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July 15, 2010

Joyce Perhac speaks out

Just a few days ago I wrote a post about the The Embroidery Software Protection Coalition, you can read that post here. In it I mentioned Joyce Perhac. Well Joyce read that post and emailed me. In her letter she cleared up many facts. Here is Joyce's letter in its entirety:

I am writing in response to your blog posting from July 11 titled “Extortionists hit home embroidery users via eBay.” Unfortunately, your post contains some mis-information that I hope you will clarify through an amended blog.

The Embroidery Software Protection Coalition (ESPC) is an organization that was started many years ago by several embroidery design companies in an effort to stop the illegal copy and sales of their copyrighted embroidery designs. It’s my understanding that at the time of its inception, the design companies involved were all members of the former Home Sewing Association (HSA). The member companies of ESPC requested that HSA handle its administrative duties - providing a phone number and message relay, a mailing address, mailing services, accounting services, website services, etc. Please note that although HSA provided these services, decisions made regarding the ESPC and any actions it took were always made by the participating companies and/or its legal representative.

When the ESPC was started, I was an industry member of HSA. At the time, I was not involved in an Executive or Management capacity -- and I have never been a member of the ESPC. However, as an active member of the sewing industry, I later joined HSA’s Board. Several years later, when a management change was required at HSA, I was contracted as Executive Director on behalf of its Board of Directors. At that time, we moved the HSA offices from New York to where my office is located in Pennsylvania (in the Pittsburgh area, not Philadelphia – the author of the article you found for some reason moved us across the state). Anyway, the ESPC, as an HSA ‘client,’ moved as well. As Executive Director, in addition to administrative functions, I also was required to attend the legal proceedings on behalf of the organization. In fact, although the legal action you referred to in your posting occurred years prior to my involvement with HSA, as the then-current ED, I was required to attend on the organization’s behalf. I was not a defendant in that suit.

While I certainly understand how conclusions can be drawn, I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it is to see blog posts and message board entries that continue to link me with ESPC. In addition, HSA’s former webmaster (Janice Blasko of The Abbey Group), by virtue of her contact information being listed for the ESPC domain and website (the same as your website shows “Website Design by Metamorphosis Design”), has also been incorrectly linked to the ESPC. Unfortunately, although we always try to explain when given the opportunity, people seldom ask before posting so the misinformation continues. While I do believe that the intention of the founding and participating companies of the ESPC was to protect their ownership of their designs, I honestly don’t know who is now involved, how they manage it or what they are doing. The last I heard, they were located in Texas. However, neither Janice nor I have ever held any positions within the ESPC, we do not own the ESPC, we have never been privy to ESPC information or actions, nor have we made decisions on behalf of the ESPC.

This situation is especially frustrating since both Janice and I are still involved in the sewing industry. After losing the above-mentioned lawsuit, HSA filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors at the end of 2007. In an effort to keep alive the www.sewing.org website for its over 2 million viewers, Janice purchased it from the bankruptcy court and we have kept continued to grow it under the Sewing & Craft Alliance. We also sponsor National Sewing Month along with the American Sewing Guild, National Sewing Month (www.nationalsewingmonth.org) as well as provide education for teachers through the Trained Sewing Instructor program (www.trainedsewinginstructor.com).

I do hope that now that you have read this, you can help us to stop the misinformation.

Thanking you in advance,

Joyce Perhac
Sewing & Craft Alliance
PO Box 369
Monroeville, PA 15146
412-372-5950
412-372-8136 fax
www.sewing.org

Me back in now. I would like to thank Joyce for reaching out and clearing this matter up. She has handled this matter in a very professional manner. Again thanks Joyce. 

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