Several years ago, I had seen a meme style image of text that made up shortened Hadith. Naturally, I was very much drawn to it for its simplicity in design and meaning of the words. Fast forward to a few months ago, a friend shared an image of a t shirt that had the same text on it. I inquired about the creator to no avail. I loved the graphic so much that I had a designer create a file for me that I could produce into a canvas for my own personal use. I never had any intention to sell the canvases.
Once I shared the canvas on my blog’s Facebook page, people went crazy about it! I tried looking into producing it but still was faced with not knowing the original creator and didn’t really push looking into production costs. At the time I was preparing for our summer trip to Palestine. The excitement fizzled out and it was forgotten over the course of the trip.
One evening, I was bombarded with notifications on Facebook of friends and family tagging me. It turns out that Khalid Latif shared the image, minus the watermark. The excitement was reignited with a fierceness I never could have anticipated. Unfortunately, no one knew where to go for the canvas. The image was going viral, without the source being known. [Read: Lost blog traffic.] Now, it’s important to know that I currently do not make any money off my blog (yes, seriously), so that traffic would have lead to exposure, not income. But that exposure, is so, so important to bloggers like me.
I let my emotions get the better of me when I was upset my watermark was removed. (Of course, I never suspected it was Khalid Latif and knew that people do that kind of thing all the time.) Not because the work (the design of the canvas) was “stolen”, but because no one would be able to trace my image that I took the time to create and post, back to me.
So wheels began churning and I decided, I have to produce this canvas. I genuinely felt like the creator was lost forever because I had seen it so long ago and people were now attributing the Muslim youth group to being the creators (and suggesting I copied them) even though I knew for sure I had seen it years prior to seeing the t shirt. I discussed it with the Creative Muslim Women group and said I would disclose directly on the product listing this is a product inspired by something I’ve seen. I also said I would put aside a royalty to pay for the original creator if they ever came forward.
>However, no matter how much I tried to make it right, it still felt wrong. So I threw in the towel and decided against it. I just couldn’t move forward with a clear conscious. I was urged to consider new designs, to add my own twist on the design. Alhamdulilah, I was able to create additional designs that I was able to call my own, yet my heart stayed with the original version.
I was receiving message after message after message from people coming over from Khalid Latif’s Facebook page, thanks entirely to a new post shared that included my website, the Facebook page tag, etc. I immediately left a comment on the second post, asking people if they knew of any leads to the original creator.
Well, as I went through message after message and sent out a generic “will let you know when the new designs are released” message to each person, one message stood out. A lady had mentioned a piece of art that had been purchased back in 2009/2010 that included the same text and formatting on it among other graphics all over the image. She gave me the contact info and I messaged them immediately.
SubhanAllah, it turned out that he was indeed the original creator of the graphic. Because of Khalid Latif’s post, because of insistence to help find the creator, he was found!
Suuuuuuuper long story short, I am now the legal owner of the design and can produce it ethically and in a halal, conscious way! He sold me the rights to it! Alhamdulilah!
This is the importance of including a tag/watermark/mention in a post.
It means so much to this ‘lil ‘ol Muslim mama blogger.
From the very beginning of the process, with every step forward, or two steps backward, I repeatedly renewed my intention. I would make du’a and pray that this canvas venture would be a source of barakah and benefit in this life and in the next. To maintain that throughout the entire journey, 20% of proceeds will always be donated to charity, inshaAllah, God willing.
Enough talk… go shop!