I received this from "Don Mabie" in an email and thought it was such an interesting topic. I'm not sure that I agree with what he is saying, but it does let you see the other side of the "coin" for those who trade copies.
There are a number of "issues" that seem to be making the rounds in the ATC world and one of them is the original versus copy issue. This seems to be about quality and the quality of cards is a complicated issue --- I dont think it is as simple as orginal vs copies.I am "upset" at times by the lack of quality, or, the effort some people put into their cards --- but I dont think that original vs copy really addresses the issue. I make and trade a lot of copies at our Trading Sessions in Calgary, on occasion I arbitrarily decide to only trade originals and I trade these originals for other originals or copies --- a card is a card is a card is a card.My process for making some of my cards can involve producing an 8.5 x 11 inch drawing that could take some 15 to 20 hours to complete --- I then scan the drawing into my computer and usually manipulate the image on my computer, and that can take another 5, 10, 15 hours --- so, some cards can take 20 to 30 (or more) hours to produce and I might print three sheets of cards, that is 27 cards, so, each card could have something like an hour or more of time invested in it (or course I can make more copies if I wish). Lets say someone trades me one of their originals, this is an original that took them 20 minutes to produce, so, my question would be why is that original necessarily "better" than my copy? I trade my copies for originals and, to be candid, in some cases I was very disappointed in the originals I get in trade. But, I dont want to be negative --- to me THE TRADE IS THE THING. The process of trading is more important (in the end) than the card being traded for. I usually (not always) trade for images and not for "quality" --- I usually ignore the matter of whether the card I am trading for is an original or a copy, but, it is becoming more and more of an issue. I personally think that worrying about copies vs originals is not in keeping with the spirit of ATCs, but, that is only my opinion. With that said, it is a very complicated issue that is certainly ongoing and I dont think there is any one answer but these are my thoughts.Also, depending on how one defines original, all cards created from scratch (completely) on a computer would, most likely, be considered to be copies, even though there is not really an original per se. There are some ATC artists that only create on a computer.Also, the original vs copies issue could exclude photocards as they are copies from a negative or from a digital file.I also must say that I do on occasion trade more than one card for a card in trade, that is, if I select a card from someone that is very time consuming and I dont feel the card they have selected from me is a fair trade I will suggest that they take another card, or three or four cards (I have traded as many as nine cards for one).I should also state that I have never refused to trade with anyone and I never would refuse to trade with someone because I felt the "quality" of their card was not up to snuff, or, because it was a copy. To refuse to trade is against the spirit of ATCs in my opinion.