Well, it finally happened. Someone on Etsy copied me. The other person used part of the item description for my felted wool sleeves--several sentences, word for word--and used part of my layout.
I'm a tiny bit miffed, but mostly I'm flattered. Does this mean that others look at my shop as a "model" for how to do it right??? What a hoot!!! I certainly have spent my share of time on Etsy getting ideas from others and I do the same at shows and in stores. But if I my product ends up too much like another product on Etsy, I usually don't try to sell it on Etsy. (Except for mittens--so many people are making wool mittens that I don't even know who I would be copying.) I try to be careful not to copy others too closely, but to use the work as inspiration and make things in my own way--even the language in the listings.
Bottom line, I don't really care. I don't make enough selling sweater sleeves to make that my focus--it is just a good way to keep wool from taking over my world. But this kind of plagiarism is an interesting and thorny issue. Is there an unwritten honor code? I think so. Do we all interpret "honor code" in a different way? Yes. Would I be mad if someone made sweater kitties just like mine wearing the same kind of recycled sweater sweaters? You betcha! That would be a whole different thing. But I get inspiration from Etsy that helps me create my kitties: how to sew cute faces, funky color combinations, different ways to make ears, what kind of buttons make cute eyes, do long legs look better than short legs, etc. etc. etc.
I still feel like a rookie--so it is fun to see that someone thinks I know what I'm doing.