When you post something on the internet, you never know where it might turn up. In the below case, an artist's original embroidery design was apparently borrowed for the cover art on a book entitled, appropriately, "The Long Stitch Good Night: An Embroidery Mystery." The embroidery piece was apparently reproduced in graphic art form, but this, still would violate the original artist's exclusive rights to create derivative works from her original embroidery piece. See 17 U.S.C. 106 (2).
Maybe the "embroidery mystery" is how this usage made its way through Penguin's legal clearance process?
- Scott A. Burroughs, Esq. ( [email protected] )
I am an artist, designer and owner of a small business called SeptemberHouse. My business focuses mostly on needlecraft, specifically embroidery. I design and sell embroidery patterns and recently found out that one of them showed up on the cover of a mass market paperback without my permission.
The pattern was one that I had posted on my blog as a free promotional pattern. Pattern designers often do this to generate views as well as interest and buzz about their work. I always clearly indicate that they are for personal use and copyrighted. This particular pattern is called "She Scatters Shamrocks" and was released in February 2010 just before St. Patrick's Day.
A few months ago, a reader who is familiar with this pattern contacted me to tell me that she saw it on a book cover and wanted to let me know because she wasn't sure it was supposed to be there. I'm so glad she did this because it was NOT supposed to be there and had she not told me, I would have never known. The book is called "The Long Stitch Good Night" and is written by Amanda Lee a.k.a Gayle Trent published by Penguin/Signet books. It is part of a series of mystery books with a needlework theme. This particular one also had an Irish theme.
- Book cover containing artwork stolen from embroidery pattern designer
My embroidery pattern appears in the lower right side of the image. It's small but it is definitely there. I was never contacted by the publisher or illustrator, asked permission to use the image or given any credit or compensation.
I have distributed a number of DMCA notifications and the image has been removed from some sites. I am still waiting to receive responses on others. At this point I am still deciding on what other action to take.
I also wrote recently wrote a post about this situation on my blog, so september.
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.
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?
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.
In the world of audio-video works, it can be difficult to show the substantial similarity between an author's original work and somebody else's knock-off. This is due to the large number of variable and design elements in such works, and the mostly lawful ability of someone to create an homage or 'inspired-by' sort of piece that apes a prior piece's style.
Below is a link to a YTWWN reader's original work, which lampoon's the layperson's lack of hockey knowledge, and includes creative and quirky hand-drawn animation adds. There is also a link to a Luminosity ad that had the author of the first video scratching his head. It is not yet known if little white spiky jagged animated streaks shot forward from his head as he did so. Is the second piece an homage to the first? A rip? To what extent is there a difference?
Last fall I was working at a design studio in Seattle called Digital Kitchen and was able to work on a personal project. For those who know me well, or even briefly, know that I am a diehard Canadian-born hockey fan (Canucks) living in the US. I decided to use this as the subject matter and wanted to get the opinions of some of my fellow American creatives on the sport of hockey, which they may or may not know anything about. I combined that with a simple cell animation style that I had yet to really experiment with.
The project turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. It wasn't a style that I invented or even advanced in anyway, but rather a simplified version of some other really magnificent work.
Then last week I got a few emails and messages from design friends saying that they had seen a commercial on TV that looked exactly like my Hockey 101 video and if I had done it? I hadn't, but still checked out the link I was being sent and sure enough it was an almost shot for shot remake with different content animations and people. It was the same simple white drawing overtop of footage as people answer questions or expressed thoughts and the imagry appeared. As opposed to my video where I hand drew each animation, theirs was a cheaper knockoff with looping animations that didn't have the same effect. I didn't know whether to be flattered or angry.
My animation had generated me no profit, nor was I interested in it doing so. I would have been thrilled to have been contacted by Lumosity or whoever was producing the content to create something similar to my previous video and be able to benefit that way. Instead someone basically cookie cut my concept, framing, execution, and animation without any reference to myself and generated a ton of views and is probably profiting from online and broadcast spots.
I may be wrong and just need to toughen up, but I would love to get a few more perspectives or some advice on how/if I should proceed in any way.
Elmondo used a fan art pic i drew a while back and posted on my deviant art gallery, they took it without permission and posted it along side one of their news articles, all without adding any line of credit to me the original artist. and as if that wasn't unprofessional enough, they choose not to post my public comments. or answer my many emails.
link to original article...
i can understand if you thought is was the real cover, it actually happens alot. but the article is about the translated book, as in with a Spanish cover also, they should have known something was up. and i looked around the site no images have credit not even the writers it seems. but don't ignore my emails hoping it will blow over! I don't understand how according to their wiki they known as the number one source of news on the web in Spain. that bothers me.
I was sent a link to the Chinese shopping site TaoBao.com recently, where I discovered my designs being sold alongside designs by various other illustrators, on tote bags, handbags and cosmetics cases. These bags are being made by a company called Ufukuro who, although they have a Japanese name (presumably to sound more high end and legit) are actually based in Shanghai, China. I was shocked by the sheer number of rip-offs, which mostly are just directly copy-pasted (sometimes with a change of colour or layout) from the various artists' work. I can't post all of them here (there are 2-5 images stolen from each artist, and at least 14 artists affected), but here are a few of the stolen designs, shown alongside the original images. I'm pretty sure that ALL of Ufukuro's illustrated bags feature stolen images. Unfortunately, as it is a Chinese company, it is extremely difficult to take any legal action.
The bags are also for sale online at Dawanda.com and on Etsy.
The artists and designers affected include: Kate Sutton, Jim Datz, Jon Burgerman, Darling Clementine, Adrian Johnson, Marion Bantjes, Christopher Lee, Sanna Annukka, Andrew Holder, Andreas Samuelsson, Toru Fukuda, Lance Wyman, Krisatomic and lucky old me (Gemma Correll).
But it's very possible that there are others. Take a look - maybe you'll be one of the unfortunate folks that has had their work stolen by Ufukuro.
- XLARGE "CHUMP TEE" t-shirt released Fall 2010, looking a lot like artwork created by Residue Comics' R. Lootine years earlier.
Below is artwork that I created for a t-shirt design in 2005. The design is still available on stickers and patches. I often use it as an avatar for Residue Comics online. Notice, they even stole my character's proper name!
I made another version of this image for t-shirts in summer 2010. Better keep an eye out for copies of that one too!
[ed note: this one is just begging for a lawsuit, or at least a DMCA notice. The rip even has the exact same moovles and sweatles and dust fart details as the original.]
This is very unmistakably a copy of The Yoks bearded character.
Sure enough The Yok has drawn this character in various versions whereas bestial design ... just once.
They submitted this entry on a Buenos Aires, Argentina conkurs held by Monoblock: Premio Destapa '09
There is no credit at all mentioning The Yok
There are a lot more drawings of the same character in different settings and with changing props at
The artists "The Yok" website: http://theyok.com
I notified the artist and he told me he would contact them. I haven't heard back from him, yet. Meanwhile it was ok for him to publish this here.
Another significant piece of information is that Bestial Design is no stranger to this blog:
Horsebites own post:
I now totally believe Bestial Designs "explanation".
youthoughtwewouldntnotice, again? .com
When I (Victor Ortiz) was participating in the Lil' Wayne Contest at DBH, a guy called Eli from the US brand GOLD WHEELS (A Kayo Corp's Brand), wrote because He wanted to buy my design... My answer was a NO cuz I was in the finalist of the contest. One year later GOLD WHEELS release a plagiarism of my T-shirt... Take a look a make your judgement.
They change some lines orientations to get that the illustration looks a little bit different, but the stealing is obvious.
Please help me to spread the word.
I love this site -- makes me realize there are people out there who KNOW what I'm going through. But I feel a little funny about posting this as the copycat, an artist for a company called Paper Popsicles is um, not so talented and so this problem isn't as glitzy as most of the stuff I see posted here. Still, I need some advice because I put side-by-side pics up on my Facebook fan page and this "company" aggressively reported me to FB for copyright infringement! Now my whole post to my fans complaining (and attempting to educate) about image theft is MIA.
Here are just "some" of the stamps they've copied (My originals on the left, hehe):
So my questions are -- poor technique aside: are these "copies" of my art? Obviously they were not traced, but just as obviously, they are taking my illustrations and trying to change them enough so they don't get sued. I never wanted to bring the law down on them, but this is actually the second company who has done this (the other one nicely took down the copied art and it ended there.)
Is it "fair use" to put up side by sides on FB or other public forums?
Thanks for any advice!
Maurie J. Manning