Instructables, Contests and Copying

Copying and rehash are not things often regarded as good for do-it-yourself communities, yet Instructables is currently quite accepting of things that would fit under this umbrella and in some cases even sponsor it. I hope to convince the administrators that new rules need to come into play--particularly with regard to competitions. I'll discuss why unoriginal projects are a problem, lay out the causes of this and present some solutions that the administration could pursue.

Copying is a problem for Instructables because making your own example of someone else's creation with no alterations does not advance development at all. In many cases, these copies even infringe on copyrights. In competitions, such as ones on Instructables, copied projects can become popular and even eclipse original designs; this discourages originality. An author might ask himself why he should bother investing time researching and developing a project when he could just as easily locate an existing design and copy it instead.

In many cases, the causes of copying can be innocent, such as when a child who posts his friend's favorite paper airplane design (which actually originates out of a copyrighted book, for instance). While innocent, this action still proves unhealthy to the DIY community. There are also less innocent types of copying as well; such as those who knowingly steal creations and post photographs or links to media of creations not of their own design. While this latter type is less prevalent on Instructables than places like YouTube, it still occurs due to embedding.

To discourage unoriginality and encourage advancement, Instructables staff should make a few changes to how entries are looked at as far as appropriateness goes, as well as what gets featured or judged a winner in contests. Projects that are not original should be recognized as such. It might be appropriate to outright disqualify an entry or issue it a penalty or rank reduction in judging. It is not advisable to feature unoriginal designs. These sort of steps could encourage people to contribute rather than copy.

I hope I have inspired thought in others regarding this. I have talked about the problems of copying, why it happens and how it might be addressed--hopefully it is.

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sabu.dawdy2 years ago

to me copying is fine. But using pictures of another person and adding it on to a contest and getting into finalist is not a good thing. This causes the hard workers to not get any fruitful result

If you see that happening, you should report it straight away - send an email with the details to

it's difficult to email in your inbox as I'm on mobile however here is the link of original

Here is the picture. And if you follow her on Instagram you will find a complete video tutorial.

The contestant ( I am not accusing her anymore or naming her) also mentioned in her comments that she will put her version soon. And later she removed the vomments

It's impossible to say for certain from that which was the original, as they were both published on exactly the same date, 5th July.

To my mind, though, that says the work is "kosher", as many members (myself included) post new projects on several sites at once (I use Twitter and Facebook to post mine).

well. I guess she should say it's her blog then

I guess it would reduce accusations of copying, but not by much (I get accused of copying people's work, even when the "original" is taken from mine, and there are years between posts).

The fact that the watermark was smudged off is particularly suspicious.

Ah, that does change things.

I think, though, that rather than cast accusations around in public, this conversation should be by PM now, lest we accidentally offend the innocent.

pm me please so I can reply you. I can't do that via cellphone. Secondly who deleted comments of ours from her project? Just a question

It seems there is no need - the project is no longer a finalist.

It also appears that congratulations are in order, as you have gained the vacant slot in the list.

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