Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A designer dilemma ... need advice

Ok, so here's what's up now. I usually don't even look on certain auction/sale sites just because I don't need the stress of seeing yet another person who has stolen something of my design without permission. I just don't want the hassle or stress of seeing it.
In this case, two different customers of mine have emailed me to let me know that two sellers are selling things of my design that I made and sold last year.
I have to say, the one seller has made an identical copy. IDENTICAL. The other seller has the exact design of a pinkeep which she incorporated into a candle mat.

While some of you may say that I should be flattered that they like my idea so well that they wish to make and sell it too, I have to think of my own reputation with just letting this go.
If these sellers continue to make multiple copies of each of these designs, that design will be associated with their name. If I happen to decide to make these designs into patterns to sell OR even if I want to make a finished one to sell myself, it's going to appear that "I" stole their design since they've more recently sold the item. Then if a claim is made against me for copyright infringement, I'll have the burden of proof.

I can easily get them shut off Ebay. I have the dated proof that I created these last year so proof is easy. All I have to do is report them, show my dated proof and Ebay will remove their listings, give a bad strike against their name and take away any monies they have made from my designs. I could email them and nicely ask them to remove it .. but that didn't work before. I was slapped down and insulted instead.

I don't want to create any more Ebay enemies. I already have one that hates me because I had to file a copyright infringement claim against her. She caused me and continues to cause me so much sadness, that I REALLY don't want to deal with any more issues which cause even more sellers to hate me.

I really don't know what to do. I don't want to be hated but I feel that I need to protect my designs.
This is just so depressing to me that I just want to quit altogether.


Patti / mrsamericanpie said...

I don't really have any advice for you but it just breaks my heart to read this. I'm a fairly new customer of yours and your designs that I've seen so far are just wonderful. I keep tabs on your listings and blog so I catch what's new. You may need to confront these sellers if you want to continue with your business ... and I hope that you do continue. They probably won't be any nicer than the other was ... they weren't being nice when they stole your designs in the first place. I hope that you'll be able to find your way to the decision that is best for you.

Cara said...

Here's my thinking. We love you, and your designs, you can think of it not as just protecting your designs, but your customers, and really it is not your problem if someone who is doing something, immoral, unethical, and illegal decides they don't like you because you called them on it. They are costing you money, both in sales, and in what in most industries is research and design/marketing.
I know it's hard but try not to worry about someone who has wronged you, disliking you. It's their actions they dislike, and the fact that you called them on it.

Coloradolady said...

What they have done is wrong..I'd shut them down. People pay for your talent...not your talent stolen by others....Stick up for yourself...don't let them get away with this....I am sorry for the stress this is causing.

ohiofarmgirl said...

To Thine own self be true..do what you can live with!
Enjoy your site...Dianntha

Anonymous said...

I say turn them both in. They are stealing something that you worked hard to make. If you don't stop it now they will keep taking your designs.
Susan from ebay

SueWis said...

Arrgh, how frustrating. I enjoy following your creation process and have seen how much you put into your designs!

I suggest going straight to Ebay. They have a system set up to handle this type of thing without you having to communicate with the transgressor. Much better for your psyche and peace of mind. Good luck!

Marie said...

Stealing is stealing no matter if it's robbing a bank or your designs. The robbers need to be punished. If left undone then it sends a message that's it's okay and more people will try. Don't stress over someone who don't deserve it. Your work is wonderful and you need to protect it.

Thank you for sharing your good days and we are hear to listen to your bad days, as friends should.


Michele said...

I don't have any advice for you either. I just purchased one of your designs and I love your work. I really hope you don't close. I have seen patterns almost identical from another crafter that I buy from and I'm not sure who is the true seller. One is on ebay and the other a primitive site. So sad people steal....

Dani said...

First of all, if you quit the 'bad guys' win. I think you should give them a polite heads up, in case they honestly don't realize that they should not be doing what they are doing. Then if they don't remove the pieces you are concerned about within a set period of time, proceed with having them shut off Ebay. Give them a chance to do the right thing- that way the decision is theirs, not yours. As artists we come across a lot of 'fine lines'. We have to stand firm, though. You're in my prayers.

the krafty rose said...

I can understand how upset you are but please let your followers know that I'm not the one doing this. I also sell candle mats on e-bay and before Christmas I bought one of your patterns and with your permission I sold it on E-bay giving you full credit for the design. I sold under RDL19 but have change it to thekraftyrose.
Thanks and,
I hope you can take care of this problem without too much stress.

appleberrycottage said...

Don't let the few stealers deter you from creating! You could spend you time chasing them, but it's a lot of time and stress. If they are selling the pattern, that's a whole different story. I sell on Ebay, but always put a line of "pattern from...." , even if I've changed the pattern. I am waiting for the time when I forget, or write the wrong designer!:) I just finished my snowman penny rug!!! I just posted a photo on my blog, and will list it on Ebay. It was SO fun to make! Thanks!

DianeH said...

Cath you need to talk to Kaaren
she has just been through this.
Hope she can help you.

Linda said...

I was very sad to read of your dilemma. I agree with Dianntha who advised you to do what you can live with. I don't like to have people upset with me either but I have grown to believe that it is important to hold people responsible for their actions. In the long run I believe it makes the world a better place. It probably feels to you like they hate you but in actuality, they are probably either ashamed of their actions or kicking themselves because they didn't realize what they were doing was improper. I would go the email and ask nicely route to start and not assume that the response will be negative. If it is, then contacting eBay is an option. Just please don't let it deter you from creating your beautiful work.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Oh Cathy, I am so sorry to hear what is going on and wish I had some advice or way to help. I love your original designs and understand why you want to keep them protected. Do whatever you need to allow you to continue to enjoy your art. You have lots of supporters!! Hang in there.

Simone de Klerk said...

It makes me sad to read this, Cath! Unfortunately I read about it quite often.
Be careful that something you enjoy, does not take over your life in a negative way. Do what feels best for you and as Dianntha says. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Anonymous said...

Good morning Cathy,
I know just the candle mat they are referring to...it is the white and purple violets mat. When I saw it listed, I immediately thought of you and remembered you making it last year because I almost bid on it. I am really sorry to hear about the problem...I think you should protect your interest. It obviously didn't bother the other artist to blatantly copy your design and not give you credit. Please keep your spirits up...nobody can capture the quality of your work.
Kirsten :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Cath,
It is wrong to use another person's patterns without acknowligling them as the designer. Just plan wrong! When you list your finished products do you indicate in your listing that this is your design and protected under copy right? I am an eBay seller to and design some of my own "woolies". When I list something that is solely my design I indicate that it is; when I use someone else's pattern (even if it is an idea from someone's clip art or from a magazine, I give them the credit and even list a web address if available). I hope this helps! My eBay address is cat_tales_booksandprims please stop by if you ever have the time!

BTW you are turning into a real gifted desinger!

tami said...

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so clearly wrong and then defend their wrong position by blaming the wronged person. I think they are just so self centered they don't see why they can't have everything they want even if it means taking it from someone else.
I definitely think after emailing them and giving them the chance to do the right thing you should alert ebay. Protection for people like you is why they have those safeguards in place. I know it's hard because I have the same personality trait where I don't like having people dislike me, but I think there are more honest people in the world than not. You just don't hear about them as often because we tend not to stand up for ourselves.

bonni said...

Dear Cath, I don't have a comment regarding your concerns, but I did want to say how delighted I am that I've found your website and designs! They are some of the most unique and creative available today. While I like primitives, sometimes they just aren't pretty...your designs have a lot of class. I found your Ebay site but want to know if all of the designs you have on your website are also available as patterns. Just FYI...I'm a Pittsburgh girl now living in Georgia with lots of family still in the 'burgh and seem to be about your age. Wouldn't if be something if we knew each other or had similar connections!

Brenda said...

Contact ebay with your dated proof and have the listing pulled. End of story. You need not get emotionally involved. The seller has infringed n your copyright. You correct the situation and move on. Simple. Don't loose sleep or stress over it. She is not losing sleep over the issue, you shouldn't either. =)

Tonya said...

A lot of good advice is being given here and I agree that something should be done. That "something" is up to you.

I've never bought one of your patterns but each time you post a new one I'm amazed by your talent.

Please know you're in my prayers.

Hugs ~ Tonya

Anonymous said...

Please don't stop. I'm a beginner at making penny rugs and new to your blog. I've learned so much from your tutorials and have purchased your last three patterns. I love, love your designs.

Janice said...

I totally agree with the last comment. I ordered the scarecrow pattern a couple days ago and am anxiously waiting for it to come. I really don't care for the "primitive" style penny rugs. It would be such a shame if you quit. You really should take action and protect yourself and your designs.

janet pittman said...

Cathy, I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. The thing is...if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. I personally think that you should stand up for yourself. Give them a heads up, politely, but firmly and if they don't comply, lay it to them. They are the ones in the wrong. Keep your chin up, and remember, we are behind you no matter what your decision is.

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DaisyGirl said...

I'm new to your blog, and I hope that you can get Ebay to help you. Both my sister and I design cross stitch and it's hard when people take advantage of you. Stand strong for yourself and take action. A previous comment is right, don't let the bad guys win. We love your designs.

Annie said...

Hi Cathy...i am SO new to your blog that i haven't even had time to purchase your patterns!...soon to come!...you have such a wonderful gift and your patterns are so very pretty, it would be quite a shame for you to quit doing what you so obviously love!...It is hard not to become emotionally involved in this type of situation, but they are stealing from you and they should not be allowed to continue...go through the ebay channels with your dated proof and let them remove the people...that should minimize your stress somewhat and make sure your copyright is on all of your designs!...there will always be people out there that will do this no matter how nice you try to talk to them...sad, but true...you have loyal friends and customers who support you...Blessings to you...Annie..slave_girl4j@yahoo.com