The Etsy Blog

UK Edition: Big Brand Copycats

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

AmityUK

If you’re an independent artist in this here digital age, the chances that you will be inspired by another’s work are quite large. Pretty undeniable, in fact. The chances that your work will inspire other artists during the span of your creative career are equally large. I happen to think that there’s a beautiful kind of symmetry to this, which none can deny is perfectly natural.

But what happens when you suspect a Big Brand has actually ripped off your original designs? Is there anything you can do about it or is it unrealistic to expect a large corporation to take any notice whatsoever? I set out to explore these questions with the help of those who have experienced it first-hand.

Back in January of this year, as I’m sure many of you are aware, UK Etsy seller Eloise, a.k.a. HidenSeek, was informed by fans and fellow artists that one of her original artworks had allegedly been copied and was being sold by UK high street retailer Paperchase as a motif on various products. Over the following weeks, the unfolding story with its many twists and turns was followed by thousands, becoming a global top trending topic on Twitter and was reported on by many a reputable media outlet, such as The Guardian.

You can trace Eloise’s side of the story every step of the way as it unfolded on the HidenSeek Blog, but she has kindly agreed to share a recap of her experience with us here.

Eloise’s Original Artwork — He Says He Can Hear the Forest Whisper

Tell us about your initial reaction and the very first steps you took.

“I’m glad to say that I initially remained quite calm. I sent a kindly worded email to the company explaining the situation and requesting details about the infringing items and requested that they were taken off the shelves immediately. At that time I was assuming their innocence and I was also assuming (hoping…) that they would be as shocked as I was about a blatant, in my eyes, case of tracing. Paperchase replied that the similarity between my artwork and their design was not strong enough and so they would continue selling them all. I sank a bit with this wall they erected so I contacted a lawyer.”

Did you consider legal action?

“I took legal advice up to the point where I was offered a quote. The $40,000 (£25,000+) bill just to begin court procedures seemed a tad steep to me. I understood then that I could risk going into debt just to defend my intellectual property. I have since also learnt that the legal procedures can be excruciating, as you are treated as a suspect and a possible criminal. There is always the chance that the other party will fight your pockets instead of your evidence by dragging out the procedures and even after you win you are not guaranteed your legal expenses back. You are certainly not eligible for compensation for the months of hard effort a trial requires. The legal system regarding intellectual property, both in the UK and in the United States, certainly seems unfairly balanced in favour of big business, in my opinion. I am very vocal about this and I will continue to be until there is change.”

What was the outcome?

“Unluckily for my case, Paperchase had licensed the design in question from a small external design agency, who had in turn licensed it from an independent designer. In legal terms, all three parties had some responsibility and Paperchase had the biggest financial one since they made profit selling the design around the world for months. Paperchase, however, saw fit to claim zero responsibility and blame it all on the design agency and independent designer. I received generous informal advice from a dozen people involved in law during my fight and they all made it clear that Paperchase was legally liable. I am stressing this because I have since heard about similar big companies using the same ‘Paperchase defence’ and there is simply no legal basis to their claims. What a company in such a case can do is seek to recover damages from the external designer, but that is another matter.”

Video via HidenSeek

“I was satisfied that at least they took the items off the shelves after the torrent of complaints they received but it was obvious that they were not willing to do any more without a legal battle. I asked Paperchase to give any profits they made through the infringing items to charity. They have ignored this request completely.”

What do you feel you’ve gained from this experience?

“For a straight week, when the public battle was raging, I floated and survived on the kindness of strangers. There isn’t a softer and brighter feeling in the world. I learned a lot about intellectual property and the legal system, even about the nature of big business during my struggle. But nothing compares with the lessons I received on the kindness of thousands around the world.”

Do you have any advice for artists in a similar position?

“Never fear to put your work out there! It is unlucky if someone copies your hard work but the answer is not to shelter your creations. On the contrary, spread your work everywhere! One of the big reasons that everyone rallied behind me and against Paperchase was that there was no controversy — people researched my claims and quickly found strong evidence that my artwork preceded the copy. From the very first sale of the artwork on Etsy, to my Flickr account, there were traces of my art that could not be forged. There is also another very important reason to get your art out there: we want to see it!

“There are many ways to deal with copyright infringement and each country has its own laws so general advice is tricky. Start with a letter to the other party and if your lawyer writes it, even better. Within the UK, you generally have the right to ask for all infringing items to be removed from sale and then shipped to you without expense. On top of that, of course, you deserve damages and fees. The law is in your favour if you manage to enforce it. You might want to have some insurance against intellectual property theft and/or join a support group like ACID in the UK. If things are not going anywhere, by all means go public and tell us all about it, but please know that a publicity campaign can go in any direction and is the most unstable of all solutions. If it does explode, like my case did, it will be the most exhausting thing you have done in your life.”

Item by typewrds

After putting out a call for submissions in the Forums, another UK Etsian who wishes to remain anonymous shared her story with me privately via Convo. I was stunned to learn that she had found herself in an eerily similar position with Paperchase in mid-2009, yet felt powerless to take action:

“My case wasn’t as clear-cut as it was with HidenSeek. Shapes were slightly different and the lines making up the pattern were different, but the colours they used were the same. I didn’t do anything about it, I’ve been to art school, I know about intellectual property and copyright, and I know how difficult it is to prove anything. Fortunately, or unfortunately for Eloise, her image was close enough so that there was no doubt in anyone’s minds — I’m sure even the Paperchase people realised when they received Eloise’s email.”

Along the way I’ve heard many tales of alleged copying from Etsians. Some involve other members, some involve overseas companies and occasionally another Big Brand case will crop up. The original blog now appears to be offline, but I have heard from several sources that UrbanCounterfeiters was once home to a dazzling set of examples of a certain international brand taking perhaps all-too-literal inspiration from independent designers. Upon stepping into one of the London stores of said brand not so long ago, I remember being shocked to find it filled — quite literally, almost floor to ceiling — with a particular love-letter-style locket necklace, which had spread through the jewellery designers of Etsy like wildfire months before. This isn’t so much of a copy as a rather intuitive tactic of a brand known for its youth-inspired trendiness.

Item by NanLawson

A series of official statements from Paperchase, Gather No Moss (the external design company), and Kitty Mason (the alleged infringing designer) were eventually released on the Paperchase website, which no longer appear to be online, so sadly I can’t link to them. I did, however, contact Paperchase, who sent me the statements that admit fault on several accounts and offer apologies. This is a purely personal observation, you understand, but looking at the statements now, they read like a trickle-down effect of shirked responsibility ending with Kitty Mason’s unreserved apology to all parties involved at the very bottom of the page. I can’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy for this girl, who in my mind was really only catering to an industry norm. I myself was once a designer working for a similar external design company to Gather No Moss and was privy to the inner workings of Big Brand business. I observed a couple of things, which I don’t mind stating unreservedly:

  1. It is absolutely common practice within many creative industries to imitate, and yes, sometimes outright copy, another designer’s work. The Big Brands themselves wouldn’t necessarily be aware of specific cases of copyright infringement because they purchase designs from these external agencies, which they then have manufactured and sell to the public.
  2. Designs bought directly from overseas mass-productive factories would once in a while appear to be a direct copy of an independent designer’s, or even high-end fashion house’s, original work.

So who’s to blame in an industry where imitation has long been accepted as common practice — the Big Brand, the design company or the designer? Perhaps my own perception of shirked responsibility is actually a long line of individuals who simply do not know how to handle a new kind of situation presented by this day and age — a time in which independent designers have new power in the shape of global networks of support.

It could be argued that companies such as Paperchase are actually innocent players in all of this, oblivious to the origins of the designs they purchase through outsourcing. I don’t think we can realistically expect Big Brands to police their designs so closely as to inspect every small business and Etsy shop for similarities before they buy, but they do have some duty to take action in the event that one of their products does, in fact, turn out to be ripped off artwork. If a Big Brand removes all offending merchandise from their shops in response, is it fair for them to sue the infringing designers or overseas factories for damages?

Item from HoldTheWire

I wonder how many of us are aware that a fair amount of the work of Etsy’s in-house attorney, SarahSays, involves looking into listings that an array of intellectual property owners — Big Brands, Etsians, small businesses and lawyers alike — ask her to remove on the grounds of suspected infringement on a daily basis. She says:

“Where’s the line between infringement and fair use? I don’t know, and I’m a lawyer. There are so many circumstances that come into play, and artists, lawyers and judges may disagree. There are also at least two sides to every story.

“We at Etsy treat all allegations of intellectual property infringement in exactly the same way. We need to comply with our Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy because, ultimately, Etsy is just a venue. We are simply not qualified to make these very important decisions and we cannot advocate for one side or mediate disputes.”

The silver lining in all of this — and there is one, folks — is that Etsy is clearly making one helluva impact on mainstream design. This just goes to show that the Independent designer is a powerful player in the worldwide playground where creativity meets business. Yay, us! Now, if we could only convince the corporations that the best way to go about selling the public what they want is to approach and actually work in collaboration with Etsy’s super cool artist community more frequently.

Collaborations with Big Brands do happen right here on Etsy and I’d like to follow up this article with the proof. Have you worked with a Big Brand and had a positive experience? Contact AmityUK.

Related Articles:
PikaLand Article:
Creativity, Competition and Copycats
Etsy Article: I See Copyright Infringement
Etsy Article: Fan Art and Fair Use

Further Resources:
Etsy’s Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy
UK Intellectual Property Office
ACID — Anti Copying in Design
US Copyright Office
US Patent and Trademark Office

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content should not be construed as legal advice. The author and Etsy, Inc. disclaim all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area with specific legal questions or concerns.

You Be the Judge Series | UK Edition

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    I heard about this a while ago when Neil Gaiman tweeted about it. Its a shame Paperchase didn't listen to you, but in a way the power of the community at large got it removed from the shelves. Great article, I think its important for people to know what to do when someone rips off their work.

    3 years ago

  • Ayca

    Ayca says:

    Great article! Thanks for sharing :)

    3 years ago

  • janinebasil

    janinebasil says:

    I'm not the greatest fan of Paperchase but I would have hoped they were a little more human still and not just beeeg business. It's sad that once they found out about the infringement they weren't wiling to back down.

    3 years ago

  • nonsuch

    nonsuch says:

    Great article! x

    3 years ago

  • SleepDreamPlay

    SleepDreamPlay says:

    This story completely passed me by. Fascinating article Amity. keep it up

    3 years ago

  • SilkstoneDesigns

    SilkstoneDesigns says:

    Brilliant article! Thank you so much for sharing. You are very courageous well done! Your work is stunning! x

    3 years ago

  • 2ndcoming

    2ndcoming says:

    VERY Interesting article! Good for you, Eloise for standing up to those corporate bullies.

    3 years ago

  • ThePaperTray

    ThePaperTray says:

    This is such an interesting article! It needs to be read more than once. HidenSeek's work is amazing. when I read her blog and her comparision of her art and Paperchases my jaw literally fell open!

    3 years ago

  • GenevieveWoodford

    GenevieveWoodford says:

    A brilliant article, very interesting

    3 years ago

  • ememem

    ememem says:

    This copy case reminded me of another one: http://www.flight404.com/blog/?p=135

    3 years ago

  • latenightdrawing

    latenightdrawing says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • heidiadnum

    heidiadnum says:

    Thanks ladies. I had no idea about Eloise's case (or work, which is so lovely) and am really shocked to read about the problems she had with PC. The video merge of the two images makes it so clear, doesn't it! Tres relieved that Eloise was able to keep designing and stay calm and positive throughout. I can hardly imagine how stressful that would have been. Just also wanted to say that I absolutely love and look forward to Storque articles. They're ALWAYS interesting and so often, like this one, really, really helpful for other Etsians. A perfect resource for sellers, I think. Keep up the great work Amity and the Etsy team! Yahoo!

    3 years ago

  • sarahknightdesign

    sarahknightdesign says:

    yuck. go eloise! Good for you for fighting for it--- I would have been so overwhelmed. I guess it's not true when said "imitation is the best form of flattery"....;)

    3 years ago

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts says:

    It is very unfortunate when copying such as this happens. Legal fees do make you think twice. Thank's for sharing this eye opening article.

    3 years ago

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie says:

    This is truly eye-opening. I for one need to learn more about copyright and intellectual property laws, I only have the basics, and it seems that these issues can run very deep. I am happy to hear that Eloise had the support and knowledge to challenge Paperchase. It is important that we "little" guy artists stand up for ourselves and what is right! Thanks so much for a great article.

    3 years ago

  • alwayssunday

    alwayssunday says:

    Very insightful and despite this stressful experience; it sounds like you have developed a great deal of strength and clarity about the event. Thanks for sharing your advice.

    3 years ago

  • amberalexander

    amberalexander says:

    so awful that some people have no scruples. interesting read. I hadn't heard about it either.

    3 years ago

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 says:

    very, very useful and important information. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience!

    3 years ago

  • Thepaperboat

    Thepaperboat says:

    You go, Eloise! There are a many copycats out and about,sometimes more "famous" etsy sellers blatantly copy fairly unknown ones and it really sucks! However, your artwork continous out there and your attitude is bang on!

    3 years ago

  • breadandroses

    breadandroses says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Eloise! This is a seriously important issue. Love your work!

    3 years ago

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead says:

    Lots of insight here into an issue that seems to be exploding in the arts as the internet makes our images so widely available. This is a clear cut case of copycatting, and I'm glad to read about someone who stuck up for herself.

    3 years ago

  • mulberrymuse

    mulberrymuse says:

    Having dealt with copyright infringement myself and my daughters experience with a top fashion house taking one of her designs we know only too well the pain this causes. It is so sad that there does not seem to be an easy solution. Perhaps educating people to respect the property and talents of others,would be a good start.

    3 years ago

  • funkeyfinds

    funkeyfinds says:

    I love, love, love HidenSeek! She is a doll!

    3 years ago

  • VintageScriptPress

    VintageScriptPress says:

    Very interesting great article

    3 years ago

  • FlanneryCrane

    FlanneryCrane says:

    Thank you for sharing...always an interesting read on the Storque...

    3 years ago

  • BetaBoutique

    BetaBoutique says:

    This is very helpful, thank you!

    3 years ago

  • lunaticart

    lunaticart says:

    This is the kind of things we sadly never think about when opening a business, thanks for opening our eyes...

    3 years ago

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna says:

    Thank you so much Amity and Eloise/HidenSeek for this article. This is so important for indie artists and designers to be educated about, from both sides of the equation. I've had my work stolen and I know how terrible it feels, as well as the frustration that goes with working to prove it & undo the theft as best as possible. I've had friends like boygirlparty face the exact same situation as you Eloise, and sadly it was most recently and largely with Paperchase too :( Thanks bunches for sharing your story, and thanks Amity for researching it and bringing this article to the Etsy community. I agree that on the one hand, having your work online may increase the chances of it being swiped, however, my experience has been repeatedly that because of having one's work online prominently, it's also easier to demonstrate that the work IS in fact yours, and that there are that many thousands more eyes looking out to help an independent artist. Cheers!

    3 years ago

  • pennyglassgirl

    pennyglassgirl says:

    A very detailed read, thanks for telling this story here. Important and timely for many here. Congrats to Eloise for following this through, a daunting task to say the least.

    3 years ago

  • greenandpretty

    greenandpretty says:

    This was such an interesting article, thank you! Platforms like Etsy really showcase the fact that designs and ideas get their start from a person, not just a big brand or store, as many people tend to assume. It reminds me of the idea that people tend to think food just comes from the grocery store and completely forget about the farms, animals or land. Luckily, I think that consumers' perceptions are changing for the better!

    3 years ago

  • wickedlymodpendants

    wickedlymodpendants says:

    Wow. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us.

    3 years ago

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us, well written Amity and Eloise sorry you had to travel down that bumpy road but sure you've learned alot from the experience~ I've always admired your shop & artistic style. Wish you only the Best in your future~!

    3 years ago

  • thehouseofhemp

    thehouseofhemp says:

    i see this all.the.time. it's everywhere.

    3 years ago

  • theblackbirdsings

    theblackbirdsings says:

    Great article. I follow Eloise on Twitter and watched the huge uproar about the Paperchase copying story with interest (and disgust). I too have had some problems in the past with people copying my work, although nowhere near this extent, and it's an awful feeling - I can't even describe it. Well done for standing up for yourself and your beautiful work, Eloise!

    3 years ago

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies says:

    Very well written article. Its so sad to hear of these stories...I have been following hiddeneloise's fight right from the beginning! Lady, you fought back, and that rocks!

    3 years ago

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria says:

    Thanks for the well written article, it is a pity that there are so many copy cats out there. Be true to yourselves and keep creating!

    3 years ago

  • artl8dy

    artl8dy says:

    I think having the Youtube video is great! In 18 seconds, the point was clearly made!

    3 years ago

  • RuffStartArt

    RuffStartArt says:

    I don't have anything listed on etsy yet, I have only been purchasing but I do plan on putting my work on etsy in the future...I carve, am in to photography and am designing and making jewelry - mostly animal and nature themes. I did not think about this aspect. Thank you for this very informing article. Gratefully, Robin - RuffStartArt

    3 years ago

  • ZenAndCoffee

    ZenAndCoffee says:

    Thank you for this article! Its horrible that stuff like this happens. There are actually a few big brand names known for lifting artists work and designs. Its awful! This article is soo well written. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us!

    3 years ago

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie says:

    Excellent piece. As usual, it's hard to fight deep pockets. Thanks Eloise for sharing your story. Your work is fabulous!

    3 years ago

  • janellehaskin

    janellehaskin says:

    This is really quite scary. You would think huge companies would work with designers that can come up with their own beautiful ideas and drawings and not have to copy off of talented independent artists. I havn't heard of this case before, but it truly is an eye opener! Eloise, keep up the INCREDIBLE work girl!! xx

    3 years ago

  • OttertopWorkshop

    OttertopWorkshop says:

    Very interesting. I have heard of things like this in other fora as well. Thank you for sharing the stories.

    3 years ago

  • treasurebooth

    treasurebooth says:

    This is quite an article. I hadn't heard about HidenSeek's story, very disturbing indeed. It sounds like she pushed on through--thank goodness for the power of numbers :) It seems, and I know almost nothing about this intellectual property stuff, that corporations should have designers/factories they collaborate with sign legal agreements stating that the work is solely theirs, and if it is proven otherwise they will be liable for any damages to the original artist. Maybe that would make people think twice about shoplifting other peoples' designs and eliminate potential blame games. Thanks for the though-provoking article! :)

    3 years ago

  • mucar

    mucar says:

    Great article!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 years ago

  • virginiakraljevic

    virginiakraljevic says:

    I am so proud of Eloise. I followed this battle quite a bit through Twitter, and I really love her advice here in this article. Thank you for sharing.

    3 years ago

  • BlueSkyStudios

    BlueSkyStudios says:

    What an informative article! Thanks for posting this.

    3 years ago

  • laralewis

    laralewis says:

    i have been following this story, and it was very upsetting on many levels. Very interesting article...and i like your silver lining!

    3 years ago

  • CatherinetteRings

    CatherinetteRings says:

    Very interesting Article .

    3 years ago

  • jennyndesign

    jennyndesign says:

    Very insightful article! I hope that big corps think twice before copying an independent artist's work - it may ruin their public image and mess with their pocketbooks a bit.

    3 years ago

  • SewEnglish

    SewEnglish says:

    Excellent article, and great that the people power finally 'embarrassed' Paperchase into finally acting. Remember meeting an awesome furniture designer in the UK back in 2006 whose designs had been directly copied by Anthropologie. Eloise, your work is fantastic, and can only imagine how stressful and exhausting it have been. I personally pledge to boycott Paperchase from this day on. :>

    3 years ago

  • ABoxForMyTreasure

    ABoxForMyTreasure says:

    Far out! I hadn't heard about this before - it's incredible.

    3 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat says:

    Unless you've got the bank account to allow you to go through the legal system, there's really very little you can do to fight copying when it happens. Your best chance is to make sure your designs are exhibited right here on Etsy as soon as possible, thus building up verifiable proof of the date that you were using the designs... that's just another way Etsy proves its usefulness by storing pictures of all the items you've ever sold (something other online marketplaces don't bother to do) Apart from that, trust in your own talent & fabulousness to be able to come up with something equally new & wonderful in the future... you can be pretty sure that the copycats don't have the ability to do that or they wouldn't have bothered copying you in the first place! However, I firmly believe that copying is mainly the responsibility of the person who copies, ie the designer who sells "their" design to manufactuers & distributors. The role of a designer is to design, not to steal, & manufacturers & distributors should be able to trust them to sell only their own original work. Hit the weakest link hard with fines, etc, & they won't dare to do it again.

    3 years ago

  • kristimcmurry

    kristimcmurry says:

    Great article. Eloise is so strong and brave. I followed her twitter through all that mess and I was so frustrated for her :( I've come across several photos that have used the same elements and concept as mine, but always different compositions, so I just have to ignore it. *sigh*

    3 years ago

  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe says:

    wow. great article. i bet this occurs inter-etsy too..

    3 years ago

  • VintageSurplus

    VintageSurplus says:

    Bravo, Hidenseek!! You handled this with a lot of bravery, as well as grace! This must have been devastating..so kudos to you for keeping your chin up...keep doing what you do...obviously it's FABULOUS if others are trying to copy it!!

    3 years ago

  • RageoftheAge

    RageoftheAge says:

    it's so important to share and make this information available here....for obvious reasons. thank you

    3 years ago

  • ArtDecoDame

    ArtDecoDame says:

    thanks for sharing

    3 years ago

  • blueberryshoes

    blueberryshoes says:

    oh dear, this is interesting, scary and informative.

    3 years ago

  • citygirlhardware

    citygirlhardware says:

    Seems like there's an opportunity here for something like a legal co-op for Etsy artsians. Membership (for a small fee?) could entitle artisans to legal opinions and "bigfoot letters" to copycats: the iron hand of Etsy :-) and all its public relations potential would certainly carry more weight with plagiarists than a small artisan's voice. I wouldn't be surprised if this idea had already been discussed here. Now that Etsy has grown and is being prowled by copycats every day, IMO the time has come for artisans to come together and take action. Like it says on the dollar bill: "E pluribus unum" meaning "out of many = one."

    3 years ago

  • citygirlhardware

    citygirlhardware says:

    Seems like there's an opportunity here for something like a legal co-op for Etsy artisans. Membership (for a small fee?) could entitle artisans to legal opinions and "bigfoot letters" to copycats: the iron hand of Etsy :-) and all its public relations potential would certainly carry more weight with plagiarists than a small artisan's voice. I wouldn't be surprised if this idea had already been discussed here. Now that Etsy has grown and is being prowled by copycats every day, IMO the time has come for artisans to come together and take action. Like it says on the dollar bill: "E pluribus unum" meaning "out of many = one."

    3 years ago

  • jcisco112

    jcisco112 says:

    Great Article! Greater things will come out of this for you! Love your artwork!!

    3 years ago

  • jargonhead

    jargonhead says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Because I am fairly new to Etsy, I was not aware that this problem was so widespread. We discussed it a lot in Art School, but it was more theoretical and less of a concrete example. kudos to Hidenseek for sticking to her designs even when big business seemed to have the upper hand!

    3 years ago

  • awinthrop

    awinthrop says:

    Great article. I get so nauseous every time I hear about something like this. Unfortunately, that's the way things work in the world, a few people profit from being lazy and stealing someone else's hard work and ideas.

    3 years ago

  • TanyaMac

    TanyaMac says:

    Proud of you Eloise! It took some guts to take on the big boys! ;)*

    3 years ago

  • pandoraslocker

    pandoraslocker says:

    I hate hearing about these stories but seems to be happening more and more, esp. with Urban Outfitters.

    3 years ago

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage says:

    There is no doubt that all of the infringing parties acted badly and were especially irresponsible after the violation was made known to them. However, Eloise's battle was indeed won in the 'public' courts, and I'm confident that all of her efforts will pioneer the way for better protection of works in the present and future. Thank you for this informative and eye-opening article.

    3 years ago

  • odelay03

    odelay03 says:

    Dearest Eloise, There is a saying that has assisted me through difficult times, "You know your truth". The dearest of family, friends and fans (and most importantly YOU) know your own authenticity and truth. Your originality, creativity, and passion shine through your work. I love the imagery you create. Keep on keeping on! No one can touch your truth!!! Take care, Michelle.

    3 years ago

  • Yvonne4eyes

    Yvonne4eyes says:

    I was not aware of this case at all...thanks for the great article. I'm slowly becoming aware of how much copycats get away with and it is sad. Eloise is right, you must still put your work out there. This kind of thing will always be around. We must stay vigilant and stick together in our fight against copycats. You are my hero Eloise!

    3 years ago

  • mediumgrey

    mediumgrey says:

    Thanks for the great article. This reaffirms my decision to no longer buy greeting cards, printed t-shirts, etc. from anyone but individual artists and designers. It's worth knowing that the sentiment of giving a birthday card isn't tainted by stolen intellectual property.

    3 years ago

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop says:

    Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic, and tons of other retailers are notorious for this too. I remember back when I was selling on Ebay with Shrinkle, Supayana and others, we would constantly see similar designs to our own being sold in these stores. But of course tweaked some. I doubt they copied our designs directly, but their job is to watch street trends, and keep an eye out for new things, so of course they ended up with some ridiculously similar items. It's really frustrating when businesses take even one of your basic ideas and then go have it manufactured and sold for cheap. It cheapens everything that you do, and its so disheartening.

    3 years ago

  • kittredgemercantile
  • LilaJo

    LilaJo says:

    Hidden Seek your work is absolutely amazing, graceful and handle things like a strong woman. You and your fans know the truth! Thank you for sharing your story. XoXo Lila-Jo

    3 years ago

  • JaneMichael

    JaneMichael says:

    I remember about 5 years ago in Boston that UO stole some designs from Johnny Cupcakes. It was a very big deal in the creative community, but yet UO continued.... In the end, I think it boosted his popularity, much like I am sure HidenSeek will be noticing a boost in her own sales. It's so unfortunate when people steal, I find it very heartbreaking especially among creative folks. A designer should make their living based off their ability to create ORIGINAL designs. "sigh...

    3 years ago

  • pasin

    pasin says:

    Great article

    3 years ago

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka says:

    Great article. Thanks!

    3 years ago

  • CausticThreads

    CausticThreads says:

    I think it is interesting, and I remember reading about this. I also think that while there are obvious similarities, it is also noticeably different in many ways. Tough.

    3 years ago

  • ismoyo

    ismoyo says:

    Stories like these make me sad, but i think they must be told. More power to Eloise! Wanted to share this site, all about these issues: http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/

    3 years ago

  • DevineDesignStudios

    DevineDesignStudios says:

    First of all Eloise your art is beautiful and unique.I am so thankful that you took the time to tell us your story. I love the advice you gave us- do not hide your art work out of fear, get it out there as much as possible. We all have that fear in the back of our minds every time we post our artwork so thanks again.

    3 years ago

  • bumblesandlu

    bumblesandlu says:

    they seem to do this a lot - http://www.twitlonger.com/show/l76lq

    3 years ago

  • milemarker

    milemarker says:

    What a fascinating article. I'm so sorry to hear this happening more and more frequently. You are right - many times it is difficult to tell the difference or who came first or what is just 'trending', but this is a great example of an obvious ripoff. Eloise, I'm so glad that you managed to get those products of the shelves and that you are not afraid to continue putting your work out there. It is a hazard for all of us creative types, but we have to persevere.

    3 years ago

  • LoveButtons

    LoveButtons says:

    Thanks for raising this issue. I have personal and ongoing experience in this area and I can confirm it is a nightmare - the individual stands very little chance against large corporations :(

    3 years ago

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares says:

    wow, i've seen your etsy shop and work and had no idea you were going through all this with paperchase. i am so glad you fought for yourself and your art. thanks for the heads up and advice for all the artists out there.

    3 years ago

  • avantanthologue

    avantanthologue says:

    pretty common practice (big brand copycat-ism). good to see an individual case where someone was able to stand up for themselves.

    3 years ago

  • whichgoose

    whichgoose says:

    I for one will never buy anything from Paperchase ... !!

    3 years ago

  • SimplyInvitingCards

    SimplyInvitingCards says:

    We may have little chance in the courtrooms against Big Brand, but with all of our interconnecting social networks, we as a community can continue to speak out and raise awareness of Big Brand's disregard for the intellectual property rights of the common person. This sort of activism has done much to change attitudes about a lot of things. I say we do our part to bring intellectual theft awareness to the public at large through our social networks and encourage the general public to not support such actions by way of the wallet. The legal battle may be overwhelming for the individual, but the social network community can certainly affect Big Brand's bank account!

    3 years ago

  • owlbot

    owlbot says:

    Thank you for sharing this story! It's painful to hear about things like this happening, but, as they say, knowledge is power. Thank you for sharing the things you've learned with all of us so that we might benefit from your knowledge.

    3 years ago

  • moonstr

    moonstr says:

    ♥hidenseek! I remember your posts in the forums.

    3 years ago

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations says:

    Such a fascinating article!

    3 years ago

  • CreativeArtandSoul

    CreativeArtandSoul says:

    I'm so sorry you had to go through that whole experience... although you provided us with great information and advice for dealing with things like this. Thanks for the article. You do beautiful work.

    3 years ago

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar says:

    thanks for sharing this article- very important info here for all of s who make original art work

    3 years ago

  • deetsy

    deetsy says:

    Thanks for sharing your story and advice with us. The reality of the court system, in that those with the most money not necessarily win, but make it impossible for the little guy to even be heard is a system that is broken. I don't claim to have any magic solutions, but the way laws to protect the little guys have been twisted into protecting the big ones instead is infuriating.

    3 years ago

  • katiesstudio

    katiesstudio says:

    Great article, wish you the best.

    3 years ago

  • JeweledAmbrosia

    JeweledAmbrosia says:

    I rememer hearig about this, it's so disappointing. Your work is absolutely beautiful.

    3 years ago

  • PoleStar

    PoleStar says:

    Wow that was a great article. I remember when this happened too. I love how in depth you delved into the whole issue. Excellent!

    3 years ago

  • twistedsisterarts

    twistedsisterarts says:

    I had a person rip off my photo and claim that an old indian made the piece. He had it listed at 4 times the cost of my normal fee. After two emails, one to the web site, and one to the person, his listing quickly disappeared. I watch over his web site to this day.

    3 years ago

  • jenlo262

    jenlo262 says:

    Thanks for sharing these experiences. I went back and read the blog too. Wow. Keep up the great reporting and my very best wishes to all involved!

    3 years ago

  • walkthetalk

    walkthetalk says:

    Thank you for sharing this story~ unfortunately, the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance. Way to go Eloise for speaking up. Way to go Etsy community for supporting!

    3 years ago

  • walkthetalk

    walkthetalk says:

    Thanks for sharing and way to go Eloise for speaking up! Unfortunately, the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance. Way to go Etsy community for supporting!

    3 years ago

  • 1022SeaShellAve

    1022SeaShellAve says:

    Thank You for sharing and taking a stand.

    3 years ago

  • krize

    krize says:

    Very interesting article and sorry you had this experience...These stories makes me sad and I know many cases like this...I wish you the best, Eloise!

    3 years ago

  • GwensArtDreamscape

    GwensArtDreamscape says:

    The freelance independent designer knew damned well what she was doing. I have worked many years as a freelance illustrator and designer and we in that fellow ship know EXACTLY what stealing is versus inspiration. This is absolutely and clearly a prime example of theft and what boggles the mind is that, Paperchase could clearly encourage the cessation of this practice by including in the contract with this and all freelance artists that it is not acceptable to submit anyone else's work and if they do and the company catches it and/or the actual owner of the work complains that they will sue the offender into oblivion. It is a clear example of don't ask don't tell. Just as long as everyone makes money it's a good thing. Greed is good, truth just cuts into profit margins.

    3 years ago

  • ifanhour

    ifanhour says:

    Thank you for the great and informative article. It IS rampant in other industries such as fashion....I have seen it and my daughter is sick of me saying, when we go shopping "they got that off etsy!"

    3 years ago

  • localevintage

    localevintage says:

    This is a great article and really opend my eyes to a lot of issues. Thank you for sharing.

    3 years ago

  • bellabijoujewellery

    bellabijoujewellery says:

    wow, I am so glad this artical ws written. It is absolutly amazing how blatant the copy was of Hidenseek's artwork. There is no denying it.

    3 years ago

  • kbuchheit

    kbuchheit says:

    boy, you are one classy gal, amity... inspiring, too! i am amazed how well you handled this tough situation. your work is beyond fabulous, as well! wishing you continued success in business and life.

    3 years ago

  • ZenGarden

    ZenGarden says:

    Thank you; amazing and important reading for all artists.

    3 years ago

  • kbuchheit

    kbuchheit says:

    oops, i meant to address that previous comment to, "eloise" :) [sorry... too much coffee today]

    3 years ago

  • familyembers

    familyembers says:

    I think it's a shame big name companies can still keep the money from such shameful and horrid practices. Now, if it were reversed, the little company would be practically destitute for doing the same thing to a large company. This is where the law fails, that the cost to pursue legal action can ruin the victim's finances to protect their legal property, intellectual or otherwise. More attention to the law breaking practices of big names and equal punishment to the big companies. It's a damn shame.

    3 years ago

  • TheHickoryTree

    TheHickoryTree says:

    I guess deep pockets usually wins out. But never underestimate the power of complaints. We should all rally together and attack these big companies with the one thing that matter's the most to them - loss of customers.

    3 years ago

  • ZenGarden

    ZenGarden says:

    PS. Eloise, I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through all this!

    3 years ago

  • niftyknits

    niftyknits says:

    Thanks for bringing this to an even wider public amity - like many others I followed Eloise's story on twitter and her blog with my mouth agape. Shocking.

    3 years ago

  • ImagineArt7

    ImagineArt7 says:

    This is every artist's worst nightmare! In a company I owned for 15 years we watched, almost helplessly, as major companies ripped off our images without blinking, let alone exhibiting a guilty conscience! My experience has been that denial and distance is the first line of defense for big companies when they blatantly steal design work. It got so bad at one stage that I had business cards printed that said 'Unpaid designer for the XYZ company' In more than one instance my attorney said I had a great case, but it would cost $100,000 to take it to court. Big companies are well aware of this and know they are pretty safe. It sucks!

    3 years ago

  • AnnieHowes

    AnnieHowes says:

    Despicable copycats :o( Eloise, your work is a signature style and my heart goes out to you. Stay classy :o)

    3 years ago

  • PussDaddy

    PussDaddy says:

    OMG let's worry about sellers here ripping off big brand designs why don't we?

    3 years ago

  • flirtdeux

    flirtdeux says:

    Thanks so much for the follow up on this case. I had not checked back to see what the outcome was.

    3 years ago

  • PussDaddy

    PussDaddy says:

    I mean I am sorry this artist got ripped off but you don't see anyone clammoring to make Storgue articles about sellers who rip off Sanrio and Disney and Marvel Comics and Taggies Inc. and on and on and on do you?

    3 years ago

  • graphixoutpost

    graphixoutpost says:

    oh wow I remember this, what a mess!

    3 years ago

  • Stylishknitting

    Stylishknitting says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • TipsyTimeMachine

    TipsyTimeMachine says:

    Thanks for sharing Eloise's story. I remember reading a story about a famous t-shirt designer who ripped off another artist's work a few years ago. When you compared the work, the changes were so minimal it was obvious.

    3 years ago

  • birchbeerboutique

    birchbeerboutique says:

    its all such a big ball of fish hooks right now - everybody's been borrowing from everyone else for so long since the arrival of the internet we can't really see for sure where it started or whose fault it is. original designs from both of my etsy stores (this one and www.etsy.com/shop/redesigntechnologies ) have been copied by big name stores in numerous ways. i've been thinking on a course of action of quite some time and have decided that i will invoice all parties directly for the loss of revenue and invite them to use my design services directly next time they wish to capture my "vibe". i'm also working on a major change in direction behind the scenes and will be contacting the copycats before launching to let them know what my wholesale agreement is and how they can contact me along with a friendly reminder of my infringement policy. some of my etsy clients have posted on several online forums that they misuse my private tutorials in a public manor in order to avoid an extra $50.00 to purchase the licensed version. I'm really stuck as to whether i should (a) contact them directly and let them know that i found their confessions or (b) invoice the companies they work for who in the end benefited from their decision. i desperately want to go with option (b) but will most likely use that as a notice of further action in following up with (a).

    3 years ago

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons says:

    When it comes to clothing and jewellery, there's even less protection, and you usually can't get a design patent. Some of our friend's wholesale orders have been greatly affected by other small jewelry makers copying their best sellers and then setting up a booth at the same wholesale shows.

    3 years ago

  • Silverdays

    Silverdays says:

    Thank You for writing about this topic

    3 years ago

  • LizNajdecki

    LizNajdecki says:

    really enjoyed reading this article! I can remember probably ten years ago or so, Urban Outfitters had some issues over t-shirt designs that were very similar to the designer, johnny cupcakes.

    3 years ago

  • jorgensenstudio

    jorgensenstudio says:

    Sometimes you are copied & you can't do a thing, especially if the people copying you reside in a country which does not recognize copyright laws. I was saddened to be knocked off, but it was worse when I found out there was no recourse. I am only glad that it is a bad knock off and while it is a copy of my design it is poorly executed & just base metal.

    3 years ago

  • gemmabear

    gemmabear says:

    sadly, it happens a lot. it has happened to me numerous times.

    3 years ago

  • HoldTheWire

    HoldTheWire says:

    It's really a complicated issue, isn't it? My heart sunk when Eloise spoke about a $40,000 bill just to begin legal investigations about the question. It's great that people were willing to rally around her and her work. The idea of large companies working with Etsy artists is a great one and I know it's happened. I'm looking forward to your follow-up article. Thanks for using my photo, too.

    3 years ago

  • PussDaddy

    PussDaddy says:

    To further clarify-it is not that this seller got ripped off and wrote about it that is stupid. What is stupid is that Etsy with a straight face would post such an article in the Storque considering their own track record when sellers do it to big companies.

    3 years ago

  • TheRubyKitten

    TheRubyKitten says:

    I think it is awesome that there was some form of retribution in this case, even if it just meant that the had to pull the items and have admitted some responsibility. Kudos to HidenSeek for following through with this, I remember when the story came out and thinking....well, there goes another corporation doing whatever they want with no consequence. What a great outcome!

    3 years ago

  • hollyedwards

    hollyedwards says:

    wow, i am so sorry this happened. i don't know if you've heard of this site but http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/ is a site that posts obvious art plagiarism. maybe share your story on their to get more exposure on this. there's a really interesting story on there about a girl who copied another artists work and ended up winning a scholastic art award for it http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/?p=6129 - it's just crazy what people do!

    3 years ago

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass says:

    *sigh* Such a frustrating situation. I appreciate that you shared your story.

    3 years ago

  • BotanicalBead

    BotanicalBead says:

    Wow, this is awful. So sorry to hear you (and others) went through it.

    3 years ago

  • jennifermorrisbeads

    jennifermorrisbeads says:

    eloise, you are a shining star!!! your amazing attitude, fortitude and of course, your love-filled art gives me hope! xox

    3 years ago

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice says:

    Thanks for such an informative article! I really learned a lot.

    3 years ago

  • hydrangeahippo

    hydrangeahippo says:

    Awesome article. How sad for Hidenseek to have gone through this and shame and the Kitty Whoever-she-is-tracer for doing that. She is the one who started and Paperchase were duped. I too had my work copied and submitted for publication. A friend and customer spotted the copy and altered me to it immediately, I contacted the publisher, who was appalled and paid extra money to have to final draft amended to add my name "Inspired by Jennifer Priest" add to the project. The copier was apologetic but come on, how do you NOT know copying is wrong?! She was paid for her submission but I got paid double that by the company for whom I designed the original project for since it featured their products. So it had a semi-happy ending--I am now published in a mag I never had been in before but it is still bitter-sweet. It sucks to be copied and not recognized.

    3 years ago

  • DownToTheWireDesigns

    DownToTheWireDesigns says:

    I had a pair of earrings copied and listed for sale on an East Coast based website. They claimed to have five pairs in stock but had bought none from me. To make matters worse, they were using the main photo from my Etsy listing and my item description word-for-word. I contacted them and they did take the item down, but from the looks of things, their entire business model seemed based on collecting things that they found elsewhere, having them copied overseas, and presenting them as their own designs. It sucked. Personally, I think Big Brands DO need to take action if they want to protect their own integrity and reputation. If they do not take action, that to me suggests that they are complicit, because they have the clout to do something and in doing nothing, they are leaving themselves in a state of legal limbo (I would guess) because the one case that does really bite them will come against a history of their ignoring similar cases in the past.

    3 years ago

  • GatheringSplendor

    GatheringSplendor says:

    Clapping my hands madly--cheering wildly--good job and thanks for sharing. You have our heart felt appreciation.

    3 years ago

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset says:

    finding that someone had pirated my artwork would have broken my heart, since I created lots of art whe I was just a young kid

    3 years ago

  • tushtush

    tushtush says:

    Very lovely :))))Thankyou!!!

    3 years ago

  • eviekemp

    eviekemp says:

    wow, so enlightening (and a bit scary)- I'm spreading this article round, Its a must read. Thanks :-)

    3 years ago

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch says:

    Interesting article, thank you for sharing the painful journey!

    3 years ago

  • loft45

    loft45 says:

    While I agree 100% that this was a case of copying, I also see so many accusations of it that aren't legit. I posted an article last week about guidelines to determine whether something is a "rip off" or just part of a trend http://smallerbox.net/blog/legal-issues/before-you-accuse-a-copycat/ I don't mean to diminish real cases of copying in any way. I just think it's important to distinguish false claims from the real ones.

    3 years ago

  • dearcolleen

    dearcolleen says:

    Having worked on both sides, I can really see how this happens. Copying goes on more than any of us want to think about. What I don't understand is why Paperchase didn't turn it into a positive and commission a line of Hide&Seek. They should cut out the middle men and just start featuring etsy artist good for us good for them.

    3 years ago

  • citygirlhardware

    citygirlhardware says:

    Picket the bastards! The news media will be there in a flash. They live for stories like this.

    3 years ago

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy says:

    Excellent article - very informative. It does seem so unfair that a company such as Paperchase, can copy an etsy artist's design and not only think it's okay but get away with it. Congrats to HidenSeek for dealing with this and sharing the story.

    3 years ago

  • SeptemberStars

    SeptemberStars says:

    Personally, I find this story to be yet another reason NOT to buy from a "big brand." I find what I love right here on Etsy or at craft fairs or small independent shops. I don't need to purchase from a big box store. That's just how I feel about it. Thanks for this article. It's a bit infuriating to think about it happening to me or one of my friends and feeling like the process around it is not as helpful as it could or should be. We should change that, yeah?..

    3 years ago

  • EvesLittleEarthlings

    EvesLittleEarthlings says:

    I once had a photo of one of my teapots used in a calendar put out by a well known tea company without permission. The calendar was pulled, but I never received any compensation or acknowledgement for my design. This was before computers, so someone actually took a photo of my work. It is very difficult to go after big companies!

    3 years ago

  • tasifashion

    tasifashion says:

    Great artist and fantastic interview!

    3 years ago

  • CarlaLovato

    CarlaLovato says:

    Thank you for sharing this article with us!

    3 years ago

  • BeadFloraJewels

    BeadFloraJewels says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. And excellent that you've a whole community to back you up! Power of the people *smile*

    3 years ago

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns says:

    This was a very informative article. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    3 years ago

  • mylavaliere

    mylavaliere says:

    great article, thank you for sharing your experience!

    3 years ago

  • sweetirie

    sweetirie says:

    This is so frustrating! To know that big brand companies could rip us little people off to make a buck, makes me speechless. It is unfortunate that we are unable to get protection on each piece we sell, as the price is too steep....

    3 years ago

  • ZZsROCKnRECYCLABLES

    ZZsROCKnRECYCLABLES says:

    thats a whole lot to think about.....!

    3 years ago

  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy says:

    Indeed-fascinating read...DIY doesn't imply duplicate it yourself-I'm very glad to see the subject of such intellectual property rights is being openly discussed-kudos to Eloise!

    3 years ago

  • amccahon

    amccahon says:

    Ohmygod, I've read so many stories like these. So frustrating. As an artist, I thank you for bringing attention to these issues! I bought 2 prints from Eloise a while ago and they're beautiful. It's completely tragic that a company can rip off someone like her and get away with it.

    3 years ago

  • silvermoongalleria

    silvermoongalleria says:

    Your artwork is fabulous! Cheers to you for standing up for yourself, shame on paperchase for not compensating you They should have contracted you the real artist. Thank you for sharing your experience and keep on keeping on!

    3 years ago

  • sarahculleton

    sarahculleton says:

    Thanks for this informative feature! I followed the Hidden Elloise story with equall amounts of outrage and symapathy. Even though the outcome in this case was the usual story, what did fill me with hope was the amount of publicity and support she recieved due to the world we live in now. It's great to see the power of online social networking and gives me hope that companies who choose to copy the work of others may think twice about it in future. I hope the whole situation is a massive wake-up call to companies that practice plagiarism as part and parcel of there design strategy, and there are plenty of them. I know of companies who reguarly go on reckies to collect greeting cards from up and coming publishers and designers and then ask their in house and freelance deisgners to reproduce there own versions. In fact its common practice, hopefully as stories like this increase that will change.

    3 years ago

  • sarahculleton

    sarahculleton says:

    One more thing, I've noticed that alot of the comments point the finger of blame at the deisgner who traced the image, not at her publishers or Paperchase themselves. There is no doubt that she is responsible but the other two are equally to blame. Papercahse especially! If they had been responsive to Hidden Eloise's origonal claim, it would be differnt but they as ever thought that they could ignore her and continue to sell a product they then new for sure was copied. I don't uderstand designers who choose to rip off the work of others, I can't see what satisfaction they would get as a designer. Lets face it choosing to be a professional designer is not exactly the easiest career path. There are few opportunities and you have to lay your soul on the line constantly and face knock backs. It's increadibly hard, but the satisfaction and enjoyment of the design process to me is worth its weight in gold, if you don't have that, what on earth is the point? I do however understand, that in an industry where there are few opportunities, designers may choose to compromise there integratey for the sake of getting paid work. It is the big companies themselves that set the standards and requirements for any designer they choose to employ the services of. This is true even for freelances. So ultimately i point the finger of blame at Paperchase and its counterparts.

    3 years ago

  • martice

    martice says:

    I've found them recently: http://www.ultrarob.com/shop/product/Ogio-Knit-Sleeve-Laptop-Sleeve.html and now they make other designs that I used more recently :( But well what to do? I think I will just ignore them.

    3 years ago

  • thesecrethermit

    thesecrethermit says:

    Wonderful article!!! I followed this right from the start and was behind Eloise all the way...I think she acted with integrity and a calmness that I doubt many would have under similar circumstances! Eloise is one smart cookie and her artwork is amazing!!

    3 years ago

  • Earthystyle

    Earthystyle says:

    aigh! kinda scary

    3 years ago

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    AutumnLeavesJewelry says:

    Wow how incredibly sad for the original artist. I've seen this type of copying over and over in another field...it's a really fuzzy line. I don't know how this artist seemed to hold her composure so well. (I love what Dippylulu's item says!)

    3 years ago

  • PoorJean

    PoorJean says:

    So sad that this happened - it is frightening! On the flip side, the fact that Eloise's material is so cute that the Big Brands couldn't resist it says a lot about her talent and creativity.

    3 years ago

  • BuckarooBones

    BuckarooBones says:

    I am so sorry this happened. I recall the original Etsy thread and read it with alarm. So glad things turned out well for Eloise. Amity, good job on this article.

    3 years ago

  • bowlabeau

    bowlabeau says:

    Great article, beautiful art!

    3 years ago

  • stjern

    stjern says:

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    3 years ago

  • RockLove

    RockLove says:

    Thank you for posting this! It's all our biggest fear, as independent artists without the financial backing and legal capabilities to strike out against big businesses who blatantly copy. Bottom line is for the most part, we're stuck - it's such an energy drain and an uphill battle. BUT! Remember that we are the creators! As heart-wrenching as it is, sometimes we have to use this push to design new equally inspiring artwork! (as someone who was ripped off by a company in Indonesia) Good luck and vibes to all that have experienced this violation.

    3 years ago

  • helenapuck

    helenapuck says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I've been a fan of Hidenseek for awhile and I had no idea this was going on.

    3 years ago

  • craftpile

    craftpile says:

    Thank you for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • PussDaddy

    PussDaddy says:

    If Etsy ever decided to protect big company's copyrights a good big chunk of the Etsy community would be gone.

    3 years ago

  • KarensLoom

    KarensLoom says:

    Thanks so much for sharing.... I loved the work or Hidenseek... congratulations to Eloise for making a stand....

    3 years ago

  • DomusModern

    DomusModern says:

    it's too bad that she didn't get any profit from her own image. it's important to copy right and trade mark.

    3 years ago

  • SewObsession

    SewObsession says:

    love the little animation really get the point across...... so unfair that the big companies can come in a take from in independent artist so greedy are they. but it shows what an amazing talented one your are.... thanks for sharing this article.... a real eye opener....

    3 years ago

  • VastVarieties

    VastVarieties says:

    wow...I'm sorry that this happened...so unfair...I appreciate the story being shared...Thanks!

    3 years ago

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards says:

    I'm so glad you picked up this story as I felt so bad for Eloise! I'm glad to hear she's been fighting and not afraid to talk about about all this to anyone who would hear her.... that's unfortunately the only way to go when you are an independent designer with small pockets :) You go girl! xo Hibou

    3 years ago

  • mediumcontrol

    mediumcontrol says:

    Thank you for sharing.

    3 years ago

  • iheartnorwegianwood

    iheartnorwegianwood says:

    Check out this recent incident that happened to fashion blogger Betty from "Blog de Betty" Zara is the culprit this time: http://www.leblogdebetty.com/2010/05/22/zara-we-have-a-problem/

    3 years ago

  • iheartnorwegianwood

    iheartnorwegianwood says:

    Oh and another site, similar to UrbanCounterfeiters is http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com

    3 years ago

  • urbanprairiegirl

    urbanprairiegirl says:

    Hey Eloise, go get em, girl!

    3 years ago

  • meredithdillman

    meredithdillman says:

    To someone else who suggested designers sign a statement: Usually when one licenses artwork or does work for hire, promising the work is your own and you know of no infringement is part of the contract. At least it has been in almost every one I've seen.

    3 years ago

  • EverybodyElse

    EverybodyElse says:

    Good article, glad to see it being addressed. Glad Eloise got those products off their shelves.

    3 years ago

  • Rachelaakmama

    Rachelaakmama says:

    Great article!!

    3 years ago

  • LaurelCanyonBeads

    LaurelCanyonBeads says:

    Wow! thanks for telling this story. here's mine! I was infringed on by Hallmark cards back in the late 80's after they interviewed me fresh out of art school and looked through my portfolio. They stole ideas, themes, colors and character designs from my children's book illustrations and turned them into a line of cards. I was alerted to the infringement by a friend who saw them in a store and thought I had sold them my work. at the time i was in no position to defend myself , or afford a lawyer, so I had to let it go. I found out later that I was not the only student to have had this happen with hallmark, who gave "courtesy interviews" to illustration majors just before graduation....I am glad that now with internet and online forums such as this, people can be made aware of what goes on!

    3 years ago

  • dalesdreams

    dalesdreams says:

    Excellent, excellent article. I remember this story unfolding and it was so upsetting. What I find a real shame, is that she received no compensation in the end, because the legal expenses would be too great, which I think Big Brands count on. Hooray for the supporters though. Lots of people just doing the right thing. That's wonderful. :)

    3 years ago

  • sisterbutterfly

    sisterbutterfly says:

    If you don't have any original ideas, find some. Copying is never okay...

    3 years ago

  • BullCrabStudio

    BullCrabStudio says:

    Nothing will ever be as good as the original Idea.Your work is pure and it comes from a place that lives in you,and your the only one that knows it.So some Hack picked your work to copy out of a stack of many other artist's work.Point is ,someone was going to get ripped of by this talentless individual and you stood out.Wonder who else they traced over in this image alone?You might not be the only one-Who knows.More people are aware of you now than whoever stole from you so I think you come out on top anyhow.KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DO!!!

    3 years ago

  • AuclairBlueSquare

    AuclairBlueSquare says:

    It's very important to realize that it can happen to all of us and than you can continue to spread your work all around!

    3 years ago

  • janeeroberti

    janeeroberti says:

    Thanks for that. I rest easy knowing I have free access to legal action against any copycats (I married a lawyer!). One addition. You say "Etsy is clearly making one helluva impact on mainstream design. This just goes to show that the Independent designer is a powerful player in the worldwide playground where creativity meets business." The independents have always been! I'm old enough and streetwise enough to have watched 30 years of street fashionistas and small designers "inspire" the top couture houses, who unfortunately get all the cred in the big fashion media for "starting" trends.

    3 years ago

  • MoonRabbitPottery

    MoonRabbitPottery says:

    Yes indeed it can happen to all of us even among the great masters.It always hurts.Infact it just happened to me too when I was looking through the new items (ceramics )in etsy today.I had put out a piece(the curious cat) just last week and lo and behold I see a similar example today.Nothing you can do except to say copy is the best form of flattery

    3 years ago

  • pincushioncrazy346

    pincushioncrazy346 says:

    Good for you...unfortunately these big companies know that most little companies don't have the money to fight these cases so they infringe with impunity.

    3 years ago

  • ginmartini

    ginmartini says:

    Thank you for Sharing! I've always been afraid of My ideas being copied or even stolen, but its a part of trying to stay trendy. As long as you are a TRUE artist, you will always have the next best idea.

    3 years ago

  • 6catsVintage

    6catsVintage says:

    great article. glad i came across it surfing storque today.

    3 years ago

  • LizzieLuna

    LizzieLuna says:

    Buy Local...and buy from small, independent artists! It just confirms my values after reading this article. ~ I love etsy..it brings a boutique right to my home

    3 years ago

  • GrannyGrant

    GrannyGrant says:

    There seems to be one in almost every crowd. Sorry you had to go through that, but if not you would not be able to share with the world of ETSY. Thanks so much. Robin (grannygrant)

    3 years ago

  • mixeralex

    mixeralex says:

    Keep the faith The court and the crown is independent

    2 years ago

  • thedoghouse

    thedoghouse says:

    Thanks so much for this post. Very relevant & useful to me at the moment as I find my copyright being infringed by the BBC: http://www.maxandmollydesigns.com/2011/09/12/show-me-the-bunny/

    2 years ago

  • Craftelina

    vik and ig from Craftelina says:

    Eloise, you are a star! We are with you and your ideas and experience are really appreciated. Many thanks for what you did actually here for the hand-made craftspeople!

    1 year ago

  • supernatural808

    Sue Lau says:

    Very interesting article for someone who is just starting out in the jewellery making business. Thanks 4 sharing.

    1 year ago

  • reneeyou

    Renee Yu from myjunebugg says:

    great blog, very interesting to read and learn about others' experiences thanks!!

    1 year ago

  • XolBridalBoutique

    XolBridalBoutique from GorgeousComplements2 says:

    Interesting i will need to get back to read again, am I wrong or Paperchase defence=Paperchase defense English in not my first language so i don't know if it has a different meaning or is referring to something else?

    1 year ago

  • myrabdesigns

    Myra Brathwaite from MyraBFashionStudio says:

    These are very interesting situations and the resulting discussions lead one to believe that you will never be able to get any reasonable satisfaction from the big companies.

    269 days ago