A killer copy of a killer cupcake? And more!


Below you will find a case of multiple designs, including a delicious but scary-looking baked good, that are alleged to be lifted by another artist, and offered for sale online. Inspiration or theft?

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])



My name is Kimberly Hart and I have been sculpting things from polymer clay under Monster Kookies since about 2008. In the past few years, I have had a problem with a copycat that calls themselves Devilish Designs. Strangely enough, our slogans even sound similar. Mine is “The mad scientist of polymer clay!” and has been that way for, well… pretty much since I began. Hers is “The crazy crafter of polymer clay”.

Anyways. It’s not that she has copied just one or two of my designs – she has copied almost every single one of my concepts. She has stolen my MechOwlie, Steambunneh, Apoctopus, Tentacle Cupcake, Killer Cupcake, Mechanical Jellyfish, Mechanical Birdie, Squ33x, Companion Heart, Pokeheart, etc…

It really IS an awful feeling, you know… to be watched and stalked and then have every single one of your designs ripped off, copied badly, and then sold for a cheaper price.

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking, here.

I’ll give you some examples that I pulled up from Etsy:

My Etsy Shop: Monster Kookies – monsterkookies.etsy.com
Their Etsy Shop: Devilish Designs – devilishdesigns.etsy.com

Example #1 – Killer Cupcake

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/45348591
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/115298972/killer-cup-cake-kawaii-necklace-polymer

Example #2 – MechOwlie

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/67306484
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/114442135/steampunk-owl-industrial-freestanding

Example #3 – Apoctopus

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/47606697
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/111024521/octopus-steampunk-industrial-pendant

Example #4 – Pokeheart

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/115697484
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/122933759/i-heart-pokemon-geekery-pokemon

Example #5 – Companion Heart

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/58545206
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/117725001/heart-shaped-companion-cube-portal

Example #6 – Steambunneh

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/97503858
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/114441478/bunny-rabbit-freestanding-steampunk

Example #7 – Squ33x

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/103917117
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/113304205/steampunk-mouse-freestanding-industrial


Example #8 – Mechanical Jellyfish

Monster Kookies: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/34698800
Devilish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/119471443/steampunk-jellyfish-small-industrial

Those are all the Etsy examples that I can give you, but there are many more if you compare our galleries:

Monster Kookies Website: http://monsterkookies.com
Monster Kookies Gallery: http://monsterkookies.deviantart.com/gallery/
Monster Kookies Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monsterkookies.creations

Devilish Designs Website/Gallery: http://www.devilishdesigns.co.uk/
Devilish Designs Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devilishdesignsartisan


See Art, Steal Art?


Below we have a situation where a painter appears to have appropriated the work of a photographer to create his “own” version of the photographed content. For photographs, the angle, the composition, the lighting, and the other creative elements captured on film are subject to protection. Has the painter taken these things from the photographer?

And remember, folks, you cannot take the creative expression of a work by transferring it to another medium.

- Scott A. Burroughs, Esq. ( [email protected] )



Quoted from the artist “STUNTKID’S”  FB page

“Walking around Art Basel, this weekend I came across a few pieces in the Scope show that looked pretty familiar. There was a sampling of 3 pieces presented by the Robert Fontaine Gallery all by the same artist. I recognized my photography in two of them and the third was a copy of my good friend Marie Killen’s photo. When i got home a quick google search reveled that nearly his entire body of work was comprised of other peoples photography. No credits were given, though that wouldn’t have put the artist in the clear. Josafat Miranda hadn’t bothered to change the composition or content in any appreciable way, even though that too would not have put him in the clear.

For me, photography was a hobby, something i did for fun. But it was art. These weren’t candids, they were carefully composed, edited photos. The model traveled, did her makeup and helped style the shoot. Put simply, it was a collaborative artistic endeavor by me and the model Tracy P

Marie Killen is a wildly talented photographer living in North Carolina. Photography is her passion and craft and she does it extremely well. In my opinion she’s one of the best photographers in her genre. Her shoots require far more work and planning than mine ever did. She’s developed, through hard work and practice, a recognizable style.

What Josafat Miranda has done here reveals a total disrespect for photography as an art form. He’s quickly and with very little creative altercation, harvesting the yield of someone else’s hard work. What makes a painting strong, isn’t just the brush strokes and the rendering method, more, much more, than that is the composition, the subject matter and the hundreds of creative decisions that go into making an original piece of art.”

Josafat Miranda

Marie Killen:

Is this plagarism? you be the judge! the discussion started here



‘Tis the Season to Appropriate Art?


The cut (or silhouette) of a shirt, dress, tunic, tank top, or any other clothing item is not protected by Copyright Law in the U.S. of A. (though there is pending legislation that may change that). The graphic artwork on that clothing item, however, is subject to protection just like any painting, drawing, rendering or other form of 2-D artwork. The degree of protection that will be afforded that graphic artwork varies from thick protection to thin protection depending on the design at issue. In the below case, though, it looks like the alleged infringer took the whole kit and caboodle, which would make this a very sticky legal situation indeed.

- Scott A. Burroughs, Esq. ( [email protected] )



Not much to say here. As a fashion graphic designer myself, I was a little shocked when I walked into General Pants and saw this on the weekend. Something Else have directly ripped off independent artist Katie Scott, with absolutely no changes to the design. See below.

From the General Pants website, Something Else “Curiosity” tank:

From Katie Scott’s website, titled “Magic Science”:


Ground Control to Major Case of Infringement?


Mash-up art is another area where there are more legal questions than there are answers. Below, an artist has taken the Misfits skull, an iconic punk rock image (and original artwork that I am assuming she didn’t own), and mashed it up with the distinctive makeup and hairstyle of one of David Bowie’s most beloved iterations, Aladdin Sane (again, it’s assumed she did not obtain authorization to use this material). In doing so, the submitting artist created a brand new piece of art. The question is, what are her rights in this new artwork, and does she face any liability for infringement?

Virtually all mash-up art falls under the “derivative work” umbrella, which refers to new works which incorporate substantial portions of previous works. Or, if you want to get all Copyright Act-y about it, a “derivative work” is  ”a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a [']derivative work['].” 17 USC 101.

Clearly, the below is a “derivative work”: it is “based upon or more preexisting works” and “recasts” those works to create the mash-up work at issue. So, what rights do our mash-up artist have in her new creation?

Well, it is important to note that she gains no rights in the two underlying works by incorporating them into her new piece. That material remains the property of the artists that created it, and she cannot legally exploit her mash-up art without first obtaining their authorization. She does have rights in what she has added to the two works, which would be the combining of the pre-existing material, and the added graphic content. If a party were to exploit her expression as contained in the mash-up, she may be able to bring a lawsuit for the unauthorized exploitation of her creative material (viz., the combination of the pre-existing elements and the added graphic content).

A further wrinkle in this case is that the allegedly-infringing item appears to have taken the idea that underlies the submitting artist’s creation, but may or may not have taken the expression.

What would Ziggy say?

- Scott A. Burroughs, Esq. ( [email protected] )



Urban Outfitters is notorious for stealing from independent artists and designers,  and recently I personally became another victim. In 2006 a friend and I made some shirts that we sold in a few local boutiques in Long Beach, CA, and gave to our friends.  It was a take on Aladdin Sane, with a Misfits skull. Some of our friends even worked at Urban Outfitters and would wear the shirts to work. Lo and behold, 6 years later this mysteriously similar shirt appears on the Urban Outfitters website for $34:

Here is the link to the shirt on the UO website:


And a Youtube video uploaded 6 years ago featuring our friends rap group wearing the shirt (Yes, I know, they rule):


Once again Urban Outfitters blatantly rips off small time artists and mass produces stolen ideas for profit.  They have done this to several jewelry designers and street artists, and seem to continue the trend, It’s a HUGE bummer, it’s insulting, pathetic, and UO needs to stop the practice of being RIP-OFF ARTISTS.

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