Wednesday, July 31, 2013

FYI for TPT buyers

These past few days, I have been disheartened. I have found many of my resources, paid and free, offered on other people's websites. Most of these were school websites on individual teacher's pages. Last night, I found over 30 of my resources, mostly paid, with just a simple Google search. I found quite a few more today.

I know most of you reading this would never, ever share what you buy on TPT. Every seller that I know has terms of use that state the resource is only for a SINGLE classroom. That's one classroom, not one grade level, not one school.

I'm gonna be blunt here and you may hate me but I'm a little fed up. It's stealing when you share what you buy on TPT. When you leave feedback and say that you shared it with your teammates, still stealing. When you tell a seller through email or on Facebook that your entire team loved it...still stealing! I know it doesn't seem like it but it is. You are taking money out of a seller's store. This is the same as stealing from a store like Target or Walmart.

Your teammates may ask you where you got a certain resource and it's tempting to share with them. Don't do it! If you love the resource, support the teacher who put countless hours into creating it for you to just download and use. You can always point your friends to the blog or TPT store where you got it. It kills me when I go to a training and the trainer says that he or she got a resource from TPT and they know they're not supposed to share but they do. Teachers should be good examples. Unfortunately, we are not being good examples when it comes to this.

Did you know TPT offers a multiple user option to help combat this problem? It's a pretty new feature and I'm going to show you how to use it.  When you buy a multiple user option, the price is almost always cheaper than the original purchase price. By doing this, teacher authors are trying to encourage you to share legally.

Here are some tutorials to add those multiple user options. The first one is for is you've already bought a resource and want to share it with your teammates.

 This tutorial is for adding the multiple user option when you first purchase the item.

Another problem that I think led to my resources being shared is that the place where the file was stored was not secure. If you don't use a password to access the materials, you shouldn't store it there. If you just store it on Google Drive and have it as public, anyone can get to it.
This even applies to freebies. When you post someone else's freebie, you are driving traffic from their site and hurting them. You can't share freebies with your teammate's either. Email them the link to the blog or the TPT store. It is perfectly fine to share freebies this way.

Do you need a secure place to store your files? I use Dropbox and I love it.

I add some files to my Dropbox on my home computer and can get them from my school computer. It's secure because it's password protected. It's free up to 18 GB and I have found that I don't ever use all the space. Click here or on the picture to check out Dropbox.

I know all TPT sellers would appreciate everyone playing by the rules and not sharing what they buy (unless you buy that multiple user option.)
I hope these tutorials help you and you don't hate me for telling it like it is. Thank you to everyone who doesn't share! You make creating resources for you worth it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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  1. Hi Courtney,
    We talked yesterday. Good for you for posting this. Shame on them for stealing from you! It's a disgrace that teachers (people you would think would know better) behave this way. I think we need to rally together and support each other and maybe things like this will happen less often. Again, I'm in your corner! Holla if you need me!

    The Tutu Teacher

  2. I think this was well said! Whenever I get something from TPT, I always save it with a f or p after it so I know if I got it free or paid for it-that way I remember if I can share or not! Thanks for all your hard work on the items you do!

    1. Even if it's a freebie, it's usually nice to point someone in the direction of the store or blog it came from so that the creator gets the credit but can also be told thank you (or at least see that it was downloaded). Plus, sometimes that's how we build a customer base- by giving things away free to show the quality of our work, and while they're in our store, they might see something else they'd like. I know sometimes freebies don't have the blog/ creator labeled clearly, but when they do and it's possible, it's best etiquette to pass a freebie on through those sources! :) Thanks!

  3. I think this was well said! Whenever I get something from TPT, I always save it with a f or p after it so I know if I got it free or paid for it-that way I remember if I can share or not! Thanks for all your hard work on the items you do!

  4. I love your post and I don't think it's rude. I think it's rude that adults and teachers even have to write something like this but they do. When I create my resources, I give them to a lady on my team, free of charge when she needs extra centers or resources. She was honest and said, she told one of other teacher friends at another school about my resources and gave her my TPT store name. She said the teacher said, "well why don't you just send it to me". She told the teacher, "no way, she gives them to me for free but she makes money off of them. You will need to go to her store." I told her I appreciated that and thanked her for not giving my stuff away. We need to be supportive of each other. Good Post.

  5. My co-teachers get so mad at me because I refuse to give them things I buy from tpt. So I have quit telling/showing what I am using to teach certain units. I got tired of the eye rolling!

    What is that these posts meant to educate everyone are probably read by the people actually following directions, not the ones putting your stuff out there.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  6. Boooo! Sorry to hear this is happening! I give my products (that I create) to my teammates and co-workers, but that's it! I would hope they'd refer another teacher to my store if asked!

  7. You're setting a good example by sticking up for yourself and what is right. I have to agree with Laurie in the comment above - the people who are stealing your products have no clue that they are doing anything wrong - maybe they'll think twice next time - hopefully - thanks to you.

  8. I think a large part of the problem is that TPT products are treated by many teachers as no different -- in terms of copying and sharing -- than publisher resource books that you'd buy at Lakeshore. No one bats an eyelash when a colleague asks to borrow one of your teacher resource books to copy something.

    But there is a difference; the quality of TPT products, in my opinion, is generally higher, and the prices generally are lower. The prices are lower *because* they're a single-user product. When you beginning adding licenses, the price then becomes more comparable to those resources you'd purchase from a publisher.

    I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think this -- educating the consumer -- is a good starting point. I applaud you for your post!

    Sarah Plum
    There's No Place Like Second Grade

    1. Hate to say it, but most of those publisher-created resources are ALSO supposed to only be for single classroom use, unless it explicitly states that it's being licenced for a whole site, or county, or whatever.

      I think the issue is one of what we see as "worth" our money. Teachers' work is too often devalued, and we learn not to value it either, showing disrespect by breaking copyright.

      Tammy @ Teaching FSL

  9. I think what's difficult is that Teachers Pay Teachers is something new and different. I think the way most teachers feel (and it's wrong, but understandable) is that sharing a TPT document is the same as passing around a Mailbox book or something like that. I think the thought process is, you wouldn't make a fellow teacher buy the book, you would share it. We are so used to sharing with our co-workers.

    HOWEVER, I think what makes this situation different is that fellow teachers are creating the documents. It really is stealing. It's also awkward when teachers who always share with you ask about what you are working on and you have to say it is a pay document that you can't share. It feels a little unfriendly. :/ I agree with Miss Foote who said she just doesn't talk about the things she buys from TPT because they just want to take them. The other thing is if I pay for something it's not fair for them to get it for free. It's sad but true. I think technology has moved faster than our morals, so the capabilities to share are there and we haven't really thought through what's right and wrong.

  10. I had no idea about Google...I'll be sure to be careful with that & I am glad you're bringing it up. It is stealing and it's wrong, and it is difficult to say no when you're asked to share. I have told colleagues that if they like what I have purchased that we can purchase it together with the additional licenses. The difference between magazine resources & TPT is that we know there is only one or two authors to each item & they are for the most part classroom teachers. However, I must confess, I have shared with a friend, and I feel totally guilty because you are 100% right. But, if your blog post does anything it will inform those who are new to this public arena and will remind those of us who should know better to do better. Thank you for the information & wake up call.
    Be well,

  11. Great post! Monica, great idea about the way you save TPT itEMS. I also had no idea about needing to save them ON A Secure site...I had no idea others could get them. Thanks for thE EDUCATION.

  12. Really sorry this is happening. When my teamies ask, I tell them I bought the product and give them the info. to buy it themselves. It's awkward...but I paid for it! Follow the rules people!

  13. In the last year I've come across a number of free and paid resources on school and school division wiki sites. I've actually written to these folks to point out that this is not fair use of the paid products and suggest they should remove them from their site. I generally get very nasty messages back.

    I wish there was a way to get this message out to teachers. They should all know better. I work very hard with my preservice teachers to help them understand that this is not acceptable behavior. I make them link to TPT stores, teacher blogs, and directly to the source so that others know exactly where the materials come from.

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. I am appreciative of this post and am glad you took a stand. I will be sending my classes here this fall to read your post as they prepare to collect and curate resources for their projects.

    Bookish Ways in Math and Science

  14. LOVE this post, thanks so much for writing it and for sharing this information. It is very discouraging and I hope it makes some think before posting to school websites or sharing without permission.

    Primary Punch

  15. So sorry to hear this is happening. I know I use my TPT and TN profits to help pay off our debt as well as my "school fund." I wish these people would realize that our profits usually go towards something personal in our life - we're not big corporations like Walmart and Target!

    I'm sure you've notified TPT, but if its on another site, not sure what they can do. I know I always offer the "additional licenses" at half the price, and I've actually had buyers buy a set for their whole team, which is awesome!!!!

    I share MY resources I create with my team/school (if they ask), but if it's not mine, then I definitely direct them to the blog post/link/store. Heck, it helps me from repeating directions! :)

    I have a feeling these people think they're "helping" their colleagues and have no idea what they are really doing. Is there a way to send a "cease notice" like the Dr. Seuss and other licensed products have done in the past???

  16. I forwarded your blog post to our school media specialist hoping she'd include the information in our back-to-school teacher training about copyright and fair use. I too have had material stolen and posted by others as their own. Once by a co-worker who saw nothing wrong with it because she had "tweaked" it a little first. My heart goes out to you. This kind of behavior, especially by teachers, is very disheartening. Hopefully we can all work together to get the word out that is is not acceptable. Good luck.

  17. I'm fairly new to teaching and TPT and although I know that sharing a paid resource is wrong (and have never done it), I never really thought twice about sharing a freebie. The response by luckeyfrog opened my eyes to how that is unfair to the creators also. I will definitely make sure to direct others to the store or blog when letting them know about freebies also.
    Thanks so much for this post!

    Rachel Aulet-McGann

  18. When my teaching partner wanted a unit that I had purchased, we went to my TpT account and added a license so she could have it too. There is only one problem with that: when the author updates the product, my teaching partner does not get the update since it's on my page. Is there an easy way to solve this? We both feel VERY strongly about following the rules and want to do what is right. Any thoughts?
    Kim Schoeler

  19. These thieves are annoying.

    You are working so hard and doing your best to create and sell product(s). And they think that they can just steal your work.

    I hope the same thing happens to those thieves who are selling their items.

    What goes around comes around.


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