"If the $40-billion global music business thought it had
problems with the emergence of a revolutionary Internet tool called
Napster, consider the now-terrified needlepoint industry. For
years, grandmotherly hobbyists, hungry for doily-and-swan patterns,
have forked over $6 and $7 for them. ... No more. Taking a cue from
music-bootlegging teenagers, sewing enthusiasts have discovered
that they too can steal copyrighted material over the Internet,
thanks to anonymous file-sharing techniques."
"Sales at the South Carolina design shop Pegasus have dropped as
much as $200,000 a year--or 40%--since 1997, in part because of
such swapping, said founder Jim Hedgepath. He and a handful of
companies and pattern designers are gathering evidence to wage a
legal battle against the homemakers. "They're housewives and
they're hackers," Hedgepath said. "I don't care if they have kids.
I don't care that they are grandmothers. They're bootlegging us out
"Business people are trembling at the prospect that
file-swapping won't stop at music, videos and needlepoint. There
are already rumblings that it has spread to knitting and
crocheting. "Where will it end?" wailed Marilyn
Leavitt-Imblum, 54, who designs needlepoint patterns. "I just don't
understand how these [people] can stitch a stolen angel and still
live with themselves."
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