Friday, 29 June 2012

Worse than copying

I'm seething right now.

I recently found out that a new Etsy seller, whose shop now appears to have closed down, has copied on of my designs (the Whale pillow) and made it into a digital download claiming it as her own design, all rights reserved (!), and stating customers are free to use it as they wish but asking them not to reproduce, copy or sell her design!!!!!

Here is my pillow.  This is a very big seller for me both on Etsy and wholesale.  It's been featured on many blogs and has been pinned on Pinterest many times.  

I took a long time to come up with this design.  

I love whales and dolphins and wanted to create a summery pillow but with a difference.

One day I noticed the wording on a salt packet next to our cooker which we had bought in France about 6 months before.

I love typography and particularly love cushions made from old feed sacks so had the idea of incorporating wording onto my pillow and came up with the Whale pillow above.  Obviously nothing like the salt packet which was purely my inspiration.

Now this Etsy seller is passing my work off as her own stating:
 "These images can be used for Tea Towels, Pillows, T-shit, Tote Bags, Lamp Shades, Cards, Stationary, Scrapbooking, Feedsacks, Coasters, Notebooks; the possibilities are endless."

She then goes on to state:
 "TERMS OF USE: You are free to use these images for use in commercial, craft, and personal use. Purchase of digital collage sheets does not transfer copyright. All rights reserved to Whit & Whimsy Studio. Please do not re-distribute, sell or give away the images in whole or part, either printed or digitally."

I can't believe the bloody nerve of this woman to blatantly copy someone else's design and pass it off as her own.  I am also outraged that she feels that she thinks she has the right to give permission to all and sundry to feel free to use my design as they like, in particular for commercial use.

This is where the issue of copyright comes in.
Under US and UK Law designs do not have to be registered to be copyright protected.
Copyright exists from the moment a design is created and lasts for 70 years after the death of it's creator.
The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to authorise others to reproduce or prepare derivatives based on their work and to distribute copies of their work.

Although designs don't have to be registered this design actually is registered with the UKCS (the United Kingdom Copyright Service) and the copyright protection covers pretty much every country.

I have e-mailed the seller, to ask her politely to stop passing this design off as her own, but haven't had a response.  Her shop, Curious Crowe appears to have closed down however, she refers to another Etsy shop in her 'terms of use' above so have e-mailed her via that shop too but no response there either.

I've now written to her again to state that I simply want her to assure me that she will stop selling this design and any derivative of it and will contact anyone who bought it to advise them that they cannot  use this image commercially.  Sadly, if she doesn't respond then it's in the hands of my solicitor.

I've contacted Etsy's legal team and they need me to send a notice of infringement and will then deal with the matter.  I have my inspiration salt packet, my original drawings (including the abandoned ones), proof of the date of my first sale of this item and my UKCS registration so if I go down this route it's going to cost this 'thief' a lot more than an assurance that she will stop selling my design!

It's such a shame that things like this go on that turn an otherwise happy and easy going person into an infuriated bitch!  Rest assured, she won't get away with it.

Going back through her sales I can see that she has copied a few of my other pillow designs and probably those of many other people which may well be why her shop has closed/been closed down.


I bought this design from Silhouette Studio but there was a border and some detail which I removed to make it more of my style.




She's even used a similar font to mine.

Also in this design I believe that it is grammatically incorrect to use the word poulet without le in front of it however, when designing this range of animal pillows I decided to make them all as single words as I felt they looked better by keeping the design simple.  I wonder what inspired this seller to do the same thing?!  MOI?


I appreciate with trends and fashions we're all jumping on the same bandwagon by making things from burlap, sheet music or old dictionary pages.  That over the next year or two Ombre will be creeping into all our houses and all our tastes will overlap.  We will all be inspired by others and will want homes like they have.  

Many people share tutorials on things they've made (myself included) and I have no problem with people copying something I've made for personal use.  

I think though, to blatantly steal someone elses work, pass it off as your own, and to profit from it is unscrupulous and desipicable.  Not to mention lazy.  This woman is nothing but a freeloader.
Plain and simple.
Rant over!

.. and breathe..



  1. how annoying for you. yours are way nicer though. the whale cushion is gorgeous. i have considered buying it a lot!

  2. Sorry this happened, your work is wonderful!

  3. Oh Sam, that is very, very stressful. I understand why you're so angry. You would have put your heart and soul into your designs and a lot of hours. I hope it all works out in your favour and you can forget about it soon. Rachael xx

  4. Oh golly, that's terrible!! Who does this person think he/she is!! They're so obviously your designs! Hope it gets sorted out for you x

  5. wow first time on your blog and I read this ...omg i would be fuming too..that sucks! This person should be named and shamed big time!
    P.S I am now a follower not just because I want to know the outcome of this but because I love your blog and products.. keep doing what you do cos you do it well!
    Bec x

  6. I am sorry, I love your shop!

  7. It's really appalling and I understand why you are so upset. It would be worth getting some sort of letter from a lawyer to send to Etsy to get this person to stop doing what they're doing, to you and others. She needs a scare I think.
    Good luck and please keep us informed x

  8. That's ashamed that she has stolen from you and passed it off as her own. This is the down side to our blogs and work going out all over the world. I have had some of my blog posts published on a site in Russia of all places. You just never know.

  9. Sam, I owe you an email...sorry for the delay in writing you back! I just saw this post and I'm so sorry someone else has copied your style and your work. I hope you can get it resolved quickly and that it doesn't cause you any more grief than it already has!

    xo Kat

  10. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery"... really?

    I went through a very similar experience, also on Etsy. I'm happy to say that the matter was very quickly resolved via the instructions as outlined in Etsy's 'Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy' (, but MAN! did it make my blood boil!! Or, as you say, "unscrupulous and despicable", indeed!

    Nice blog you have here. I just found it via your Etsy shop, and I'll be ordering that bear pillow SOON!

    ~ Mae


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