Folksy Ltd

Plagiarism

Have you ever experienced another designer or shop copying your work? Without naming names, what happened? What did you do? How did it get resolved… did it get resolved?

We’d really like to hear your experiences, so please either post them here or if you’d like to go into more detail you can email us at community@folksy.co.uk

Thank you!

I once had somebody duplicating one of my knitted tea cosies. They not only “borrowed” the design, but were using my own photo to sell their item on ebay!

I contacted them through ebay message system pointing out the error of their ways and demanding they stopped at once. They took down the listing within hours. A week or so later they had relisted the item. However, this time they had used their own photo, and it was obvious that the cosy they were selling was poorly knitted from cheap acrylic yarn. At this point I thought it unlikely anyone would confuse their item with mine, and left them to get on with it.

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Simone.
Interesting to hear that you took action when it was your photo (terrible that they were using that) but let it go when it was a poor copy. It’s also easier for the platform to take action when it’s a clear copyright infringement like using your photo, much harder if it’s a case of a similar design.

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I was contacted about a year and a half ago now I’d say by an old friend of mine who was also into his art- he told me he’d been up the coast and had come across someone who he was adamant was copying my designs. I wasn’t sure what he meant- so he sent me to her instagram page. And I did notice a resemblance. I also noticed that about a week after I posted a new design- she also did something you could argue that was incredibly similar in the design and style.
I didn’t say anything. I was just curious more than anything. It seems she was a young girl- just out of college and fancied herself as an artist so managed to open a little stall/shop place. But unfortunately for her I guess, I noticed that she didn’t appear to have her own style at all and seemed to jump around all over the place copying styles and designs from other local artists I knew.
She didn’t follow me on instagram (makes sense I suppose) and I didn’t follow her. Nor did she appear to follow the other people she was ‘copying’.
In the end I decided not to say anything. After a couple of months she seemed to move on and start on a different style entirely. While I don’t think ignorance is necessarily acceptable, i’m just hoping for her sake she finds her own style- or at least finds something else to do!

I think if the situation came up again I still wouldn’t say anything because I think it would be difficult to prove and to what end? I wouldn’t know where I’d stand. It’s a difficult one sometimes.

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I find this a lot and I hate to say it, some sellers on lovely Folksy are doing it too! I think it is very hard to prove with something like jewellery unless it was a complete one off design. I have found some very well known sellers on here copy my ideas and designs which I do find very upsetting. Usually about a week or so after I have listed something. They usually add a little tweek here or there, but it is very obviously the same thing. I just hope they find something original of their own to come up with and try and take it as some sort of sideways compliment that they think my ideas are worth copying - this isn’t always very easy to do.

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Yes I’ve experienced plagiarism. But rather than focus on how I have dealt with it ( sometimes successfully, other times really badly) I thought people might find this video useful ‘How to Be Inspired Without Copying’, I use it as a teaching tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMYD6v7mujw

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Not copying my work but definitely using my lovely professional photographs of my studio! I have found my photos advertising art courses and art workshops all over the world. There is even one of my photos with me in it, smiling away, now advertising an art diploma in some far flung country.

I have emailed all the people I’ve found who’ve used my photos (a handful) - some didn’t reply, some are apologetic, some are mortified. Although why they are horrifed/mortified is beyond me, as they were the ones what nicked it!

My pragmatic husband says to choose - either let it go (unless they are making money directly from the photo by selling it as an image), or spend time chasing and finding everyone who uses every image - and I have lots of images, so that would take time to reverse search them all.

So far I have sent out this handful of emails, but am inclined to agree it is not worth the bother at this point.

But still!

:frowning:

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I’ve had someone use one of my photo’s from here and copy my description including a spelling error I missed and put it up on ebay.

I reported it and it was all removed by ebay.

But what I thought was so you were trying to sell one of my tea pot cosies now how are you going to do that.

As it was still in my shop, where they hoping someone would make a bid on it for more than I was selling it for? What if the winning bid was lower and what if I’d sold it before it was sold on ebay. What were they going to do not send the item out to their winning bidder???

Where they making a bad copy of my design and with the same yarn/colour? that didn’t match up to my photo?

Thing is if someone comes across my folksy advert for it they’d then think what they got was from me and that would give me a bad reputation.

I’m so glad ebay were on the ball and removed it asap.

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For 10 years I had my own bridal jewellery website. I closed it 3 years ago but forgot to remove the web address from my Google+ account and out of curiosity last year clicked on the link. Someone -as they were perfectly entitled to do - had bought the domain name, but what they weren’t entitled to do was copy wholesale 3 pages of my site, use my photos and my written text. My husband did some digging and found that on all 3 pages was a link to a to a website for jeweller/gemologist and worked out the site was basically a click bait site created specifically to provide SEO and outgoing links into this lady’s website. We spoke to her and she confirmed she paid someone to promote her site and improve her SEO - she was both mortified (not her fault though) and very cross as she’d already cancelled the contract after she’d paid over a lot of money and got zero return. She was happy to give us his details and a phone call was made and everything removed - of course he pleaded ignorance and that was either a blatant lie or total incompetence from someone in his line of work. This also serves as a warning - if someone approaches you saying they can drive traffic to your website, ask how!

I have had jewellery designs stolen - and what’s more galling sold at a far less cost - but like Jacqueline @JAustenJewelleryDesign has said, it can be difficult to prove with jewellery and have never pursued anyone for it.

I have a lot of experience of this kind of thing as I run my husband’s commercial photography business and his photos appear literally all over the world - uncredited and unpaid for. The worst single offender was another photographer who stole - because that’s what it is! - 12 of our photos and put them on his site claiming they were examples of his own work - nice! We now use a company to pursue breach of copyright - they find the breaches, advise us and we give them the go ahead to start legal proceedings. It’s so much less stressful and they find at least one a month but 4 have been found this month already.

I was at a business event late last year and the Intellectual Property Office had a stand and he was very keen that small creative businesses by aware of them - their web address is www.gov.uk/ipo and they have lots of useful information.

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I am so upset. I have just logged on to Folksy to find one of the sellers I follow has almost exactly copied one of my designs and is selling it as their own. Why?

It’s a shame when people can’t have their own ideas and have to copy others. Shame on them :angry:

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This is very sad…
I have experienced this, though not on Folksy.
I belonged to a sewing group online and we used to help each other out. Someone contacted me privately and asked for help making a dolly bag for a friend who was getting married. She had seen one of mine and liked it. but was unsure how to make it. I gave her lots of help telling her how to make it…I was mortified when a week or two later she was selling ‘by custom order’ the dolly bag on her website (someone told me about it). It was identical, made in the same colour satin, with the same embroidery…even some rhinestones I had put on mine, she had also, and in exactly the same place. I didn’t know she sold her makes, I thought I was helping her make a gift. I did post about it on the group and other members were appalled, said she should be thrown out of the group. In the end she did remove it from her website. It’s a shame because I now think twice before helping anyone out on there.

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So sorry to hear this Kim. I am glad she took the items off sale, but I suppose it doesn’t stop her selling them elsewhere. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind copying at all.

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I think what upset me the most was that I had actually given her the instructions on how to make it. after she asked me for help…never dreaming she would make an exact copy and then try and sell from it!

It is sad that people have to do this, stealing other peoples ideas and designs…

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Three years ago I had a shop here on Folksy copy four listings in a row, right down to placement and angles of the smallest detailas and embellishments.
I reported the shop to Folksy, who were extremely supportive.
The shop closed shortly after, but I still monitor it on E##y.

For a while there were similar designs but not exactly the same, which was fine, and now the shop seems to have taken a new direction.

Sarah x

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I have to say, I have been on both sides of this. I used to paint glass when I was younger, since I was 13 in fact (ahhh getting old) and sold it at craft fairs and a few pieces on here. One day I received a horrible message, accusing me of stealing another crafters designs, I hadn’t, in fact the item in question (a pair of shot glasses with hearts on) were the simplest pieces I’d ever done, that my friend had ordered, then changed her mind and wanted mixer glasses instead, so I listed them. The woman who emailed was so adamant and upset that I’d dared to ‘copy’ and reported me to folksy. Nothing happened, I don’t really think you can copy heart shapes to be honest, and looking back I should have just ignored her as once I’d replied she just got more upset. The whole thing knocked my confidence, I let the listing run 'til it finished and then donated them and the rest of my glass to the local school fair. I kept my paints, and used to get them out every year to paint Christmas tree baubles.

In contrast, there is a woman in Russia copying my pendant designs exactly on the same shape blanks, she’s even posted the pictures to her facebook showing her tracing the image from a screenshot. I haven’t done anything. It is upsetting and maybe if she was selling them in direct competition to me I’d be forced to do something. I hate confrontation though. Lots of people say you are supposed to be flattered, and I’m happy for people to be inspired by me, and they have even posted to say that their design has been, but when you create intricate designs that have been sanded out 20 times before you can get them to work and sit right on the piece for the first time, then someone uses a screenshot and carbon paper to trace it? Not a good feeling.

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Not and it’s not a good feeling. Why would anyone be flattered that anyone should steal from them. I’ve never understood that kind of response myself. Would they be flattered if one of us stole the food off their table I don’t think so.

So sorry to hear all the stories and especially the one’s that have been copied by other Folksy people.

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Unfortunately it can be hard to make totally unique things when there are so many makers out there. The likelihood of producing something similar to someone else by coincidence, particularly with simple designs like hearts, is quite high. I hope the maker could see that you didn’t copy and it was just a coincidence once the initial shock had died down.
Robert Louis Stevenson was accused of copying other peoples work. He was mortified and said in an industry awash with stories of adventure and pirates and treasure, it’s hard to come up with unique material. He thought that no matter what story he wrote there would be someone, somewhere in the world at some point in time who wrote something similar already.
It’s amazing that the person in Russia could be so brazen about copying someone else’s work. It’s a shame when you work so hard, not just on each individual piece but on your artistry, skill and method too.
I’ve just had a look in your shop. Your work is wonderful and unique and something you can call your own. The detail in your work is amazing.

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That is so far beyond ‘cheeky’, I don’t even know what the right word to use is! She has such gall. It’s a shame that experiences like that make us question whether it’s safe to help.

Thank you @bekokodesigns I was quite young, and completely blind sided by the message. I think I would have handled it differently now. In any case it has lead me to pyrography, and I feel like I’m happy with my little shop and designs. In regards to the Russian lady, I feel it’s a bi-product of my increase in social media useage. I regularly post in international pyrography group with links to my pages, and she picked up my images there. I think shes so brazen because she doesn’t think it’s a problem :frowning: