Alibaba and The Forty Thieves - Are You One?

The copycat problem has become a chronic issue in the crafts community.

The thieves are every where, yet we whisper about the problems embarrassed  or afraid of the negative publicity.

It is time WE RAISED OUR VOICES IN A CHORUS of awareness about the copycat thieves.

To this end I wrote a post on the American Craft Council blog titled:

Alibaba and the Copycat Thieves
Click on title. Read the post. Become informed.

Please consider sharing this post with a link to the original source.

Until awareness saturates the craft community into every "craft corner", manufacturer, retailer, consumer, and becomes a public discussion, the copycat thieves will continue as pirates of our work, our ideas, our content.

"The solution can’t come from me alone, or a committee, or even one organization.  The solution is everyone in our craft community. The power lies in the community to create an expectation or social moiré for ethical, moral and legal behavior."*

*Quote from the lecture, "The GOOD, The Bad, and The Ugly in the Age of the Internet."



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Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 5, 2014 at 9:58am

"Copycats Cost Artist $250,000 Loss" because copycats stole his images and printed them on merchandise to sell without the artists permission....and he didn't even know.  This could happen to you!

Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 4, 2014 at 1:03pm

I really appreciate that Roxy made a comment in this discussion on Crafthaus. Raising awareness for the issues surrounding copycats, and understanding the legal and ethical issues will be helpful to the craft community.


Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 4, 2014 at 12:59pm

Roxy is correct. Artwork or craft that is simple, or more commercial in its appearance will be easier to copy. Artwork or craft that is complex with a niche audience will not attract manufacturing copycats.

For the sake of clarity in this discussion, I would like to point out that fashion is not copyright-able. For this reason, we should avoid using it as an example in the discussion of copyright problems in the art and craft world.

Comment by Roxy Lentz on February 4, 2014 at 12:19pm

I think it is a two edge sword. If you make one of a kind, that can't be copied, your market is very small. If you make work that will sell well, and can be done in production, some one will copy. Not even 24 hours after the Oscars, knock off dresses are on TV on the mainstream shows. 

Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 4, 2014 at 11:51am

Have you ever been a victim of a copycat thief? You might not even know if you haven't done a Reverse Image Search. Jamie Spinello didn't know their was one copycat of her jewelry, and then she discovered MANY. 

Learn how to be "Looking For Copycats of Your Work" with  a Reverse Image Search at:

Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 4, 2014 at 11:45am

Did you see the example of Jamie Spinello's work produced and distributed by companies you all know like Forever 21, Nasty Girl and Charlotte Russe?

Jamie Spinello's Copycat Discovery! This wasn't supposed to happen! 

Comment by Harriete Estel Berman on February 4, 2014 at 11:41am

If you work, ideas, instructional materials, or content is ever discovered on a place like or another person's website all you have to do is send a DMCA. This is much simpler than you think, and completely free. This post on ASK Harriete offers a link to a sample letter to fill out.

DMCA "Take Down" - Action & Advocacy Against Copycats

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