Sometimes, it's pretty obvious that someone copied your design, even if they change it up a little, or "make it shittier", as design duo Doublenaut put it in the case below, submitted by a YTWWN reader. In a case of such obvious inspiration--and bold Twitter tactics--what could ASOS muster up in defense? Of course, they could insist that their designers came up with the graphic all on their own, but they may also choose to meticulously point out all the differences in the two designs to try to prove that the two designs aren't that alike after all. You know, Doublenot's wolf has an arrow in its mouth while ASOS' weapon looks like a sword. Doublenot puts an eye above the wolf's head, but ASOS crowns its wolf. The trouble for ASOS is that a "dissimilarity analysis" is improper. Courts will not accept a step-by-step dissection of dissimilar characteristics to prove that two designs aren't identical. So, what do you think? Is ASOS just out of luck on this one?
I was scrolling through my twitter feed last night, only to notice a retweet from one of my international friends about ASOS and a Toronto based duo called Doublenaut. Someone pointed it out to them that ASOS had basically stolen a design of theirs. I did actually have quite a bit of respect for ASOS until now. It makes you wonder, how many other designs have they stolen?
Link to Double Naut Store (Original):
The guys from Doublenaut have been in contact with the ASOS help desk and it looks like they were fobbed off.
Doublenaut have since been told that ASOS are looking into it.
I understand that it could be the work of one
designer faker within ASOS who is stealing designs and trying to make themselves look good, but it really just makes the whole company look bad. If this is the case then the faker in question should be named, shamed and then fired. We will update this story with more details as the situation unfolds.
Jewelry and accessories are considered "useful articles" in copyright law, meaning they're not just works of art and have some utilitarian or functional purpose as well. Rings, for example, are to be worn on your hand as adornment. The only part of such useful articles that are protected by copyright are the "nonuseful" parts. Stuff like carvings and intricate design work may be copyrightable if they can be identified separately and can exist independently of the object's utilitarian aspects. This is known in copyright law as the separability doctrine. Below is a great example from a YTWWN reader. The ring itself is a noncopyrightable useful article, but what about the intricate markings on the band and the cushion of the gem?
FLATTERED or OUTRAGED?! William Llewellyn Griffiths the creator behind Australian jewellery brand Metal Couture has been making intricate pieces of jewellery for over thirty years, it seems however that he has a fan in Topshop's 'design team.' You be the judge....
Topshop's Cleopatra Box Ring
Metal Couture Jewellery's
Topaz Locking Ring
Dear YTWWN readers, I work with AttorneyScott and I'll be helping out with some lawyerly commentary on these tricky copyright issues over the next few days. For instance, the oh-so-specific "look and feel" test for substantially similar designs comes to mind. Below is a good example. Riccardo Tisci's depiction of Kanye and Jay-Z as beastly, fanged creatures for their Watch the Throne Givenchy t-shirts is a pretty awesome idea. But does it mean no other celebrity can be depicted as a fanged werewolf-like beast on a black t-shirt ever again? Did Mi Gente just recreate the idea by giving Lebron some fangs on his MVP shirt, to portray that he's an unstoppable beast on the court? Or did they go too far and copy the expression--the "look and feel"--of the Givenchy t-shirt?
Notorious rip off artist Mi Gente Clothing is at it again. This time they took the Watch the Throne Givenchy designed t-shirt and applied it to Lebron James MVP shirt. MGC should stand for More Givenchy Copies.
Adopting a time-worn concept and flipping it in a new and creative way results in new and innovative art. Below, two artists have adopted the phonetic spelling conceit used in dictionaries to create a couple of pieces of art. What, if anything, has been stolen here?
This campaign was started by street artist "iwillnot" to get the word "Re-fu-tard" added to the dictionary to mean Sara Palin. The idea and design was stolen by the tee shirt company below to use the football players name "Pol a ma lud" added to the dictionary with the accompanying definition.
Font is the same, concept the same, half face is the same just showing eyes, design with text below face centered.
the refutard campaign has been running for years on street stickers and posters.
Street Art Sticker/poster/painting
As overseas production becomes cheaper and easier to access for U.S. companies, we are seeing more and more jewelry knock-offs coming from overseas factories and mills. Is the below such a knock-off, or just another expression of a similar idea?
I've been on Etsy as a seller and shopper since 2005. As the site grew, so did knock offs. Now it (still) seems commonplace!
Joanna Rutter is a UK illustrator & designer that makes darling pieces out of metal. Over the years, I've noticed more & more resellers selling her designs as mass-produced 'supplies'. I even saw a few shops that blatantly state 'I handcut these designs.. bla bla bla'. The birds, whale, cloud, umbrella & leaves are now everywhere. I've taken a few items from her sold section of her Etsy shop, and found the pieces resellers are hocking to the masses (from South Korea, USA & China) I contacted Joanna last year, pointing out my findings, but I never received a reply. I thought I'd bring my beef here to share & bring awareness. Joanna's shop is at: joannarutter.etsy.com
Here was have a case where the two works are different, but share a certain tonality or feel. The copyright laws protect an artist from the copying of the "total look and feel" of his or her work, but do not protect against someone else expressing the same idea in their own way. Do you see copying?
Aha! Sweet Cavities, the acclaimed "first kawaii shop in Barbados~!" It's obviously been inspired heavily by well known QueenOfDorks who also owns a small online shop http://www.cute-plush.com/.
This particular design definitely reminded me of QueenOfDorks' t-shirt design "I love Japanese food", it has a few changes but still eerily similar even the phrase "おいしい" meaning delicious. Sweet Cavities is looking to sell this design on charms and t-shirts as well.
Sweet Cavities "おいしい" Design: http://sweet-cavities.deviantart.com/gallery/34821344#/d4v1n8d
QueenOfDorks "I love Japanese food" T-shirt design: http://queenofdorks.deviantart.com/art/I-love-japanese-food-150522630
I rang the distributor Tempo Australia and after one phone call they have decided to try and get away with it. No response to emails and no returning of phone calls.
Very disappointing, and they we wouldn't notice!!
Rip Off: http://www.blnts.com/eng/CMBlock/blue.cfm
Please post this, seeing how it's an entire line of clothing. Disgusting.
I've just been contacted by someone telling me my work has been stolen...
The design which looks very similar has recently won a competition with a $1000 prize, and the winner, Mike Krisza, has said on his site he is currently selling the design on tshirts successfully.