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Topic: Someone COPIED my idea and is selling it!  (Read 3304 times)
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jktormala
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« on: May 01, 2008 02:22:19 PM »

So I have this original idea - pattern, materials, etc that I created and have sold.  Now, somebody has copied it and has even copied some of the text from my website (changing a few slight words) so it wasn't exact and is selling it.  I have even sent a friendly message saying, hey, I noticed you've copied my idea, I don't mind if you make it for yourself or a few family members, but please don't sell my idea.  She replied back saying that she did copy my idea and there's nothing I can do about it...  Is she right?  Is there anything I can do?  If so, what can I do?
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008 11:52:25 AM »

Getting ripped off really, really sucks. 
Unfortunately all too common in this biz.
I feel badly for you, having had similar experiences in the past.
Sadly, there isn't much you can do, without the help of an attorney - and even at that the copycat probably won't "cease and desist."
Sorry...
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008 03:51:55 PM »

That's AWFUL. D: D: D: Unless your work is copyrighted, you can't sue or do anything. I'd advertise her site as being a rip off of yours at different places so people would know to stay away, though.
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jktormala
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008 06:44:45 PM »

Is the work copyrighted from the time you create it or is it something you have to apply for?
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2008 03:48:09 AM »

You CAN do something, but what depends on the copyright law in your country. Over here in the UK, and currently within the USA, you actually own the rights to something you've created from the time you create it. Basically, if you take her to court and you can prove she copied you, you should be able to get her banned from making more and you might be able to claim any profits she's made from the item. If you had it properly patented you could sue her for damages as well, but it doesn't sound to me like you've gone that far with it.

Basically, my advice is to get legal counselling. There are places you can go for free advice before you take it any further - make sure you have EVERYTHING relevant to the theft - the original pattern, any previous drafts, copies of correspondence with this person (particularly the email where she admits to copying you!), even take the address of the web page where you originally posted the idea because the date you posted this should be stored somewhere. A sharply written official cease and desist letter from a lawyer should be enough to scare her into stopping - people like this are cowards and rely on the fact that most people don't know their rights, as you can see from some of the responses here...

And next time you make an original pattern and put pictures on the Internet, take a scan for future use, put the ORIGINAL in an envelope and mail it to yourself. DO NOT open the envelope. That way, you have sealed, dated proof that it is YOUR work.

This scumbag is cynically profiting from your hard work. If she does it to you she'll do it to others too. Please go and see a lawyer - at least TRY to do something about it.
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Littleclouds
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2008 04:24:06 AM »

my god that is soo horrific!

What a mfb! (work it out ladies Wink Grin)

Maybe you should just send a really official looking letter with a legal sounding tone to it threatening to take her to court if needed as you do actually have copyrights to that bag & hopefully she'll decide the slight risk isn't worth it.

BUT if there really is nothing you can do, at least feel better that these kind of people don't get far in life scronging off other peoples ideas, I seriously can't understand how anyone can sleep at night doing something like that. Theres like no credability in her work, a designers life is lived with passion for loving your work, enjoying creating but she just ripps over peoples work so what the hell is she getting out of it?

Greedy poo head! (her not you obviously hehe)

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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2008 07:22:36 AM »

You do own the copyrights when you create it, though your protection is court is increased if you also register the copyright.

What you do at this point is either contact (and pay for) an attorney or just let it slide. Making people stop copying you is really relatively easy if you go to court and have a case. It's the expense incurred that stops most people.

I would take screen prints of her website where the item(s) and copied text are listed, keep a copy of her email and even if you don't do anything now, you might want to later.
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mom2blu
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2008 08:46:41 AM »

I've never had this happen to me, but you do own the copyright. You did since you started making it. Registering just give you more protection. If you are willing to hire a lawyer you  do have rights and options here. It just depends on if you are willing to do it! (or if you can afford to)
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jktormala
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2008 08:54:11 AM »

Thanks everyone!  Since she hasn't sold a TON yet, I will keep documentation and see how things go.  It's unfortunate that others think it's ok to take another person's idea/pattern/product!  Also, seeking legal help would be costly and that's just not where I want to go...thank you though! Smiley
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mom2blu
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2008 09:28:54 AM »

I had a thought- I'm not sure if it would/could work or not. But you could call a lawyer and ask how much $$ it might be just to write a letter (cease and desist I believe) but not to really take the case to court. It may be somewhat cheap to at least have the letter written and sent, then at least if she doesn't stop and down the road you do decide to go with further action you have proof and a history that it is ongoing. If lawyers charge by the hour (they do don't they?) it probably takes all of 30 minutes (if that!) to write the letter and may only be like $50.  Just tell them you don't want to take it to court, yet, but that you do want her to stop. If you don't do something now, depending on what proof you have it is your idea, she may try to take YOU to court if she does start selling a ton a few years from now.

Just out of curiosity, could you PM me her website? I'm SO curious!
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HELPPPP I'm addicted to wists!!!!! www.wists.com/mom2blu
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