Thanks, Jenn - you're doing a great job!
I do think we're doing very well with this discussion - a lot of these issues need to be hashed out in public, anyway - this is a high-traffic forum, so the big issues will get talked about more. This particular set has a lot of gray areas, hence the huge discussion.
I would like to point out that just about ALL of the speculation about BJM has been properly refuted and/or substantiated by mamas who have been in contact with the seller.
So far, the facts are:
She buys her soakers from her 2 sisters, and other women who work with them.
They are hand-knit
The women who make them are paid a fair wage according to their local economy
Many of the items on e-bay have been re-listed at some point
If one woman can knit 1-2 soakers per day, that would account for the amazing product volume.
(eta: I have officially eaten my words! But I still think makers should be paid more
The copying issue hasn't been resolved one way or the other, and probably won't. The good thing is that the word is out - don't ask someone to copy another person's artwork, or they could get mad!
I also would like to say something about the whole copying/inspiration thing. I have a soaker knitting pattern that is pretty distinctive, and I have fairly strict use rules for it. I have, however, seen soakers for sale elsewhere that look like mine, but their makers are not my licensees. But when I wrote to them to find out where they got their pattern, they told me that they developed it themselves by trial & error, after looking at some other soakers. So even though they look exactly like mine, they're NOT copies, because they never saw my pattern. It was their own creative efforts that got them to the same place I ended up.
Anyway, it never hurts to ask.