Too Close to be Comfy or Independently Created Creatures?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

When is too much actually too much? Below we have two very adorable creatures that bear a resemblance that is just past passing. But is it knock-offery? See for yourself:

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

 

Hello Pants, an Australian designer, created in 2012 a creature design that it then offered for sale through Etsy in the form of prints. Recently, Australian retailer Cotton On Kids released a design featuring a monster that was eerily similar to the one created by Hello Pants. What do you think?

- Reader

Monstrous Comparison:

Faux-rever 21 Gets Cheeky

So cheeky!

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Generally speaking, ideas are not protectable by copyright law. They are as “free as the air” as one Judge put it, poetically. While you may not be able to protect an idea, you certainly can protect your expression of that idea once it is fixed in a tangible medium. (Or, in non-lawyer, once you make the darn thing.)

Forever 21 is no stranger to our readers. They have been accused of infringement and misappropriation again and again and again. Today, it returns in a case that deals with some upsetting undergarments. Was Faux-rever 21  inspired by the original undies, or did they just get their straight-up copy on?

See below for the nitty gritty.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

Below is a comparison of an original design by artist Knickerocker (bonus points for the sweet name) and a close knock-off by Forever 21. Would anyone believe that Forever 21 created its version without copying from the Knick?

Infringement from A to Z-umiez

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Copyright protection extends to a creative combination of otherwise unprotectable elements. In other words, creating a work that is comprised of numerous basic elements will give you protection in the entire composition even if the basic elements comprising it would not be protectable on their own.

So, if another company or person takes that composition, either in full or as a template upon which to build their own work, infringement will most likely be found. This is because, among other reasons, a copyright holder has the exclusive right to create derivative works from his or her copyrighted work.

Below, we have what appears to be such a taking.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

UPDATED – August 26, 2014 – Primitive, the company that provided the goods at issue in this post to Zumiez, has reached out to the artist that was knocked off and reached an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.

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Dear YTWWN:

A pretty straightforward rip by Zumiez of a logo designed by Tim Praetzel in 2013. Check it out.

- Reader

A Swarm of Bees!

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Record label sleeve art was once a thriving industry, with artists creating evocative and thrilling imagery to complement the music on the vinyl inside in the sleeve. After a long decline, records are making a comeback, and, it appears, so is the borrowing of sleeve art. Take the below example for a spin.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

The band Gob has a new album out titled Apt. 13. I can’t help but notice that the album artwork is very reminiscent of the artwork from the Shout at People EP by Canadian indie-pop band Beekeepers. Close as in appears-to-be-a-trace-job close. A comparison is below.

-Reader

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