Friday, August 21, 2009

Crafty solutions

One of the copyright issues Wikimedians seldom think about is the creative copyright of original craft art designs. It's worth considering: in many cases this is the work of artists who operate microbusinesses. The creative design is their livelihood.

This is one reason why Wikipedians who have creative hobbies should be photographing and uploading their work. If you make your own designs then you own the copyright on those designs and you can place them under free license.

Don't be shy. It may seem like vanity at first, but it's actually a responsible way to address the economic pressures that globalization has been having on craft artists in first world countries. While raising the Navajo rug article to GA, one of the things I researched was the impact of imported Asian imitations on the indigenous weaving industry. The cost of living in Thailand or China is so much lower than in North America that the 150 year tradition of handwoven Navajo blankets is in decline.

Traditional Navajo designs are in the public domain, but most craft artists create their own patterns. These are as much their financial lifeblood as a writer's words are the writer's livelihood. Yet there are Wikimedians who wouldn't dream of plagiarizing text who violate copyright on craft work. Usually they do so accidentally; they hadn't thought about this.

And after all, sometimes the crafty hobbyist has an idea that is just plain fun. The number 12 on the clock below is a fossilized tooth from a mosasaur.

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