If you see someone's work, and you’d like to make an exact duplicate of it for sale, describing and listing it exactly the same way, is that good business instinct, following a popular trend and therefore fair game, or a compliment to the artisan who made the original? Emphatically, no. It is intellectual property theft. That’s right, theft.
The person you are mimicking is a business person as well as a creator. They intend to make a profit from their own designs, as they should. As you should not. After all, if you admired someone’s taste, and broke into their house to steal their stuff, would you expect them to be flattered? Praise your business acumen? I think not!
Being a copycat derives from one of 2 things (and sometimes both):
1) a malicious intention to make a profit with unethical practices
2) entering a marketplace as a seller without having spent the time to develop a body of work of your own
To recap, it is never “inspiration” to look at someone’s work and decide to do one like it, even if you add very minor tweaks.
MerrittHyde and I see the world through a similar lens, and it shows in our work. She recently said that she admired this piece of mine:
Here is Merrit’s current work:
We already have 2 similar elements, the wood body (even though mine is faux bois), and the leaves. While looking at my piece, she envisioned using her metal leaves as a canopy, similar to mine. This is inspiration. Merritt is mentally progressing something in her own body of work. Her new piece will have elements similar to mine, but it will not be a copy.
Have you had your work copied? How does it feel?
Are you ever tempted to copy a top selling Etsy artisan? What stops you?
Do you make something similar to another artisan? What do you do to avoid copying?
editorial by Lee Wolfe