I would like to be able to assume that "designers" with the bulk of their designs based upon or directly lifted from others' work are not deliberately violating the intellectual property (IP) rights of the true owners of the designs. However, some "designers" are very deliberate and persistent about lifting others' designs or base their designs on popular images since it makes them more money. Think about it - when a design or motif becomes popular because the owner has pumped money and effort into marketing it, of course it will be popular, and we all know popularity and market recognition equates to sales and dollars. If you are such a designer, be aware that the companies that do own the designs are periodically checking sites on the Internet and issuing takedown notices. I know a few designers who have had that happen to them as well as a few customers on ETSY who have had their shops closed by ETSY after using fabrics bought on my favorite print on demand site that were not properly licensed. It's not good for any of us if the site gets a reputation for not being IP-safe because of losses to our customers.
One of the worst assumptions going around is that if something is for sale on on a site then there are no copyright issues. This assumption relies on the use of the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown procedure, with the belief being that if no one has issued a takedown then the design is okay. However, this is simply not true - it may mean that the owner either doesn't know about the infringement or doesn't have time to deal with it at the moment. The only way a design has no copyright issues is if it is an original de novo effort by the designer, based upon their own personal photographs of the natural world or drawn solely from their internal vision. The minute you lift a design or design idea from a magazine, website, or book, you are entering the world of potential IP infringement and you must begin documenting what gives you the right to do so (such as a documented license that permits you to create derivative works for sale) as well as your sources so you can defend your choices in the future should owner of a source challenge your right to use their design. I have seen instances where someone grabbed designs requiring licenses and posted them without permission to a paid download service that offered designs for sale so buyer beware - even if you think you have a valid license you may not, unless you deal directly with the original artist and even that assumes they haven't signed their own rights away to someone else.
First, let's be clear about what the DMCA covers. It is a section of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA), which governs files while on display on the Internet. It does not govern tangible goods such as print products, only the display of the image online. DMCA provides something called "safe harbor" for online service providers (OSPs) to limit their liability for an infringement which is housed on their network. To qualify as an OSP, it must not make any money from or derive a benefit from the posting. The OSP is defined as follows within the law:
A few of us have discussed elsewhere whether or not my favorite print on demand site is truly an OSP, but for the sake of argument, lets just say that at least by using the DMCA takedown procedure they are demonstrating some form of good faith effort to deal with an incredibly sticky problem fraught with emotions of designers who may not fully comprehend the seriousness of IP issues.
The DMCA has a very strict procedure for their "safe harbor" takedown procedures. It requires that the true owner contact the (OSP) and request a takedown, that the OSP expeditiously process the takedown and notify the alleged infringer, that the infringer get 10 days to request restoration, that the OSP notify the owner if they have received a proper request to restore the item to a site from the infringer, that the owner then has 10 days to file action in court, and then after that the OSP can repost the image/file. NOTE: this takedown procedure governs the online availability of an image or other multimedia file - not printing it onto fabric and selling it - that's not an OSP activity by definition, because at that point the service is deriving commercial benefit from the design.
The safe harbor (protection for the OSP, not the infringer) states the following order of events must occur:
NOTE: For Safe Harbor to apply, this procedure must be followed rigorously - no exceptions to the outlined process.
NOTE: At no point may the OSP tell the poster to contact the owner themselves - that would leave the 10 day clock for filing in court "unset."
NOTE: Terms of Service may be applied by an OSP at any time to refuse to repost material or even shut down an account. You agree to a TOS when you create your account. Notwithstanding the DMCA takedown/restoration procedures, an OSP has every right to enforce their own TOS and shut down your account or refuse to put a design back online that it finds problematic. You agree to the TOS when you create an account with your service.
If an "Owner" knowingly and maliciously makes a false claim of ownership and you have your work taken down inappropriately, there are provisions for an OSP to recover damages for such false claims so there's some protection in the DMCA against false claims of ownership.
It is important to know that in addition to issuing takedown notices under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and suing for infringements of online files, copyright holders are entitled to sue in court to recover damages for other infringements such as the printed and sold versions of the designs or derivative works that are neither true parodies or fair use. Willful violation can take the lid off of the statutory damages amount and lets them recover court costs and lawyer fees. Statutory damages for copyright violations run between $750 and $30,000 per work, at the discretion of the court. If the owners can show willful infringement they may be able to get up to $150,000 per work. Infringers who can show that they were "not aware and had no reason to believe" they were infringing copyright may have the damages reduced to $200 per work. IP is a business folks, and there is no money to be made if it is not enforced.
Forms of IP vary and so do the penalties for infringement. If you are using a registered trademark as a design element, please be aware that the DMCA safe harbor provisions and takedown procedures do not apply. A trademark owner is not bound by DMCA takedown procedures. Trademark owners MUST protect their marks or they risk losing them during the required periodic reviews and renewals of their marks. You can very easily search the registered database for U.S. trademarks. International marks can be found via http://www.uspto.gov/ip/iprtoolkits.jsp. It is so easy to look up trademarks online that it's hard to think of any excuse for misusing them. Statutory damages for trademark infringement are pretty high, see the exact language governing the amounts of damages that can be recovered at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1117.
There's a rumor circulating among designers that some lawyers in a design firm told their designers it's okay to copy something if they are 20% different. If any lawyers actually said that, the firm should probably hire new lawyers if they are still in business. There is no such rule of thumb for what constitutes infringement in court. Think about it - what on earth would be the measure for being 20% different? If you want some interesting reading, look up a few infringement cases. The legal ballet and thought process is dizzying and no one who eventually loses ever thinks they were wrong going in. They always have a justification for their actions and end up pretty stunned, hurt, and angry when the verdict is handed down with the bill.
What about "fair use" - can't you use a piece of something? Anything you are using to produce a product on my favorite print on demand site is a commercial activity, even if you are the only one who ever buys it and you only buy a swatch, so in most cases you will pretty much be ineligible for fair use unless you are producing a true parody (and that is really difficult to prove, especially when you are selling something). Look up the definition onhttp://www.copyright.gov/ and you will quickly see it's not going to apply to most commercial situations. Use this Chart by Cornell University re Copyright Term and Public Domain Status in the United States to see if a work is likely to be in the public domain before you start working with it and be aware that even if a painting or object is very old, unless you are working directly from the object or your own photo of it, you may be using a source photo that is protected by a current copyright. Also, just because something was found on the Internet doesn't mean it is IP-safe. Mistakes are made and much Internet content has copyright issues. Clipart frequently has a disclaimer saying you can't use it on the Internet or cannot use it on products offered for sale without paying additional licensing fees. Read all the licensing material carefully before making a decision to reproduce or base your design on others' work and pay for the appropriate licenses for the kind of work that you will be doing. If you do decide to incorporate the work of others into your designs, document your sources and copyright licenses carefully and be prepared to include that information in the narrative description of your design to ensure that your customers are armed with that information as well.
Any time there are infringing designs on my favorite print on demand site it becomes a concern to all of us since it could lead to the business itself being sued, resulting in higher costs or even loss of the printing service. There are over 10000 designers on this site with about 200,000 designs for sale, of which somewhere in the range of 2,000 to 4,000 appear to be questionable in the use of IP - that 1 to 2 percent could cost everyone dearly and I'm asking designers to be aware and be careful.
If someone is creating a work with currently registered marks or active copyrighted material in it, they'd be smart to remove all doubt by incorporating such a phrase in their descriptions when they have permission. When publishing ask yourself if you have the right to put one of the following on your design:
Read more discussions about intellectual property in the Flickr forums. One of the more interesting recent topics is that of personality or publicity rights of both living and dead individuals which vary quite widlely by state and country - there's a whole wide world of IP rabbit holes just waiting to be run down!
Last year I gave away one yard of fabric to each of two lucky winners drawn randomly from what was an admittedly small pool of entries. This year I will be giving away a roll of beautiful deluxe giftwrap selected from my designs to each of 3 lucky winners.
To enter, just comment on this blog announcement and let me know which design you want. Winners will be contacted for shipping addresses once they have been selected. The drawing will be held at 10 PM on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2014). Please enter only one time but do tell your friends to enter as well.
Use the links above to view my available design collections or search on colors. You can visit also visit my shop at http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/glimmericks. Bonus - you aren't limited to the designs that are already for sale for your selection. I can send you any of the designs that are not for sale. It pays to know the queen.
Our beautiful little MiMi the Wonder Himi is now truly an angel. She's my feature kitty on one of my Pinterest fabric boards. RIP, babydoll!
My Christmas Peacock design has been used in an article on Redbook magazine. See p. 144 of the December 2013 Redbook Magazine, "That's Wraptastic" - on upper left corner of page. You can purchase any amount your heart desires on fabric, wallpaper, decals or incredibly luxurious giftwrap (it is THICK).
Check this out: The Synergy Project, a collaboration of 20 Spoonflower designers who create coordinates using shared palettes and themes that reflect their unique designs and vision. All designs are original work and free from copyright infringements so they are ready to purchase and use in items that you want to sell. View all Synergy Project designs (both for sale and not yet proofed).
Order your kits now to make ornaments and advent calendars:
Glimmericks Christmas Collection.I have a few dozen ornament kits already printed on sateen and ready to ship. If interested, please let me know.
Today, I thought I'd try out something new. Each image above is a clip of twelve designs. The first are my top twelve best sellers of all time. The second is my twelve newest designs that are for sale on your choice of fabric, wallpaper or giftwrap. The last is a preview of twelve of my newest designs, which are not yet available for sale. Enjoy!
Enter Giveaway by October 9, 2013 for a chance to win a designer dress. Hurry! Time's a-wastin' for your chance to win a designer Imogene dress of printed cotton silk by Dahl NYC, made with your choice of Spoonflower fabric designs, including your own images!
Of course, I'd love it if you'd choose one of my designs for this and I'd work with you to locate one of my 4600+ designs that suits you or create a new design to your specifications.
Ever have this happen - you're working with an image that fits comfortably on your screen and isn't too big, and then you realize it needs to be about 4 times bigger when it is printed out but doing that with your software will make it too big to work with or exceed a file upload size. This happens to me a lot and I was tired of not being able to generate a fabric image that didn't fit a full width of fabric without crashing my system or being unable to upload it to Spoonflower because it was over 40 MB in size. Well I finallly decided to search for a solution and one presented itself with the right price - free!
I found this software a couple of weeks ago and after fiddling with all the settings I'm able to generate some pretty decent enlarged files to fit 56" wide by yards long print areas that are still small enough to upload to Spoonflower and don't crash my system. SmillaEnlarger can be obtained from (http://smillaenlarger.en.softonicdownloads.com/). I can't wait to try it on full wall-height images for wallpaper strips and shower curtains and other large format applications. It's good to have a tool that works so well.
Someone bought a couple of yards of this today, making my 1000th sale a real scream! Of course, I've plowed every penny of my little 10% commission back into fabric proofing ... and then some. It started out as an expensive hobby. Now I can pay for most of my new swatches with earnings from sales so it's almost a self-sustaining hobby.
I've been asked how people create mockups of things using their patterns. There are several commercial ways available to do this. You can purchase software that creates realistic mockups. You can also upload your designs to any of several online manufacturers who provide simulated views of your final products featuring your designs. However, these product previews are often subject to copyright restrictions. So what can you do if you don't have money for templating software and don't want to violate the copyrights of the online manufacturers that you work with? You can draw a layered template!
The only tricky part of this is deciding which area(s) you want to put your design on and creating "punchouts" for them. Then you place a layer behind everything that you can edit at will to add your designs and manipulate them (rescale, twist, etc.) to make them look more realistic. You can also add transparent layers over your design areas to add shadows, pleats, wrinkles and other effects to make something appear more real. Lock any elements that you don't want to be able to edit. The shoe template below is a .PNG file that can be opened and edited. For this design, the trim around the opening and the outer heel can be edited together to change colors, the lining of the shoe can be edited, and the background design can be edited. You can also edit any of the text. I have added a tiny "template downloaded from www.glimmericks.com" on the left. I would appreciate it if you left it on the template if you reuse it but do not require attribution.
Spoonflower now sells designs on gift wrap in two finish choices: matte and satin. Rolls are 26 inches wide by 6 feet and priced at $15 per roll. This isn't the cheap stuff that rips when you use it. The paper is thick and really useful for crafting as well as wrapping. Use it to cover over boxes to turn them into decorator "boutique" containers, line shelves and drawers, cover books, etc. One roll covers about 6 shoebox-sized gifts with some scraps left over. I offer nearly all of my designs on wallpaper, but if you see a design of mine that isn't already listed - let me know and I'll happily turn on the wallpaper option for you.
Truth be told, I tried to set all 3900 designs to wallpaper but missed about 10% of them due to a software glitch and I haven't had enough time available yet to go through each design to check. If you find at least 5 unmarked designs and let me know, I'll send you a free micro-swatch of one of my designs on giftwrap and a free 8-inch square fabric swatch so you can check out the quality of both. Remember to include your shipping address so I can ship it to you via the USPS. I won't share or sell your personal information. No spamming either - I hate getting junk mail too. You'll only hear from me again if you tell me it's okay to notify you of my own special offers.
Hurry! Go to http://bit.ly/15hJXBI to enter before Tuesday, April 23. You get to choose the design. (Pick one of mine, please, please, pretty please.) Check out my latest designs by visiting my Spoonflower shop now so you know which one you want to win. Yes, this is a shameless plea for ordering my fabrics, but I offer close to 3900 designs so surely one should be the one you love!
Congratulations to Diane Labombarbe (Diane555) and Melanie Cook (Wiccked), who each have won a yard of fabric. Diane chose Spindots Afrikans Solar Flare on Poplin and Melanie chose Starlight Starbright.
Thanks to everyone else who entered. Stay tuned for my next giveaway - will be sets of swatches from my burgeoning stash of samples.
Feel the design love: check out my fabrics and leave a comment on your favorite fabric(s) saying you saw my blog and would like to own a yard of it on basic combed cotton, Kona cotton, or poplin. Will randomly select 2 winners from those who comment by Valentine's Day (February 14, 2013). Oh yeah - I've been on Spoonflower for two years, so two winners!
P.S. Please either favorite or comment on the actual design in Spoonflower also so I can find it if you win! With over 3600 designs (yep, crossed the 3600 Rubicon this weekend) it can be hard for me to locate them by name only sort of like having so many children I can't remember all their names.
What a character and political fixture he was for NYC. Sorry to hear he's gone.
Three more color groups (to refine the browNs a little):
Taupe (gray or blue -brown)
Flesh (peachy or pinkish-browns)
T F L
XT1 XF1 XL1
XT2 XF2 XL2
XT3 XF3 XL3
Also some metallic color designations to indicate reflective faux color mixtures: XAU (gold), XAG (silver) and XCU (copper)
For very precise color groupings, use X + the 6 digit/letter code for the exact color, such as XFF0000 for that difficult true red on screen that prints shockingly orange.
I have been struggling with a better way to view my designs on SF in color-coordinated suites. I am now in the process of entering color codes for all of my designs (patience - I have only gotten through a couple hundred of my 3500+ designs). Here's the schema:
value Magenta Red Orange Yellow Heliodor* Green Cerulean* Blue Indigo Violet browN blacK grAy White (caps are the color codes)
M R O Y H G C B I V N K A W
XM1 XR1 XO1 XY1 XH1 XG1 XC1 XB1 XI1 XV1 XN1 XK1 XA1 XW1
XM2 XR2 XO2 XY2 XH2 XG2 XC2 XB2 XI2 XV2 XN2 XA2
XM3 XR3 XO3 XY3 XH3 XG3 XC3 XB3 XI3 XV3 XN3 XA3
1 is very light, 2 is medium and 3 very dark shades of a color
*Heliodor is a yellow-green color
**Cerulean describes a blue-green color - the aquas and teals and other pretty turquoise shades
Blue vs Indigo - think "blue-bird" brighter vs cobalt'/bluejeans shades.
Other terms I use:
MONO (monochrome), DUO (two colors), MULTI (many colors, usually at least 5)
MICRO20 (a rescaled version that is 20 percent of the original design scale and especially good for doll use), MICRO (small-scaled design), MEGA (large-scaled version)
PASTEL (overall pastel color quality to design), BRIGHT (overall, bright color quality to design)
You may use one or more of these as search terms, in addition to "GLIMMERICKS" to find fabrics by me that include these colors. It will take me awhile to get them all updated, but eventually I will get there. Finding new designs that aren't ready for sale is a bit tricker, you need a special query and can only search on one color:
where you can change the last three characters from xn1 (pale browns) to any of the choices in the table to view all my designs including that color/shade group.
As always, I can change the colors in any design to suit your needs. Please don't be afraid to ask for custom colors for a design you like.
"Save the Boobies" design is available in different skin tones as well as the dark blue shown here. Bikini top colors vary - a blue/green version is available. This design is special to me because I have both a close friend and a cousin who are breast cancer survivors. I also lost my mom, a cousin, and a great aunt to other forms of cancer and it seems that I am about to lose another friend whose cancer has just come back with a vengeance. If we can beat breast cancer, maybe we can beat the other kinds as well.
I am no longer promoting Wikipedia. With their decision to black out the site in a political protest of the SOPA legislation, they have moved from a neutral entity to a political one. As a result I cannot and will not provide further financial support or actively promote them. Do I use Wikipedia? Yes. But I cannot engage in a political activity contrary to the interests of the U.S. government.
Additionally, my personal opinion on SOPA is that it is a much needed legislation in order to protect the interests of artists and authors on the web. Opponents have said it would limit their freedom of expression on the web because they wouldn't be able to hijack the hard work of artists and authors. I say too bad - theft is theft. For far too long we've stood helplessly by as our work was stolen by people who think the web is a freezone where anything goes. It is not.
For the record - you can't just steal any of my work. It is protected under copyright. Right now, without SOPA, copyrights are difficult and costly to enforce. Unfortunately, many of the worst thieves are overseas, currently out of reach of our laws. SOPA would have given us a tool cut them off from the marketplace. I hope that a version that gives us this needed tool does come to fruition.
NOTE: Because someone going by email@example.com did not comport themselves properly in responding to this post, all comments must be approved prior to posting. This action is made necessary because I will not condone the language used by the poster. Why is it that people feel they can hide behind an anonymous e-mail and post ignorant comments in blogs and comment areas on the web?
Here goes - I've been asked how I do repeats. Over time and working with both basic (= free or cheap) and more elaborate (= pricey) graphics packages, I developed my own easy to remember and totally transportable method. I use Adobe Fireworks and Microsoft Powerpoint.
Download and read full tutorial with images:
Whoo Hoo! I had a yard of one of my designs printed on linen-cotton canvas and it came in today. Rushed to the store as soon as I got home and grabbed some stretcher bars so I could mount the fabric for display. Will be submitting it for a gallery exhibition at work.
(UPDATE: This was selected for the exhibition and recently given to a friend at work who had fallen in love with it)
Pictures say a thousand words - here it is:
My worst nightmares have come true for the Japanese. In support of those who have survived, I have created a design, "After the Tsunami," which I have donated to the Zazzle Japan Earthquake Relief effort on several items. The way it works is artists donate their designs on various articles (I chose mugs, bumper stickers and an Iphone skin) and the proceeds that would normally go to an artist are instead donated to help the survivors.
But I have been busy. I just put over 90 fabric designs online, of which close to half are already available for sale. The rest, sadly, are waiting until I can purchase swatches to proof them before I can make them available - but you can still view them online. Click my "Fabrics Fantastique" button above to learn more about my online fabric store and designs - and thanks for looking at them!
Don't mess with me, I'm a scientist - a computer geek with boundless curiosity and an artist's creative fires burning within. Part Vulcan - part Klingon - part DaVinci, I have a background in biophysics, computers and music. I find inspiration in the oddest places and my sense of humor and creativity pop out in the strangest ways.