I was sent a link to the Chinese shopping site TaoBao.com recently, where I discovered my designs being sold alongside designs by various other illustrators, on tote bags, handbags and cosmetics cases. These bags are being made by a company called Ufukuro who, although they have a Japanese name (presumably to sound more high end and legit) are actually based in Shanghai, China. I was shocked by the sheer number of rip-offs, which mostly are just directly copy-pasted (sometimes with a change of colour or layout) from the various artists’ work. I can’t post all of them here (there are 2-5 images stolen from each artist, and at least 14 artists affected), but here are a few of the stolen designs, shown alongside the original images. I’m pretty sure that ALL of Ufukuro’s illustrated bags feature stolen images. Unfortunately, as it is a Chinese company, it is extremely difficult to take any legal action.
The bags are also for sale online at Dawanda.com and on Etsy.
The artists and designers affected include: Kate Sutton, Jim Datz, Jon Burgerman, Darling Clementine, Adrian Johnson, Marion Bantjes, Christopher Lee, Sanna Annukka, Andrew Holder, Andreas Samuelsson, Toru Fukuda, Lance Wyman, Krisatomic and lucky old me (Gemma Correll).
But it’s very possible that there are others. Take a look – maybe you’ll be one of the unfortunate folks that has had their work stolen by Ufukuro.