Friday, March 13, 2015

Etsy, Ebay, and the Black Market of Free Patterns


Seriously, there is a reason why I don't make and sell patterns, for people or dolls.  But the one thing that's irritated the heck out of me since Etsy first came online is the fact that anyone can and will scam you into thinking you're getting something special for a reasonable price.  Especially PDF items.

Last night I was checking the patterns on Etsy and found a lot of people selling the free patterns from Sew Magazine.  The reason I noticed this was because a friend of mine had the magazine when she came back from a trip, had gotten the Colette Truffle Dress pattern download offered in the magazine, and had me make it up for her.

A few years ago when I was looking for some how to on traditional Romanian men's shirt embroidery motifs, I found a digital archive, rather like a museum of ephemera, The Antique Pattern Library.  Then I saw almost everything they had available for anywhere from $5 to $50 on Etsy.  In other words, people get free PDFs and sell them as their own work.  Out of copywrite or not, they call it their own work.  But downloading FREE patterns from the internet and marketing them for sale, yeah, nice.

I will buy a pattern if the person is honest, as in they took the time to scan an out of print magazine and cleaned up the pattern files and made it easy to print them. In other words, they did the research, they did the work and they left in that it was from a certain place, now out of print.  But to download a modern copywrite pdf that was given away FREE and sell multiple copies of it (rather than selling a new printed pattern you decided you just didn't want after all) is like the guy with the dark glasses pretending to be blind in the subway.

I've even seen someone selling the PDF files of the Alexander McQueen scanners kimono jacket!  A pattern that's been all over the internet along with tutorials both human and doll sized!  Basically, it's THERE on Pattern Vault, in the FREE DESIGNER PATTERNS page!

Before buying anything on Etsy or Ebay, Google it!  Chances are you'll find out 75% of the time that someone made the same thing less expensive, it's on sale at Walmart, or it's flat out free somewhere!  And lets not forget the guys who buy an Apple laptop on Ebay, and get: a photo of a laptop in a shoe box!

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