While working on my roombox, I googled and surfed the net for various techniques, inspiration and ideas. I'm sure many of us do so from time to time, after all, nothing I have done/created has come from a vacuum. In my mind, creativity is a cumulation of exposure and retention, and if my brain happens to form connections between various seemingly unconnected ideas, something new can be formed.
Occasionally, bumbling around with materials at hand helps. Perhaps I am not so lucky (nor trained) to be able to mentally visualize what my projected outcome should be, and so often simply come up with variations upon others' hard work.
While working on the modern pendant lamps in 1:12, I came up with a fast and easy way to cut out the templates, and immediately thought of writing up a post/walkthrough on how to do so. However, the lamp was from a life-sized lamp Instructable, and although that Instructable took inspiration from ANOTHER Instructable, I felt that I still would either need to ask for permission, or at the very least credit both authors.
I am also very aware that ideas are non-copyrightable, and thus free to interpretation etc. However, I would never -ever- claim any idea nor technique as -my own- unless I did indeed come up with it, even so I cannot imagine that no one else in the whole wide world could have come up with an idea as clever as mine!!! But too often within my community of miniature and doll lovers do I come across petty claims of copying. I look away in disgust and want to have no part of that, so I strive hard to not look around -too much- within the circle, and instead look at the 1:1 world around me for inspiration.
What really upsets me is when people rip off existing ideas and techniques and claim them as their own. Worse, profit off freely available online workshops etc. Sure, I give it to them that they have put in their own hard work in taking photos/videos, editing, marketing of the idea, all that should amount to some sort of reward right?
So before deciding on whether to share my experiences on making the lamp, I asked myself these questions:
Q1) If I had drawn up my own template for the lamp, with my own measurements/modifications for 1:12, does that mean I have come up with enough variations to claim the right to make my own tutorial on it?
Q2) Should I come up with my own tutorial without asking for permission, I would DEFINITELY credit it since I feel it was based off of a basic geometric shape and had a generic enough look that I wouldn't inadvertently tread upon anyone's claim on it. But since I've put my own twist on things, come up with a faster/easier way to make it, and would provide a template with instructions, does this mean I can profit off it? i.e. sell the tutorial?
Q3) I also know that I have an existing readership base (be it blog/facebook/dA), and I understand that a number of them (you?) would be interested in -my- way of doing things. Since this is in miniature, there would be no conflict as I am not marketing to the general audience, instead to a specific group of people with specific interests. But does this make it 'okay'?
my answers would be:
A1) I do think so, and that my tutorial would be different enough (technique wise, outcome would be similar though) to be regarded as not directly copying the original tutorial.
A2) I wouldn't sell it, no way, I would simply 'pass along' the information with my take on it. Especially since the original source of information was free to begin with.
Though I imagine it would be a whole different can of worms if my original inspiration was a 'stolen idea' ergghhh let's not go there!
A3) Mixed bag of feelings on this one. This question is not specific to the previous 2 questions, and 'just in general'. One of the main reasons I have stopped making free tutorials is because it is alot of work involved, excluding trials and testing, and I have no other source of income. It would be great to be rewarded in monetary terms for my work. But too often, I also see too many tutorials here on dA and YT where people easily rehash tutorials and techniques available from books and popular tutorials (with too similar outcomes) WITHOUT CREDITING THEIR SOURCES. And i'm not talking about 'general techniques' either. and I can't go into specifics without naming names, and general bitching, so i'm not going there, but let's just say, i'm guessing quite a number of you will find this a pretty familiar scenario.
So what's the point in this journal entry really? Frankly, it is an exercise for me to get rid of my torturous and vacillating opinions on the topic of writing more free vs selling tutorials, and disgust at people (a number of whom i'd PREVIOUSLY respected) who rip off freely available knowledge to profit off their fanbase. I want to state clearly that I am not targeting any one person, this has been happening too often and I'm simply at my tipping point.
I know I'm overthinking this, but I think too many people don't even lend a thought to this subject matter. Anyhow, these are my thoughts on it, now lend me yours
If you think my perspectives might be too paranoid, spot-on, etc, LET ME KNOW. I'd love to hear what people think and feel about the above.