Hi, everyone. Please take a moment to read this message. It is very important. It relates to the ongoing wellbeing of this community and the respect we show to fellow members, especially our hardworking contributors who do their very best to bring you free, original content each month.
I made the unfortunate discovery last night that one of our members is selling one of our contributors' 3-D project tutorials in an upcoming Zoom class, without having permission from this contributor to do so. That member was warned, yet denied any knowledge of the preexisting tutorial by our contributor. Now, I am one to always give people the benefit of the doubt (in fact, this person already had two copyright strikes "on file" here on Cookie Connection, yet I gave her second and third chances). However, the similarities to the project tutorial in question could not be denied. And, though the person said she had independently developed the project as far back as 2017, there is no evidence of any such project created by her on any of her social media pages. After all of this investigation, I - with heavy heart - removed this member from our site with another firm reminder of how copyrighted material on this site is to be used.
To be clear, those who write tutorials for this site retain the copyright on their material (Cookie Connection does not hold the copyright), so they can ultimately decide how they want to be credited and how their tutorials can be used. But, as a general rule, our tutorials are made expressly for cookiers' PERSONAL use to develop and hone their decorating skills. They are NOT made for anyone, members included, to help them shortcut the hard work of developing tutorials so they can sell ours as their own for financial gain.
You may not know this, but our contributors spend countless unpaid hours developing original tutorials for this site. They do this because they love to teach and help others grow as artists. Their only "compensation" for this work is the joy they get in knowing people learned from these tutorials, and the credits they get when these people direct back to the original posts on this site and their own platforms. It is a direct affront to our contributors' generosity when someone chooses to sell their work - and a double affront when they do so without permission or any credits.
Such disrespectful (and unlawful) actions also give me great pause. I did not create this community for people to abuse it or the people contributing to it. Thankfully, such abuses don't happen every day, but they do strike more frequently than you might imagine. And, when they do, they strike the very heart of what I have created here and hurt it deeply. They make me wonder if it's worth continuing to give out free content. I do not like to fight, particularly in public spaces, but have been drawn into so many "battles" like this over the years. It is exhausting to say the least. Yet I have no other choice but to defend the assets created exclusively for this site and the people who created them. It is the right thing to do.
I trust you to do the right thing too.