So, when you create a knot, do you own it?
There have been many heated debates in the paracord community that continue to this day over ownership of knots and creations. In this article I would like to say a few words on how I feel about it. It is a bit of a rant, I give you that, but I am a bit fed up with people claiming knots and designs.
I realize this a controversial subject and I am throwing myself into the fray, but hey, let’s debate!
Discovering knots is a task not achieved by many, but it does happen. And when it does, the knot is discovered. Many people will claim to have found a new knot, it is perfectly natural, for you can hardly know all the knots. This is where a lot of naming confusion also arises, since different people discover the same knot and name it differently.
Can you really own a knot?
You can patent a lot of things nowdays. Yet strangely few people patent knots. Not much money in it probably, right?
But why would you want to own a knot? Most people share their knowledge of knots to inspire others, not get credit, fame and bragging rights. The latter three are nothing but ego boosters which have nothing to do with improving your life or that of others.
What about knot designs?
What about owning a design, a project made out of knots? Can you make a tie or a project out of paracord and claim it to be your own design? Yes, well you can credit it to yourself.
But when people copy it, you may feel bad about it. You invested a lot of work into a design and someone just copies it, no questions asked!
The hard truth
If you post something on the Internet, someone will steal it. Someone will copy it. Someone will modify it. If you share something, you are done as far as ownership goes. But still people share. Why? Just try to imagine a properly vague tutorial or product description:
A thing. I can not say the color, measurements, materials, purpose because others will copy it. 20$
The product description up top ensures that no one can steal your design! (By the way, if you are interested in the thing, you can get one on this link)
What to do?
Basically you can do two things to alleviate the theft of your designs:
- Getting bogged down fighting everyone that even looks at your products, copies it, steals the design, etc. This is the road many take and start fighting for authorship rights. This road usually means you stop your creative work and dedicate time enforcing your claim.
- Instead of getting bogged down in getting proper credit, enforcing quotations and fighting people over ownership, why not ignore it and keep making great things? People in your circle will still recognize your creativity, even though others copy it. Think about it! How much business you are losing from people copying you and how much if you stop working and begin “fighting for what belongs to you”.
Examples of THEFT
First of all, I have to say that I have copied my share of knots. I learned the cobra knot from a video tutorial years ago and have learned a lot of knots and designs from other people ever since. Truth be told, I would never come up with the knots I have so much fun with.
I have also made many tutorials and few have been entirely designed by me. I am honest about that. I never considered myself an artist such as J.D.Lenzen who is basically a knot making machine (this is a compliment). What I wanted to do was share my views, tips and experiences with you, the reader. That is why my tutorials are all shot by me and accompanied by my experiences. Sometimes I found a tweak that made it easier to tie something, sometimes I feel that I can explain something in a way that is understandable. This is why I post my tutorials. It is fun, it helps and inspires.
The great names of paracord crafts
Did you know that even the greatest paracord craftsmen started small? And that they also borrow from the work of others? Even the famous ABOK is not a 100% original (duh!).
I am not advocating a wild west free for all. But can’t we all just get along?