Friday, February 7, 2014

Copyright and Protecting Your Work

Well this wasn't going to be my next blog post but because the drama today has put me in too bad of a mood to do anything else, I have decided to write about my copyright.  A couple years ago someone sent me a message on Etsy alerting me to a woman that was copying my Bundle BeBe  design.  She had favorited my design recently and recreated her own.  When I contacted her she was very rude and told me I had no copyright.  She also deleted me from her favorites to hide the fact that she had seen my work.  She claimed to not know who I was.

Copyright is a very misunderstood thing.  First, you own the copyright to your work without needing to register it with the government.  This includes photos.  The best way to prove ownership is to upload your photos to a site that will clearly show the date the work was created, like Flickr.  However, if you want to file any type of claim in court you need to have a registered copyright.  Also if you want Etsy, Pinterest, Flickr or other sites to remove the infringement, you have to have that registration.  So because this woman would not remove my design, and she was being combative, I registered my work.  You can find me here.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I received another message on Etsy from a lovely customer letting me know that she saw one of my dolls in someone else's listing.  Sure enough a woman on Etsy was using my picture in a listing for a custom soft sculpture doll.  I immediately messaged the owner of the shop as well as filed a claim with Etsy.  The photo was removed immediately and I heard nothing from the shop owner.  Etsy did respond with their steps for filing a claim which I was already aware of.  Because the shop owner removed the photo I considered the case closed.  However she then messaged me today with the question "Casie, who did you authorize to sell your pattern?".   Well first I thought this woman was just trying to cover her tracks by pretending she unknowingly used my work illegally, but then she responded that she found my pattern on Pinterest.  After a quick "BeBe Babies Pattern" search I found this.

My blood started to boil.  The "pin" is from this blog.  Notice she has put HER watermark on MY photo.  She does not have my pattern.  In fact, my patterns wouldn't be recognizable by anyone but myself.  They are a jumble in my head and on pieces of paper in an envelope.  I hate watermarks but I suppose I need to start using them to further protect myself.

I have since filed a claim with Pinterest, although after looking at the pin closer I do not think it was pinned by the person who owns the blog.  I'm not sure what happens in that case.  I have also emailed the owner of the blog but it isn't in English so I'm assuming she is not in the US, and may or may not understand what I said to her.  I don't know how international copyright works but I am assuming I can do nothing about it.

Looking at the Facebook page of this person I noticed we have 3 friends in common.  This is upsetting to me.  Also looking through her photos I recognize other artists.  Please if you have the time to help me look at this stuff, and you notice other artists she is doing this to please contact the artists!  She has since removed my comment on her blog and blocked comments for approval.  If you want to stay updated on this case please follow me on Facebook.  Otherwise the bottom line is do what you can to protect yourself and try to protect each other.


  1. Oh jeesh!!! I am sorry this is happening to you...terrible...your dolls are so adorable..I don't see how anyone can take pride in stealing your design...I hope you get it cleared up....

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