"Previously Owned By . . ." ADDS Value IF you have the Provenance
Is the Copycat Problem a Small Fraction? With HUGE Impact?

40 COPYCAT THIEVES that have been seen

Bad-copyright-CUntil awareness gains traction in every "craft corner", workshop, retail fair, wholesale show, online forum, manufacturer, retailer, designer, internet site, and becomes a public discussion, the copycat thieves will continue as pirates of our work, our ideas, and our content.

In the "Age of the Internet" and digital technologies we can no longer go back to the studio and come up with the next idea fast enough. Ideas and images are stolen at the speed of light.  

  • Are you prepared to protect your work? 
  • Do you understand the concepts of Fair Use under Copyright Law?
  • Do you understand DMCA

I will be discussing copycats and artistic piracy on Metalsmith Bench Talk with Jay Whaley. You can listen to the archived discussion. Perhaps you have recommendations or stories that you would like to share. How can the arts and crafts community learn from your experience?


  1. Manufacturers that copy images off maker web sites.
  2. Manufactures that copy images off online markets like Etsy.
  3. Manufactures that offer to copy craft work for mass manufacturing even though they do not own the copyright to the image or design.
  4. Manufactures that make and sell items based on craft work by makers without permission.
  5. Manufactures that go to wholesale/retail craft shows to copy ideas to manufacture.
  6. Retailers that copy images off maker web sites for ideas.
  7. Retailers that look to the craft community for ideas to manufacture.
  8. Retails that distribute merchandise based on a crafts persons ideas.
  9. Retailers that do not require designers (by contract) to offer original ideas. 
  10. Designers that surf the web for ideas. Quoting Suzanne Beaubrun,"Designers should not be surfing Pinterest or the web for ideas. Products “inspired” by original artists and makers are derivative copies and unethical." She is not the only person to say this. 
  11. Anyone that loves a makers work and decides  "I love your work and want to make one for myself." For personal use this is unethical, but not illegal. Regardless, it is a copy.
  12. Someone who purchases craft work, and takes it apart to copy the components.
  13. Anyone who posts/publishes instructions based on another person's workshop or book without permission. To represent the work as your own idea is piracy. 
  14. Craft shows that allow copycat merchandise to be included in the show. 
  15. Craft shows without a mandate that all merchandise must be original ideas not copied from books, instructional materials, or workshops. This applies to the smallest show to 100's of exhibitors.
  16. Workshop teachers that teach workshop based on published instruction they did not create. 
  17. Workshop instructors that teach techniques based on a workshop taught by another person. They are a "workshop imposter".
  18. Workshop organizers that do not verify their instructors are teaching original content.
  19. Workshop participants that copy ideas/designs from the workshop and sell these ideas/designs as their own work.
  20. Businesses that copy images of art work without permission to teach how-to "paint parties" of enthusiasts.
  21. Authors of instructional materials based on another person's workshop. Do not publish another person's workshop instructions.
  22. Magazines that publish tutorials or instructions without requiring that the ideas and instructions are original to the author.
  23. Wholesale shows that lack enforcement for no photography including cell phones.
  24. Anyone that sells art or craft based on instructional materials. Selling should be the realm for original ideas, style or technique.  
  25. Artists or makers that accept commissions to copy ideas, style, technique based on another persons signature work, or photographic image.
  26. Anyone that thinks a image posted on line is theirs to take, borrow or steal.
  27. Anyone that takes an image from another person's web presence and represents this as their own work.  
  28. Anyone that copies books to sell digital copies online.
  29. Anyone that copies books or instructional materials to "share" content if the do not own the copyright.
  30. Anyone that copies a workshop to "share" the information with their friends in "The Guild of Unauthorized Sharing."
  31. Student work that is derivative should not be shown or sold. By its very nature, student work is about learning and possibly copying the masters. But this work should not be shown or sold as original work. In this example, citation of the source, just as in writing should be a standard policy.
  32. Anyone that uploads images or artwork they do not own for the purpose of printing merchandise with the image. 
  33. The copycats cloaked in naivety or inexperience.
  34. Enthusiasts with the express objective to copy another maker's technique and share it with others. (from the comments.)
  35. Businesses that grab an online photo or art and make an ad out of it without compensation, or permission from the original artist. (from the comments.)
  36. Anyone that steal/copies graphic design images, icon or components for their own T-shirt, graphic designs, advertising and more without permission or compensation to the original artist. This is just one of many sites with examples of stolen graphic design. http://justcreative.com/2008/02/20/graphic-design-plagiarism-rip-offs/
  37. Copying a magazine article without permission with the intent of distributing the magazine. (Facebook suggestion)
  38. "Enthusiasts/wanna be information mavens who act as compilers, in hopes of generating traffic to their online sites- by posting free pictorial tutorials using screen shots without links to the original source or citation." (Facebook suggestion)
  39. Your thief goes here?
  40. What have you seen?

Resources and articles about DMCA & Copyright Law:

Some Thoughts on DMCA Safe Harbor

CafePress, Self-Publishing and the DMCA 

Why Are Google DMCA Notices Skyrocketing?

Flickr and Facebook STILL Strip EXIF Data


Jewelers Jury Images Used by Another jeweler

The $23,000 T-shirt: Teaching Copyright in Today's Social Media Culture