Have a Heart.

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Today’s submission touches upon two interesting and inter-connected issues of law.

First, when an artist sets out to technnically reproduce a naturally-occurring phenomenon, such as a flower, an animal, or, as in this case, a bodily organ, the copyright protection for that depiction will be thin. The reasoning behind this is that there are only so many ways to realistically depict something like a skull or heart as it appears in nature, and if two artists set out to capture this appearance, they may do so in a substantially similar way.

Second, the submitter of the material for this post seems to take umbrage not at the theft of another artist’s work, but of the minimal creativity involved in ‘google-sourcing’ an image and then slightly tweaking it. As we have previously discussed, the creator of a derivative work obtains protection only for what she adds to the found work. What was added in the below case, and is it enough to qualify for copyright protection?



This is my 1st post here. It is what it is. I was just looking around, clicking links that go on endlessly, when I found a link off Threadless for Society 6. After browsing their site, I clicked another link to Design Milk. Here I found a “seemingly nice and sweet” art print titled “In My Heart” by Wesley Bird. Just because I’ve been looking at so many rips on the site, I googled human hearts and found the original.

Original image: 


Ripped image :


All he did was reflect it and tone it back. Anybody’s thoughts?


A Crooked Designer at Hook or By Crook?


One of the exclusive rights of a copyright holder is the right to create derivative works from the copyright holder’s copyrighted property. In other words, if you create something, you have the exclusive right to create new works that employ that work, subject to a few exceptions.  Below we have a report that Hook or by Crook has done gone and usurped Adam Jackson’s right to create derivative works, and has knocked off his work. The evidence, for your viewing pleasure, is below.



So I stumbled across this guy through a mutual friend on facebook and then noticed something slightly familiar about “his” work, I’ve been a huge fan of Adam Jackson for years so would know his work when I see it, this is why I was amazed to see UK based “illustrator” Spencer “Hook or by Crook” Douglas claiming that the t-shirts he sell’s via the HOCBC website are “original and unique”…. hmmm….. anyway, I thought “Well somebody is bound to find out soon enough…” Then a few weeks later via Instagram I saw some work by OG Able which looked familiar… jumped on facebook and as I thought a Hook or by Crook “original” was staring me in the face on the “fan” page… wow, this guy is a dick! So here we are, a blog to name and shame all the rip off people around the globe, just hit me up if you have any similar stories of people who deserve to be outed!

See the examples below, considering they look to have been traced, all the originals have way more detail and better penmanship with shading and/or color that puts the shitty HOBC stuff to shame!


If you want to see or  buy REAL ORIGINALS where I can only assume the quality of the garments and prints will beat the terrible Hook or by Crook stuff by a mile then check out the following links and support real artists creating real work.




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.

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