Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On the subject of crediting...

There's been a conversation popping up in lots of places lately about a blog post at Scrapper's Workshop titled "5 Reasons Not to Post Credits." When the post was first brought to my attention, I read it with interest and even felt compelled to comment on the post. At the time, I left my comment there and thought I was done with it. But, since this has subsequently become such a hot, talked-about topic, I wanted to post my comments here on my own blog for my customers to see.

So, here is a copy-paste of what I posed at Scrapper's Workshop. I would like to reiterate that though my terms previously required credit, based on all of what I've read, I have made the decision to amend my terms to say "credit appreciated, but not required." Please understand, I am still of the opinion that our established culture of crediting what is used on our layouts is the best way to support our community and keep the industry wheels turning. I know, personally, it really lifts my spirits when I search for "Trixie Scraps" in the galleries and find beautiful layouts made with my designs. It motivates me, inspires me, keeps me designing, and yes, does in the end help new customers to find me, and thus helps to keep me in business. So, as I have from day one, I will continue to appreciate my customers and their credits to my designs whenever that effort is put forward. That all said, I never intended to be a burden to any of my customers with a crediting requirement, and if such a requirement has previously kept you from sharing layouts made with my work, please know I have decided to relax those requirements. No one is going to hunt you down and berate you if you use one of my kits and neglect to mention I made it. That was not the case in the past, its not the case now, nor will it ever be the case. As I stated in the comments that follow, all I've ever hoped for is that I create things my customers love to use as they strive to keep their photos and memories alive in their scrapbooks.

One final note - for a wonderful history on our industry, and might I add, a voice of professionalism and reason, I highly suggest you read Maya's post about this subject. I found it to be informative and well-written - definitely worth your time if you have an interest in this topic! And now, here is the copy/paste of what I wrote over at Scrapper's Workshop. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

I don’t normally comment on things like this, but today I felt compelled to :)

I have to say, I appreciate Jenn for writing this article because it has forced me to look a hard look at my TOU, not as a designer, but as a customer. To be honest, when I first started designing, I didn’t have the first clue what my TOU should be! A fellow designer, and good friend, who mentored me in the early days when I was learning how to design, invited me to use her TOU as a jumping off point. She also suggested I read the TOU file from some of my other favorite designers and incorporate parts of theirs that I felt to be important. And thus, my TOU file was born.

Since the day I wrote it, to be honest, I’ve given it little thought. Do I include it with every product I sell? Of course. Protecting one’s designs is important. But, have I ever trolled the galleries looking for things made with my products that weren’t credited just so I could go after that person and brow-beat them for violating my TOU? Absolutely not! I have no time for such nonsense and could never be that unkind to someone who spent money on my designs, in the first place. I doubt there are many designers who would engage in such behavior. However, do I go through the galleries looking for layouts made with my products? Heck yeah, I do! I’m always looking for talented people who use my designs in a way I love. Whether that be to invite them to CT for me, or to reward them with a thank you coupon and highlight them in my customer newsletter. Or, even just to leave them some love on their layout and say “Hey, I really love how you used my kit. Thanks, its beautiful!”

My TOU has always been linked on my blog from the day I started selling my designs, but I just recently joined in on the trend of including a link to my TOU with every product I sell in my store. I agree, I wish all designers did the same… none of us should be hiding our TOU from our customers. But, I think, after reading this post and the subsequent comments, I am going to re-evaluate what my TOU actually says and probably make a large edit to them! I don’t ever want a customer to feel like creating with my designs would cause them undue burden in the “crediting” phase. I just want them to like my work and use my designs to celebrate their memories on their pages.

That said, I will ALWAYS appreciate it when I am credited for my work, but you’re right, it shouldn’t be required. And from now on, this designer will not be requiring credit. That all said, I do hope people will continue to credit, because searching for my design business name is how I find layouts in the various galleries in the digiverse to comment on. If you make the choice not to credit me when you use my stuff, you’ll do so knowing I’ll probably never see it nor comment on your layout! It just becomes a tiny needle in a BIG OLE haystack, ya know? :)

And one last note before I go… I would like to express that I take great exception to this comment…

“I also get a little annoyed when I read ‘be sure and share some love’
Buying their product or downloading their freebie ought to show you like
it and that should be enough.”

There is a VERY big difference between being required to credit a product you paid for, and saying thank you when you download a freebie. The unfortunate thing about the digi world is that it makes relationships “faceless” and thus people feel free to treat others with a lack of decency all too often! When a designer makes and shares a freebie you should ALWAYS say thank you when you download it. It is no different than someone handing you something for free in real life. Would you just take it and walk away without a word of thanks? Sorry, my mother raised me better than that. If you are given something for free, it is right and proper to take three seconds of your time to type 8 tiny little letters.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Jenn. I’m off to amend my TOU!! :)
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