Thursday, March 24, 2011

Copyright infringement....

I just wanted to share this really quick.  To be honest it is something I hadn't given that much thought to before I began trying to sell my jewelry on line.  The Etsy community has been great in spreading the word about theft of intellectual property.

This video breaks it down in a way that we can all understand.  A person may not always know when someone has stolen a picture, an idea, or a design.  But I remember an incident I had about a year ago.

This woman had stolen my pictures of my hand made ear wires and used them to post an ad in Alchemy on Etsy trying to find someone who would make the designs for .20 a pair.  (What a joke!)  Anywhoo...when I contacted her telling her that those were my photos, and that I didn't give her permission to use them and I wanted her to remove them from her request, she wrote back telling me that she knew her rights.  She had every right to use the photos.  And she didn't even get them off of Etsy.  She got them off of Artfire.

What the hell?  She went on to tell me that the ear wire designs were ones that she had seen elsewhere, and for that reason alone she should be able to use my pictures.

Again...What the hell?  I couldn't get her to understand that it wasn't about the ear wire design itself.  It was the fact that they were MY pictures.  That just because you could take the pictures, doesn't mean that you should.

She eventually removed my pictures from her request but continued to use photos from other sellers that she had stolen.

This is just one incident that I know of.  There is no telling how many pictures, ideas, designs, etc are stolen on a daily basis all over the internet.  I guess there is this feeling of anonymity when you are sitting behind a computer that you think no one will notice.  And they might not notice.  But it's still not right....

I first saw this video on this blog which I love!  I hope you get a chance to check it out....


  1. Wow...that's pathetic. When called out to belligerently fight back that you're right. Honestly though, it makes sense; someone who would expect to pay such a minimal price for handmade items clearly doesn't respect artists anyway.

    I had a similar incident flipped the other way several years ago. This seller contacted me saying that she noticed that many of my items used 3 buttons arranged together to decorate them. She said I could no longer use 3 buttons together on anything since that was her trademarked "thing". can't trademark using 3 buttons together. Apparently there is a LOT of confusion about trademarking/ intellectual property going both ways.

    Honestly I don't get why it's so hard to understand. The lines aren't fine. It is pretty clear cut to me. Sigh.

  2. Great post! That is the scary part of selling on Etsy, we seem more wide open to copying.

  3. I know what you mean about putting your stuff out there and being susceptible to copying. Even little things. Like what you use as a back drop for pictures. But you know, human beings have always learned from each other, and we always will. Sometimes unintentionally we pick things up from viewing other's work.

    @Nancy...I can't believe the audacity of some people. I have heard this same crazy scenario over here on the jewelry side. ie, a person puts flowers and vines on just about all their pieces. Someone else comes along and makes a piece with vines and flowers. Person 1 asks person 2 not to make any more pieces with vines and flower because that's her thing. So what? Is it really so inconceivable that others are inspired by nature? Who doesn't love flowers? And is it inconceivable that a vine might pop in there too since many flowers grow on or around vines? The thing that gets me the most is when copy cat is called on someone else for using the same commercially produced components.

    And it always cracks me up when someone claims they've trademarked or copyrighted something that obviously couldn't be trademarked. Whenever asked to produce said copyright.......crickets.

  4. Yes I agree with your comment. I know every artist is very protective of their designs and the ideas they have. But if you use commercial components you almost have to assume that others will follow. I think that's why I have been trying to work a lot more with filigree lately and coming up with my own way of using it and shaping it to create "new" designs. That being said there isn't much new under the sun though :o) You just have to keep pushing forward and try to focus on the part that makes you happy in creating and not so much what others are doing.