Folksy Ltd

I just saw this in the Create net forum and had to share it

(Aasiyah Johnson) #1

Hey all I saw this in the forum and just had to share it with you all, I hope it is ok to post it?

Some businesses being shut down because of copyright infringement. This is serious - and people who make anything that is copyrighted by a big company (Disney or Pixar characters, game pieces, etc.) need to take those images down and stop selling them. One woman who sold Scrabble and Pixar character jewellery was shut down and fined £25,000.

This is not urban myth. It is happening and happening now. Just a warning. If you are infringing on these copyrights, stop. It’s not worth having your site closed down and losing all your money.

Hope this is helpful.

(Sarah Lambert) #2

Goodness, I take it the person was using Scrabble tiles? I’ve seen lots of jewellery made using these.

(Eileens Craft Studio) #3

If she was using the name Scrabble to sell the jewellery then she would have been in breech of the Trademark.

It’s the same for those who make lights out of bottle’s and advertise them using the name such as Jack Daniels or South Comfort they are breeching Trademarks. As ‘Jack Daniels Lamp’ would have to be made by Jack Daniels or be made under license for Jack Daniels.

(Margaret Jackson) #4

It’s well worth highlighting, too many sellers including some on here are in breach of copyright, and some of them don’t seem to think they’re doing anything wrong. It’s time that woke up to the fact that it’s wrong and they should stop doing it.

(Christine E.) #5

I totally agree with Margaret. I don’t know about using actual Scrabble tiles, but it infuriates me when people gain an advantage by using copies of popular characters or images. People have created these images and using them for profit is theft.

(Edwina Kinch) #6

It is also possible that people are in breach of copyright and don’t know it. Maybe it is not something you think about when you are creating. Although, ignorance of the law on copyright is not a good thing if you are selling products. It is something every seller should be aware of and I am glad Aasiyah has posted this.

But those in breach as Margaret has observed will they read it and realise it?


(Margaret Jackson) #7

Edwina, I once had a forum conversation with someone whose items were in breach of copyright but her attitude was that it didn’t matter and no-one was going to do anything about it and lots of other people got away with it…

(Sara Leigh Thornton) #8

I tried to be helpful to someone I saw who was selling Disney themed items by (hopefully tactfully) letting her know about the copyright issues - I got a mouthful of abuse and a slagging off on a forum for my efforts, so now I just let people get on with it!

(Renphotographycouk) #9

I want to add that not only the big names are doing a sweep. There are other people who’s work is being used and they also are also clamping down.

Remember the “where’s blame there’s claim?” for personal injuries? well lawyers now realised that copyright infringement is the next big fat dollar check for them. And I’m not surprised that now more and more sellers are being contacted.

It’s very easy to see the people that are breaking the laws and are making a packet, but there are many artisans that are making their own designs and are also making it big. Concentrate on the latter. Because if you get caught, argument: “but others are doing it as well”, will not stand in court

(Karen Ellam) #10

Im always amazed to see so many creations using components, designs and characters which are obviously trademarked. Not just here but all over the internet. It really is dodgy territory, and to have the mind set to think they will never be found and prosecuted is really silly to me.
It is theft at the end of the day and a big risk to take.

(I will clamber down from my soap box now) :wink:

Karen :cherry_blossom:

(Liz Dyson) #11

You can lead a horse to water, Sara, @DandelionsGallery, but you can’t make it drink. There was someone on here who recently asked for a critique of their new shop. Every single item in the shop used a copyrighted image and people politely explained the laws. They didn’t take any heed and have not changed a thing, so I expect they will get caught out eventually. What a way to lose all your money.


(Emma Rogerson) #12

What people need to realise that if they are caught not only will they have to take down their items but they may have to give the company that owns the copyright any profits they have made from those items. That includes past sales.

Not a risk I’d take,

Emma x

(Stephanie Guy) #13

It’s surprising how far reaching copyright laws are too - campervans being a case in point. VW have copyright on the shape and colouring of their vans which means you can’t, for example, replace the badge with a peace symbol and sell your work without breaching copyright. You have to write to VW for permission.

(Kathelle MacLeod) #14

It’s all so confusing, I’m glad I’m in Harris Tweed! At least with that I understand the obligations… As I was saying to someone else earlier on - it’s hardly creative or truly “craft” in the proper sense of the word to stick a few sparklies or ribbon on something and sell it because people know the characters. These people (as in Disney, Pixar, VW, Hello Kitty…) all worked hard to make a popular character and make it work for them, why should we take the lazy option? :confused: I saw something on facebook earlier on that the terms superhero and shabby chic are trademarked too… x

(Melanie Commins) #15

Trademark and copyright are two completely different things.

Copyright applies to authorship … so VW have copyright on their vehicles insofar as other companies cannot recreate them in terms of physical design.

Drawing (or sewing) a picture of a camper van does not physically recreate a camper van so is not a copyright violation. If you put a VW logo on that camper van then you are violating trademark law as VW owns the trademark on their logo and it cannot be used without their explicit permission. If you use the term Volkswagen in your sales pitch for that item then that is also trademark violation because it is a made up name and also owned by Volkswagen.

I believe VW have attempted to also trademark the shape of their more commonly known vehicles (the camper van and beetle in particular) by claiming that they are devices or symbols that are clearly known as being related to their brand … however, I’m pretty sure this hasn’t been granted or, at least, if it has then VW haven’t been able to prove it’s validity in court. When it comes to trademarking images of tangible items it’s a pretty grey area of the law and just because a large company, or a large company’s lawyer, says ‘don’t do this thing’ that doesn’t automatically make it illegal.

If every company was able to trademark images of their products then it would mean no one could sell a photo, a film, a drawing or anything that includes any visual reproductions of items obviously (or perhaps even not so obviously) made by certain companies without explicit permission of those companies … and that way lies madness.

The camper van thing is a completely different kettle of fish to using characters from Disney etc. As characters are art and not tangible objects then the copyright applies to the authorship of that character which means they cannot be reproduced in any form (redrawn etc) without being licensed by the owners of that copyright.

(Stephanie Guy) #16

That’s interesting @Beledien, sounds like you know more about this than I do. One of our art thread artists from a couple of years ago (who has now left folksy) got into a proper muddle over the campervan thing. I don’t know whether she ever resolved it, but fortunately it was before she ever attempted to sell the painting so didn’t get into a legal wrangle.

(Leanne Woods) #17

Big companies have been banging the trade dress drum for years

Half the problem is that the law regarding images of tangible items is such a grey area … it still comes down to an argument in the end and he who can afford to argue longest wins. Even when he doesn’t, even if a court told the bigger fish to jog on at the end of the day the little guy would likely be broke or have given in long before then.

My views are that if I’m not absolutely, definitely, positively sure it’s ok then I leave it well enough alone and think everyone else should too. I don’t see the point in railing against it and scraping round for loopholes. If I could draw an awesome representation of a recognisable item/icon/product then I wouldn’t put myself down by thinking that anything I could draw from between my own two ears, without copying something else, wouldn’t be just as awesome.

Plus I never really liked the idea of feeding the public’s need for the same but cheaper/good enough/passable that usually being the main reason for rip offs, if someone wants disney - let them go to the Disney shop.

But then I can’t draw for toffee:)

(Shirley Woosey) #18

As @Beledien says regarding the camper vans it’s my understanding that you can design your own image of them as long as the VW logo is not on the picture.
This applies to applique pictures made yourself or pictures on fabric which you have bought.
The fabrics I use with campervans on do not have the VW logo on them.
Various different things are used including hearts or ban the bomb signs.

The designers of the fabrics I use have all given me permission to use their fabric to make items to sell.

Also you cannot use the term Volkswagon or VW in your descriptions or titles.

Shirley x

(Jo Sara) #19

Always useful to drop in the Folksy info on Copyright and Trademarks -

Especially as I spotted an item being pretty heavily promoted around the internet, including here, the other day and I’m pretty sure the person can’t realise that they are in breach of copyright of the company that they are name checking in their item (which is also name checked specifically in the Folksy ‘steer clear’ brands).


(Janine Loretta Getty) #20

“Getty Images - No stock images to be used form Getty images unless a license has been granted.”

This one is a tiny bit of a joke for me, since all my photographs technically are ‘Getty images’ but just not that specific brand…