A few posts ago I alluded to the negative and depressing side of blogging and having anything on the internet. I've had a really bad year for having my designs, images, writing etc copied and it's been festering in my mind so I thought I'd purge it by writing about it.
Basically it's stuff like this. This person* has cloned over 400 of my images from flickr, my blog and my redbubble page and posted them as their own on a picassa account. Not only that but they've made replicas of some of my knitted animals and are using my images as their printed tags, business cards and on listings on taobau (which seems a chinese version of Etsy). This is only the latest occurance of many and some days it truly makes you just want to jack it all in. I guess I continue because knitting is really what gets me through the day!
I know that I'm way too sensitive but it hurts a lot and I get so upset by this kind of thing. I started making the animals in 2004 as an antidote to some of the difficulties in raising a son with severe autism and I worked very hard to make my designs different to other knitted animal designs that were around at the time. I started the blog in 2006 and quickly discovered that as soon as you post images and people like what you're making then others will steal from you. I'm lucky that there are lots of people who look out for me and let me know when they see things that are copied. I'm lucky too that my work is distinctive and so copies stand out a mile.
In the UK the legal rights of designer/makers are protected by unregistered design right. In the UK you do not need to register a copyright for something that you create. This right is automatic and the instant you make something unique (ie not copied from something already in existence) it is protected by law. The organisation A.C.I.D (Anti Copying In Design) are an excellent source of information and they are strong in championing creative rights. But, regardless of the legalities I see it as more of a moral issue. How you can blatantly copy something you have no creative claim to is beyond me. If people had an ounce of creativity, imagination or integrity it wouldn't happen but in the 'want it now at any cost' culture we've arrived at, the honest, hard working people who just want to make something of their own are the ones that suffer both financially through lost business and emotionally.
*hopefully these links will be disappearing soon as Google's legal team are currently looking into the matter.
PS: It's not just my images and work that have been taken but Dilka's beautiful work has been copied too and another artist who created this image. I know I've seen it somewhere but have searched flickr in vain. if anyone recognises it and know the artist please let me know so I can contact them. Perhaps between us we'll be able to get Google to terminate the offender's account.