September 26, 2011

Stop! THEIF!

I thought I could just ignore it and it would go away. I thought if I thought good thoughts, it would go away. I thought if I said anything I'd look like a loon! I've tried those strategies and it's not going away. It is a touchy subject but it has been weighing heavy on my heart. Initially I'd received a few emails from lovely customers and fellow designer alerting me to another designer having uncannily similar items for sale. I took a look and thought "WOW!" that does look copyright infringingly similar if not the same. I sat with it for a few days in attempt to out run my PMS that I thought was surely playing tricks with my eyes and mental state. My motto is usually "Never put off to tomorrow what PMS can totally ruin today". I didn't say it was a good motto. None the less I waited. It didn't go away and neither did the emails. So I jotted off a jaunty note requesting that the person please respect my copyrights. I received an equally jaunty note commenting that, I make mostly pendants (not true), that I have so many more sales than they do (irrelevant and as one friend commented to me "does this look like a commune?" which I had to laugh at!) and stating that it is their style and they couldn't change it if they tried! Denial.

As this is my main source of income and I've worked really hard over the last 12 years, not only is this person stealing from me and my children, others are noticing it, and talking about it. That isn't pretty. Would you want the world looking at your work thinking "What are they trying to pull?!" It is not a small bead and design community but people definitely notice this sort of thing. Even in an attempt to fix the problem and find a solution, there is talk about it. It is not going unnoticed for me and for other designers having similar issues. Do people think that if you see something posted online that it is free for the taking? They are in fact not. Once you create something, it is yours and is protected by law. My thinking was that this person will move onto other work and either grow into their own or start stealing from someone else. That doesn't fix a serious problem though, one that many others find themselves in. I do believe there is room for everyone, but know in my heart that there is no room for this behavior. Others have suggested I contact an attorney. Sound advice. For me the point is this, sitting idly by is not good for me or my work. At some point you need to protect what is yours. I really appreciated that there were friends out there that thought enough to say something to me, to try to protect me saying "We have your back", and you know, I have yours! For now I am keeping my sense of humor at the ready. I know I will need it!


16 comments:

somethingunique said...

Hey Gaea, i think that is just horrible and you have every right to be upset and you should definatly take action...you will always have my loyalty a customer forever!!!!! xoxo Lana :)

somethingunique said...

OMG i forgot to mension my beady goodness arrived and everything is as yummy as usual it was fun not knowining exactly what to expect and i just love every single thing!!!...after a bit of self loathing my daughter has helped me clear the cob webs from the studio & computer and i'm getting back into both today xoxo Lana :)
haha what a funny word ver...glamsele LOL

Kalei's Best Friend said...

G: I remember something like this happening to you before. Wonder if this person is in cahoots w/the other? If they are a member of Etsy can't you report them? or report them to Paypal? Just thinking of different ways that would benefit... Then again when I heard a friend had their photo swiped off her page, the site had told them that anything on the internet could be swiped... I would definitely seek an attorney... I would think that if you could produce the site and photo a patent attorney could help... I bet there is a loophole... especially if the other has posted the date of their 'creation' and you could prove the date of yours..which I know you can since Etsy shows when a crafter posts their work..

Pine Ridge Treasures said...

What a hard thing to deal with - I am so sorry. I'd like to think that people would have more ethics, and that they wouldn't do things like this. It is probably best to consult an attorney. This is your business/livelihood, and it needs protecting.

Abeille à miel said...

Mmm, I think I've seen this person's work on Etsy. It looked uncannily like yours, and for a minute I thought this person was selling your work for you. This is awful and frankly not sure how it could be so blatantly out there without people noticing. If there is anything I can do to help, I will! Meanwhile, will send you the link I saw privately. All the best.

Alice said...

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this frustration. And hiring an attorny costs money, which would frustrate me even more.

You've made your name known to so many that you have quite a following. They know a fake when they see it. This thief will never experience this kind of loyalty.

Best of luck resolving this issue.

Shirley said...

I think Alice is right, that it will be easy to recognize a "knockoff". As a new follower to your blog, I'm so sorry you are going thru this. Even before becoming a follower, I had heard your name from bead artists who used your beads for their creations. You have a loyal following for your excellent work. There will always be people who prefer to steal rather than create, in every avenue of life. However, in the jewelry world, I think they are less tolerated, and easier to spread the word about. I'm very sorry you are having to go through this.

Sarah said...

I have to say, that it wasn't very hard to find this person on Etsy. Its not simply a matter of similar beads, but your concept of bundles and your over all look is being stolen as well. I think its a shame that people think its okay to get a way with this --- its not. With Etsy, its anyone's game. Sometimes they are happy to oblige and other times they just ignore you. A friend of mine had a similar experience and it took Etsy 8 months to finally pull the copying shop and then they just reopened under a different name. I hope this will sort itself out at and you find the peace that you need.

Jo said...

It's horrible that this is happening to you. You can guarantee that this other person's work won't be of nearly such a high standard as yours and you will always be many dozen steps ahead of them in terms of design development, but it still feels horrible I know. Good luck with sorting it out - and you are not alone.

Jenny said...

Gaea, there are two ways someone doing this can steal from you. One is the way you've outlined; the other is by stealing your time and your energy while you're worrying about it. I urge you to turn this into a positive thing for yourself. If it's time to consult an attorney, then do it and let the attorney wrestle with it so you can create. Another way is to allow it to spur growth in your style, so that the main body of your work has evolved and the other person would have to change their style to copy you. I've heard several artists talk about how being copied was the best thing that ever happened to them, because it forced them to stretch as artists and their new work was better than ever. I'm not trying to diminish your right to feel outraged over this. I just want to encourage to leave 'em in your dust, use your creative energy well, and to move forward with ideas and issues that are more worthy of you.

Marie Cramp said...

This hits a very particular cord with me. I am having the same issue as you, with three copycats!! I approached them, I tried to see what they were up to and I was called a Cyber bully by someone! Just from trying to protect my livelihood and income. It makes me so mad that people can just go ahead and do what they want without repercussions!! My style of art is very different from yours, I use images that "are available online to everyone" as three people so "kindly" pointed out to me! I think that make my end harder, trying to find a way to keep my pieces original. That someone lacks imagination enough to create their own version of what I make, to make them in a different style even with the same images, is what makes me so mad! They do not have to look the same!! These people that are doing this are wrong to do so and we look bad if we fight for our rights! What can we do!! If you can lawyer up, I say do it!! It's time that someone does something, it may help us all in the end!!
Keep your head held high, we do have your back and we love you!! Don't stop creating!! <3

Marla James said...

Gaea, This just burns me. Beads of Clay won't tolerate it. I have your back.
Marla

Yolanda M. said...

Agree with Marla here.

momster said...

that's what i thought was weird - when i saw that the person (bhb?) was on beads of clay along with you!

Gaea said...

I am so sorry to hear when unkind words are used for anyone. "Bully" gets thrown around a lot and it is usually out of guilt. I so truly appreciate everyones kind comments and suggestions and do find that true competition will create growth. My intention with this post was venting frustration and calling attention to a problem that I am not alone in. I don't want to embarrass anyone, which is why I didn't use names or websites or even they type of items in question. Truly, thank you!

Autumn Blues Reviews said...

Sorry to hear about this. I found you through Painting with Fire and her upcoming tour. I have heard of this happening with many artists on Etsy. I feel if a person has to copy another then they are not a true artist and instead an artist wannabe. It is so sad that others don't give it a second thought as to all the hard work that comes with creativity. We artist work hard at coming up with our own original ideas, because we are true artists. Just continue to do what you and don't let this discourage you. If I was you I would put in a word to Etsy. If it gets this seller banned on the site it would be well worth it. I remember last year this happening to another artist. The original artist blogged and posted about the imposter everywhere. The imposter closed her shop due to all the pressure. I am curious and will take a look as to who it may be. Being new to your work I will have to compare, but I am sure there is no comparison, as the original always prevails. I was selling on Etsy for awhile and stopped selling due to all the copycats and decided to lay back and work on learning something more original. Instead, I now sell supplies on Etsy. But I do sell my jewelry on Artfire. I decided to go with etching and enameling as each item is so unique, it can be difficult to copy. I am still practicing and my Kiln still collects dust. Now I found Painting with fire and am turning my nose up at my Kiln even more. lol! Good luck and I will see you again during the tour.
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