From the Files of AttorneyScott – C. Wonder Allegedly Flies Too Close to the Sun; is Charged with Infringement

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

From time to time I will post about a piping hot and fresh new case that our firm has been retained to handle, and has filed in Federal Court. The material that I will post will be from our files and/or the public record, and will reflect claims of copyright infringement against parties alleged to be content thieves or to be otherwise involved in the chain of distribution for infringing, fake, and/or counterfeit goods. Tune in for the first such installment below.

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Z Paneva Studios v. C. Wonder, LLC; et al.

Some of you may already be familiar with the C. Wonder brand and its somewhat complicated story of coming into being. In short, C. Wonder is the newest project for Chris Burch, a man known for, amongst other things, his reported-to-be turbulent relationship with lifestyle brand magnate Tory Burch, a company with which he may or may not still have involvement.

Through C. Wonder, Burch sells home wares, accessories, and other odds and ends that remind some people very much of the items sold by T. Burch. In addition, one shiny new line of C. Wonder products is alleged to misappropriate certain works done by artist Zlatka Paneva at Z Paneva Studios. Ms. Paneva was not approached by C. Wonder or any of its agents or vendors prior to these pieces being sold by C. Wonder. Ms. Paneva’s pieces are the first and the third images below, while the items that were offered for sale by C. Wonder are the second and the fourth:

There are other examples, but I think you, kind reader, get the picture.

If you have any questions or comments about the above matter, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

-ATTORNEYSCOTT

Probiotic Plagiarism?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

A unique and progressive music video is created and published to the world. Immediately, this video is available to viewers in North America, Europe, Asia, basically anywhere with an internet connection. One of these viewers, in one of these geographic locales, (apparently) decides to use major elements of that video in his or her own work, which (apparently) is advertising.

It’s important to note that the type of access described above is one factor that is driving the increasing levels of copyright infringement – anyone, anywhere can access copyrighted material immediately and on a whim, and can then knock it off in the comfort of their own home or secret lab or what-have-you.  Have the Finnish yoghurt-slingers below run afoul of the law?

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Hi YTWWN,

Having been a follower of YTWWN for years it’s strange and depressing to find myself able to post on it with perhaps one of the worst thefts I’ve seen. I would love to hear any defense from anyone involved on how this wasn’t plagiarism but really can’t imagine any justification.

So, in January I made Graham Coxon’s video for his song “What’ll it Take”, it was an original idea by me – with some elements based on an even older video of mine from 4 years ago. It was a small budget video and I did all the post myself, it was a real labour of love.

Here’s my video:

Graham Coxon “What’ll It Take” // DIR: Ninian Doff from Ninian Doff on Vimeo.

Kennel Helsinki made this commercial last month directed by Miikka Lommi for a yoghurt called “Jacky Duetto”. It not only stole every technique (cut up fan footage forming a new person, looping footage to extend limbs, squares of footage then rising into the sky) but even camera angles (e.g multiple footage person being obscured by lamppost/tree, seeing ball out of high rise window):

Jacky Duetto from Kennel Helsinki on Vimeo.

Kennel Helsinki, Miikka Lommi, Jack Duetto or the ad agency have never been in contact with me ever. I only found out about this when someone happened to see it on TV whilst on holiday in Finland and tweeted it to me!

Have a Heart, Hot Topic!

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Copyright infringement cases relating to jewelry are on the rise, with retailers attempting to make an extra buck by having cheaper knock-offs made of trendy pieces they see in boutiques, magazines, or around town, and then selling those copies to the public. The sine qua non in such a case is substantial similarity, as any attorney with brains can tell you. Mmmmm, brains.

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update: Hot Topic has pulled their necklaces from online and apparently from sales floors while they “investigate”

Dear YTWWN:

I’d love some outside opinions on this one. I’ve been making these I Heart Brains Best Friends Necklace Sets since 2010. Soon after posting them they were featured in a variety of different places online and I ended up with orders my two hands couldn’t keep up with. This is the first green set I sold:

and hot topics recent version of the same thing:

The part that gets me the most is there are many ways to make brains and the way I’ve specifically chosen to do them isn’t the same as a real brains texture. It’s a technique I use because of my medium of polymer clay, which is not the medium they’ve used. It feels like a copy to me and even gave my guts a churnin’ once I stumbled on them. After contacting hot topic and getting no response, I was wondering what others might think

Grossed Out by Alleged Mimicry

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

As web and mobile applications (or ‘apps’ to those that dig buzzwords and brevity) become more and more popular (and lucrative), we are seeing more and more infringement in the apps sphere. An app is somewhat distinct from other forms of art because the code for the app is covered by copyright protection, and the app itself may be subject to patent protection. Those that infringe the rights of the creator of an app therefore get a two for one – copyright and patent infringement! Take a look at an alleged act of such infringement, below.

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UPDATE: Upon looking into it further, it appears as though Alex Pardee’s developer Jarryd Hall contacted us, The Black Axe, back in May of 2011. Jarryd was looking partner with us, the creators of Gross Out, to make the app work for iPhone either with our art or “other art or design”. Does anyone still think it’s cool?

The email:

Dear YTWWN:

Seems pretty blatant to us, but we are curious what you guys think. In 2009 my small 5-man Florida/Brooklyn based design firm The Black Axe created a web app called Gross Out. Gross Out allows users to upload or take a photo of themselves (or anything) and smother it with the lowbrow horror-slop illustrations of accomplished illustrators Horsebites and Derek Deal. Gross Out was a huge success for us. We have had over a million unique users and millions of images get the sloppy treatment and it continues to grow.

Here is a user generated image of Tom Cruise blogged by UK based blog Always Thinkin on October 28th 2009:

 

Now here is an image of Ryan Gosling blogged by Alex Pardee on July 12th 2012 to promote his “new art/photo app” :

 

An application with basically the same interface, used to apply essentially the same style illustrations; fucked up? You be the judge. As professionals with a following, albeit small in comparison, it is difficult for us to believe Mr. Pardee or his developers were not aware of our Application. Not yet sure if it is worth pursuing legal action, but it definitely smells.

Trelise Cooper kids rips off Emily Temple Cute Lulu

AttorneyScott Commentary:

In the United States, unlike most developed nations, the cut or silhouette of a piece of clothing is not subject to copyright protection because the powers that be feel that clothing is ‘utilitarian’ and thus cannot be art. Many would disagree, I imagine.

The design printed on the fabric of a garment is, however, subject to protection as a two-dimensional work of art. If someone copies the fabric design of another without permission, that someone will be liable for copyright infringement. Is that the case below?

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Dear YTWWN:

You’d think after Grey-Bow-Sweater-Gate Trelise Cooper would be done with plagiarism. Especially of Japanese brands, as Alannah Hill got picked up for ripping off Emily Temple Cute around the same time. Yes, ladies, other people who like fashion have heard of Japanese lolita brands as well.

But I saw this Trelise Cooper kids’ dress on Ebay and thought it looked strangely familiar:

 

Lo and behold, a quick squizz at Yahoo Japan confirmed my suspicions:

 

This is an earlier release from Emily Temple Cute ‘Lulu’. The print has been uglified slightly, but it’s still 100% a rip off.

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