ASOS try to get away with a blatant rip off



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):


Link to ASOS store (Rip-off):



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.

Top Jeweller Vs Topshop


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












William Llewellyn Griffiths

Metal Couture Jewellery’s

Topaz Locking Ring

Mi Gente Clothing (Repeat offender)


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.

Steelers Tee shirt Makers Steal idea from street artist iwillnot

AttorneyScott Commentary:

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

Stolen Idea




Tracing for Money

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Los Angeles, CA – Recently, with the rise of Shepard Fairey and Thierry “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta, appropriation art has become a major “thing.” Not since the days of Warhol has it been so hip to take works from other artists and add your own vision, spin, or angle to create a “new” piece of art.

In legal jargon, we call such pieces “derivative works.” A derivative work is a work that builds upon an underlying work that someone else earlier created.

Legally speaking, most appropriation art pieces are infringing unless: (a) the artist for the derivative work owns the underlying work and the derivative, (b) the artist for the derivative work gains the permission of the owner of the underlying work to use the work, or (c) the use of the underlying work is so minor, or the derivative work so greatly transforms the underlying work, that the use qualifies as a fair use*.

Below are a few examples of appropriation art. The artist attempts to “transform” the underlying work by adding her own expression. Do you think it qualifies as a “fair use” under prong (c) above?

As a hint, perhaps you can recall (or Google) the lawsuit filed by the AP photographer against Shepard Fairey for his Obama “Hope” piece. How did that one go?

*fair use is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, which we will cover in a future post.




I’m all for creative people honing their skills by using various mediums, photography, tutorials, brushes, etc so long as it helps them to finally produce a piece of work that is original, unique and entirely theirs.
However, for a while i’ve been annoyed with the works of UK ‘artist’ Peatree Bojangles. She seems solely interested in taking existing photographs,often by well established photographers, adjusting the levels a bit and drawing over them slightly and then passing them off as her own and selling them on her site – every single one has no mention of the original photographer of the works or any mention of copyright.
Personally, I don’t think this is on. Here’s just a few examples:

I’m tired of seeing stuff like this with no information of the original photographer, and when you see that money is being made off the back of this, it gets my back up. What do you say YTWWN?

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