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Topic: Fascinating article about design theft by supplier to major chain stores  (Read 1937 times)
Tags for this thread: copyright , design , piracy  Add new tag
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« on: October 20, 2013 11:43:50 AM »

This article describes a pattern of theft by a wholesaler to such retailers as Anthropologie, Nordstrom and West Elm:


Ever wonder why some stores have great looking crafted items? Maybe because they are ripped off from artists just like Craftsters!

Chris in VT
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013 03:54:33 AM »

An excellent and informative article.

I'm on another board with professional artists and crafters and they will be interested in knowing this information. I'll post the link over there.

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013 06:24:20 AM »

Thanks for spreading the word, Chris!
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014 01:56:41 PM »

Pretty sure it's happened to me actually. I dunno though, I will readily post a tutorial on an Anthro rip off so I guess it's a two way road.
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014 09:40:50 AM »

I'm sorry it happened to you. That sucks.

While I appreciate the fact that people diy commercial goods, it isn't quite equivalent for several reasons. The main one is that a tutorial is not a commercial product (at least not for posters to Craftster; Craftster itself makes money by selling advertising that only has value because members post tutorials, but it would be a stretch to claim copyright violation because the content was not generated by Craftster. That would be like suing Pinterest because someone posts an image from a movie). The retailers and their suppliers are explicitly in the business of making money, and some choose to do so by copying small-scale artists. Copyright is usually defined in terms of commerce and copying for personal purposes is considered fair use. If you want to make an exact replica of a 1966 Thunderbird for your own driving pleasure, you do not need to pay Ford a dime.

The other reason is that when people make their own versions of commercial products, they rarely mimic the original exactly. While it can be ambiguous, changing size, color and surface details can be enough to invalidate copyright. The items mentioned in the article were exact replicas, down to the artist's signature.

While it has no legal standing, the insult of ripping off artists who still have to hold day jobs and can't afford to sue, then turning around and charging outrageous prices for sweatshop copies is a morally compelling argument for some.
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