(COMMENTS wanted and encouraged! I’m really hoping to spark some conversation here, so please feel free to chime in with your opinions. Keep it friendly and objective.)

Finding Inspiration.
There are thousands of places to find craft inspiration. Saving a buck and creating a knock off from brand name items is all the rage too. You can find plenty of inspiring ideas on blogs, websites, in magazines, at craft shows, thumbing through catalogs, browsing gift shops and online malls, the list goes on and on. It’s one thing to make a project based off of someone else’s idea and use it in your home, but how does that work for bloggers and freelance writers?

Is it ok to follow someone else’s instructions and then post that on your blog? Is that considered copying, or is it referred to as inspiration?

Definitions:

copying - “imitate or reproduce (an idea or style) rather than creating something original”

inspiration – “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative”

So if Jane the blogger finds a project online that she just loves, she prints the instructions, goes to her craft room and makes the project according to the directions, is that copying or did she find inspiration? What if she used different paint colors? What has to change in order for something to go from being a copy to being a piece “inspired by” another?

Do I have an opinion on this topic?
Why, yes I do in fact. Many of the things I make are ideas that just “came to me”. But not all of them are that way. In fact I recently made a sign for my living room with the word family on it. I was inspired by another sign with a completely different word on it. THAT sign was inspired by a set of letters that are all pieced together to make a sign. The key here is that we each put our own twist on things. I used a textured wallpaper for my background, added paint and did some distressing to my letters. In fact, I came up with the technique myself. Does that mean that I don’t ever just follow the directions on a project? Or that it’s bad to do so? Absolutely not!

Everyone is different.
There are those that create and those that recreate. Not everyone can come up with ideas and rely heavily on those who do to help express their creativity. For example, I had a friend several years ago that was an extremely talented tole painter. Never once did she come up with a design on her own, she admitted that she just didn’t have that ability. But wow could she paint! She had a huge collection of pattern books and had made hundreds of projects over the years, every one of them she followed a pattern. Was that bad? I don’t think so. She never tried to pass off the design as her own, and I think that was key. She always gave credit where credit was due.

Giving credit.
This is such an important part of this whole discussion. Craft bloggers post tutorials for a reason. So that their readers can follow along and hopefully be able to make the project themselves, right? After all, you’re posting a tutorial, you must expect that someone else will eventually make the project. But what if they don’t give you credit? That’s where I have a problem with this type of situation.

Giving credit where credit is due is a very touchy subject for me. I’ve made many projects for Kaboose.com over the years. The tally was over 500 last time I checked, and my name is on every one of them. Many of them are my own ideas, others are based off of old and time tested crafts, and others are remakes from their old website. There are quite a few bloggers who have made projects with their kids that I developed for Kaboose. They post them on their blog but don’t give any credit. Worse yet are the ones that just copy and paste the entire tutorial, pictures and all, and post it on their blog. That bothers me. It’s also not ethical. I realize that the excuse is that they just don’t know any better, they haven’t been blogging long enough to know the etiquette, their blog is just for personal use, etc.

But you know what? Unless your blog is private and only invited people can see it, then it’s on the internet for all to see. That means it’s public, and that means you need to respect the rights of others. So that begs the question, do those bloggers just not know any better, or did they purposely post something because it gives them satisfaction that their readers think they came up with the idea? I’ve had that happen to me too. Last Halloween someone posted my bread tag monsters on a message board and was clearly taking credit for my work. She copied my entire tutorial, pictures and all, and then answered a question on the board as if she had made them herself. Someone on the board alerted me to it since she had seen my project previously and knew it was mine. As a blogger you need to know what the right thing to do is. Give credit. Link to the project where you found it. Don’t take credit for something you didn’t come up with, and definitely don’t try to pass someone else’s project off as your own!

Copying vs. Inspiration
I believe that if you post a tutorial on your blog you are inviting others to make that project, word for word, line by line. That’s why you posted the instructions. If you don’t want people to recreate your project based off of your instructions, don’t post the instructions. Simple. Keep in mind though, some people need the instructions to allow their creativity to shine through, like my friend the painter I mentioned earlier.

If you are the one making the project and you post it on your blog you have the ethical responsibility of providing credit to the site or blog where you found it. You should link directly to that tutorial and mention the blog by name, and when possible, the designer as well. Don’t ever misrepresent a project. If you didn’t come up with the idea, don’t pretend that you did! That’s not fair to the designer or to your readers. It can also damage you as a blogger, bad things have a way of catching up to you. What goes around comes around.

So what are your thoughts?
So what do you think? Do you give credit when you get ideas from somewhere else? Have you ever copy and pasted a full post and not realized you just can’t do that? Do you respect others by linking to their blog? I want to hear your thoughts! Comment away. :)

By Amanda Formaro




Comments

49 Comments so far

  1. Jen Goode on April 11, 2011 6:03 pm

    This is a fantastic article! I think there is a really fine line between copying and inspiration and sometimes we’re inspired and don’t even realize it. Everything we see can become an inspiration for something else. I’ll create a project and can’t even remember what inspired it… this is when I wish I had a photographic memory so I could give credit every time an idea pops in my head, I know my brain isn’t doing it all by itself all the time. Thanks for bringing up such a great discussion topic!

  2. Laura on April 11, 2011 6:17 pm

    When I work off a pattern or recreate a project by memory or feel from someone else, I always give a direct link to where I saw it or where that can be found. Even if I am just talking about where I saw a project I have been working on on my own website. Why leave yourself open to be slammed for “copying?” If I am inspired by something, I will mention it if it feels relevant or noteworthy. If I saw a really great quilt done in purples and think “ooooo, purple;” and I make a purple potholder, it just doesn’t seem necessary to go through all of that.

  3. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 6:22 pm

    Great point about the teacher Victoria, I don’t really think that applies to what I was talking about :) You are correct that we do all learn certain methods and techniques as artists. What I was referring to specifically is someone who blogs a project but fails to give credit when it’s due. When I see something I like and might want to make I usually bookmark it for later. That way I can always refer back. it’s true that sometimes I don’t remember where I saw something, so when that’s the case I will state that and will always go back and give credit when i find out where it was I first saw it. I didn’t mean this to come off as a lecture, I was hoping to state my opinion and encourage others to post theirs as well, as you have here :) Thanks!

  4. Larri @ Seams Inspired on April 11, 2011 6:24 pm

    Excellent post! I’ve never even thought about posting something without giving credit. I find lots of inspiration on fabulous blogs. If it’s my own idea, I will write a tutorial; however, I don’t always. So far, I haven’t run in to anyone posting my work as theirs. I’m not sure what I’d do if that happened. You’ve brought a great discussion to the forefront. Thanks!

  5. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 6:28 pm

    Oh I totally agree with that. I think at some point there’s a line between creation and inspiration, and that sounds like the line was crossed there. That then becomes your own idea. This happens a lot with recipe development. When I first started as a food blogger I often adapted recipes from others by changing a few ingredients and perhaps the method. Eventually i was able to create my own recipes based off of what I had learned over time. I believe that craft creation is very much the same. Most of the things that I make are based off of methods I have been using for years. If someone wanted me to make a pair of earrings, I would need a tutorial and would have to follow step by step, it’s just not something I am familiar with. :) I do agree that once you have adapted something enough that it’s no longer recognizable as the original, it’s changed enough to be a completely new idea and credit is not necessarily needed.

    If I saw a really great quilt done in purples and think “ooooo, purple;” and I make a purple potholder, it just doesn’t seem necessary to go through all of that.

  6. Tristin @ Two Girls Being Crafty on April 11, 2011 6:38 pm

    I have been thinking a lot about this. Yesterday, a reader posted one of my crafts and called it a “tutorial” and made step by step instructions with pictures. I WANT to see people make my original projects, I WANT them to post their finished project on their blogs, but I don’t want them to “own” the project as if it’s their own. I mean, if it’s not your idea, then you can’t very well write a tute about it, right?

    I remind myself that mimicing is the sincerest form of flattery, but I still feel taken advantage of in some way.

    All in all, I think most bloggers use GREAT etiquette–at least the big/really good ones seem to. There are those individuals out there that just never learned proper blog etiquette, but they probably don’t use proper etiquette in their day-to-day lives either… ; )

    All we can do is our personal best and what we KNOW to be right.

    P.S. Amanda, your crafts are awesome…and over 500?? You’re a machine!

  7. Tristin @ Two Girls Being Crafty on April 11, 2011 6:43 pm

    I forgot to say I think there’s a big diff between copying and inspiration.

    Copying a craft and passing it off as your own is wrong.

    Being inspired by a craft, making it and giving credit where credit is due is a beautiful thing!

  8. Nancy's Couture on April 11, 2011 6:50 pm

    I totally agree with everything you said. I always give credit if I am inspired by someone else. I recently had a reader ask for a tutorial on downsizing a t-shirt. I wrote up a tutorial and a couple days later she posted the exact tutorial only she used her own pictures. There was no credit given at all. I was really frustrated by that. Should she have given credit?

  9. janet on April 11, 2011 7:09 pm

    Free Tutorials are about showing people how to create their own. Of course they want to show off later what they have made. I think it is courteous to state where they learnt it.

  10. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 7:10 pm

    i know exactly what you mean. I have felt violated as well. I don’t mind someone posting their own tutorial of one of my projects provided that A) they give me credit via a link and B) they don’t just copy and paste, but add in their own commentary on what they did when they made theirs.

    Haha – the editor and I had to go through and inventory all the projects I had done for them. I was pretty surprised at the number myself!

  11. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 7:17 pm

    HOLY COW! Yes she absolutely should have given credit! That was uncool, especially after asking you to write up the tute! If you want to handle it in a nice way, you can post in the comments that you love when people find inspiration in your projects and that you will add a link from your facebook fan page if she adds a link to the post giving credit for the inspiration.

  12. Heather - Dollar Store Crafts on April 11, 2011 7:44 pm

    Great discussion of this important topic, Amanda!

  13. Bonnie Jobe on April 11, 2011 7:59 pm

    I did a blog a while ago about flower pins…in it I related how I did lots of research – tutorials, books, magazine articles, and then I practiced, practiced and practiced. Unfortunately I didn’t note the different places I had studied many types of pins. Because I’ve self published a couple of sewing patterns, I do understand your thoughts and the fact that everyone, even friends, forget and make copies of the pattern that took me forever to design, perfect and market and … Thanks for the discussion!

  14. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 8:42 pm

    Bonnie – i think when you have used a variety of sources to teach yourself something and come up with your own style that is completely different. I am referring more to when someone finds a project, does that project or a slight variation of it, then it should definitely be credited. I really don’t think what you did requires a source page of sorts. my high school English teacher would probably disagree with me though LOL!

  15. RecycleCindy on April 11, 2011 8:44 pm

    Outstanding post and such an important topic. I too faced an issue last year where several sites were reprinting my copyrighted patterns in their entirety without my permission and without links to my site. I believe these type of sites are called splogs or scrappers. They take other people’s content and reprint it for their benefit.

    I always give credit for any patterns that I use in my work or on my website. It’s so sad when people’s work is “stolen” by others. Thanks for getting this message out and hopefully it’s a heads up to anyone who doesn’t know about such issues.

  16. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 8:52 pm

    Thanks Cindy, that’s actually what I hope is accomplished with this. Raised awareness. :)

  17. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 9:37 pm

    it’s hard to decide to ignore it too since the duplication is something that can hurt us in Google. Some don’t understand what that means, some do. I agree, it’s touh, but whenever it’s on a large site message board, I always make a stink. Mine have been copied on Cafe Mom several times, however their admins have always been helpful in removing them.

  18. rcb on April 11, 2011 9:42 pm

    I don’t buy into the ‘new blogger’ excuse for direct copy/paste. I’m a new blogger myself but I’ve been a human for more years than I care to discuss. Everyone who has ever written a school paper has been lectured about plagiarism, we all know it’s wrong. The only thing to do about that is watermark your pictures and maybe use a pdf for tutorials? It’s hard to stop a blatant thief.

    Some food for thought: I stopped following a blog this past week because of a project she posted. She went on and on about how unique and against the norm she was. The project has been around for years, literally years and everywhere. It’s cute yes, but only unique to someone who has been living under a rock since 2007. It seemed so disingenuous to me that I began reading her other posts with a skeptical eye. A simple “I’ve been seeing these and had to have my own” would have made all the difference. Is the pressure so high to churn out unique project after project that the idea of giving credit or being honest is terrifying? I certainly hope not.

  19. Kimberly Jones on April 11, 2011 10:17 pm

    This is such a great topic! I think it’s very important to give credit to those who inspire us, and very wrong to copy someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. When I post a tutorial or a project on my blog I am delighted if someone wants to use it as a starting point for their own creation, or even if they just want to make it as is. I do appreciate a link back or a mention, but I dont’t worry about it. I think nearly everyone would agree that we all gather ideas from so many different sources: magazines, blogs, classes, etc. This makes it difficult sometimes to trace the original inspiration for some our creations. I’m amazed by all the generous people who take the time to share their ideas, especially those who create tutorials, workshops, and classes. Very time consuming! And their hard work should be respected. But it can be confusing sometimes! Especially if you pull ideas from a variety of sources to create something unique to you. How do you give the credit then? And how many times have you had a great idea for an original project pop into your head and then see something just like it posted on someone else’s blog a day or two later? We all share so many of the same influences, so it’s not really surprising that we come up with some of the same ideas! So we can’t automatically assume that someone is copying our work if they do something similar. What does everyone else think about this?

  20. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 10:18 pm

    Very well said. I have fallen back on the school reasoning myself and used it with other people. Some people TRULY think that if it’s posted on the internet it’s public domain!

  21. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 10:27 pm

    Himberly – I agree that sometimes there are several sources from which we find our inspiration for a single project. There are some projects out there that are all over the place. One person makes it and it goes viral. Then it is hard to give credit. I believe that if you find something hat inspires you, you should credit that source. However, if you see one thing, then go out searching for other things and you build you own idea based off of several designs, you have adapted it enough that you have created your own design and no credit is needed. However, sometimes I will write something like “When I first saw this such and such project on So and So’s blog, I loved it. I did a bit of poking around and found some other designs, then developed this.” Of course if this is something that happens over a long period of time and you didn’t save the source, there’s not much you can do, but being diligent is important.

    I agree too that I have thought of a project, done a google search, not found any, then have one pop up later before I got a chance to do it. A little frustrating on my part, BUT that’s how the cookie crumbles. :) I actually had that happen and a google search resulted in nothing. However the following year I acutally found something in a google search that was two years older than mine! Ha!

  22. amandaformaro on April 11, 2011 10:28 pm

    Eek sorry or accidentally butchering your name Kimberly!

  23. Kimberly Jones on April 11, 2011 10:42 pm

    No problem! I knew who you meant!

  24. Amy @ Living Locurto on April 11, 2011 6:00 pm

    Great article. I think if someone was inspired by my ideas it would be great if they mentioned that. But that won’t always happen, because most people probably don’t remember where they saw the idea in the first place. I saw one of my ideas on the cover of Pottery Barn Kids a year after I did it, but who’s to say they got it off of my blog? I love to think that… But you never know? ha! I take that as a compliment.

    As for the people who steal photos and ideas claiming they are their own, of course that is plain wrong.

  25. Victoria Bishop on April 11, 2011 6:13 pm

    I’m not sure if this is a discussion or a lecture. I rely on artistic integrity, and freely share everything I ‘know’. Like your friend, the painter, I usually find the basis or at least the inspiration for my project from some external source. Also, as artists and craftspeople, we have all been ‘taught’ methods and techniques sometime. In my opinion, you should credit your source. Does this include crediting a teacher?
    I was told at one point that commercial patterns can be copied, to sell, a limited number of times without seeking permission from the ‘designer’. I don’t think this applies to instructions someone posts freely for anyone to follow or see.
    I think we all understand that if you claim something cool as your own which isn’t, you’re really not that cool! lol

  26. rcb on April 11, 2011 11:21 pm

    Out of curiousity, what would you do in the situation where you thought of an idea and then googled it and saw it had been done?

  27. Caren Smith on April 11, 2011 6:41 pm

    Ohhh, I’m surprised there are only 2 comments so far. I would imagine this to be pretty hot topic – especially by those who feel they have been copied and then the copier profiting by it. I have a shop on Etsy (www.myscrapbookstudio.net). This topic has come up many times in discussion forums. While I don’t think my items are “copied”, I’m sure I’ve “inspired” some folks. I participated in a craft fair this past fall. The people that were attracted to my table were those who also scrapbook. Lots of oohs, ahhhs, and “great ideas!” but not many sales. I heard several times people saying they were looking to get great ideas. Did it bug me? Yup, because I wanted sales – not to inspire. If I wanted to inspire or have people copy, I would offer classes and get paid for my time/education. On the flip side, I’ve done my share of looking for inspiration on scrapbook/clothing sites.

    I can’t imagine giving credit to all those whose tutorials I might have read over the years in my scrapbook listings. I haven’t thought long and hard on this but I can’t imagine if I made a dress by a pattern/free tutorial to sell, that I would give credit to anyone. However, if I was a blogger, I would absolutely give credit if I were talking about it on my blog. I don’t think anyone should be copying/pasting anything someone did without permission. (isn’t that plagerism?) I do think it is mostly due to ignorance that someone copies/pastes into their own site without asking. I’ve seen sites that state “Please do not copy any of this without my consent” or “I am happy to share my knowledge. Please give credit to XXX if you decide to copy this tutorial”.

    Boy, the comments ought to be interesting…

  28. Stacie on April 11, 2011 11:51 pm

    Great article to raise awareness, Amanda! It’s very important to give credit to those who inspire you to create. Whether you create a unique piece or an interpretation of the original, giving credit back to your source will give your audience another frame of reference for more inspiration. Giving credit to your source will likely reinforce why they chose to share and collaborate – to teach and inspire others to create.

  29. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 1:14 am

    @rcb – that’s a great question. I have had that situation arise in fact. I bookmarked the site and when I did my post I wrote something similar to “I had an idea to do this cool blah blah thing and use this pretty blah blah that. I thought I was being very inventive, but turns out so and so had the same idea when she posted about it here. Looks like great minds think alike!” I might add something like “in my version I did blah blah blah, but I like how So and So did this blah blah to hers”

    ;)

  30. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 1:15 am

    incredibly well said Stacie!

  31. OC2Seattle on April 11, 2011 8:37 pm

    Amanda,
    Your points are so valid. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people’s work showing up on other people’s blogs as their own – one woman even had a photo of her kids posted on someone else’s site as their kids!

    Create or credit seems a pretty simple rule to follow.

  32. Craft Passion on April 11, 2011 9:10 pm

    Agreed with you Amanda!!!! I wish everyone knows the blogging etiquette. I have a few of my popular tutorials being copied and pasted in blogs and forums too despite of the disclaimer at my footer, but what can we do? I have written to the owner and asked them to link back to me for the tutorial instead of copy and paste the whole thing there with whole lots of step by step pictures. I am glad that some react to it positively, but many just ignore me. Writing to each and everyone of them takes time too. My best friend who is a famous food blogger chooses not to know who steal her entire recipe post because there are too many unethical bloggers out there who just don’t know the word “respect”.

  33. marla on April 12, 2011 2:21 am

    Amanda, this is a very thoughtful & important post. 99% of the time I make up my own recipes & the visual content on my blog as well. I always link & give credit where credit is due :)

  34. Alison@howdoesshe on April 12, 2011 2:56 am

    Whoo this is a great topic! I am glad you wrote a post on it! It will be a good stumbler!

  35. Laura on April 12, 2011 3:36 am

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I made a project inspired by another blogger then on the third try I made my own tutorial of my version. I posted her link at the top of my page giving her all the credit. Mine was diffrent. I think I’ll go back over and find out if I’ve made a mistake. I don’t want anyone to feel I’ve stolen when I felt inspired.

  36. J. Hill on April 11, 2011 11:45 pm

    I have found that great majority of bloggers are honest about this, which is fantastic. From my perspective, there is no reason for not giving credit where it is due. It is so easy to bookmark a site that has an idea you love, or to use Pinterest to pin an inspiring idea.

  37. PaulaV on April 12, 2011 7:15 am

    This article and the discussion afterwards are very interesting to me but I think there is another facet to this discussion. I love to read crafting and home dec blogs, message boards, etc and I am always nonplussed by people who accuse others of copying them when their idea was really not very unique or original to begin with. Someone spray paints a piece of furniture a certain color or makes a hair barrette or crochets a scarf using the most basic of stitches and then they accuse anyone with anything even remotely similar of copying or stealing inspiration. I think it’s good for people to be proud of their accomplishments but I think it is puzzling (and unhealthy) when I see people assume they are the inspiration for anything that is painted red after they have painted something red and so on. People can have independent thoughts and I always hate to see someone’s reputation damaged by being accused of being a copier by someone who had the most generic of ideas. As for the copy/paste folks, that’s not cool and they deserve to be called out for it.

  38. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 10:50 am

    Paula, I agree that on something that’s been around a while there’s no way that someone can claim it as their own and then yell “copier”.

  39. Karen Weiner-Mayar on April 12, 2011 11:22 am

    As a professional interior designer as well as an avid crafter (and craft project designer), this is an issue that is close to my heart. Although we are all taught not to plagiarize as soon as we start writing in elementary school, this basic lesson is completely lost on the internet. And, honestly, what good do copyright laws do for the average designer, whether in the fashion, interior, crafts, or any other industry? I have seen photos of my work appear on others’ sites with it implied that they designed the space. Articles I have written have appeared on blogs, ezines and websites with no mention that I authored them. And what can be done besides sending the site owner an email that usually just goes ignored? Absolutely nothing, unfortunately.

    If you are interested, last year (Feb. 2010) I wrote a quick blog post titled “Borrowing vs. Stealing in Design”. Although the focus is on interior design and decor, a similar issue is addressed. It can be found here: http://idealspacedesign.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html

    Amanda, this is a fantastic article and I hope that it sparks some serious discussion and encourages others to repeat the much-needed message that “credit MUST be given when credit is due.”

  40. Wendy on April 12, 2011 11:23 am

    I don’t think it’s a case of those who make things from other’s patterns and those who create their own designs – there’s issues in there like time. I use tutorials and patterns, but also make up my own.
    I recently came across a tutorial on a blog for making coasters. I had just made the same project from a book – Last Minute Patchwork Gifts. OK, they’re coasters, how different can they be, but this was the same instructions completely. But what to do in that situation?
    Oh, and I do always put a link to tutorials/patterns I’ve used.

  41. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 11:31 am

    @Karen – Agreed, it’s difficult to enforce copyright on the internet. Not impossible, but time consuming and frustrating.

  42. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 11:33 am

    if the project that you made came from a book, then it was that book that should be credited. If the other blog made the same project, she should have credited the book as well, or if she got the idea from seeing it on your blog, then credit to both of you would have been nice.

    I created a sign, as I mentioned in the article, that was inspired by another blogger. Her project was inspired by something she knocked off from Restoration Hardware. I could have easily left her out of the equation completely and just said I was making a knock off from Restoration Hardware. However, I felt it only fair to mention the blogger since I wouldn’t have been inspired to make my sign if it hadn’t been for her post.

  43. Elizabethdx on April 12, 2011 11:57 am

    Like everyone else I agree with your message — give credit where credit is due. Too bad it has to be stated and restated!

    I’m interested in responses to Wendy’s question. What to do if you find what looks like a plagiarized or copied tutorial by someone else (not you) on a blog you are reading? To take Wendy’s example, do you post a comment saying, Gee, that’s just the like the coaster project I made from Last-Minute Patchwork Gifts? email the blogger? email the authors of Last-Minute Patchwork Gifts? If we don’t do anything, are we contributing to the problem?

    To be clear, I’m talking about close copying, nothing looser (no painting red, to borrow another example from the discussion).

  44. amandaformaro on April 12, 2011 12:40 pm

    @Elizabeth – If we aren’t talking about blatant copy/paste, but rather someone doing their own tutorial with their own pictures and it’s the same project you did… I have seen that with something of mine. i think that each situation is going to be different and it really depends on the project as well. For example, who’s to say that blogger #2 doesn’t also have the book that blogger #1 found the project in? However, if it’s something that blogger #1 created on her own from her own idea and then blogger #2 makes it, photographs and blogs it but doesn’t give credit then if it were me, i would probably post something like: “Wow great minds think alike. I just made this exact project 2 weeks ago and posted it on my blog here (insert link). Looks like we had the same idea?” I pose it that way because as someone else mentioned, there’s certainly a possibility that someone else had the same ideas as you. Identical ideas? Maybe not so much, but how can you prove it? By leaving the comment I stated above, it allows other readers of blogger #2s blog to see it and draw their own conclusions.

    Copyright and trademark are two different things. If someone copies your post, word for word, and especially if they snag your pictures too, that’s a violation of your copyright. You don’t even have to have the verbiage about copyright on your blog, copyright law covers you as the author. However, trademark is something different. For example, when I owned FamilyCorner.com, I could only trademark the name FamilyCorner.com, but not the phrase “family corner” as it was too general a term. Same thing applies to ideas. So you really must look at things on a case by case basis and determine if there’s really a violation or not.

    it’s a tough call. All we can do is get the message out that giving credit for your inspirations is important, ethical and good manners. Period. There will always be those that ignore that, and usually those type of people don’t rise to the top since their intentions are transparent.

  45. Pam on April 12, 2011 5:42 pm

    I try to always bookmark something that piques my interest so I can go back on those “rainy days” and try something new for me. I post a link back to the original article that contains the actual tute, to give credit where it’s due. I post a picture or pictures of my own project but link back to my inspiration.
    That’s not to say I’ve never posted a project where I couldn’t recollect where I got the idea, but when that happens I always post “if anyone knows who is responsible for this idea, please let me know, so I can give them their due credit”……
    Generic ideas that have been around for eons and I just “revive” them with my own twist…. I wouldn’t know who to link back to.
    But bloggers who brazenly copy cat….ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGH! Puts me in a rude mood! :(

  46. Consuelo Okdie on April 12, 2011 3:51 pm

    I am very pleased to be able to say that when someone has been inspired by my work I’ve always been given credit & I make sure to return the favor. But long before we had the use of computers & the wonderful internet things like this still happened. I had been a cartoonist for many years but only for magazines specifically concerned w/horses. Several years ago a friend & I were walking around a gallery in our area & what do we find? You got it – an exact copy of not only my drawing but my gag line as well! My point is, this problem has gone on forever & will continue to go on – we just have to trust that’s there more folks w/integrity than those w/out & keep doing what we do.

  47. Lane' on April 12, 2011 10:10 pm

    I’m getting married in August and have found several blog sites offering tutorials for craft projects (our wedding is a DIY, vintage-themed wedding). I’m also blogging about our wedding and providing instructions on how I did something. I try my hardest to always show where I found the original idea with a link, but then I’ll include my own pictures and instructions – when it makes sense to. A good example is on directions I found for paper pinwheels. I actually found them in several places and each had their own way of making these pinwheels. I plan on citing my source for the inspiration, even though the idea was mine (based on childhood memories). I mean, I wouldn’t be able to come up with the directions on my own. However, I do plan on providing my own directions as I found something that worked better for me. I have my own two cents to add and after trial and error from trying the other methods, I may save someone else some time. So I guess I’m doing both.

    I do blog about eco-friendly, green topics ALL the time, too. And I often find blogs that inspire me. But the content is already in my head, from my own experience or education. I guess I view this differently and more of a “oh yeah, that would make for a great topic”. Two completely different things.

  48. Georgiann on April 17, 2011 9:15 pm

    Interesting discussion! What about the thought that there really are no new ideas, but that we are all creating and building upon the ideas we have seen or heard about before? As an example, last week, I was searching for a bunny knitting pattern; when I couldn’t find what I wanted, I made one up myself, based on a bear pattern I like to knit. However, I did credit the designer of the bear that I used for both inspiration and the basics of the pattern. I didn’t invent knitting, I didn’t created the first knitted bunny, but I did have a different “take” on the project that I wanted to share.

  49. deepika on June 25, 2013 3:28 pm

    Hi,
    im a hobbist, I love to try various crafts based on diff images i see, sometimes i do them based on the diy provided by some ppl for which i give the source of info., but sometimes i do some craft just by seeing an image itself.. for eg., if i need to make a greeing card, i will do it on my own.. just by seeing some image.. i dont need any diy for that.. if in this case i called it as inspiration but is it mandaory should i say from which image i got the idea to do it.. please let me know your feedback….

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