The lawyer who represents herself…

et cetera.

There’s someone on eBay who has decided to sell downloadable PDFs containing compilations of knitting patterns: twenty patterns for the bargain price of 1.50 GBP.

Good thing it was so cheap, so it didn’t cost me much to verify that I was the victim of copyright infringement.

(Gotta use precedents for something, right? Edited to put the e-mail behind a cut)

From: rights @ girlfromauntie.com
Subject: Copyright infringement notice
To: [eBay wizard]

I am writing to you to demand that you cease infringing my copyright and withdraw your eBay listings containing copyright infringements immediately.

My name is Jenna Wilson, and I am the author of knitting patterns that have been both self-published and published by others on websites and in books. In particular, I have self-published knitting patterns on my website, girlfromauntie.com, and have had knitting articles and patterns published at Knitty.com. In particular, I am the author of a pattern and a photograph for a sleeveless knitted top, entitled “Summer funnel sleeveless top”, which is published on my website at:

http://www.girlfromauntie.com/patterns/clothing/summerfunnel/summerfunnel.php

By virtue of the Canadian Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42, I am the copyright owner in both the pattern and the photograph. I am also entitled to copyright protection for my pattern and photograph in all WTO member countries, including the United Kingdom. I have the sole right to produce or reproduce my copyrighted works, and to authorize such activities by other people.

I discovered on May 29 that you have been offering for sale on eBay a number of PDF publications, including one entitled “20 Knitting Patterns for Summer Tops – Volume1″, under the userid goldskyuk. A list of eBay item numbers that I have identified, which may not be an exhaustive list, is provided at the end of this message. This publication is a compilation of twenty knitting patterns evidently collected from Internet sources. The pattern titled “Summer Top 3″ at pages 6 and 7 of this publication is a copy of my “Summer funnel sleeveless top” pattern and photograph, with only minor modifications. This is an infringement of my copyright.

The description accompanying these eBay items claims that you have “been granted resell or master resell rights.” In the case of my pattern, this is most definitely untrue. I have never granted you the right to sell or resell a copy of my pattern. You are therefore misleading the public with the assertion that you have been granted such permission. As your sales activities extend to Canada, your activities are also in violation of section 7(b) of the Canadian Trade-marks Act.

All of the works that I have published and have had published on my website and at Knitty.com are protected by copyright. Although I have made some works freely accessible to knitters, this does not give you the right or the privilege to include any of my works in anything that you have published or distributed, whether you earn a profit or not on its publication or distribution. You are infringing my copyright, and your infringing activities must cease immediately.

Therefore, I must insist that you immediately:

* withdraw all current eBay item listings for the PDF publication “20 Knitting Patterns for Summer Tops – Volume1″;

* refund me (eBay userid mighty_paladin) for the purchase of this PDF publication, which was necessary to ascertain your infringing activities;

* cease selling or distributing any publication, in downloadable PDF format, or in any other medium, that includes my “Summer funnel sleeveless top” pattern or photograph or any other work authored by me;

* remove any statement in your eBay listings that indicates that you have been granted permission to reproduce content, when you in fact did not receive permission to reproduce the content you have reproduced; and

* confirm that you have done each of the above by e-mail to me at this address.

By this e-mail, I am also warning you not to infringe my rights in any other work authored by me or published by me. You may identify such works as being authored by Jenna Wilson or “the girl from auntie”.

This message is sent without prejudice to my ability to pursue any other legal recourse that I deem necessary to enforce my rights, or to seek further remedies including, but not restricted to, monetary compensation or injunctive relief. If you do not comply with the above demands, I may take whatever legal action is required to protect my copyright without any further notice to you.

I have no knowledge as to whether you have secured permission from other copyright holders before republishing their works. If you have not, I strongly suggest that you remove from sale all patterns for which you do not have explicit permission.

Sincerely,
Jenna Wilson

The eBay item numbers that I have identified are the following:
8288296657, 8288393648, 8288579381, 8288672469, 8288760073, 8288933341, 8289010730, 8289177910, 8289265469, 8289368692, 8289471667, 8289571594
8289089817, 8288112175, 8287828084, 8287733680, 8288017300, 8288846388, 8287550937, 8287454546, 8287257578, 8287172354, 8286922468, 8286764052
8287015181, 8286676056, 8286500216, 8286405789, 8286230650, 8286133800, 8285826951, 8285688682, 8285505669, 8285417885, 8285236632, 8285161584, 8285016110, 8284940365, 210000134971, 8284756638, 210000034953, 8284675686, 8284518694, 8284353665

By the way, this isn’t a full-blown, nasty cease-and-desist letter.

I’ve managed to identify the other nineteen patterns in the PDF. I’m about to e-mail the two individuals that I know are copyright holders tonight; the rest I only know as companies, so I’ll e-mail them tomorrow.

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21 Responses to The lawyer who represents herself…

  1. mamaloo says:

    Oh, I forgot to ask: how did you get the tip off, Jenna? Or did you have a hunch?

  2. mamaloo says:

    Wow! The balls on some people!

    I really hope this resolves in your favour.

    I’d be interested to see the contents of the “boleros” booklet to see if my own pattern (which has gone through its own copyright infringement problem, humble pattern that it is). It sickens me to give any money to this creep.

  3. Ruth says:

    I was just checking out some of this guy’s other auctions, and one of the pictured hats in the “30 Knitted Baby Hats” collection seems to have been taken directly from the elann website. Incredible.

  4. Ruth says:

    How did you find out about this? These people are certainly counting on the long odds that the original designer would discover that their pattern had been appropriated. It will be interesting to hear what, if any, defense this person tries to offer.

  5. Jen says:

    I think if you notify eBay they will also shut the seller down – but I’m not absolutely sure about that. If a person’s activity is illegal, they aren’t supposed to put up with it. Best of luck, and I’m dying to know what a full-blown cease-and-desist is…because that one definitely puts the hammer down! You go girl.

  6. Carol says:

    Good for you, Jenna. Keep us updated.

  7. janine says:

    Wow what some people will do for a quick buck! I shall have to go and see if any of my patterns are there as well. Thanks for the heads up on thsi

  8. j. says:

    Eliza: Thanks. Just lovely.

    So this traces back to “craftypiggies” who’s on Payloadz (but I’m unable to search for other items because the db/query thing is broken), who’s also on eBay here. With… eBooks!

    It wouldn’t be surprising if this was only the tip of the iceberg.

    Some of this goldskyuk’s items don’t have this “resale” offer… it looks like the “master resell licence” was offered for the “vintage” collections, but not for collections that goldskyuk decided to compile himself. (I hope.) This particular one I wrote about has PDF security enabled and every page has a copyright notice (for Goldsky Media) on every page.

    On the otherhand, I think Goldsky Media is also selling the “vintage” collections on other sites besides eBay, based on a Google search.

    Chris: The first complaint to eBay has to be by fax. So I’m giving this guy a grace period until I have a chance to contact the rest of the companies (and get to the place where I have a working fax machine).

    Beth: I looked. So she reopened as handmade-in-england, and it’s that berry pattern that she says she “adapted”?

  9. eliza says:

    doh. got passionate and forgot the point.

    My point is that he may not be the only one, and you might find that you’re sending out an awful lot of those letters, if there have been others who have purchased the initial copy with a notice like that attached.

    Is it possible just to forego the letters and send a couple of us knitters out with heavy pointysticks to break their kneecaps?

  10. eliza says:

    oh, man. What’s worse is that you may end up with a bigger problem — I don’t think this guy whipped up his own collected PDF pattern, and may actually -believe- he’s got copyright permission. Looking over his stuff, it looks like he buys ebooks from various places that have that “reseller permission” thing at the end, and..well….resells them. Looking up his book on the 20 vintage crochet patterns in google, it comes up with a payloadz site that says at the end:

    “Free bonus:

    Free resell rights to this manual. You will get a sales letter just like this one, where you can resell this manual and keep 100% of the profits! Reselling is simple, just add your order link, upload the sales page and report to your own hosting account and promote for 100% profits from all sales generated from your site! ”

    So he MAY have BOUGHT this book thinking he COULD resell it with permission. He may have NO idea that it’s YOURS to begin with.

    I hate these people. Grrrr.

  11. kelly says:

    Go get ‘em! People like that don’t deserve the nice letter! Knitters everywhere are on your side!

  12. LissaKay says:

    Hrrm … over 2000 feedback and not one negative. I would think that one would be very invested in keeping a clean record such as that. Perhaps a threat to that standing could get a response, where legal threats might be scoffed at.

    I’m just sayin …

  13. Norah says:

    Good for you, Jenna!

  14. sue says:

    wow you sure told that person. I hope it all works out in the end for you. I once saw someone selling complete photocopies of out-of-print Debbie Bliss books on Ebay. i was going to email ebay but the item disappeared the next day.

  15. Andrea says:

    I’ve heard of this happening a bunch. Sadly they just start the same thing under a different id. :P I hope you rake this person over the coals!

  16. stephanie says:

    Good for you. I’m always happy when people stand up for themselves. I bet you scared the crap out of that guy!

  17. Shelly says:

    You go Jenna! This is just despicable.

    This person is obviously stupider than the average moron. I’ll bet your letter will hit her/him like a ton of bricks. Tee hee. There is justice in the world.

  18. Chris says:

    You go, girl! Did you notify ebay, too? (If you said it in the above, I missed it…)

  19. Brenda says:

    Good luck! Yeesh, the balls (ignorance?) of some people. How did you find out about it?

  20. beth says:

    This sounded like something another knitblogger had happen a couple of months ago. The ebay store that was selling her free pattern was shut down, but has resurfaced under a new name. The thing that gets me is that these are blatant violations – They are selling copies of “vintage” patterns. And by vintage they mean the 1990′s. The seller in question here goes by handmade-in-england, and the posts about the issue are here and here, if you are interested.

  21. Corrina says:

    I’m very glad to see you’re on top of this. I sent an e-mail to yarnharlot earlier today, as one of her patterns is pictured on the page for another “compilation” this person is selling. Just crazy.