Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Quick Question - What the heck do you do when a korean clothing company steals one of your illustrations to print on their t-shirts?
If anyone reading this has any advice about battling plagiarism, then i would really like to hear from you.


  1. Wow, that is so crap. Write them a nice email first, i suppose? and then a bitchier one if they don't respond? That is the rudest thing, I'm so sorry it has happened to you :(

  2. i posted and emailed a letter of demand to the company that did that to me asking them to remove the shirt and pay me compensation and i never heard back from them. they even told abc radio (when i was interviewed about it) they hadn't received anything from me which was really disappointing :(
    try arts law, if you sign up with them they can set you up an appointment with a lawyer for advice and hopefully they'll be able to help you more than mine could.
    so sorry this has happened to you :(

  3. Find someone who speaks Korean, then find someone who can give you free legal advice - friend/family member?

    Send many many many harrassing emails, threaten and fight them.

  4. oh im sorry to hear this...

    just stumbled upon your blog and i think its so LOVELY! do drop by mine too when you have some time. maybe we can follow each other. =)


  5. Also - this site might be helpful


    A lot of people have been in this situation

  6. Oh Caitlin Oh no :-(

    I've seen all too many of these happening to talented artists I know.

    The main thing I have heard is you NEED to aquire one of the offending T-Shirts to actually be able to have legal proof of the offending piece next to your own image

    Also, I say you don't be shy about it (they weren't shy about copying your art). Post your original drawing here, post the offending companies t-shirt if you can get a photo of it, get as much help as you can.

    Recently this happened to a girl on Deviant Art, and she fought it hard, read through the journals and the comments she then posted, because a LOT of people helped her out and gave her advice with some very interesting links

    Here's her DA account: http://trenchmaker.deviantart.com/

    And here is the particular JOurnal Entry. It has over one and a half-thousand comments, but like I said, some are extremely helpful:

  7. Sorry to hear that, Cailtin. You might want to have a look at this fantasic article by Lady Luck Rules OK, who had this happen to them several times. Hope it helps! xo


  8. Hi Caitlin,
    you might have heard this happened to us with UK brand Top Shop ripping off one of our well-known red riding hood and wolf brooch designs ( http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/?p=5248) and basically there was nothing we could do in the end. the distance, language barriers and lack of co-operation between the big company (topshop) and their "suppliers" made it almost impossible for anything to happen. Topshop basically said they had no idea it was our design and that they'd bought the jewellery from a company in China who'd supplied it to them (the same people who own Diva accessories here!) and that they'd remove the brooches from sale. But thats all we ever heard from them and compensation never came into the equation at all because they basically denied any involvement in the design process. So good luck, but unfortunately I wouldn't hold your breath unless you have the cash to take them on with lawyers! Makes me extremely angry! Also very crap it's now happened to you too.
    Kelly x

  9. It has happened to me 3 x times so far.

    I send them a cease & desist via e-mail (ask for a read receipt request) & postal mail (signed delivery).

    For two of the occasions I got a reply & payment in compensation (after fighting big time). I also demanded they match the payment amount to a charity of my choice. The other time was ignored.

    In the two occasions I got payment, I had lawyers involved (they came on board pro bono). They however could only deal with Australian companies, and couldn't do anything with the overseas people.

    Other then that, in my experience, basically, kick up a stink, name them & shame them. The fear factor of being outed online scares the heck out of them and most of the time they'll come through and pay. After of course apologising that they hired a designer and had no idea that it was stolen artwork. This is where you use your fanbase and get them to harrass the company.... it usually results in the copied item being pulled from the shelves, and maybe getting payment for it. But most likely you'll get nothing without a lawyer. =(

  10. hey Caitlin, as a fellow Korean, I feel really ashamed about this issue. I've seen this happening a lot, and it makes me furious.
    I work as a graphic designer at a fashion company in New York, and I've seen Korean shopping websites ripping off the exact fashion/graphic design from us.
    if you want, I could translate your email in korean for you. my Korean's not perfect, but it will be enough to get the message across to them.

  11. that's so unfortunate. i'd find out what the laws are and see if there is a difference for korea? i mean for all i know they may have a different set of rules :/


  12. Yikes! Contact them and spread the word. You might also try contacting either of these organizations for spreading the word and legal advice.

    In regards to it being legal or not legal in Korea (from copyright.gov):
    Is my copyright good in other countries?
    The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

    here's the link: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#countries

    Good luck!

  13. not that I can actually help, but lately, I've seen so many stolen photos of fashion bloggers on t-shirts. it's ridiculous. I hope you can fix your problem, fuck 'em.

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  15. Get a lawyer! but first send them a cease and desist letter, give them a period of time to take the product off, and threaten to sick a legal battle on them, scare em!!


  16. From my experience, send them a firm letter/email outlining what you would like them to do...

    Make sure you are assertive in stating that it is your drawing, with images for example.

    Send an image of your drawing overlayed on theirs, and if they are selling the shirt online, some screengrabs of it being sold.

    Check if they are selling anything else with an image of yours on it.

    Make a list of demands, do give them very much room to move, some thing like:

    A commission fee of how much you would usually charge for that image to be made if they have sold any.

    A percentage of all the sales (6%-10%?)

    And either:
    They stop selling the shirt and recall all products.

    They stop producing all stock and a percentage of all stock which is already in retail stores goes to you.

    They continue to produce the shirt and give you a percentage of the profit. Making sure you are clear that the image is not to be used for anything else in the future other than this particular shirt.

    Don't use any kind of emotional plea, it is a business deal. Make sure they realise that you are a well known artist with sway in fashion.

    Give them a window of time (not too long, maybe 4 days?) to reply, stating that if they do not reply in this time you will take further legal action.

    That's a lot of information, but hopefully it's helpful!

  17. *edit...

    Don't give them much room to move!

  18. LAME! i have seen this happening so much all over the internet lately, i cant stand it!!!! what company is it? i wanna know so i can berate them with well written letters expressing my disgust.

  19. Oh Caitlin :( thats awful. Unfortunately its so common these days. I really hope you can fight them and win! Good luck.

  20. I would suggest you seek legal advice. There are other cases like this I have seen online but can't recall who.
    Be careful not to name the company because you're making an allegation against them, which they may be able to defend. True, I know of one case where the original maker, as she argued, was the one who lost because she'd libled the company.
    To be honest, until the case is resolved, I'd keep it out of such a public domain as this. Good luck though.

  21. ugh, that's disgusting Caitlin!!!
    I'm really sorry that I can't offer you better advice than
    what has already been offered up, but I wish you best
    of luck from my deepest of hearts with this horrible situation.

  22. so sorry!
    i'd say lawyer up. . . it super sucks i know it happened to some of her designs (http://allendesigns.typepad.com/blog/) but I'm not sure whats happened
    sending positive energies to you!

  23. I can recommend a copyright lawyer, his on twitter @sroc his in Melbourne and very supportive of artists.

    Good luck!


  24. Miss Pandora is dealing with the same issues/some of the people photographing her are having their pictures stolen and used on merchandise. Perhaps you could ask her how she's responding?
    This just makes one more reason for me to go to law school and study intellectual property rights! I really would like to know the suitable actions and how we can defend ourselves from such things...especially in the global sense b/c I do know how it would be addressed within the U.S.

  25. that sucks, royally. as a photographer, i've had my photos ripped off from me- especially band photos, which get used in blogs and local papers, etc. Rarely is credit given, let alone compensation.

    I suggest considering a watermark over the digital images of your illustrations for your own protection. It's lame that it comes to this...

    you can easily watermark in photoshop or illustrator (or probably a number of other programs) by overlaying text and decreasing the opacity to around 20%.

    Best of luck in the future! :]

  26. Being that you are a well known illustrator and have had your own images printed with permission by designers, companies, etc. you should definitely be able to fight this and win without a problem. The only hard part is getting through to Korea language barriers / etc but it's worth it because no one should be making money off your work unless you let them and you are not.

  27. Just sue the crap out of them.


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