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Topic: When copycats profit...  (Read 33495 times)
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amy_ng
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2005 02:27:10 AM »

but it is indeed sad, you know? people making money off your hard work. I'm all for the good of everyone, and the fact that I choose to see the best of people bellie the fact that they can just be so rotten. Ugh!

And now that we have China to contend with..it's so much harder to compete. How can people appreciate handmade when everything is cheaper and their handiworks gets progressively better? AAARRGH!

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crazycatladymel
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2005 03:31:21 AM »

but it is indeed sad, you know? people making money off your hard work. I'm all for the good of everyone, and the fact that I choose to see the best of people bellie the fact that they can just be so rotten. Ugh!

Too true!
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brubendall
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2005 04:24:32 PM »

Back when I was first engaged (years ago), I went to a local jeweler and gave them specs for a custom made wedding ring.  It would have been beautiful.

I went back two weeks later to see the wax mold they had made up.  It didn't really look like what I had envisioned.  But the company actually said to me, "We like this one so much we're going to start mass-producing it!"  I kid you not!

I'm glad it wasn't my vision they were reproducing, but I was mad enough about them stealing what they thought was my idea (it was actually their interpretation of my idea) that I investigated the idea of copyrighting my design.  My plans were to have a different jeweler do the design for me once I had it copyrighted.  Alas (actually THANK GOD), the fiance and I broke up and it never got that far.  I did send them a nasty letter though.

Now, I'm happily married with a non-original ring that I love even more.  Actually, it's kinda custom, the engagement ring and wedding band were two separate items not really meant to go together, but I get compliments on it all the time.  I have seen another lady wearing a very similiar version of it, just with different shaped stones - mine are all round, her's were all emerald shaped.  I would love the emerald shaped ones but hubby and I are not striking it rich anytime soon.  Wink
« Last Edit: September 13, 2005 04:27:37 PM by brubendall » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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isadora
« Reply #63 on: December 04, 2005 09:13:12 AM »

I've always had rather lenient views on copyright until I started doing some research because of a problem I'm having.

I have been selling custom bridal cards on ebay for the last 2 and a half years and I found out recently that another crafter has swiped my design, made what she would consider alterations, and is undercutting me by 30 cents a card. I emailed her and said I didn't appreciate her stealing my entire design and cutting into my customer base and she emailed me back, claiming to have been selling the cards in her sister's shop for years and then she changed her profile and listing to make these outrageous claims. In one place she claims to have come up with the design in 1997, in another place 1999, and she claims to have been selling them on ebay since 2001!! And she didn't even register on ebay until 2002! I find her claims outrageous and I really feel she is selling a much cheaper and crappy version of my cards. Weirdly, my cards are the ONLY craft she sells. She doesn't seem to be part of any online craft communities and she's been selling my card on ebay for about a year. It's quite confusing and I'm really torn about what to do.

Just for reference, here are my cards: http://cgi.ebay.com/Wedding-Bridal-Bridesmaid-Thank-You-Gift-Card_W0QQitemZ5642520628QQcategoryZ3268QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

And here is her auction (she even swiped elements of my layout but I have since changed the layout I use somewhat):http://cgi.ebay.com/Bridal-Gift-Cards-Bridesmaid-Wedding-Thank-You-Showers_W0QQitemZ5641565148QQcategoryZ33160QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

U.S. Copyright law -- I've been doing a lot of reading and consulted briefly with an attorney friend -- is pretty cut and dried. If you make it and you can prove you made it first you are the copyright holder. However, if you want to seek financial damages you must register the design with the copyright office. For example, legally you are not supposed to sell items you create from purchased patterns unless stated otherwise in the pattern/from the manufacturer. In order to sell stuff you make from Sublime Stitching patterns, for example, you must get permission from the company.

That said, I totally understand where many of you are coming from. I've made and sold marble magnets -- they are fun and easy and weirdly addictive -- and I've been inspired by other things I've seen here. I've made duct tape wallets from patterns I've found online. That said, now that I understand the copyright laws I'm going to be a bit more careful.  I sold a couple of duct tape wallets to coworkers not realizing that I had to come up with my own design in order to make that money. I'm not going to use the design for profit any more because I understand it is illegal.

I don't think it's as big a deal when you are making something for fun and not for profit. If the other seller on ebay had simply made those cards for her own bridesmaids I wouldn't have cared at all! I would have done the same thing. I just wouldn't have sold them as if they were my own idea!

At any rate, I think too many crafters just let their original ideas slide away without a fight. Again, it's one thing if someone here shares a design with other crafters and we all run out and make our own unique version. It's another thing entirely if I try to sell that original crafter's design! That said, I do believe most creative people will simply continue to create new and fun things. I know I suddenly have tons of ideas that will be much harder for my little fan to replicate and sell. Development is always my favorite part of the process.
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« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2005 04:17:26 PM »

copyright? copyleft! - creativity is protected by sharing it.

ok. enough slogans. copyright is presented as a tool for creative people to protect their creation. but its obvious from reading this thread that most individual crafters or artists cannot really afford this tool. copyright is actually a tool for large corporations to own as much intellectual property as possible, protecting it from the artists that are nourished by it. copying is part of creating. as a creative person you know that an object you made is only a moment in your process. i think the creative commons website is worth checking out. it has licenses you can use to register your work allowing copying under certain conditions. the gnu licenses for free software are also a worthwhile read.
cheers

http://creativecommons.org/
http://www.gnu.org/
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« Reply #65 on: December 07, 2005 12:53:59 AM »


If you feel that your creative ideas are really being stolen for profit, what you need to do is register trademarks and copyrights for your items.  And you need to hire a lawyer and file lawsuits against the copycats.  This can get very expensive.  

Orrrr...you can do a "poor man's copyright" and write/sketch out your idea and mail it to yourself. Don't open the envelope! The sealed envelope and postmark will identify/verify the date in which you had the idea!
I haven't read the 7 pages of replies, so maybe someone already said this, but I just recently heard the story of a guy who wrote a song called "Sometimes", and sent himself a "poor man's copyright." He got the song copywrited officially two years later, but by that time, BRITNEY SPEARS had CLAIMED WRITING CREDITS on the song, MADE A VIDEO FOR THE SONG, and added to her jillions of dollars. He brought her to court and lost because his copyright wasn't legally binding, even though it PROVED that he wrote the song and that it had been stolen from him!!! That, to me, is not only a financial violation and emotional wreckingball, but complete FRAUD.
But you know America, unless you pay the government to protect something for you, they are not willing to help you out with anything. AND, if you did and the person you are pursuing has a lot of power, money, fame, and a good lawyer, you are out of luck anyway!  Angry
It makes me want to send that guy like $50 and some flowers.
I guess the moral of the story is that if you have a good idea, make SURE to copyright it legally.
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Lalastitch
« Reply #66 on: December 07, 2005 03:40:21 PM »

I understand that nobody would want someone else to copy her design outright and begin selling it down the corner.  Thank you OpensourcePants for mentioning Creative Commons.

A close friend of mine, a journalist, participated in a conference, Ready to Share: Fashion and the ownership of Creativity, that discussed this very topic. Here's the conference's website: http://www.learcenter.org/html/projects/?cm=ccc/fashion

Check out this exerpt from one of the papers presented at the conference. The paper was presented by Christine Cox and Jennifer Litman:

Quote
Fashion designs, particularly for clothing, fall between the seams of traditional intellectual property protections.4 Copyrights generally are not granted to apparel because articles of clothing, which are both creative and functional, are considered "useful articles" as opposed to works of art. Design patents are intended to protect ornamental designs, but clothing rarely meets the demanding criteria of patentability, namely novelty and nonobviousness. Trademarks only protect brand names and logos, not the clothing itself, and the Supreme Court has refused to extend trade dress protection to apparel designs. Congress repeatedly has declined to enact legislation that would provide sui generis design protection.
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fairyprincessbeaniebaby
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« Reply #67 on: December 19, 2005 07:25:57 PM »

wow motleykitten, your designs are so cute, i checked out de other chicks designs, there so cheap and tacky, im in melbourne and i'v seen some newsagents carrying the same kinda thing...i love your designs! they make me wanna get married (well, not so much)


i wanna post things on craftster but i heard the  story about the chick who get ideas for bags, without even jioning or agknowleging craftster, and sells em at craft fairs.
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smotheredsleepingbeauty
« Reply #68 on: December 21, 2005 08:07:10 AM »

I used to work at a paper shop that encouraged staff to make and sell items related to the store. I used to contribute, and it was great to see my stuff bought and appreciated. But on a few occasions, I found my projects getting ripped off and sold as someone else's product (in a different store). Eventually it discouraged me from selling things I made.

Now in a forum like this, there is a communal vibe of idea-exchanging; there's no proprietary hostility, and people are encouraged to develop their own thing out of other people's wisdom, and I appreciate that.

There's the old adage that there's no such thing as an original idea, and to that regard I don't pretend to hold any special rights over whatever I make because it may have been inspired by someone else without me being conscious of it.

But my issue in particular is:
What can/do you do when something original you made to sell is clearly being copied by someone who is profitting from making something afterwards practically the same (I mean undeniably copied, right down to the size, pattern and colour)? Without getting into patents and nastiness, what can be done? Is it something you just accept? Do I have the wrong attitude about it? I am in no position or frame of mind to bring in legal measures, but damn it feels rotten to be in such a situation.

Suggestions, experiences welcome...

there's a copyright law in the US. and you can copyright your stuff and then they'll be copying it illegaly. if you don't have a prior copyright for something, then it kind of sucks since there isn't much you can do to them. but with a copyright they're breaking the law and then it goes into how nasty do you want to get in law suits. but the government will give you a copyright for your original idea for a certain number of years, after those that time is gone everyone else can copy the idea too. this has to do with monopolies being unfriendly to the economy... a copyright gives you a legal monopoly though. that law doesn't apply to art and writing and stuff. but if you make a cute dress and copyright the designs, then the copycats will get stuck with a nasty fee. this of course only applies if they're selling their stuff. if i see a dress on a runway and craft one up that looks exactly like it, but if it's for my personal use (or my friends' or it's a gift) that's not breaking laws.

amazing how much i learned in my government class. wow.

i hope that helps. Cheesy
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AmyE
« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2006 09:01:17 AM »

Without going into copywrite laws. I understand everything mentioned so far.  As a fellow crafter I browse regularly to insipre me to make something new and wonderful. I do intend to sell things I make one day and am wondering say I see something like the shrinky dinks necklaces and think Id love to make a keychain using that stuff with charms and then sell it would you be upset by that?? Would you prefer a person to come to you and say "hey I love your idea and think it would be awsome if it was tweaked in this way would you mind me doing that and selling it?".
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