The great beyond (now with edits, again)

I received a response from the eBay seller that I consider fairly prompt.

He refused to pull the listings from eBay, but instead said that he would remove my pattern from the document; he refunded the money I spent; and he explained that the statement that he had “been granted resell or master resell rights” was a reference to the “document that was compiled by Goldsky Media and is not for resale by any one else”.

He also said:

I can honestly state that I have never heard of you or the site in question
I do not doubt that some of the patterns if not all are freely available on the internet.
I have spent alot of time researching copyright and intellectual property issues and and follow a strict set of guildlines when it comes to these matters.
I would not knowingly breach anyones copyright or intellectual property rights.
I have endeavoured to use material that is or has been provided to me as beyond copyright issues, out of print or in the public domain
I have two people also that provide me with material and try to ensure that the material that they give me also follows these strict set of guidelines
If one or any of these patterns is indeed copyrighted or in breach of any of these guidelines, it will be removed immediately.

(“Beyond” copyright issues?)

To which I responded (after the jump, this page is getting long):

Sean,

Thank you for your reply.

However, your refusal to withdraw the PDF publication from sale is not acceptable. As the item continues to be listed, my pattern continues to be sold or offered for sale. If I am not satisfied that my pattern has been removed from this collection in the next three hours, I will file the necessary declaration with eBay to have your listings removed.

As to your claim that you would not knowingly breach anybody’s copyright and that you have endeavoured to use material that was “beyond copyright issues”, whatever that means, or out of print or in the public domain: the PDFs that you are distributing show that this is untrue.

Every single one of the patterns reproduced in the “Summer Tops” PDF is available on the Internet. If, as you say, you have individuals working under your direction to collect material for you to resell, you are liable for actions of these individuals. You, or individuals working under your direction as you described, deliberately stripped out or cut off copyright information and republished the work as your own. Here are only four examples, besides my own pattern (and the webpage from which it was taken did include a copyright notice):

1. Azzuro Summer Top, published as your “Summer Top 1″, was provided on the elann.com:

http://secure.elann.com/ShowFreePattern.asp?Id=72024

and the copyright notice reads: “Copyright Coats GmbH, Postfach 1179, D-79337 Kenzingen” (elann.com obtains permission from distributors to reproduce patterns)

2. Roll Neck Sleeveless Shell, published as your “Summer Top 8″, was created and published by Barbara Breiter at http://knitting.about.com/library/weekly/aa042604.htm
and the copyright notice reads: “)Barbara Breiter. This design may not be reproduced in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author.”

3. Honeymoon Cami, published as your “Summer Top 16″, was created by Julia Trice and published by Knitty.com at

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring04/PATThoneymoon.html

and the copyright notice reads: “Pattern & images ) 2004 Julia Trice” and is followed by a link to e-mail the author.

The legal page of Knitty.com (accessible from any pattern page by clicking on “legal bits” in the left-hand bar) reads–with bright pink and bold text–

“Every pattern on the Knitty website is the property of the designer who created it and cannot be reproduced, except for one copy for an individual’s personal use. If you print patterns from Knitty and sell them without the designer’s permission, you are stealing.”

4. Deco-Ribbon with Fling Ruffle Sleeveless Top and Skirt, the top of which was published as your “Summer Top 13″, was published by Crystal Palace Yarns at http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/deco-fling-top-skirt.html
and the copyright notice reads: “copyright 2005 Crystal Palace Yarns/Straw Into Gold, Inc. – We are happy to share this pattern with knitters. The pattern may be used for non-commercial personal or knitting guild use. It is not to be used in any publication in print nor should it be reproduced in electronic/digital format without permission. Knitting Shops carrying Crystal Palace Yarns Deco-Ribbon and Fling are welcome to use this free pattern for their customers.”

I am forced to conclude from what you (or those people working under your direction) did to my pattern and the others in this collection, you knew that these patterns were protected by copyright, and you took steps to attempt to remove any information that would indicate copyright ownership by any one other than yourself or Goldsky Media.

You edited the pattern instructions to remove any reference to yarn brands. For example, in the Crystal Palace Yarns pattern mentioned above, the original pattern instructions read:

“6 (6, 7, 7, 8) – 50 gr balls of Deco Ribbon color 122, 2 – 50 gr. balls of Fling color 9780, Fling is held doubled”

You edited it to read:

“6 (6, 7, 7, 8) – 50 gr balls of color rouge, 2 – 50 gr. balls of color pink, pinkis held doubled” (the typographical error is yours)

You also edited the photographs accompanying the pattern. In this Crystal Palace Yarns pattern, you cropped the photograph to remove the skirt, and altered the hues in the picture to make the top appear to be red instead of blue.

And in all cases, you removed any copyright notice that was included on the same page.

These alterations are not accidental or unknowing. They are deliberate.

Furthermore, your explanation of the “master resell rights” is nonsensical. The reader of that statement is left with the impression that the authors of the original content in your PDFs gave permission for its distribution in your PDFs.

If you wish to continue educating yourself about copyright, I suggest the following links:

http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/indetail/morecopy.htm (note the last question “Is material on the Internet protected by copyright?”)

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#change (“How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else’s work?”)

Jenna

The reply to this was that my pattern had already been removed (my torso is still in the eBay listings, by the way). I’ve asked for proof in the form of another download link so that I could see for myself. He also added:

I accept full responsibility for those working for me as you say. and I am some what disturbed by your revelations.
As I said I would know knowingly breach anyones copyright or intellectual property right issues and trusted that the material they had supplied was not in breach of these guidelines
The fact that that as you say the photographs etc hav been edited etc was not what I asked them to do and I shall perform a full review of all the material
that has been provided to me by these individuals.

We shall see, although I infer in the meantime that he intends to keep selling the remainder until each copyright owner contacts him. I have e-mailed contacts for all of the other pattern publishers/designers affected, so if his eBay listings need to be VeROed, it can still be done.

But wait, there’s more!

I have a copy of the “new” PDF now. And here’s what I just wrote:

Sean,
Thank you for removing my pattern.

However, I see that you have simply replaced it with somebody else’s copyrighted content. The original may be found here:

http://www.canadianliving.com/canadianliving/client/en/Crafts/DetailNews.asp?idNews=2737&idsm=307

The copyright notice at the bottom of the page indicates that all rights are reserved.

And you are still using my photograph in your eBay listings. That must be removed immediately.

Jenna

Still more!

Now that my picture is removed from the listings, I don’t seem to have a VeRO grievance anymore.  Now, I can follow up with the authors/publishers I wrote to last night/early this morning.  I can urge other rightsholders to file VeRO complaints with eBay, but if they choose to take the non-eBay cease-and-desist route, that’s their right.  (Speaking for myself, I’d like to educate first, which may not happen with an outright VeRO takedown; but if this seller does this to me again, it’ll be VeRO first, correspondence later.)

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45 Responses to The great beyond (now with edits, again)

  1. biotechgrrl says:

    While this guy is an idiot for messing with you, I am presonally more concerned about this “goldsky” thing. How many other people are going to believe that they are purchasing the rights to re-sell these patterns?

    As Amie said, he should be forced to re-write copyright
    into his own hand, Harry Potter style.

  2. Amie says:

    P.S. Did you happen to take screen shots before he changed the listings??? I’ve done that before. It’s great because you always have a dated copy of the screen shot as proof that he violated your rights. That way, if let’s if he decides to continue to knowingly violate your rights (and those of others), you will have a paper trail on him.

  3. Amie says:

    UGH. I’m reading about this late in the game. What a prick. People like this should be forced to spend their prison time writing and re-writing the definition for the word “copyright” over and over again until their hands bleed and it’s bedtime!!!

    What would really help is if you could post his IP address so we can all block him BEFORE he makes his way to our site(s).

  4. Pyogazel says:

    Thank you for taking the time to fight this for all of us, I think I already would have given up! The nerve of some people… may be I should find a lawyer!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m simply stunned that we had the exact same email exchange with him.
    It takes quite a bit to rob me of words, but he managed.

  6. Carol says:

    Here’s the LJ link for anyone who wants it:
    http://community.livejournal.com/knitting/7099359.html

    if it’s been posted already, sorry for the repeat.
    C

  7. Jessica says:

    Well played, Jenna. As I wrote on Knittyboard, nice try with the Ken Lay defense, dude.

  8. Cheri says:

    I linked from Knit and Tonic. It amazes me how dishonest people can be.

  9. My copyrighted pattern is one that this creep shows on the 6″ squares ebook. Please let me know how I can help.

  10. juliagr says:

    Jenna: well done. Enough chances. Shut him down.

  11. Pink Rocket says:

    hi there! i came from wendy’s knit and tonic! i can’t believe this guy is doing this! i have a free pattern available for a baby hat! i’m certainly going to go add more to my copyright! thanks for alerting everyone!

  12. Heather says:

    Nice job. Keep fighting the good fight.

  13. j. says:

    At this point, the seller has pulled the item listings that were directly related to correspondence he has received from copyright owners, but not all–there’s one PDF with children’s hats and another with cardigans. I believe that someone is planning to submit a VeRO complaint for the hats PDF. I’ve been told that other VeRO complaints have been sent to eBay, as well.

    Is it over? Of course not. Iceberg? Yes.

    I was one of the people who worked on this: a small sampling of Yahoo groups exchanging copies of plastic canvas patterns. The project was spearheaded by Linn Skinner, who tried to spur TNNA (I believe it was) to take serious action–by stepping up education, by assisting a designer in suing an infringer, etc. Collectively, we looked at every single page included in that tally to identify the publisher/copyright owner in order to illustrate how widespread the problem was. (We also saw some fugly plastic canvas crafts along the way.)

  14. j. says:

    Blast… I’m still waiting for the secret to riches, Jen!

    … I’m still waiting for the bit where they ask me for money, dang it.

    Oh, wait, here it is: fool other people into signing up for a .ws domain name and webhosting account! with pyramid graphics! (for educational purposes only).

    I like how the banner tells you to get ready for the ride of your life.

  15. Rainy says:

    Brava. You rock. That was very well done and I hope that the other designers are as quick to take action.

  16. Leann says:

    So sorry to hear about all that’s happening.

    In the other post someone mentioned, “this is just the tip of the iceberg”. These crochet patterns are sold with resell right. Everyone is selling them. They are offered in memberships and other products where they sell them some more.

    Do a simple search and you’ll see what I mean.

    Good luck to all of you.

  17. Shannon says:

    Yet another reason Jenna is my hero. (-ine)!

  18. Lynne Rago says:

    Thank you so much for pointing this out. My copyrighted pattern, including the photo, is posted on the ad for this ebook. My original copyrighted pattern is located here, with an extremely clear copyright notice at the bottom of the pattern:

    http://freddyknits.blogspot.com/2005/03/beginners-fair-isle-baby-hat-free.html

    I have sent an email to the seller, and also reported the seller to ebay. This is infuriating!

    Many thanks to CatBookMom for calling this to my attention.

  19. Jen says:

    Hey Jenna, you might find this interesting. (I’m a snoop.) I clicked one of the cardi photos to come up in a window by itself and noticed the url. Went to the main url. It’s some kind of hideous money-making scheme with lots of tunnels to run through to get content. They tell you how to make thousands!

    Well, we know the secret – by stealing other peoples’ stuff!

    http://www.cashsurfing.co.uk/promoflyer/html/promoflyer.htm

  20. Tara says:

    I looked at his listings on the other sites. He’s only showing one photo per ebook over there but I’m pretty sure I recognized a Berrocco pattern on the “30 Afghans” listing.

  21. MJ says:

    What a douchebag. I hope he gets delisted, or banned. Thanks for bringing this up!

  22. Lynae says:

    In 1999 I bid on a Beanie Baby bear (yes, I know) and within minutes had dozens of e-mails in my inbox about how the seller was selling fakes.

    E-bay was contacted, and the seller was delisted….however, it didn’t end there. One of the people this seller had scammed was an attorney who contacted the Attny General of Ohio. She collected all of the fraudulent bears, and copies of all the e-mails (including the threatening ones I received when I backed out of the auction.) The seller and her son are now serving time in the Federal Prison system for mail fraud.

    My point – a few people CAN make a difference. Go get the bastid!

  23. Hi Jenna,

    How can you see what patterns are included in the ebooks? I’d like to point my Canadian Living contact directly to it. I can see one or two pics when I click on his items, but I’m not sure I’ve found the one you mentioned, since I don’t recognize the top.

    Thanks!

  24. zib says:

    FYI – he’s also selling .pdfs here – http://www.cqout.com/list.asp?seller=goldsky not as many, yet.

  25. Kathryn says:

    I’m KathrynT, one of the moderators of the LJ Knitting community, and I’m so glad we could help you out. Copyright violation is my personal evil pet peeve, and I really want to see people like this schmucko forced to pay and pay and pay. Can you demand remuneration from him for every copy of the ebook he’s sold?

  26. Julia says:

    Jenna, Thanks so much for doing all of this. I feel confident that Sean has been educated, so I will go the VeRO route myself. I’m not sure if you noticed, but the camisole with the fluff that is pictured on the advertisement is a Gedifra pattern. I’m sure if they knew they would not be pleased. I seriously doubt there is a pattern in that book that is not copyrighted.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Um. Yeah. And how exactly are the “people working for him” supposed to “find” designs to sell without contacting the designer, getting some kind of agreement signed, and cutting them in on the profits? Knitting patterns don’t grow on trees. Clearly, he’s a scam artist. I’m glad he got caught though. Let us know how this thing progresses.

  28. JoVE says:

    On the not so bright front, doing it to something from Canadian Living seems like a bad move. those people have actual budgets and lawyers and stuff. Or is he American and doesn’t realize that is a real, print magazine run by a big publishing company?

  29. LisaB says:

    There is a link to report auctions in copyright violation http://cgi1.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=InlineSelfHelpWebform&wftype=2023&rcode=BN%25P10308&subject=Unauthorized%20Copies%20of%20Media&bcrumb=%20Home%20%3E%20Help%20%3E%A0Rules%20and%20Policies%A0%3E%A0Rules%20about%20Intellectual%20Property%A0%3E%A0Replica%2C%20Counterfeit%20Items%20and%20Unauthorized%20Copies&instruction=&expirationDate=
    – however, the form only lets you enter auction numbers, without any explaination of how the item is violating copyright (or whose copyright).

    I’m wondering – It may be a hollow victory to get this seller de-listed, in the sense that small time scammers have a way of popping back up under another user ID – he’s probably relying on the assumption that many of his victims don’t have the means to prosecute from ‘across the pond’ or aren’t able to justify it financially, as he’s relatively small potatoes and probably there are many more where he came from.

    But if Disney can strike terror into the hearts of the smallest daycare with a wall mural that includes Mickey Mouse, you’d think somebody could prevail upon eBay to discourage this kind of business. Which, unfortunately, goes on All The Time.

  30. smartcat says:

    Maybe he thinks since he is not in the US, US designers will be afraid that there is nothing that can be done. I am a beginning designer and do not even begin to know all the ins and outs of copyright law, let alone international copyright law enforcement. But he is definitely treading on some big toes with the patterns he has filched.

    I commend you for taking a stand and want to thank you on behalf of all of us small-time designers out here.

  31. Robyn says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for being so open about this HORRIBLE seller! I surfed right over and noticed that a whole bunch of the crochet patterns were copyrighted as well. Some from larger yarn companies, but some from small little designers like me. HOW AWFUL! What a terrible thing to do! Us designers get paid so little to begin with, why cut our work down ever more! So again, thank you so much for posting!!

  32. Jen says:

    Hi Jenna – hey, you did a transaction with this man, so you can leave feedback. If you haven’t already, definitely leave negative feedback (to dilute that 100% for starters) with a comment saying that he’s selling someone elses’ copyright. I know you’re the expert on this issue, but it would help someone like me if I could see right there in his feedback that something dodgy was going on.

    I noticed one or two others in his feedback comments – can’t hurt.

  33. zib says:

    Jenna, Do you have suggestions for a form letter for those of us he has stolen from? Just found he swiped one of Elizabeth’s designs from thegarterbelt.com and I can’t let it go by without raising a ruckus. Since the majority of my thoughts on this includes obscenities, thought I’d ask first. Thank you.

  34. Thank you for alerting me to the several copyright violations by this same guy on Ebay! Their collections seem to have many of our Free Crystal Palace knitting patterns – I even see one in the samples on a listing for “Cardigan” patterns. I wrote and he answered very quickly that he would pull the collections. His name seems to be “Sean”

    he wrote:

    “Susan
    I would never knowing infringe on anyones intellectual property rights or copyright. The material that makes up the ebooks was provided to me on that basis. I will remove all current listings and future listings at somepoint today until I can ascertain the where the people who provided me wtih this material actuall got it many
    thanks
    Sean”

    I’m very ticked off!

    Regards, Susan

    Susan C. Druding
    Crystal Palace Yarns – Straw Into Gold, Inc.
    Richmond, CA 94804
    web: http://www.straw.com

  35. eliza says:

    I’m still voting for knee-breakin’.

    What a putz. People working for him, blah blah blah. Riiiiight. He was just hoping nobody’d notice, most likely.

  36. Cindy Moore says:

    Jenna,
    Have you reported him to ebay? They do not allow copyrighted material. .

  37. I’ve emailed the crafts editor at Canadian Living to let her know about the new violation.

  38. j. says:

    Oh, right–in response to mamaloo (and others?) in the previous post, the tip-off came from the LJ Knitting community. Someone bought one of the PDFs (a baby/child one), thought it wasn’t quite right because it contained patterns she recognized without credit and asked the community for advice. The OP managed to identify all of the original patterns by searching phrases from the patterns, and I believe she contacted all of those publishers/authors.

    After I saw the initial post to LJ, I wandered over to take a look, and discovered the “summer tops” one… with my photograph. (Dead giveaway, heh.)

  39. Roberta says:

    How many others are there doing the same thing. The only one I’ve ever found out about with my patterns was the yarn store in the US that is now operating under a different name.

    These people have ticked me off to the point that I don’t think I’m going to offer free patterns any longer.

  40. Valerie says:

    Don’t you just love being a lawyer sometimes? :)

    Are you getting ebay involved yet?

  41. jodi says:

    I’d love to see the guy’s face when he finds out what you do for a living, Jenna. It’s scary to think of how a designer without your knowledge and resources would navigate his bulls**t, and I’m sure that’s just what these people count on; that even if the designer or copyright holder does find out, they’ll be too baffled by the ins and outs of copyright law to be able to stop the infringement.

  42. Chris says:

    Go, Jenna!

  43. Brenda says:

    You might want to encourage others who were violated to also contact ebay separately to claim infringement. “Repeated violations” will probably result in ebay suspending his seller account.

  44. Steph says:

    What a c(r)ock! This guy knows exactly what he’s doing and he sucks. Get ebay to pull his listings.

    He messed with the wrong knitter.

  45. Carrie says:

    Lord, the gall of some people.

    Clearly he’s half-smart–that is, smart enough to work out what he thinks is an easy, legal way to make money, but not smart enough to have actually done so.

    I gotta say, I think it’s time to talk to eBay. This guy is clearly hoping to get away with it by placating any (and only) authors who talk to him directly. The only way to make him really stop is to get him all at once. It might be more effective if you could get a number of the authors to complain together, I suppose, but I am no expert on such matters.