A city-wide flood has just occurred. You're out in it, trying to procure food, water, and other necessities for your family. Suddenly you notice that people are looting local stores, carrying out whatever they can find. Because others are doing it, do you join in?

Those doing it tell you that this is a way to get even with those who own the merchandise, and that they would never be able to afford these things on their own. "Taking just a pair of shoes is not going to hurt the shop owner- they have insurance", you are told as they rush out the door.

If you are one of the looters, most likely this article will not affect you.

But if you are saddened by what is happening, do you know that by not being a part of it and trying to stop it, you are respecting that store owner and his right to personal property, and showing integrity to others (and to God)?

Now, what if you LOVE cross stitch charts, or other Needlework Patterns, as so many of us do? You search the internet for a pattern that you know you might have to wait for the money to buy.

Suddenly, your search comes up with a page of gorgeous designs in full color, and each is accompanied by the chart. The one you've searched high and low for is there!

Easy! Free! But right? No.

By sampling "just one", you have increased the incredible devastation done to Needlework Designers in this industry- cross stitch designers, pattern makers, sewers, quilters, knitters, crocheters, etc.- all artists in their own right.

Their intellectual property is what is at stake.

American businesses (and those abroad) are at stake. Magazines and publishers stop or alter publications. Designers decide that it isn't worth the risk anymore. Shops try to make their living on fabric and threads.

Sharing just one chart may not seem important, but when you multiply them by the hundreds (or more) which are found daily by Designers on the internet, you can see how it harms small businesses who support their own families and help to support our economy.

The harder they have worked at designing, the harder they are hit, so that it becomes impossible to keep their doors open. Their store has been looted by those who love what they do.

Other countries, who have led the way in internet piracy and copyright theft, have wooed you in to their sites with the most beautiful, gorgeous designs available, for free. But have you ever considered what they have done to small businesses?

Many would justify theft by financial circumstances, or false notions that designers don't have bills or families to provide for, or that they are "helping friends." There can be no other excuses but greed and disrespect for other's property. Would you trust those people to stay overnight in your home?

They have even become accomplished sellers, so that ripoffs are sold left and right. Anything for a buck.

But again, it hurts American businesses, and our counterparts abroad.

You have a choice. Will you loot businesses? Just because you can, does it mean you should?

Or will you do your part to save our industry and to protect intellectual property in America (and other countries) by taking a stand against copying and sharing?

One stitcher can make a difference. By saying "No" the next time you are offered or given a copy, you show integrity and respect for the property rights of others.

Even if you have done it before, not knowing the devastating effects, you can stop now.

Legal- enjoy.

Illegal- refuse!

If you are a stitcher that cares about copyright and the future of our business, thank you...