Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This is Plain Wrong

Yesterday, a concerned reader of my blog alerted me to the following: An Etsy seller named "youandmegogreen" is selling prints of my copyrighted image of my white lamb in a sweater. Here's what she say in her listing: in "about this item" description "Handmade by youandmegogreen and made to order."

Here is a screenshot of the listing. I am contacting the owner of the shop and telling her to take down the image which is clearly mine and copyrighted. I have already contacted Etsy about this. This image "White Lamb in Sweater with Crochet Flowers" is available as cards and postcards here on my website. I do not sell on Etsy at this time.



A few weeks ago, another friend sent me an email from a "nail salon." She told me a local Colorado beauty salon had used the same White Lamb in Sweater with Crochet Flowers image in their mailing. I didn't respond to their unauthorized use. I should have and I will today. They did not take my name nor copyright sign off the image. They should have asked me to use the image. I may have said yes. Now, I am just plain upset. They should have at least linked to my site.

 

 
I have been fuming about this for over 24 hours now. What should I do? Write about it on my blog or just let it go away and forget about it. But I have decided I just can't let it go. I sell cards of this image here on my website. My website is the only place the image is and should be sold. I do not wholesale the cards and image - they are exclusive to my site and my work. The little lamb is our lamb. I knit the sweater, crocheted the flowers, stood in the snow to photograph and get exactly the right shot (three separate days to get it just right). I processed the image and it is clearly mine. Why should this woman named Laura at "youandmegogreen" make a profit from my work? She shouldn't.
 
So why am I bothering to bore all of you with this problem? Here's the thing, I have many loyal readers out there, many kind people. They write to me asking if they can use an image of mine for their screensaver. I usually say yes. You all support me by buying my cards, my handknitting patterns. My family and I work very hard to keep this place going - just like most artists and farmers out there in the world. We have to pay our own health insurance and it is not cheap. We have a child with special needs and precarious health issues. We have to pay our taxes just like everyone else. I am not complaining about this - It just irks me to no end that people can take the image that My Farmer grew, I knit, photographed and composed, edited, and printed and say it is theirs and sell it.

I have had publishers ask me if they could use that same image. I have told them no. Seriously, do I need their $50? I would rather keep the image as my own for my future work. Once it goes into print in their book, my future publishers will no longer want me to use it. 

So the moral of today's post is... please think about using other people's images. They are theirs. If you do use them, ask them, credit them, link them. It is only fair. None of us are getting rich on this. At least give the owner of the image proper credit and do the right thing by asking.

I thank all of you for your awesome support over the past years - of my knitting, designing, authoring, photography, farming and teaching. You all are fabulous. Back to regular programming tomorrow. Off to hug the sheep and puppy.

68 comments:

Beverly Cheney said...

Bravo! You are absolutely right.

Bonnie said...

What a shame! It looks like she has removed your image.

I think this Etsy shop owner is clueless about copyright. She's got a Hello Kitty print for sale, as well as Ernie and Bert - Sanrio and Sesame Street could go after her also.

Diana said...

Brava Kristin for speaking up. As a professional writer, I'm continually contacting website administrators to get them to remove my property from their servers. Most people are ignorant of copyright law, but others are downright nasty ... that is, until I tell them what the penalties are for copyright infringement.

Diana said...

p.s. the page and image is still up on Etsy

Rudee said...

You're right! It's just plain wrong.

Julia Grace said...

Also... I think pretty much every image in her store is stolen. I've already located at least one other artist and will be alerting them an Etsy

pardis said...

Kristin, So sorry to hear this. your work is so literally "out standing" that at least when people infringe on your copyright it is so obvious. i hope this will be a learning lesson for all. being in publishing myself i have some stories of my own, but luckily these are very very few out of the millions. please remember majority of people are very very good and i hope thinking this good thought will refresh your mind back to peace! all my love, pardis

Kimberly Villareal said...

If someone needs their buttocks kicked, my Doc Martens have steel toes. ;)

Go get 'em!!

Anabella said...

Yup. Just plain wrong. You are right to be angry. I've reported the image to Etsy (at the bottom of the page there is a link "report this image to Etsy"); if many others do the same, they will hopefully take decisive action quickly against this seller.

Carol said...

You are a class act and you are right to act as you have. I am happy to administer smacks upside the head to anyone you direct....

Deborah Robson said...

Yes. While the internet has provided many new opportunities for publishing and disseminating creative work (images and writing), in my experience it has made it much harder to make a living from these activities.

I do think most people are clueless about what it takes to design or make or write.

Going to see if the image is still there and hit the "report" button if it is. . . .

Anonymous said...

I'll be happy to report this to etsy as well--if etsy keeps getting reports, they'll be forced to look at this seller. I just looked at it's still listed.

Bobbi said...

I sent her this convo:

Awwww. what a cute lamb. Is it yours? Did you knit the accessories? Take that adorable photo?

No? So will you be sending all your proceeds to the person who did?

{jennie} said...

I just sent them this message through etsy:

is this a photo you took yourself? It looks an awful lot like a copyrighted photo from the owner of the lamb. I believe that is illegal.

It makes me sad how someone can steal the work of someone else. I have to say, your photo is the only item of quality on their site. The other things are 'meh'.

Deborah Newton said...

EVeryone should report this item on etsy, as well as write to "contact seller" on the item itself. I will do so now.

Kristin-- this is terrible.
Deborah Newton

ButtonMad said...

Pardis summed it up so well...I would be mad as anything...and would definitely not let it rest...hope you do manage to resolve this soon...just love your work!
Warm wishes from south africa

Bev said...

I am an Etsy seller, and I've seen this kind of behavior before -- disgraceful -- and I just reported her -- I hope this item comes off her site pronto!

La Tricoteuse Heureuse said...

I also reported her to Etsy and sent her a personal message telling her to take it down.

NOT COOL.

Don't sit back... fight back.

LQuick said...

I'm not a postcard person, but I believe if you have the talent to design something it should remain yours until your copyright expires. So I also reported that image to Etsy.

Beth in Maryland said...

I guess the only upside is that this is a testament to how good your work is! Absolutely stick to your guns, every single time. You are in the right.

lelknits said...

Wow, that is pretty dang blatant. Its so obvious that is a not a random public domain pic.......she really should be ashamed, cos she must know where its from. You have more than every right to be annoyed, pissed, angry, furious and bloody well mad. Definitely contact Etsy and let them know of the infringement.

Ps. I have always loved that pic and have thought times of seeing if you wholesale them cos i would get them for my store, but you answered my question. If i had gone to all the work you did, i would keep tight reins on it too.

Gretel said...

I've reported it as well - I hate this kind of thing. But, these things have a way of coming out, and people are often found out. A couple of years ago, a US friend sent me a photo from a small fleece fair in some mountains somewhere - it was a giant blue bird in a cage, made of felt. Now what he didn't know was that it was a total copy of a little needle felt bird of mine, one of the first things I ever made, and is on Youtube in a video. He just sent it to me because he thought I'd like it. (I didn't, it was a horrid giant!) Anyway, although the stall people didn't have blogs or Etsy shops, he did some sleuthing and found a contact email, and after a very stern email from me, the person (obviously peeved, even though it was me who'd been copied!) told me they wouldn't use it as a stall display anymore. So, it's funny how people's sins find them out, even if it's countries apart - and I hope enough of us have reported this person to at least get your image removed. They are only offering 6X4 photos, so they are obviously downloading stuff and selling it on, as any larger print size would lose quality (and I can't see how she'd get a good print even at that size really).

Lisa said...

Absolutely maddening. I hope Etsy is pro-active in your favor.

Lorna's Laces said...

Just checked and it looks like the site is down. Hurrah!

amy wasserman said...

unfortunately, this !@#$ happens ALL the time. beware of companies like the christmas tree shops. they get chinese copies of american crafters' works and sell them for cheap. i know it for a fact since a friend of mine was part of a lawsuit against CTS. it's pathetic. but thankfully, sites such as this and facebook can spread the word to have copyright violators caught. in some cases, it's just ignorance but ignorance of the law is no excuse - that's what my mom taught me!!!

Illinois Lori said...

Hi, glad you've gone after this. Here's what you need to do to PREVENT this in the future...it's simple, just put a "watermark" on your photos that are shown your website (obviously, you'd have the master copy w/o the watermark, nice and safe somewhere). I assume you know what a watermark is, but for those who don't, it's a faint, shadowy word right smack dab across the middle of the image that says your name, or "Property of _____," or, "Copyrite_____," or something like that. Don't position it over something like the face of the lamb, but it should be right on his body...nice, fat lettering, in a grey/blue tone so it's visible, or white if it's on a very dark part. My friend is a photographer, if you want an example of the watermark you could look at her blog: http://www.christineannephoto.blogspot.com/ Images that are purchased are then provided without the watermark. No one will steal your images if they're watermarked!

Blessings,
IllinoisLori

ellen said...

You certainly have every right to be angry.
I cannot feel very charitable in terms of this person's "ignorance". Whether one knows about copyright laws or not, certainly she knew that she was stealing.
Whew!

Illinois Lori said...

Oh, Kristin...I started poking around your patterns you offer, and saw the market bag, then read that you do farmers' markets w/your pastured lamb...you're doing what my son dreams to do! He'll finish college this May, but will head to NY for an internship on an organic, 100% grass-feeding farm in March. NOW for my Q (it's an odd one, but while I'm here visiting!)...we're going to help him purchase a truck VERY soon. He'll need it for hauling, I'm sure, and we're not 100% sure if he needs diesel (it's more expensive). What do you all use? Just not quite sure how much truck to buy at this stage. Thanks for ANY advice you can give...if you have a moment to leave a message here, just leave a comment here and I can come back and check. :-)

Blessings,
Lori

Natural fibre girl said...

While it's flattering that someone finds your hard work and creativity so delightful they just can't not use it for their own purpose- the gall and ignorance never sises to amaze me.. I'm really glad you wrote about this...

CrochetBlogger said...

Well said.

No one should steal your work but the silver lining is that you can tell how great this particular photo is since so many people want to use it!

AlisonH said...

Amen. With a thank you to Lisa Souza of lisaknit.com for pointing you out to me. I have had my entire book stolen and posted to the web, something I spent thousands of dollars in yarn and hundreds and hundreds of hours to knit and produce, much less write and proofread.

People just don't realize how evil they are being to their fellow man when they casually take like that.

Here's hoping that your post gets you many more sales to offset the losses of the thefts.

Margo said...

You have every right to be angry! It is so sad to see this happening to you and others as well.

AlisonH said...

(doubletake) Oh! Kristin Nicholas! Of course! (sorry for being so slow) I love your work!

Stephanie (the SpaceCadet) said...

First, I am so sorry to read of this!

Second, your timing is perfect. I was having a conversation the other day about this exact dilemma. I often want to feature other people's images on my blog, either because their image inspired me to dye a colourway, or their knitting pattern would work well with my yarns. As a fiber artist, I have a real duty to respect other artists' work, so I ALWAYS email the image owner to ask permission.

And it's a pain. Emailing the owner, waiting to hear back... it's a PAIN. But, it's what you do. It's the right thing to do. And -- here's the thing -- the really great thing is that you end up making a connection with that artist. I can't tell you how many of those other artists have gone on to feature my yarn on their blogs because I made that connection by asking permission. Some have even become friends! It's a total win-win. And (bonus!), it's the right thing to do.

During that conversation the other day, someone mentioned a Link With Love (linkwithlove.typepad.com), a website dedicated to spreading the word that stealing images is not cool. Looking through it, I found this flow-chart (http://pinterest.com/pin/277041814547246575/)that guides you through whether to use an image, and I pinned it on Pinterest to always remind me that this is important stuff.

Good for you for standing up for yourself and your work!

Also, your lamb is adorable. ;)

MJ (Yummy Yarn) said...

Gosh, sorry to hear this happen to you. Someone copied my posts and images, *and* put their © on them, which enraged me so much I issued a DMCA takedown against them. (And it worked.)

If you have access to some kind of photo-editing software, I'll recommend watermarking your images IN THE CENTER with a "© Kristin Nicholas" at 25% opacity. You can still see the image but your watermark will be visible enough, too.

Also, downsize the resolution and physical size of your images so that they can't be reproduced at a high enough quality for duplication. All my images are 72dpi at 450 pixels x 338 pixels. Hard for anyone to replicate.

Good luck!

KP said...

You have a beautiful creative eye and share so much of what you do with us - thank you! You are in the right here. Don't apologize!!! Kudos for spreading the word about this sort of misbehavior - whether it is a sin of omission or commission - it's not right. Hoping people learn. We're behind you 100%!!!

birch7 said...

Well said Kristen I hope you get rewarded for all of your hard work and acknowledged correctly for the things that have been stolen - because that is exactly what this is stealing

Stephanie said...

It's hard to imagine that people don't know at least the basics of copyright these days... Or think that it doesn't apply to them. In my world of research and libraries this is an ongoing issue. Sorry this happened to you but I'm very glad you shared your story.

Frances said...

Yes, it is plain wrong.

I hope that such infringing is still a relatively rare occurrence.

Best wishes to you.

Auntie Shan said...

Everytime I post one of my "Creations" on MY Blog, I'm always joking about Knock-offs of "IT" probably being churned out in some Asian Factory!

BTW, you should check to see if that "Rip-off" Merchant has Other Shops on any of the other Retail sites! And, if They're using PAYPAL, report Them over There!! -- There must be "some" Reg about covering the Sale of Copyright Violated goods..?

AND, if You *really* want to go Nuclear on Them, I'm sure that an anonymous "Hint" to the IRS could always happen..? **

Although...personally, seeing as They call Themselves "youandmegogreen", I'd just send them a complimentary "Sample" of Your Livestocks' *Recycled* [cough!] "product"!?!

:-D

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

That etsy copyright infringement is not only morally wrong, it is illegal. You should be registering your images with the copyright office. Your photos are protected at creation already but by registering them, they are more actionable. It is easy to do and cheap.Esp for signature images like these! info and tutorials on copyright registration here http://asmp.org/content/registration-counts

mn_bird said...

I'm sorry that this happened. I'm sure you won't hear from the salon or the etsy person, but I sent both of them a note and told them that I thought they owed you an apology.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that action is being taken on this by all of us! I was SO scandalized when I first saw the image being sold, KNOWING it was Kristin's. Hope this issue gets resolved! (SarahVV)

GirlRural.com said...

You have to fight! It's your photo, your life! I had a photo of mine used in an ad and I went nuts. They ended up paying me for use of the photo. Fight!

Dianna said...

I just tried to go to the link you provided so I could report the person from etsy - there is no longer a person of that name on etsy. Maybe everyone complaining this quickly helped get her stolen cards taken down! I hope so - and I hope they bar her from selling again, but that is unlikely. You have every right to be mad - thanks for letting us know about it so we can be a mass voice for justice.

Allison said...

This morning when the link was still live, I reported it. Glad to see the listing has been removed!

Adaliza said...

Definitely with you on this. Having said that - she (presumably) must be pretty thick. That's not just any photo of a lamb! Whenever I think of your blog (and I often think about what life is like in US as I crochet your yarn over here), that the image that comes to mind. It's an amazing photo. How completely stupid, if you're going to rip someone else's photo, to use one that thousands of people all over the world will know is yours. Now that you're doing something, have been mad and calmed down, don't let it leave a bad taste - it happens, lots on the internet, it's a form of flattery (albeit illegal & v annoying) but please keep doing what you're doing - the rest of the world loves hearing about the farm and all your doings. Take care - cuddle a collie!

Adaliza said...

PS - the seller's gone now.

Denise said...

Amen!

John'aLee said...

You must take this thing all the way! I am a designer too and understand your frustration. I am proud of you for writing the post. If us designers don't stand up for ourselves this will continue to happen. Good luck and may the Lord give you the strength and wisdom you need to deal with this so it doesn't happen again to you!

bookagent said...

You are absolutely right to be upset and angry AND to do everything you can to prevent this kind of thing. I'll go to etsy and report the seller as well. I LOVE this image and bought the cards. Everyone I have sent them to admires the picture as well. You do beautiful work, protect it.

Pam H

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read the copyright infringement news, maybe the Etsy seller should repay you her profits from your work, hey, fair is fair...it is the principle as you note so well, all the time and effort and something so creative has been stolen from you.

The web, ugh! a tangled net of good and bad, sorry no pun intended.

I will be happy to c/o this to Etsy as well, does not matter the item is down, the web can be the enemy at times, don't tick of knitters is the lesson here.

There are some good articles (some written by Attorneys who knit! ) regarding knitting and copyright issues, which by the way if one looks closely at many of those eh, hand knit items on Etsy you will recognize many copyrighted patterns. Sad very sad.

Jerseygirl (and I have ordered from your store)

margaret said...

I just did a search for her store and it didn't come up. I don't know if I did it wrong or etsy took her down.

She was unbelievable to have that much nerve to do such a thing. It's unforgiveable.

You should go after anyone who infringes upon your work.

Andrea said...

Oh no! I used a copy of your Autumn Lamb Shanks recipe in my blog, http://nurseryrhymesandfaerietales.blogspot.com/
I gave you credit and included a link to your website but if you would like me to take it down I will. So I am asking, after the fact, if I can use your Autumn Lamb Shanks recipe in my blog.

kingshearte said...

You know, www.regretsy.com gets a lot of flak from some quarters, but this sort of thing is one of the things she crusades the hardest against. Sadly, this kind of thing is rampant on Etsy, which is really sad, because it goes against everything that a site like that should stand for. Even worse is that the people who run Etsy seem to ignore it more often than not. I'm sorry this happened to you, and wish you luck in avoiding it in the future.

NancyP said...

Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits wrote about a similar incident in November. Hopefully this is the correct link to her blog entry: http://wendyknits.net/?s=copyright+issues

Anonymous said...

Kristin, You have every right to be upset about this. It is just plain wrong of people to use other people's work as their own. The lack of integrity, morals,common sense in the world today upsets me greatly. I think you should do whatever you can to try to stop this theft from happening to you.

llamalady said...

Stick to your guns, Kristen! I hope this etsy seller responds favorably to your contacting her - hopefully an innocent mistake and she will make it right with you.

Lisa Smith said...

Kristin, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I find it ironic that you just graciously and generously created 2 beautiful calendars to share with us at no charge, out of the kindness of your creative heart. I hope that the person behind "youandmegogreen" has the decency to write you a note of apology for all the inconvenience you are being put through. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into your blog and your photography to share with your readers. Lisa

Anonymous said...

*****IMPORTANT*****

Hi, Hope this helps...from Jerseygirl (my Ravelry name)

I just took a look at the Bing search engine for the seller, oh my, I found this: is this the same person, there is an active shop on Etsy I just checked: this is the cut and paste from Etsy.com:
-----------------------------------

youandmegogreen's Shop Announcement
i am trade friendly.. visit my other shops..
FUNKYLUKE.ETSY.COM
FUNKYLAURA.ETSY.COM
*********NEW SHOP !*********
birdsbeesflowerstree.etsy.com

FUNKYLUKE/ZAZZLE

FUNKYLUKECOSMICART.BLOGSPOT.COM

YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER UNDER THE NAME FUNKYLUKE OR MY BLOG
ALL 4X6 INCH PRINTS
4x6 color print with white or black mat
shipped in a plastic sleeve and a cardboard mailer
Please allow 7-10 Business days after completed payment for your order to ship.

Some new originals have been added to the shop. Custom / Commissions are always welcome,Thanks so much for stopping by....TRADE FRIENDLY

TAKE A PEEP AROUND .. ANY QUESTIONS FEEL FREE TO CONVO ME.
LOVE AND PEACE FUNKYLAURA
YOU CAN FIND FUNKYLUKE'S ART AT:
FUNKYLUKE.ETSY.COM
FUNKYLAURA.ETSY.COM
YOUANDMEGOGREEN.ETSY.COM
********NEW SHOP********
BIRDSBEESFLOWERSTREE.ETSY.COM

FUNKYLUKE/ZAZZLE


FUNKYLUKECOSMICART.BLOGSPOT.COM

YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER UNDER THE NAME FUNKYLUKE
SORRY NO REFUNDS

My name is Erika. said...

I'm sure this person is using lots of other people's images-all of us who blog need to keep our eyes open. All of us need to think about what we purchase too...because there's most like more people trying to pass off other people's work as their own all over the internet. Hope you resolve this.

Turtle said...

This disgusts me. It looks like this lady is just printing images she has saved onto paper and selling them to others. There are many images that you know are not legal for her to reproduce. It also disturbes me that Etsy's rules are pretty patsy about their responsibility in allowing people to do this.

nanana said...

Good for you! It is absolutely not right of anyone to do this. I'm glad you pointed her out. She should be quite ashamed.

Karen said...

Hi Kristin,

You own your images. Period. If you show an image on your blog you will have to watermark it. I don't know how to do this but I know there is softwear out there to do it. I won some of your postcards at your give-away at R.J. Julia's and there should be no question about copyright. Love your blog,

Karen

Nan said...

Such an experience would cause me to unleash strong words with big teeth. Chomp! Chomp!

I bookmarked this page - the replies were so informative (and endearing.)

----

(Kids Knitting was my very first knitting book. I bought it for my daughter. It's inviting patterns-layout-text gave me confidence to try the craft.)

Nan said...

Whoops, just saw that I hypenated 'its' that'll haunt me for days. :^D

Betz White said...

Hi Kristin,
Oy! What a royal pain. I've had etsy sellers use my images of my cupcake pincushions (that I made) as their shop logos, my whole book scanned and sold as a pdf, etc. It is frustrating but what is worse is all of the policing that you have to do. It is so much work to follow up on these things. They are stealing so much more than rights and income...they steal peace of mind and time! Precious time. I recently got a nasty email saying what's the big deal who's idea something is and that protecting one's copyright is all about ego. Don't even get me started....

So...I feel your pain. Get mad, act on it rationally, do what you can and then move on and create something else amazing. We'll all be out here policing the interwebs for you. We got your back!
Betz

Kristin Nicholas said...

You are so right Betz. Must move on... but it is nice to know that others are looking out for me.