WAHM Ethics? - Mothering Forums
1 2  3 
Work from Home Parents > WAHM Ethics?
mom2orionplus1's Avatar mom2orionplus1 08:48 PM 03-01-2005
I am just curious if there is an ethical code among the WAHMs? Like I now tht many WAHMs carry the same products, but I am specifically talking about mamas who make their own products. Obviously longies and what not can look very similar, but still I think each WAHM has their personal touch. I know that many of you can name specific brands just by looking. But usually, most diapers have their differences, and although there are some similarities, you can tell the mark of each individual WAHM.

So, my question is are their WAHM ethics about copyright and what not? What are the unwritten rules? Have there been cases when a WAHM blatantly copied the work of another? I remember I asked Nada to make me my soaker shorts and was inspired by a MM colorway. She specifically asked Morwenna if that was ok. To me, that seems very ethical.

I know that WAHMs can get inspiration from one another, but when are the boundaries crossed?

To add, I wrote this post b/c I have recently seen two very similar looking diapers from different WAHMs, and was just wondering if that is a common instance since I haven't been CDing as long as many of you.

ustasmom's Avatar ustasmom 09:07 PM 03-01-2005
Personally, I do think that the line is crossed many a time. I, too, have recently seen two almost identical diapers from WAHMs. The difference being is that length of time that each has been available.

So, in my case, I will rely on my own ethics, not the WAHMs. I don't and won't buy something that is clearly a knock-off. It isn't fair to the WAHM who spent the time and energy on the design. And I don't want to send the wrong message to the offending WAHM that her behavior is acceptable.
Boadicea's Avatar Boadicea 09:43 PM 03-01-2005
You know, I think there are ethical and unethical people in every business. And that's all I have to say about that.

One more thing, thouh ... There are only so many ways to make a diaper, YKWIM? It's shaped *basically* the same way, and it's meant to be a poo/pee catcher, so there's not a whole lot you can do to vary the aesthetics. With all of the MANY, MANY WAHMs out there, it is bound to happen that one person's designs will look remarkably similar to another's.
lpmeadows78's Avatar lpmeadows78 09:53 PM 03-01-2005
I agree with there are only so many ways to make a diaper. My favorite pattern is perfect just the way it is. I have tried to find ways to improve it, and I have only found ways to make it faster to make and cheaper to make, but not a way to make the design to work better. I would love to have a liscense to make that pattern, but they do not offer that. What is a wahm to do. I have noticed alot of liscensing on crocheted and knitted longies and I think that that is great, but alot of those patterns need alot of improvements.
saharasky's Avatar saharasky 09:57 PM 03-01-2005
When I first lept into this business three years ago ... I sold one of my diapers to another new wahm who was starting up ... I had seen a couple of her auctions and her diapers looked NOTHING like mine. Within a month they looked startlingly similar. I said nothing ... and eventually she faded off into history.

In the years since I have emailed a couple of individuals who showed up new on the scene and made products remarkably similar to mine ... and I simply asked that they modify their design so it was unique to them. Usually they don't even know that they're doing it.

That said there really are only so many ways to make a diaper ... and similarities in appearance do occur ... it's the unique characteristics of each design, variations in sizing and dimensions, and each individual wahms personal taste that make them different even though are built to fulfill the same purpose.

ETA ... as far as ethics go ... there are those that are ethical and those that are not ... and aside from choosing what we do with our own lives and money we have no control over other people.
amberb's Avatar amberb 09:59 PM 03-01-2005
Yes, there are only so many ways to make a diaper, therefore a lot look very similar to one another.

My opinion: If someone is not creative enough to come up with their own pattern, then they probably aren't creative enough to stick with making them in the first place. I think that coming up with your own design is part of the fun, very time consuming, but fun.

I guess what I'm saying is that someone with low ethics (copying from another design) may not have the heart to stick with it long anyway.

signed: master one hand typer
meco's Avatar meco 10:04 PM 03-01-2005
Also, you copyright the wording of your pattern that makes your diaper. Not the actual diaper, unless you patent it like Fuzzi Bunz.

So you cannot use someone else's pattern to make something and sell it, but you can make something a different way and sell it.

In my copyright law class in college, my prof told us that...so if I am wrong, then she is :LOL

I agree it is in poor taste, but people do it. I think there are only so many ways to make a diaper too, and it is the color, embellishment, fabric choice, etc. I also think the soaker design varies from diaper to diaper, and that makes some stand out from others.

I know a well known pouch maker had someone touting a pouch just like _________ pouch, and really I would NOT buy it for that exact reason. Individuality, creativity and uniqueness is important to me
ChristinaB's Avatar ChristinaB 10:22 PM 03-01-2005
I have seen MANY diapers at *first glance* that look alike and to someone who doesn't sew.. I'm sure many more look even more alike. For instance, if I showed my mom (who does not sew or know much about diapers) a serged AIO from XYZ and then showed her two more exapamples, all from other WAHMs.. she would in fact say they look the same. When the truth is they are not. Everything down to the curves of the pattern, the size of the patern, the snap placement, the soaker shape, the soaker placement, the gusset size, the elastic used, the elastic size, where the elastic is, the threads used... etc etc (I could go on forever) makes THAT diaper what it is, unique (unless someone did an exact replica of another diaper which I have seen , but not sold). Yes, there are only so many ways to make a diaper but I highly doubt I can find one that is very similar to another. All the WAHM's I know are very creative, very talented and would never be unethical in that respect.
meco's Avatar meco 10:30 PM 03-01-2005
Christina is right.....since I am not a sewer, these nuances would escape me.
mehndi mama's Avatar mehndi mama 10:33 PM 03-01-2005
I would say that the friends I have in the diaper-making WAHM scene DO most definitely have a code of ethics that dictates a) that you do not copy another's design, and b) if you are considering doing something similar to an existing WAHM design, you ask them if they mind before doing so.
I've had fellow WAHMs ask me if I minded that they make recycled blue-jean diapers, and I've asked other WAHMs if they mided that I use their design elements in something I was working on. Sometimes they have stipulations (For example, I got permission froma soft-shoe pattern owner to use her pattern ONLY IF I change the pattern so it's not just like hers), and smetimes they say no, but mostly they usually say "Heck, I don't care - I got the idea from XYZ WAHM's doohickey!"
So YES, there is an unwritten code of ethics, YES, there is a lot of idea & design-element sharing, and NO, not all WAHMs are ethical. But the ones *I* know are.
Azadeh's Avatar Azadeh 10:38 PM 03-01-2005
I don't think there is a clear unspoken rule regarding this issue and each WAHM has her own opinion about it...

I bought (for a high price) a diaper system design from Melinda 2 years ago and she had it for a few years too... Now there are many many other diapers that look just like mine in pictures (haven't seen them in real life and am not interested). Melinda designed hers from scratch. The other moms probably did too! And the fact that they are similar is totally cool with me.

I figure that if someone does actually copy then that's really their problem. They'll have to live with it not me! LOL BUT that really doesn't happen that often at all. I think that people are coming up with their own designs and some come out similar... I like to trust people rather than doubt them and become suspicious. It takes so much energy to be worried like that you know?

Anyway, there is enough of a market out there that no matter how many similar diapers, there are still too many customers! LOL And there are more and more people who are starting to cloth diaper every year.

It's great!

Azadeh
Azadeh's Avatar Azadeh 10:45 PM 03-01-2005
Oh Stell, I posted before I saw your post. Yes you are absolutely right. Those rules are a given. I wasn't really thinking. I mean I was trying to think of rules besides the obvious and also for non-WAHMs. Like people who are not WAHMs don't know these rules and might try to copy anyway and then become WAHMs but it's rare... Non-WAHMs don't have un-spoken rules to follow I guess... LOL
Trishy's Avatar Trishy 11:16 PM 03-01-2005
While this thread is related to Diapering, I feel the discussion is more appropriate for WAHM Well and am moving this thread there.
DreamingMama's Avatar DreamingMama 11:54 PM 03-01-2005
Well I have been doing this for some time now and my experience:

People lie about the contents of certain products.

People copy anothers product and claim it as their own and can still look in the mirror.

People lie about shipping times, say they sent and never did.

People overcharge you on shipping and do not give refunds for said overcharges.

People expect something for nothing.


That is the negatives that I can think of right now. But there are many more I am sure of it.

For the most part most wahms are ethical but the few that are just rotten it can really ruin it fot the good guy. What is really sad is some of those same wahms who copy do very well with that other wahms design which is so wrong I cannot even find words.

Is there something we should all know? Do you have the inside scoop of a copycat?
todzwife's Avatar todzwife 12:15 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamingMama
Well I have been doing this for some time now and my experience:

People lie about the contents of certain products.

People copy anothers product and claim it as their own and can still look in the mirror.

People lie about shipping times, say they sent and never did.

People overcharge you on shipping and do not give refunds for said overcharges.

People expect something for nothing.


That is the negatives that I can think of right now. But there are many more I am sure of it.

For the most part most wahms are ethical but the few that are just rotten it can really ruin it fot the good guy. What is really sad is some of those same wahms who copy do very well with that other wahms design which is so wrong I cannot even find words.

Is there something we should all know? Do you have the inside scoop of a copycat?

Exactly Kathleen...I totally agree.
Rising Sun's Avatar Rising Sun 12:38 AM 03-02-2005
There are people who copy, but they generally don't stay on the scene very long anyway.

I dunno.... there are unspoken ethics, though. I know many, many wahms, and we are all friends. If I wanted to copy an element of their design, I would ask first.

Now, if somebody takes one of my diapers, changes this and that about it, then starts making one that is similar, but not the same, I might be surprised, but not offended. Or, I might be offended at first, but I would get over it.

Teri
dreadmama's Avatar dreadmama 12:55 AM 03-02-2005
Yes, I found a WAHM who completely copied my design, which was a unique style that NO ONE was doing but me. I designed the style and had been in production for almost 2 years when I noticed her doing it too. Even her colors and patterns looked very much like mine. Now I notice that she is selling her business! I'm not sure what is going on, but it is interesting.

At first I was upset, because I really had created that design, but then I was flattered. I felt that it gave me validation in the marketplace. And sure enough, my business just grew and I've been busier than ever. So sometimes the copycats just prove that your idea is good and make it the 'norm'. And yes, sometimes they don't stay in business.

In life we have to realize that there are some people who do things differently than others, and all we can control is ourselves. I figure that as long as I operate ethically, than I'll be ok.

Peace,

Karen
lovemygirl's Avatar lovemygirl 01:34 AM 03-02-2005
Delurking to add my 2 cents. If one person *thinks* someone copied someone else just by looking at a picture of a diaper and then that person gets named here that can cause a lot of unnecessary problems.

If a customer/person has a question about someone's ethics or whether or not a person copied someone else's diapers, then just go ask them yourself.
Bringing it here just stirs the pot and causes rumors and gossip. For the record many of the WAHMs talk to each other and are friends.

We've have numerous discussions over copying, etc for the last several years. There was once a yahoo group called Diaper copyright issues or something to that effect. Believe me, if there was a copycat we'd know about it probably before the general public.... haa haa except in the cases where customers tell WAHMs that their product names have been copied and used elsewhere.... :
radish's Avatar radish 02:25 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
Yes, I found a WAHM who completely copied my design, which was a unique style that NO ONE was doing but me. I designed the style and had been in production for almost 2 years when I noticed her doing it too. Even her colors and patterns looked very much like mine. Now I notice that she is selling her business! I'm not sure what is going on, but it is interesting.
She is talking about me I just sent a PM to dreadymama.

Basically I said I was sorry and that I was selling my businesses b/c we dont really need extra income (or extra work) right now.

I have been making jewelry for years and have "copied" many things. Mama name bracelets, nursing necklaces, and other "trendy" items. I dont mean that in a malicious way, just that it is sort of the nature of the beast.

And I agree 100% that only some will "survive", maybe the original artist or the imposter - or both. Fashion is the same way, heck diapers are too; fabric, design, T&T dipes, etc. Soft shoes, slings/carriers. Someone sees something cool and they "copy" it. Consumers get more choices, more WAHMS/businesses prosper. Maybe someone doesnt like her stones or colors or designs, so they have more options.

Sorry if I offended anyone, especially dreadymama, those were not my intentions at all.
Regina
DreamingMama's Avatar DreamingMama 02:31 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by radish
She is talking about me I just sent a PM to dreadymama.

Basically I said I was sorry and that I was selling my businesses b/c we dont really need extra income (or extra work) right now.

I have been making jewelry for years and have "copied" many things. Mama name bracelets, nursing necklaces, and other "trendy" items. I dont mean that in a malicious way, just that it is sort of the nature of the beast.

And I agree 100% that only some will "survive", maybe the original artist or the imposter - or both. Fashion is the same way, heck diapers are too; fabric, design, T&T dipes, etc. Soft shoes, slings/carriers. Someone sees something cool and they "copy" it. Consumers get more choices, more WAHMS/businesses prosper. Maybe someone doesnt like her stones or colors or designs, so they have more options.

Sorry if I offended anyone, especially dreadymama, those were not my intentions at all.
Regina
Are you really closing up, you made me such a beautiful cross necklace. You are correct though, mostly everyone gets an idea from somewhere and changes a few things and goes with it. Nothing wrong with that at all. But you are correct in saying that slings, shoes, tt diapers, you name it there are so many that look similar that I am sure people may assume people copied. If you did not purposely copy something I do not see a big deal. It happens sometimes anyway because supply and demand.

Oh and if you put the two items side by side, chances are they would not be the same anyway.
radish's Avatar radish 02:32 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
At first I was upset, because I really had created that design, but then I was flattered.
Just adding that I hope you really are flattered. I know it is an old cliche but it is true! And I wouldnt be surprised if you see other "copycats"

Also, I have never advertised at MDC or other message boards I visit so i dont know that we have the same customers, YK?
radish's Avatar radish 02:43 AM 03-02-2005
Last post I promise.

First, I see that her username is dreadmama, not dreadymama

Second, Karen PMd me back and I feel SO much better. I didnt know she was an MDC mama and am so glad she posted to this thread so I could contact her and clear the air.
dreadmama's Avatar dreadmama 02:47 AM 03-02-2005
Ok, we PM'd and worked it out!

Don't you just love mdc mamas!

Really, I did come up with this design for this specific use, but it is true that there is nothing new under the sun. I understand that there was not any malicious intent, and as I said I was flattered and comforted by the market validation. It has also lit the fire under my _____ to work on some new designs to stay competitive.

Just wanted to let you all know that it is all cool.

Peace,

Karen
radish's Avatar radish 02:50 AM 03-02-2005
Yes, I do love MDC mamas
jmreinke's Avatar jmreinke 03:04 AM 03-02-2005
This is a tough one for me. My product is unique, but fairly easy to make, esp if you have a serger. Since I started making my diapers, there have been several others that now make the same type of diaper. Are the exactly the same? I don't know, I've never seen anyone else's version, but my product doesn't have as much variation as a "standard" fitted diaper does.

I do wince when I see others making the same diaper. I do wince when they use my trademarked name for it. I do wince when I see directions posted on the web about how to make my diaper. But, there are directions for all sorts of diapers on the web, right? So, I shouldn't be upset right? It is all friendly competition right? There are more than enough baby bottoms to go around right? But, it is hard to see something that started out as your idea, taken up by other WAHMs. I normally keep my mouth shut on this, because I don't think that most WAHMs who do this are trying to be vicious. They just want what we all want, to pay the bills.

I do think copying is low and esp. among the WAHM world, it hurts when you see this happen. It's not like you are a faceless corporation that isn't hurt if you copy an item. It is the WAHMs hard work, effort and creativity that is reduced when someone copies. I've tried to tell myself that copying is a form of flattery, but it doesn't feel that way most of the time. I just try to remind myself that there are plenty of baby butts to go around, and more born everyday.
radish's Avatar radish 03:11 AM 03-02-2005
Janette
Just curious but how long have you been in business? I have PF fitteds from another mdc mama from ages ago and I thought I'd seen directions on how to do it a while back too??

And as a copycat, I can tell you that the people doing the copying aren't always thinking of the other person, YK? But as soon as we get to know eachother or find out it is someone in our community, we may try to make things right

Again, it is cliche but it IS the truest form of flattery.
jmreinke's Avatar jmreinke 03:25 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by radish
Janette
Just curious but how long have you been in business? I have PF fitteds from another mdc mama from ages ago and I thought I'd seen directions on how to do it a while back too??
Yup, prefold fitteds were made before I started, and there were and still are directions on how to do this. None of the directions that I came across at the time of designing my product used a serger. The one that particularly comes to mind is one that uses a sewing machine and a casing for the elastic. (now if there were directions out there that were this exact pattern, I was not aware of it, and I did look for as many different ways to make a fitted prefold before I did it)

I do know of one other WAHM who started making fitted prefolds at about the same time I started making mine, but her way of serging was different than how I did it. Now, from what I understand, it is more similar. No biggie really.

I also wince a little when I see posts of "look at the prefitted I made". Of course they have the right to make them for themselves, and I don't begrude that, but I still wince - again, no biggie. They are easy diapers to make, and I totally understand people wanting to save money and make their own. That's how I started making my own, and probably the same for most of us here. What does bug me is when people email me, asking me technical questions about my diapers, I answer them, trying to be helpful and have good customer service, and then I see a post "look at the prefitted I made." That seems to cross a fuzzy line, but I'm not sure I could "define" that line.
radish's Avatar radish 03:30 AM 03-02-2005
Forgot to add that Teresa of LTK can probably relate to ppl using your terms for "their" items, think "Longies"
jmreinke's Avatar jmreinke 03:42 AM 03-02-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by radish
Forgot to add that Teresa of LTK can probably relate to ppl using your terms for "their" items, think "Longies"
Yup, I read a post that she wrote on this topic about a year ago. Her term longies, and my term "prefitted" has just come to be the Xerox and Band-Aid terms in the diapering world. I don't actually get upset to see consumers use the prefitted as a term. I'd probably say "prefitted" if I were a consumer and not the maker. While I can't copyright my diaper, I can be the protecting mother of the term "prefitted" among the WAHMs.

What worries me is that when I do have the need to protect my term, that I don't come across as b*tchy and petty. I do know that according to the gov., that if you don't protect your term, copyright, or patent, that you can lose it by the very nature of not protecting it, if that makes sense. I've been lucky in that I haven't really had to do that yet.

I really think that in general the WAHM world is a great world to be in. It really is like a family, and just like a family, there are unwritten rules on how to behave. I hate to hear when a WAHM is behaving badly - for whatever reason - as it has the possibility to tarnish us all. I have a hard time believing that in the occasional WAHM dramas that anybody is trying, or started out trying to be vicious and mean. We are all just trying to do our best and provide for our families.
meco's Avatar meco 03:48 AM 03-02-2005
you should register a trademark with prefitted and use the TM symbol
1 2  3 

Up