It has happened AGAIN. Yep, stealing patterns, stealing content, copying pages from books.

This time, it’s in a Facebook group known as the Worldwide Quilting Group. The administrator, Sandy Stubbs, has been scraping tutorial and pattern content from other sites, stripping it of attribution or links to the original source, and posting it. MANY of our well known designers have had their content stolen, some even had pages of books copied.

The image below is a tutorial that was stolen from Jacquie Gering’s site:


STEALING IS WRONG. We all learned this as wee kiddos, and it’s still the law of the land. Yes, this IS stealing. I know a lot of people think it isn’t because, hey, it’s all free on the internet, right? But no. If you take something that ISN’T yours, it’s stealing, plain and simple. And there is no polite euphemism for thievery. If you stole a car you’d go to jail.

So I imagine that a rationalization could be that it’s not stealing if the content was free at its original source. But here’s the thing… we post free content to be traffic drivers to our sites. WE ARE IN BUSINESS. Being in business means we aim to make a living, to earn money from our talent and skill. It’s a well-known business idea to offer tutorial content for free to bring customers to our site and hopefully get a sale out of them – it’s the loss-leader concept of internet commerce, and it operates on the similar premise of the deeply discounted stuff at a big box store on any given weekend. I know that some people think that sullying the sweet face of crafting with bold business marketing is somehow unsavory, but for heaven’s sake! All who work in quilting are businesswomen and men. We are here to earn a living.

And while our living is in jeopardy every time someone copies a pattern, or steals content like this group above, the people who really lose out are our customers. When we find out our work is stolen we get closer to quitting in disgust, and it certainly makes us pull back on our generosity. When we quit, our customers lose the ability to find great patterns to make. We are the Geese that Lay the Golden Eggs, and when our eggs are stolen, we die an inch at a time. Eventually there will be no more eggs.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of our customers is responsible for protecting the rich content we make. 

Think hard about that.

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs, illustrated by Milo Winter in a 1919 edition of Aesop’s Fables

Just about every quilt made relies as much on the pattern as it does on the fabric. And I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard “I spent all that money on fabric, I’m not spending another $10 on a pattern too.” And all I can say to that is, “Would you buy all the trimmings for thanksgiving dinner, and then steal the turkey?” No, you wouldn’t. And if you did, you’d be arrested.

So again, please:

**The above group blamed and attacked the content creators when they were challenged, and have since blocked anyone who brings up that this content is stolen. They have also hidden the group now. This is so very disappointing, and I hope that other members in the group continue to report their crimes outside the group. A classy group would have stayed public, apologized, deleted stolen content, and attributed/linked up free tutorials. 

And to those of you who DO pay for everything… blessings upon you and may your threads be never tangled! Thanks for hanging in with another post about stealing patterns. And yes… I’ll stop writing about theft when it stops happening.