Sunday, February 24, 2013

Copyright infringement by Beaumont Stuffs

Maddening, disappointing, unsettling, frustrating news this morning: I discovered my art has been infringed upon.

At first, I thought this was a fan-based post. But then I quickly realized that I'd come across a social media vulture-stealer-infringer-seller who is selling my designs and many, many others, through their social media outlets.


Beaumont Stuffs Instagram account: Now Private!


So far, I've found them on Instagram (@beaumontstuffs), Twitter (@beaumontstuffs) and Facebook (http:// www.facebook.com/beaumont.stuffs). Yes, Beaumont Stuffs  is boldly, brazenly selling stolen art on iphone cases. And there are many, MANY designs.

Of course once they got called out by me, most of their accounts are suddenly private... Guilty!!!

 (As of this writing, their Twitter is still public - so feel free to tweet them...

Beaumont Stuffs Facebook account - Now Private! 


The ONLY place that had access to these exact same designs other than myself is Society 6, so I'm going to be contacting them as well. Really, REALLY disappointing. I joined S6 last summer and actively had a shop/presence there for about a month or so, until I decided to go indie with Case-Mate Aug./Sept. 2012.. Of course, I *trusted* Society 6.. But my designs leaked out into the underground illegal art trade. So, nice. Now that's a sad state of affairs. When you join Society 6 and sell through there, you are in business with them and entrusting them with your work. It's such a violating discovery to find that the designs I made specifically for my Society 6 shop were leaked. I do not think Society 6 is *directly* to blame for this. But I *DO* think they need to take some responsibility.  It is clear that they have a security leak (or more than one?) and they need to get to the bottom of how this happened and figure something out so that it does not happen again. They have GOT to treat this SERIOUSLY. I have read about this happening in the past with Society 6 and I have heard that they were unresponsive to infringement claims such as this. Well, now I am about to find out for myself. 

I'll be contacting every social media outlet and every avenue I can to stop this. Please comment if you know of any resources that might help me, if you can spare any advice, or if you just want to offer support!! I truly appreciate it ALL.

Oh... and also: feel free to "friend" them and screenshot any pages you gain access to, and send them along to me. THAT would REALLY help a lot!!

23 comments:

Ashley Olson said...

so sad. I'm really sorry that this is happening to you. On the plus side, my friend posted this to Facebook (Maurie Manning) and because of this incident I have discovered your beautiful work! I love it all!

Kathy Weller said...

Thanks so mucb Ashley! That's so awesome ! I am so happy you discovered my work through this awful incident! Silver lining :) :D

Anonymous said...

I click on your "My name is Kathy..." link above and I see your first mistake: a huge, high-resolution image of your artwork loads. It would be a simple matter for anyone to capture that image and use it on anything to produce a high-quality product! Keep all of your online images relatively *small* to prevent theft/reuse.

Next option: hire an attorney. Even if it's just to send out cease and desists. It sounds like an open and shut case.

Andi Butler said...

Your name is even in the drag and drop photograph on the cases! Very clear in the top two...Anger doesn't even begin to cover it! I hope this is resolved soon, girl!!

a : )

*many hugs*

Kathy Weller said...

Hi Anonymous -

yes you are right - that one image is very large. My home page template supports dynamic views so they really shouldn't show up as LARGE as they do, but they do and it's been an issue that I need to fix.

However that is only one image and actually the stolen images are directly lifted from the art I was selling on products on Society 6.

I already contacted an IP attorney. I don't agree that it is open and shut. U.S. copyright registration is very often blatantly and brazenly ignored by countries particularly in Asia and South America. Though they are OUR laws they are not necessarily followed and complied with by some dubious sellers that are not in the U.S.A.

Thank you for your comments! I wish I knew your name so I could put a comment to a name!

Kathy Weller said...

Andi, thank you for chiming in! Do you not love that? I do. It's a good little bit of funny in this mess, huh? :D

Anonymous said...

Technically it's your copyright (of your art) that's been infringed upon. Hope you can sort it out! x

Lori Leissner said...

I *just* opened an S6 page yesterday and just took the leap today and started adding my newest work. When I shared my big news on IG, a follower/fellow artist clued me in to your troubles. What a mess! I took down my artwork from there and read the "copyrights" section of there "help", which basically says that they are not in the business of protecting our copyrights from anyone else, they don't prevent right clicks and don't intend to, they don't allow watermarks and don't intend to, good luck and have a nice day. :(

Although the pillows looked adorable on the screen, I'm going back to etsy. Your website is beautiful. I'm glad you are no longer there and you caught them and at least slowed them down. And thank you very much for announcing this and perhaps protecting others from virtual pickpockets.

Blessings to you!

Lori Leissner

MaJo BV said...

Kathy,
awful news! I'm really sorry.
These seem to be the often bad news from designers who decide to sell their lovely work through society6, and they still take no action to protect who really keeps them on business... just very frustrating! This is the reason I opened and then almost immediately closed my shop there. I really hope there's something you can do. Good you caught the bastards! I'll spread the news...

BTW... your work is SO ADORABLY FANTASTIC!!!

Little Nore said...

This makes me so angry for you. I adore your style and have seen you via instagram.
Having had my work copied, my images lifted, people selling my art and even taking pictures !!!can really understand how awful this is.
Your creativity, hard work, talent being Stolen by this company...i can't find them now so maybe they have removed themselves.
People say when i am copied it flattery !! how is theft flattery.
It's disheartening too to learn that your images where taken from society 6.
I can only hope you can get some resolution to this.

with best wishes

Heidi

Carla said...

Hi Kathy
This Facebook group I belong to could be a good place to post - Copyright Infringement Cases - or if you like I could post a link to your blog.
I can imagine how upset you must be. I only have to think of someone stealing my work and feel sick to my stomach. Hope you get it sorted. :) Carla

Heather Boissonneau said...

Their Twitter page is gone now and it says that their FB page doesn't exist. I hope that the fact that they were caught shamed them into pulling everything!!!

I'm so sorry this happened to you. You're art is wonderful! It should remain yours!

Vita Mechachonis said...

Kathy, this stinks. I just saw your posting about it on FB. GO GET 'EM. Businesses like these drive me INSANE. How dare they.

I'm thinking of you!!
xo

juju said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
juju said...

Sorry for the report--I wanted to included the name of the WA company. Here's the revised comment:

This is so scary! You know, I created an account at Society 6 last summer from the recommendation of a well-known male artist. I guess for once I can be grateful to my procrastination, because I never did log anything onto it. I am so, so sorry this has happened to you. )-: There's a small, but prominent, Seattle Design shop--MODERN DOG--that's been fighting Disney and Target for almost 2 years for copyright infringement. They said they may never win, but they're fighting on principle. They took donations on their website for a small amount of time to help fight legal costs. Already your actions of principle have affected them to remove social media sites and helped spread the word to so many others. Thank you for being an art crusader! Also, I will add that this issue led me to your art as well--which is adorable!

Here's the link to that story--I hope it helps you: http://www.king5.com/news/cities/seattle/Seattle-designers-sue-Disney-claims-copyright-infringement-179754381.html

juju said...

Oops! I meant "repost." (-:

Elizabeth said...

Hi everyone,

Apparently the pages of "Beaumont Stuffs" have been taken down..

I still do not understand why people do not make their OWN ART.

Shame on "Beaumont Stuffs"!!

Kathy Weller said...

Juju - THANKS for the link to the Modern Dog case (I'm a fan of theirs & I have a Modern Dog book of their design work :D ) Love the fighing on principle, though it is such a hard way to go... the stress... takes a steely will and an iron gut! ;) I'll check that link out, thanks!


Elizabeth - Thanks! Yes I noticed that... and POOF they are gone...

Vita - THANK YOU!! XO

Carla-Thanks for the name of the FB group! I'll visit there, but please feel free to post my blog link there if you like! :D Absolutely :)

Heidi/Little Nore - thanks so much! We will see what happens. They have disappeared into thin air but the one thing I can say is that they know I'm watching and that you all have rallied too! For my part, next time... oh there is many things I would do differently... I will be a silent ninja and I will be able to contact the other infringed-upon artists (things happened so fast I saw art I recognized but I did not get adequate-enough screen grabs..) NOT that I'm looking forward to a "next time"... just that I'll be better prepared. That's for sure. ;)


MaJo BV - THANK YOU for your support!! (And for your compliments of my work!! :D ) I greatly apreciate your nod to other artists, formerly with S6, who have had similar experience. That is really on my mind right now. (I'm about to post the letter I sent to S6. Please stay tuned for that one!)

Lori, Good for you for making an informed decision. I believe in making a decision based on information that is available, no matter what. What is important is that people share honest info from experience and that can factor in (or not, as the case may be) to another person's individual decision! :D Sharing is caring (and is good karma too!)


Kathy Weller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
modernprintliz said...

So sorry to see & hear about this and I hope Society 6 can do something helpful towards resolving this issue for you. They really need to step up their game!

I am a textile designer and have thought about putting some designs up with them. Been dragging my feet about it as I was focusing on other projects. Now I think I may pass altogether on them.

Best of luck - I really like your work!

Kathy Weller said...

Hi Modern! Gee, I wrote a very detailed message to you a few hours ago on my iphone, and I lost it. So here is a new one...


Thanks for your support and comments! I know that S6 will do nothing for me but I really hope they make the decision to reinvestigate the model they have built on the intersection of business and community, and how they need to support each other, genuinely, literally.

Another issue is available information. They seem to keep cards so close to their vest when it comes to process. There is so painfully little on their web site about how things are actually made.

We are all artists, we understand printing process, dpi, color processes and the like.

Before I joined S6, I emailed them to find out further technical information regarding their process. They never really gave me a straight answer to that question.
(actual email exchange follows)

------------------------
Me:

Hi there!
I have a couple seller questions:
1) I have a detail of the larger image used for the iphone. That same image is used for the greeting card. Is it possible to instead choose the full image for the greeting card, and not the iphone-specific detail from the print?
2) My original art is 27.5" x 20.5", 300 dpi. The larger prints are larger than that size (22 x 28 and 36 x 28, with no option to remove the larger prints from sale). How can you get a good hi-res print that is larger than the original art without the quality suffering? Please let me know the answers to the above.
Thanks!
Best regards,
Kathy

------------

Society 6:

Thank you for contacting Society6 Support.

We use the asset you uploaded for the iPhone Cases/Skins to create the Stationery. If you need to EDIT these, just click "Add T-Shirts and More" at the top of any post to easily edit/delete other products that accompany your Art Print.

Our system automatically determines your available sizes based on industry standards and the amount of pixels in your file. These sizes created by our system can not be edited or changed. You are able to EDIT and replace the file at any time.

I hope this helps!

(name of Society 6 Support person here)

----------

They are simply not transparent about their process. I should have seen this as a red flag. And I guess, on some level, I did, after all.

Genevieve Gail said...

I really hate that this happened to you, Kathy. I wish more people would realize that taking someone's art without permission to make a profit is THEFT not flattery. I'm so glad I did not upload any work to my S6 shop yet, especially after reading this part of their stance on copyright protection that you posted:

"Please remember, finding your artwork on another site is usually a good thing!...You won't make any friends if you're issuing unwarranted DMCA takedown notices to someone trying to give your work more exposure because they admire it!"

Yes, exposure is great, but finding your work on a site that is making money off of your designs without your knowledge or consent is horrendous (I know, it happened to me for the first time this Summer and it was a TERRIBLE feeling)...

Well...keep on truckin', Girl! Your artwork rocks- here's to lots of awesome *legitimate* deals coming your way soon!!!

Kathy Weller said...

Genevieve, THANKS SO MUCH for your support!! :D XO Seriously that sentence gives me shivers, too. Again, they are so vague. If pressed they will surely say that what they mean is that if people are promoting your work on their blog, who are you to argue with the exposure. Of course, two wrong things with that. 1) People need to get in the habit of asking permission before posting work that is not their own regardless of the situation. This is just a given. 2) That sentence itself is so dubious, shady, and opaque and it is clear that it's that way on purpose. It was probably written by their lawyers.

Hugs!!
kathy