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kohls rip

Dog-gone it, Kohls!

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

When it comes to artwork depicting animals, courts have to weigh the public’s ability to draw the common features of an animal – the big ears of an elephant, the long neck of a giraffe – against an artist’s rights in her particular depiction of those features. It is the stylistic additions to the common tropes or general features of the animals that are protectable. Here, we have a case involving the apparent taking of an artist’s expression in regard to her adorable depiction of cutesy canines. On the right you will find her images; on the left you will find the apparent rip. While the artist certainly does not have a monopoly on drawing dogs, she absolutely has a right to protect her particular expression as seen below (click on image to see artwork in detail).

- ATTORNEYSCOTT (scott@copyrightLA.com)

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Francesca's Infringement

Francesca’s is Very Hungry – Bites Styles of Many

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Today’s post details what appears to be a massive infringement by mass-market retailer Francesca’s. Many an artist have had their designs lifted, it would seem. And, Francesca’s did not think these artists would notice? Click the below image to see all the horrifying details up-close (if you dare).

-AttorneyScott (scott@copyrightLA.com)
***

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HM

Another Body Blow to an Indie Designer?

ATTORNEY SCOTT COMMENTARY:

As our readers know, the silhouette of a garment or piece of clothing does not enjoy copyright protection in the United States (though it does elsewhere). So, copyists have long kept their beady little eyes on the work of edgier indie designers in attempts to find and copy styles that they think will appeal to the market. Recently, though, a thoughtful and thorough court decision issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals provided a ray of hope for designers whose works are copied. In that case, Varsity Brands sued a copyist for copying not the silhouette but the color blocking and decorative designs on a series of cheerleader uniforms. The Appeals Court found that the Varsity Brands’ designs, original in their own right, deserved protection, reversing a lower court’s decision that found no protection for the designs.

Below, we have an example that may or may not fall within the purview of the Varsity Brands decision. H&M, known to bargain-hunters and fans of all things Swedish as a fast-fashion purveyor, recently began marketing the below item:

This item brought to mind, for some, a previously-released design by the boutique label Untitled & Co.:

While the silhouettes are similar, incorporating the classic boxer aesthetic, and both garments are labeled with an UN-word and both garments include similar banding, it is a close question as to whether this case would be a knock-out in Court.

-ATTORNEYSCOTT (scott@copyrightLA.com)

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lm

Someone’s got a bone to pick with Hot Topic.

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

The oft-cited but 100% incorrect “rule of thumb” that many in the artistic community espouse on a daily basis – if you change a design 30%, it’s yours to use as you wish – appears to have struck again. Hot Topic is selling shirts that appear to bear artwork that is a slavish but superficially modified version of an original design by Southern California’s Love Made brand. It is important to note that the modifications do nothing to add any artistic or aesthetic value; instead, they appear to be the result of inartful copying. This case is currently pending in Federal Court in Los Angeles.

- AttorneyScott / scott@copyrightLA.com

IMAGERY:

LOVE MADE ART:

lm

HOT TOPIC ART:

ko

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SBD

Birds of a Feather, Do What Now?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

An artist is afforded protection for the original elements she creates, and is also afforded protection for the creative decisions made in selecting, arranging, and depicting each of the elements. So, if you spy an artwork made of multiple elements, and you fancy that artwork, you will not be in good shape (legally) if you attempt to swap out each of the elements of the artwork with new, similar elements that you have found or even created.

This is because the artist’s protection in the original work extends past the elements to their selection and arrangement. Below, we see two works art, one of which looks to have been created through the employment of some creative swapping.

- AttorneyScott / scott@copyrightLA.com

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Dear YTWWN:

StrangeBirdDesigns created this lovely work of collage and original expression, which it offered to its clients and customers:

SBD

Later, it discovered that those art framers at Michaels were offering something that StrangeBird must have thought looked a lot familiar:

M

To me, it looks far too close for comfort.

-A Reader

 

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frankart

Frankly Speaking – Graphic Art Used?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Paul Frank, a company known in intellectual property circles for wresting away the rights in the name of the company’s founder and then suing that founder when he later tried to do business through a different company under his own name, has allegedly purloined a pretty swell piece of graphic art and used it as part of its line of shirts. The pictures tell the tale, below.

-AttorneyScott / scott@copyrightLA.com

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Dear YTWWN:

Webb & Webb design, a design studio out of London, designed the below graphic artwork back in the 1980s. The artwork was well-received, winning design awards and being featured in publications and a traveling exhibition. It apparently caught the eye of a Paul Frank “designer,” who did little more than remove the Volvo trademark (probably to avoid litigation with the auto powerhouse) before copying it for a Paul Frank t-shirt. We noticed.

- Reader

Comparison of the Webb & Webb artwork with the Paul Frank copy:frankart

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Ian Art

Jazz Hands!

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Today’s post reflects the long arms of today’s infringer. I picture an octopus-like creature whose tentacles encircle the globe, suctioning on to an artist’s work, and then whipping said work back into its gloomy lair. This time ’round, the alleged thievery comes from Jakarta, where a need arose for a compelling piece of art to advertise the local jazz festival. Designer Ian Austin’s Deviant Art page, at the time, exhibited the below imagery:

Ian Art

 

 

Later, Jakarta’s Jazz Festival released its advertising materials, which included the following:

Java Copy

 

Is this a jacking by Jakarta, or independent creation?

- AttorneyScott ( scott@copyrightLA.com )

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jayde

Cat’s Out of the Bag

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

A tale of two cats, sovaldi sale or four to be more precise. Designer Jayde Hilliard created a series of pieces she entitled, decease “Blue Willow Menagerie” that depicted animals embellished with the public domain Blue Willow pattern. Pleased with her work, sales she posted it on Deviant art, where it can be seen below:

jayde

 

To her chagrin, the cat aficionados over at Bradford Exchange thereafter posted a product that bore a certain resemblance to her prior work. See below:

bradford

 

Comparing the pieces, though, reveals a close call as to the question of whether the idea was taken (still legal, recall that ideas are “as free as the air,” according to at least one judge), or if the expression was lifted (a violation of the Copyright Act). At the very least, it is a dispute that gives us paws.

-AttorneyScott / scott@copyrightLA.com

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Nasty Gal with a Thefty “Oops!”

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

From the “too good not to share” department: Taylor Swift wore an original Balmain design to some music industry awards event. Nasty Gal, who sells an “inspired” knock-off of this particular Balmain piece, posts that Swift is wearing “their” dress. Basically, Nasty Gal’s copy was so close to the original Balmain that even Nasty Gal couldn’t tell them apart. Of course, this is all perfectly legal in the United States (for now: link). And, this could be some very sneaky viral marketing, so reader beware:

http://qz.com/407655/awkward-a-fashion-label-boasts-about-taylor-swifts-outfit-then-realizes-its-own-design-is-a-knockoff/

Posted by AttorneyScott  |  0 Comment  |  in Uncategorized
  • What is this place?

    YTWWN is a blog where users have taken notice to a blatant rip off of a creative work, and shared it with us. Sharing and discussing the observations and casualties of improper use of creative property is what we're all about here.

    This is an open blog, so please, add to and join the discussion, but keep in mind that there is a fine line between a rip-off and similarity of ideas. Please read the 'About' page before posting.

    Please use some discretion before posting to help us keep this blog legitimate.

    We look forward to seeing what you have to share.