I never thought I would need a lawyer.
I wrote previously about my most popular design. Unfortunately, a lot of people steal it and sell it in their stores. Reporting all those places where it’s for sale takes a lot of time, and it never brings me any compensation.
This time is going to be different.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that “Not Today” is, yet again, sold by a lot of sellers. I counted 19 of them! I hired a law firm to represent me. This week all those sellers got requests to remove listings with my design and pay me a small compensation. They have time until December 31st.
In January, we will sue those that will not have complied. I will write more about this as the situation develops. It will be helpful to other artists who want to protect their intellectual property.
Some living in the real world says
Wheres your proof that this design is actually yours?
Do you have a file with the original date of creation? And is that date older than the first sale of the design? Without that proof I’m afraid you just don’t have a case.
I have seen this design on sale for years, it varies slightly from “yours”, most of them are even an improvement on it.
Hot Topic sell this design and I very much doubt you’ll be able to get them to stop.
Basically unless you have solid proof then you have no case and should just stop embarrassing yourself.
Hi, yes, Hot Topic sells this design legally. It’s officially licensed by me.
And yes, I have proof that this design is mine. So showing that in court is not going to be a problem.
What is the license number?
A few tips for artists whose designs are stolen and originality questioned by some (such as “Some living in the real world”) –
1 – Documentation of the original date of creation is easy to do and also easy to publicly archive. You can use the wayback machine at archive.org Backing up your files to the cloud is also great, but the wayback machine crawling your website or blog, and storing a snapshot, presents an impartial independent party evidence for the court.
2 – The IP address and isp of those accessing and/or downloading your images are also traceable. This would go towards proving the infringer’s access to and their knowledge of your art (since they viewed and downloaded it from your website). With your server (database) saving this information, you or your WebHost can generate a report to provide to the court/s.
3 – If you sell on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, your date of publication can also be established right on your listing. This makes it easy to prove that your creation predates a copycat’s use.
I tend to print out a copy of the design, then, along with my original sketches put it into an envelope and seal it with a tamper evident label. I make a note of the contents on the envelope (a reference number so I know what is inside) then send it registered and signed for post back to myself. If I need to prove work is mine, I now have the original drawings, a print out of the design and other supporting documents all in an envelope, signed and dated and unopened. If the day comes it is needed, it will be opened in the courthouse. Those who have stolen my ideas, they are told of this evidence and they get to choose… Gamble or pay out before we go to court. Never opened one in court yet but have had payouts.