Sunday, February 21, 2010

unpleasantness

Ok, I debated with myself and with Greg about posting this, as it generally plunges me into a pit of fury, then depression when I think about the subject. We are being knocked off again. Our pieces are being molded and reproduced without our consent. We actually have the receipts from when they purchased the goods from us. Now, this in and of itself is not new or surprising, as it happens all the time, its just this time the person is in full knowledge. They know who we, know that this is our sole source of income and know that this will hurt us. Over the years I've kept these incidents quiet, since they are so unpleasant to think about.

But I lost it today when I opened my favorite beading magazine Stringing (I still love them. Its not their fault.) and found some of our work credited to the offending party. My heart lurched and my eyes stung as I stood there, feeling like I got slapped. I knew this company had over thirty of our designs reproduced- a customer in San Francisco had an 'incident' with the culprit (and I will love her always for it!) and phoned us immediately with the news of what this company had on the table - our work in other metals and seeming much smaller and not as detailed. We have a lawyer and she will undoubtedly flatten them with the law. But since our discovery, this company has stolen from FOUR other artist friends! So much of the line is composed of stolen designs.

This incident has left my family deflated and angry. We usually try to make a bunch of designs, to prove that WE don't have to steal and that our well of creativity is deep, but this time, we haven't made anything. I've found myself wondering if it wouldn't be smarter to focus on designing finished work, so its a little harder (and more expensive) for thieves to get. Or, buying land near the ocean and painting landscapes for tourists and living off the bounty from our garden. Alright, that is mostly fantasy, since my landscape capabilities aren't great. Its just these companies are taking the joy out of what we do. Its hard to make new work when you know that piece will be stolen. I feel like starting over, so this horrible feeling will go away. Anyway, I'm not sure if its a good idea to post this, since its so private and its going on right now, but I have to trust that sharing this bit of our struggle will somehow help. I'm also certain this company will continue to 'add' to their 'line' till they are stopped and want to warn artists to be on the lookout. So here is the main company guilty of copyright infringement:

Forever Silvers

If you are vending on the west coast and want more info on this person, email me. I also want to thank (again!) all the loyal customers that spoke up for us and helped us during this stressful time.

40 comments:

mamabeaks said...

I am so sorry and I can understand how you feel. I hope you do get justice!

kvk said...

Oof, I am so so so very sorry. First Andrew and now you. You know I've been there a bit so I'm rootin' for you. You go girl! Nail their sorry asses!

Janet said...

CRAP thats Pretty damn Blatent! I saw 9?! I will Never Ever buy from them! I'd be pretty livid too. Thats pretty scarey people actually STEALING from you. And they are Exact Reproductions!! I hope and Pray your lawyer really nails the Crap out of them. People cant get away with this I mean they didn't even try to make any changes. I need to go out and buy Stringing afterwards today and have a look. Yes Andrew and Gaea and Lorelei too all copied. And so many others for that matter. Sometimes I think I shouldn't show some of my new jewellery on my Blogger. I'm not saying all my things are Ultimately World renoun smashing but they are MY ideas none the less. Then some HOLE comes along and steals it. Your Lawyer I hope she has a big punch. I tell you this world gets worse and worse. But I believe you will have a successful outcome on this. Bless you guys were All with you. You did the right thing by posting this! xx!

Lorelei said...

that totally stinks.
i am mad for you.
i hope you sue the pants off them... and
i hope you decide to continue making new things. i would die without your pretty pieces to use in my jewelry.
hang in there.

Gaea said...

M*er! F*ers! All I can say is, a pox on their house! YUCK! What can we/I do to help? I know I would never purchase from anyone but you, but what else? Spread the word? Done! Phone call/fax/email my disgust to them? Done! I know that this happens but such blatant disregard is shocking. I can only think that fear and economic circumstances breed this behavior! I am feeling for you. I am feeling for us all!

Beth said...

Cynthia, I'm sorry this happened to you guys-pretty gross! I had a hand-painted t shirt company and the bigger we got, the more people ripped off my designs. It made me mad, but it didn't really impact my business; like attracts like and people who steal from other artists usually have pretty skanky business practices. Stay positive, don't go into fear and f**k 'em. Your stuff is awesome because of you :) Beth

Joan Tucker said...

Cynthia, what exactly could we your fans do? I would not want to
interfere or harm the legal process. I guess we can name names and tell people not to purchase for a start.
Best of luck in pursuing legal
action. Joan Tucker
Off Center Productions

Heather Powers said...

Please don't let someone evil steal your joy and creativity. There is no one on the planet who makes beads with your spirit and charm. Copies are copies, but what you do - we need!

Let me know if there is anything the Art Bead Scene can do to help.

Feature_Presentation said...

Shame on them! Keep letting us know if someone rips you off again, I personally will not buy from a vendor who I know is ripping someone off!

SharonP said...

I am so sorry that you have to suffer this blatant theft of your hard work. I never heard of the company but rest assured I nor my beading friends will ever purchase from them. Kudos to you for hiring a lawyer and I wish the best for you and your family.

TesoriTrovati said...

I am so shocked and disgusted by what I hearing about all this blatant copying. I am with Heather...we need you. We are here with you. We, your fans, the one's who appreciate your art will be beside you. Do what you can to make it stop. Tell us who the culprits are so that we can be vigilant for you. But please don't let this knock the joy from your soul.
Erin

Round Rabbit said...

Kudos to you for calling them out! There is never a need to feel bad for protecting your work. I wish more people would do it.
I will pass this info along and hopefully others will do the same. At the very least when someone does a search on this company they will come up with a bunch blog posts about what pieces of crap they are.

AJ said...

Let me add my voice to the outpouring of love for you, your family, and the work you all do! I buy from you because I love to support a family of US artists who design and create every little piece that I hold in my hands. It makes me happy, and it makes the buyers of my finished jewelry happy. Those cheap rip-offs in their crummy looking catalog could never give me that sense of joy.

I hope that the black cloud over your head from this incident will pass, and that you'll go back to creating new designs for your loyal fans!

JennWilson said...

Hey Cynthia, I think what you are doing (identifying who they are) is the best thing you can do. It will prevent anyone who deals with you from sending any money their way.

Unfortunately, there are probably folks who will like the designs and buy from them since they don't know there is another place to find them...let alone that they are stolen designs.

I would suggest that you contact any and all of the show promoters you know. I appreciate you stating who they are so I can make sure they never get into a Soft Flex Glass Art & Bead Festival. I'm sure that John at Best Bead would do the same, also Jane with Bead Mercantile. Just make sure they all know about them (especially Bead & Button and Interweave). They don't have a very good website so I would assume most of there sales are from shows.

Jenny

Summer said...

Don't let them take away your joy and delight. They suck. You're awesome. I hope the lawyer kicks their ass.

gbkoru said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I didn't believe my eyes when I got my copy of Stringing and read the resources. I love your work and I hope you will continue making amazing things for all of us to enjoy!

Gardanne said...

How frustrating for you. I agree that these people and others like them need to be pursued legally. I have always kept my eyes open at shows for you and will continue to do so.
Stay focused on enjoying your art and your family, and know that the majority of people out here support your work.

Gardanne said...

How frustrating for you. I agree that these people and others like them need to be pursued legally. I have always kept my eyes open at shows for you and will continue to do so.
Stay focused on enjoying your art and your family, and know that the majority of people out here support your work.

Alice said...

I'm sorry you are being put through this horrible ordeal. I hope your attorney punishes them enough so they have nothing left.

I'm am so surprised that a magazine so in tune with well-known artists such as you did not recongize this right away. All the beading magazines should be notified immediately so they will not promote the work of these thieves.

I'm glad you posted their name so we can all be vigilant and pass it on to others. And I agree that we should all bombard them with email expressing our disgust.

Alice said...

I just sent them a *nice* little email.....

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

What a bunch of bs.....I am spreading the word to my contacts in MN and other places!!! I will also put this on my business facebook page.

Please do NOT quit producing your beautiful pieces. I love,love,love your products and love both talking w/Andrew & Greg. My business partner, mom & I will spread the word!

Funky Monkey Girls,
Jolene

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

What a bunch of bs.....I am spreading the word to my contacts in MN and other places!!! I will also put this on my business facebook page.

Please do NOT quit producing your beautiful pieces. I love,love,love your products and love both talking w/Andrew & Greg. My business partner, mom & I will spread the word!

Funky Monkey Girls,
Jolene

SueBeads said...

I am glad you called them out too, so people will know not to buy from them. This is the best thing you can do! It stinks for you and I hope your lawyer can get this righted...sorry for Andrew too. He should call out the person who did it to him!

bella vita jewelry said...

that stinks! their silver stinks and green girl rocks! sorry this happened to you all but am glad you wrote about it so i am now aware.

Pretty Things said...

This is wrong on SO many levels. Thinking of you.

Kella said...

Sorry to hear of this unpleasentness, I have a blog arty friend on this side of the pond experiencing the same thing, it can be very soul destroying but chin up you'll get through this and she'll go down for sure.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

It's bound to hurt and be frustrating, I'm so saddened to hear about this. My gramma always said that "cream rises to the top" but if you beat it long enough it turns to butter - I hope you get something good out of all this in the long run. You're in my thoughts, Cheers.

Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry said...

Just lousy... I'm curious, did you contact Stringing? If the magazines take a stand about not featuring pieces that use ripoff items it would definitely make an impact.

Rickie said...

I'm so sorry about this trouble. Seems like this happens so much in the world these days in every industry. It looks like they've also helped themselves to some of
Pegasus Imports designs and probably others. It makes for a nice full portfolio, but not a very ethical way to aquire the designs! Hope you get some help resolving this!

Laurel said...

This is just plain WRONG. I will do my part to spread the word for you - you deserve all the success you get, unlike these ripoff jerks!

sandi m said...

They will be receiving a letter from me!..worth the $.44 stamp. Gosh I hope Bead shop owners don't make purchases for their shops! Perhaps you also want to post on for forums.
While this was hard for you, we buyers need to know the identities of these stealers.
Just sad that you have to waste time, energy and money on going after these jerks.
Just don't give in...we love your work!!

JunqueJules said...

I am glad you posted a link. I took a look and as a big user of vintage findings and charms-I see that ALL of their line is stolen. They are just lucky some of the designers are no longer around to stand up for themselves. My thoughts are with you. It's all about Karma.

Tom said...

Holy crap that sucks. I always fear that happening with anything I put out on the web. Hope the lawyers tear them a new hole.

Jill at Liv'nGood Jewelry said...

grrrrrr

this kind of s(&* just makes me so mad - if you aren't good enough to be original, find something else to do, don't copy!

My Life Under the Bus said...

Wow - Your items are so identifiable it is shocking they would do something so blatently awful .Just plain wrong - My heart goes out to you. XO, Patty

Lynn said...

Thanks for telling us of these copycats. I won't buy from anyone that I suspect does this sort of thing unless I know they're paying royalties to the artist. You have a good case for copyright infringement - because that's what this is. They might be breaking federal and state law so it's on your side!! Good luck.

Greenconsciousness said...

You should definitely name names -the truth (you have receipt proof) is absolutely a defense to any legal action from the thieves.

earthlygirl said...

I so love all of your work that I actively look for it in "Stringing". Therefore, I noticed your pieces on page 46 and wondered what was going on when Green Girl Studios wasn't credited. I assumed it was a mistake!

Now that I've been set straight, I went to look at the Forever Silvers online catalogue. I can tell you for certain that several of Lois's designs from Wynwoods Gallery in WA have been stolen. Just awful. PLEASE let us know if we can help!

Rebecca

Shoshanah said...

ugh -- i know how you feel, even though i am a store. certain stores copy me (down to category names -- and they opened after i did), buy from me and suss out the source, blah blah blah, and it makes me question why i do this, and feel like i should just let them have it and close down. but this has been my life! it makes me sooooo mad.

anywho, i LOVE your designs and i really hope you keep making your incredibly unique, high quality, and very well priced goodies. you have a great name and brand. everyone knows who you are (even my husband!). you've worked so hard to create that -- please don't give up!

i have to tell you that i went to the gem show last month and purchased from them. i didn't know about this issue until i looked them up a few minutes ago. i was going to buy more. now i feel sick that i bought from them at all! i dropped a bunch of $$$, too. and on probably what was ripped off from you (at least i'm sure one of them was because it reminded me of you). dammit! : (

Anonymous said...

Is this the Armenian couple? The wife is Violet, don't know the husband's name. If so, I won't buy from them anymore. They have been my favorite supplier at the bead shows. I guess I am naive as I supposed that they imported their stuff from another country. This makes me sad. :(
Please carry on with your beautiful work and don't let it get you down! Hopefully all will be put right when the law rules in your - and the other artists' - favor.
I have to say I envy your environment - the pictures on your blog are beautiful (we are stuck in Los Angeles - the land of smog and concrete). And your kids are so cute! I dream of visiting Asheville someday as that is the hometown of David Wilcox, one of my favorite musicians. :)
God bless your day...