One of the many reasons that I love Plurk is that when we're not being crazy and silly, some really interesting discussions can pop up. Yesterday, the very adorable SySy brought up something that actually has bothered me in the past.
Now, let me just start out by saying that it's not illegal to buy templates to do your work. It's not illegal to sell what you've made using the purchased templates. That's what they're there for - to help you as you begin designing.
HOWEVER... I think there has to be some better modding of templates. You absolutely CANNOT just recolor them and sell them as-is and call yourself a designer. You're not a designer. You're just coloring. Mod the hell out of the templates! Add your own buttons and hems and designs. Make prim or sculpted cuffs and ruffles. Put some real thought and time into it. Make it your own.
But unfortunately, all over the place, we see just recolors. C'mon, how many of you ladies were taken in by these boots?
The first time you saw them, you probably thought, "Wow, I could use those!" Then you saw them at someone else's store and maybe thought, "Did they rip off the original designer?!" And then they popped up EVERYWHERE. Nope. Just template boots. Completely legal to sell them, just disappointing when you find out that your boots are not very original.
And that's the big thing with templates. If you don't sit there and modify them to death, that store that just opened next to yours could have your exact same jeans - just cheaper.
Templates are a good jumping off point for people, I think. You learn about layers and sizes and what looks good where. But let them be that - a learning tool. Don't let it be your entire store! There are people in SL who put in HOURS and HOURS of work designing clothing by hand. It may not be the best clothing in SL, but it's theirs! They can look at it with pride and say, "I made that." And if someone does come along and rips it, they have the work to back it up and prove that it's been ripped off. If you're just recoloring a template, even if you do add a button or a cuff, can you really claim it's been stolen? After all, for $2500L, someone else could have bought your same template. The only way you would have a leg to stand on is if you had completely modified that template to the point of not really being able to tell that that's where it came from. Anytime a new skin comes out, people immediately look for the telltale signs that it's an Eloh Eliot skin. But I have seen mods that do not resemble her original templates at ALL. You'd never know. And that's the way it should be, in my opinion.
I won't say that I'll stop shopping at stores that use templates. But I will say I'll be less likely to blog them, or show them off to my friends, or maybe return to the store a second time. I wish some of these template makers would just open up their own stores in SL because some of them truly do amazing work. But maybe it's more lucrative for them to just sell off what they've done for others to use? I don't know.
That's my opinion for the day. There's punch and cookies on the table in the back.