Food for Thought (Hopefully First of Many)

While I will do my best to write entries that will amuse those who read my blog….Mme. Pepper of MitchyMooMiniatures wrote a very interesting entry recently. And it definitely got me thinking – not just about the miniature hobby in general. In a way, it brought up the question of just what is proper etiquette when it comes to blogging about miniatures.

In her blog entry “Copyright”, Mme Pepper wrote (imho) a very clear, succint entry about copyright in miniature blog entries. As she clearly pointed out, most of us want in our settings, essentially smaller scale versions of real-life items. And from that perspective, to have that said “piece” usually means one of two options. You either look for it to purchase. Or, you attempt to replicate it.

Now when it comes to replicating, some of us have that rare talent of just being able to wing it, make something, and it’s a masterpiece. Others (like myself) tend to check other miniature blogs for references or inspiration, or if we’re lucky, tutorials of how to make said replication. For those of us who go that route — we strive to follow such tutorials to the word and create what the instructions told us. Or we use those tutorials as a guide, and perhaps come across a better method that improves on the final product.

That last part is what intrigues me. If you wrote a tutorial, posted it online, and found out someone found a way to improve your steps to produce a better product — how would you react? If you ask me, I’d be freakin’ thrilled. Because it told me that what I wrote up, and posted (for the purpose of sharing. Because that’s what the bloody Interwebs is for right?) worked for someone else. If that someone else credited me for providing the initial layout? That would be nice -an icing to an already delicious cake known as victory.

But I honestly don’t expect folks to do that last part. Why do you ask? Because even with all the hullabaloo about copyright/infrigement/intellectual property laws – especially when it comes to online stuff — the bottom line is this (again, imho):

You post it online – you are essentially sharing it with everyone else.

There. I bloody said it. I mean, think about it. Isn’t that the point of people being online nowadays? Well, at least initially when the Interwebs was introduced. You want to share ideas, connect with folks you probably wouldn’t be able to do in person, or in your lifetime. At least that’s partly why I write what I can for this blog.  Because I want to share my love for the hobby with everyone. And whatever knowledge I have decided to impart by posting them online. Because again, I want to share what I know, and hopefully….someone will come along, see what I’ve accomplished, and go “huh, this looks interesting. let me try it out.”

It really saddened me to read what Mme. Pepper had to write about. To see that there a few folks within the miniature community who would be willing to kick down a fellow miniaturist mostly on the basis that “hey, you stole my idea. I’m going to sue your ass.” Again, repeat statement in italics.

You post it online – you are essentially sharing it with everyone else.

Have I copied things from other miniaturists you might ask? I’m sure I did. And if I did, I do try to make it a point to credit them out of respect. Respect that they decided to put it online for folks to see and read and admire. And — I’d like to assume — to inspire the rest of us to try it out and see where our own creativity will take us. Plus, I like to apply credit where it’s due — because I want others to see these sources of inspiration. Because let’s face it folks — this hobby is not cheap. And I’m sure alot of miniaturist will agree – that sometimes we look to our fellow miniature enthusiast for inspiration and guidance on how to make things we’d like to have for our settings, but simply cannot afford.

If you haven’t read it, I truly suggest reading Mme. Pepper’s post. It really does make you wonder. And at least for me, it definitely makes me look differently at miniature blogs now.

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