exciting changes to the directory blog in the next few weeks, so keep coming back to catch up on what's new and if you are a seller, how you can get involved.
Until then, have a great weekend!
Monday, December 10, 2012
As Artists Are We Protecting Ourselves? Are We Open to Loop Holes in the Proposed 'Orphan Works' Act?
I urge you to read on and decide for yourself, our rights to a copyright on web images and the products therein could be infringed.
Is this bill a concern for the general artist, photographer and crafter? In the immediate future, for the US, yes... for the rest of the world... a cause for debate, yes... a topic to follow, yes as laws are being considered in Europe already.
What is/are 'Orphan Works'? Wikipedia tells us;
So what does this mean for us... artists, photographers and crafters who blog, submit pictures to forums and social networks in order to market our products, network or just share? Well, it means that if someone stumbles across an image of yours and they can't find the owner (i.e. you), then they may have the right to claim the image and some might suggest possibly even go further (and we know there are some out there who will) to suggest that the work within the image is their own.
An orphan work is a copyrighted work where it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder. This situation can arise for many reasons. The author could have never been publicly known because the work was published anonymously or the work may have never been traditionally published at all. The identity of the author could have been once known but the information lost over time. Even if the author is known, it may not be possible to determine who inherited the copyright and presently owns it.
Nearly any work where a reasonable effort to locate the current copyright owner fails can be considered orphaned. However the designation is often used loosely and in some jurisdictions there is no legal definition at all.
Compulsory license schemes, which would exclude orphaned works from copyright protections, are rarely acceptable under international copyright treaties. Such schemes are only worthy of consideration when there are more significant concerns than orphan works, such as a risk of market failure due to very high costs in places like the satellite retransmission market.
Canada has created a supplemental licensing scheme that allows licenses for the use of published works to be issued by the Copyright Board of Canada on behalf of unlocatable copyright owners, after a prospective licensor has made "reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the copyright". As of September 2006 the Board had issued 189 such licenses.
US - The Public Domain Enhancement Act was introduced as House Bill 2601 for
the United States 108th Congress in 2003 but never passed. It was reintroduced
as House Bill 2408 for the 109th Congress in 2005 but died again. The bill would
have released certain orphan works into the public domain if the copyright
renewal registrations were not made as required.
In January 2006, the United States Copyright Office released a report on orphan works after researching the issue. The situation in the US is a result of the omnibus revision to the Copyright Act in 1976. Specifically, the 1976 Act made obtaining and maintaining copyright protection substantially easier than the 1909 Act. Copyrighted works are now protected the moment they are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and do not need to be registered with the Copyright Office. Also, the 1976 Act changed the basic term of copyright from a term of fixed years from publication
to a term of life of the author plus 50 (now 70) years. In so doing, the requirement that a copyright owner file a renewal registration in the 28th year of the term of copyright was essentially eliminated.
These changes were important steps toward the United States’ accession to the Berne Convention, which prohibits formalities like registration and renewal as a condition on the enjoyment and exercise of copyright. Moreover, there was substantial evidence presented during consideration of the 1976 Act that the formalities such as renewal and notice, when combined with drastic penalties like forfeiture of copyright, served as a “trap for the unwary” and caused the loss of many valuable copyrights. These changes, however, exacerbate the orphan works issue,
in that a user generally must assume that a work he wishes to use is subject to
copyright protection, and often cannot confirm whether a work has fallen into the public domain by consulting the renewal registration records of the Copyright Office. The report recommended that the focus on developing legislative text to address orphan works should not obscure the fact that the Copyright Act and the market place for copyrighted works provide several alternatives to a user who is frustrated by the orphan works situation. Indeed, assessing whether the situations described to use in the comments were true “orphan works” situations was difficult, in part because there is often more than meets the eye in a circumstance presented as an “orphan works” problem. In most cases a user may have a real choice among several alternatives that allow her to go forward with her project: making noninfringing use of the work, such as by copying only elements not covered by copyright; making fair use; seeking a substitute work for which she has permission to use; or a combination of these alternatives. Even though some orphan works situations may be addressed by existing copyright law as described above, many are not.
In conclusion, the Copyright office has reccomended new legislation which sets out limitations on the remedies that would be available if the user proves that he conducted a reasonably diligent search and describes a threshold requirements of a
reasonably diligent search. Such a solution would fall short releasing orphan works into the public domain, like the previous bill, but rather encourage perspective licensors to go ahead with an infringing project knowing in advance the maxium remedy he could be faced with.
In May 2006, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith introduced H.R.5439, a bill aimed at addressing the issue of orphan works by providing limitations of remedies in cases in which the copyright holder cannot be located.
1. ^ Peters, Marybeth (2006). The Challenge of Copyright in the Digital Age. Focus on: Intellectual Property Rights. U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International
Information Programs. Retrieved on 2006-11-27.
So who would claim these pictures? It could be anybody, but I should imagine (an assumption) that where money is involved in the process of each claim, that we would really be talking about larger companies... maybe those who hold stock images for marketing and advertising companies, or companies who stumble across your invention and understand how to make it profitable on a larger scale??? (again an assumption).
Can unapproved use of my images/product happen already, without someone going through the process of claiming an 'Orphan Work'? Sure, who is out there policing the internet... do you know if Facebook, MySpace, or Flickr use your images for promotional material already? Do you know that images from your blogs can be downloaded and printed off? Yet we all upload images and products freely. How do we stop it? Well this is the debate, isn't it? Even if the bill is opposed and rejected in congress, will copyright infringement ever stop? Coming from a fashion background where I have seen my own work rehashed by other companies for their profit... I'd tend to say these things are here to stay... doesn't stop it hurting when it does happen though!
So are we doing enough to protect ourselves? No probably not... What else can I do? Here are some things to consider, for example;
- Are you a business, a professional, or a serious creator with an invention? Should you be taking protection of your work more seriously?
- Do you copyright your work already? Every single piece? Are you familiar with how copyright works in your country?
- Do you archive your work and images? Laborious, but maybe not a bad idea?
- Do you copyright/watermark images of your work... every single one of them? Even the pictures of you and your friends crafting away on a Saturday afternoon? If I come across an image you have taken and submitted on the internet... how will I know it came from you? Have you looked yourself up under 'google images'?
- If someone else blogs about you, do they provide full links to your websites and or email, so that you can be contacted? Do you do the same for the people you feature?
- If you have comments on the topic, or links to information sites I have missed... please post them here.
If you want to follow the progress of 'Orphan Works' and the pending US bill, here are some other site I have found -
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Unlike your newsletter, which should be short and focussed, your blog gives you a lot more leeway to play. Post often, around once a day if you can, to keep people interested. Pictures and HTML formatting are fair game and in fact pretty important -- a good picture will catch the eye and get people looking. I try not to post without using at least one picture (though I don't always manage it).
Your first decision is where to host your blog. There are a lot of free blogging sites available. I have blogs on both Blogger and Wordpress, and I find them both easy to use. I've also read blogs hosted on TypePad and SquareSpace, and there are a number of other such free or inexpensive hosts.
If you have your own web site, you can also host a blog there. I haven't tried this so I don't know a lot about how it's done.
Pick a host you like and are comfortable with using. Get to know its ins and outs -- yes, I'm talking about reading the directions again. Play with layout and such until you have at least some idea of what you're doing.
Write up your profile with the same care you used in your shop profile -- consciously or not people will judge you by it. Upload an avatar -- use a good clear photo of yourself, or a picture of some of your products, or perhaps your shop logo. Make sure it's a good high quality image.
Choose a name for your blog that reflects what you're going to be saying there. A lot of people just use the name of their business as the name of their blog; others choose something else that echoes the feel of their shop.
Speaking of feel, think about the sort of blog you want to have. Is it going to be folksy and friendly? Will you write frequent but very short articles on very focused topics? How about long, rambling ones that go from one topic to the next? Formal, informal, colloquial, erudite?
Do you post strictly about your shop, or do you talk about other indie sellers as well? News about the indie craft movement in general? Do you post personal things as well as those strictly business-related articles? Will you post in celebration of a big sale or about the snowstorm that's had you snowed in the last few days?
Whatever you decide on, your blog should be consistent enough that your readers feel comfortable being there. Like a visit to an old friend's home they want to know what to expect. It's your blog -- but you've opened it to welcome in your readers and you do want to help them feel welcome. Therefore it's best to create a feel for your blog and stick with it.
Which isn't to say that you have to decide all of this before you've posted a thing. Take some time to find out what feels comfortable to you -- you spend more time there than anyone else and you have to feel at home. It may take several posts, a few weeks, even a couple of months before you start finding your voice. And it will always evolve over time.
Don't worry if you don't feel that your writing skills are up to much, either. The best thing you can do to improve your writing is keep writing. I could go on on this topic -- perhaps I already have -- but others have covered it far better than I could.
The 'feel and mood' thing applies to the look of your blog as well. Your blog should be well laid out and easy to navigate, but in addition you'll want to find a look that complements your writing style. Dark and dramatic? Bright and cheery? Simple? Cluttered and friendly? Here are a few examples of how the look of your blog can complement the feel:
|Timothy Adam Designs uses a simple grey background; the colour is reminiscent of the metal he uses to make his jewelry. He has a lot of things in his sidebars but the way he uses the orange titles makes each element stand out while at the same time pulling the whole design together.|
|La Chapina Huipil Crafts has a clean, simple style which emphasizes the photos of the Guatemalan huipils she uses.|
| ||Miss Knits' site is cozy and friendly, a calming pair of browns as the background with the delicate tracery of foliage to the left. There's a lot in her sidebar but she keeps it well-confined to the right side.|
| ||Paper Girl Productions, like its proprietress, is bright, cheery and cute. The theme and feel is a nice complement to her unique stuffed animals.|
Feel free to experiment for a while before you settle on a feel and a look for your blog. (As you can see I've been inspired to rearrange mine...again.) And there's nothing wrong with the occasional complete overhaul, either.
But what to write about? That's part of the 'mood and feel' decisions you made above (or not). Things every shop blog should include:
* New products -- this is often the fastest way for people to find out you've introduced something new. Tell your customers what it is (again, you can crib from your item descriptions). Tell them what inspired you to make it. Link to it, so they don't have to go looking for your shop. And include pictures!
* Sales and specials -- what's on sale, what the discount is, why you're having the sale, a coupon code if appropriate. Add a link to your shop, so anyone who's just stumbled by can find it easily. Include a picture or two of what's on sale.
* Upcoming shows -- where, when, who else will be there, what else there is to do, any entrance fee, hours, directions, a map, a link to the show's website if any. If the show has a logo, put that in. With a link to the show's website. If they don't, put in a picture of your booth. Or a kitten.
* Competitions, challenges, and contests you've entered (especially if your readers can vote in it). Include a link to the competition and a picture of what you've entered.
* Pointers to any blog or webzine where you've been featured, reviewed or interviewed. Include a quote from the interview or feature, but not the whole thing. This is part of an unspoken deal between you and whoever interviewed or featured you -- you get the exposure of being featured or interviewed, but in return they should get the exposure of being mentioned in your blog. Include a link, and maybe a screenshot of the feature or a picture of what they talked about.
You may be seeing a theme here. Include pictures. Blocks of plain text make people's eyes go unfocused, and then they go away. Pictures catch attention.
I bet you looked at the picture above before you read the couple of paragraphs before it. Am I right?
Hold your mouse over it (or click on it if you like). It's got a link to my shop. Any time you include a picture of one of your items, make it link to your shop. It's a little more work, but it's worth it.
Some other things you may wish to write about:
* Features, interviews, and reviews of other people's stuff. Remember that unspoken contract above? They get exposed to your readers, you get exposed to their readers, everyone benefits. Include pictures of their products, and make sure every one of them links to their shop. Include a link to their blog if they have one.
* Informative articles. This series is a good example; so's the article I posted a while ago about why you don't want to put arnica in the bathtub. Remember that great piece you put in your newsletter six months ago about how to turn an old t-shirt into a shopping bag? Repost it here. Complete with step-by-step instructions and pictures.
* Personal posts. Anything from 'I'll be on vacation for the next week so any orders will be sent out the week afterwards' to my ongoing posts about my cats. You should be careful not to let these overwhelm your business-related posts (I probably should do fewer kitten posts, but I can't resist) but a certain amount will help your customers feel a connection to you as opposed to just your business. Also, pictures.
There's a fine line with personal posts, though. Too many and you're just another personal blog. Griping about how bad business is -- or worse, complaining about the awful customer you just dealt with -- is likely to alienate your readers (and what if the awful customer sees it?). More on this below.
* Pointers to contests, sales, or special events someone else is holding -- especially if that someone else is a friend or business associate who may wind up returning the favour.
Some things that you should probably not post about, or if you do, it's best to be cautious:
* Awful customers
* How bad sales have been
* Anything else that's likely to be controversial
I'll bet you grumbled when you read that last one. I did, too. I'll write about what I want, you're thinking, and be damned to anyone who's offended!
My advice? Keep it to your personal blog. Remember that your blog -- indeed, anything public that's connected to your business -- is your workplace. If you wouldn't say it to a customer in your booth, don't say it in your blog.
And believe me, I do let loose in my personal blog.
So -- look, feel, mood. Make a space where you feel comfortable talking and others will feel welcome to stay a while. Take advantage of your avatar, your profile, and your sidebars to help convey what you want to. Post often, post things that people will enjoy reading. Use pictures to illustrate your point and get people looking. Your blog is an extension of your shop, and it's just as important to make it look and sound good.
Next up, you've got a blog. Now you need people to read it.
Written by Kate of http://en.dawanda.com/shop/omshantihandcrafts
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
2. DaWanda Shop URL: http://en.dawanda.com/shop/glamasaurus
3. When did you open your shop? October 9th 2007
4. Are you in the DaWanda Shop Directory here? Yes
5. What Category are you under? Jewellery and accessories.
6. What do you sell? Handmade polymer clay jewellery and Jewellery made with found objects.
7. Describe 2 of your current products.
b.I am a bit of a junk food fanatic so instead of eating the junk food I turn it into jewellery like this lovely donut necklace
Sunday, December 2, 2012
DaWanda Shop Directory Links: Under Construction!
More details on existing shop URL transfers and accepting new shops to the directory will be coming soon.
I would also like to take this oppourtunity to say a special 'Thank you' to http://en.dawanda.com/shop/lebarduvent who has kindly helped me to translate my english description into French - Thank you!... By the way this is a lovely shop, so please pop over and grab yourself something nice!