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:
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.