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Style question

Hello, I am having a bit of a dilema regarding making jewellery and I hope that someone here can tell me what to do!

I decided to make a necklace for a friend using a picture. Ive made it into a heart shape and decorated the edge with tiny rhinestones - its made from layers of thick card and covered with hard polish. Its worked so well that I want to make some more (I use my own artwork) to sell at conventions etc.

Here is my dilema - when I have these ideas, I get worried about someone else doing the same thing. Well, it seems that someone on etsy makes alot of this style of jewellery - they use shrink plastic pictures in the shape of hearts and the edges have bows,cabs or rhinestones (or all 3). I'm quite worried about putting mine online and then getting accused of copying their style. I know that craft ideas cross over all the time - I made some tiny bottles with fruit slices in and about a week later one of my friends did exactly the same thing - but they have already sold loads of these necklaces and its their style...to decorate a heart with stones. I know I am probably being a bit paranoid and I have found a few other pieces similar but I really dont want the drama/stress of copyright. Can you copyright a style though? I'm not going to be using the same pictures (thiers are off google and mine are drawn myself). Mine does look more or less the same as theirs though.

Any thoughts? My boyfriend has seen my necklace and theirs and he says I am being over worried lol but copyright issues worry me and I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. I'm sorry if this isnt really appropriate for this comm but I thought someone else might have the same concerns and they could use the info as well =) and you guys always have the best advice. Thanks!


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
You can PATENT an idea. It's very hard to copyright anything but written text/patterns, or the products made from such.
Jan. 19th, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
the ironic thing is, the other person is using images of characters from films/tv! so they dont own the (C) for them whereas I do for my own art. I think I'll try some different shapes/framing methods for the pictures to make them more different but I didnt set out to recreate this other persons/peoples work.
Thanks so much!!
Jan. 19th, 2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
Yup, if she's using copyrighted images, then she's the law breaker, not you. Unfortunately most big companies won't go out of their way to bust the little guy, so many crafters do use copyrighted and/or licensed images and product.
Jan. 19th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
I say keep making stuff and experimenting until you find YOUR style.

Also, interview people who fit the "profile" of your ideal customer. What are they looking for? What do they like? Dislike? Which they could see more of? Write it all down and see what overlaps and then work it into your stuff.

The longer you work at this, the sooner you'll find what works for YOU and makes YOU stand out from the crowd.
Jan. 19th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
The thing is, this is my style - bright, bold and sparkly. I've been sticking cabs and rhinestones on glass and plastic for years, using prints of my own work and decorating them. It literally is just because I have used a heart shape with the stones around the edge that makes me worried.

And I have been making and selling on the anime convention circuit for a few years now, I've done alot of customer reasearch and asked alot of questions =) I didnt set out intentionally to create something like someone elses either, it is a coinicidence but its not like you can prove that over the internet.

Thanks =)
Jan. 19th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
If there was such a thing as copyrighting a PRODUCT or product idea...you could just go after this etsy seller for copyright infringement if this is something you've been doing already.

But see...I bet 10 bucks she's not the ONLY one selling this idea. There isn't a thing she or anyone can do about you offering something of the same.

Now if she were to spend the thousands of dollars to PATENT rhinestones glued to a heart (like the Taggies patent owner did with ribbon loops), then you'd be breaking the law. But she didn't.
Jan. 19th, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
I accept that peoples ideas cross over and as with my bottles, my friend did it after me and a million people had done it before me. Its just if other people see it that way...I know deviantart users who have been basically lynched for drawing something similar to someone else because the original artist gets all their friends to gang up on them!
And yeah, type in resin sprinkles on etsy...how many people are using cake sprinkles in resin with japanese stickers? Loads! Thanks for the help =) Im going to try and change my idea a bit more - hopefully I wont be able to find similar ones again XD;
Jan. 19th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
Lots of people use similar materials to make things, as you've noticed. The key is to make your items have that unique twist --your own style as others have said. In this case, it might be the proportion of the heart shape: tall/narrow, wide/bulbous, lopsided, whatever. Or maybe the arrangement of decorations, the color scheme. You're already one step ahead by using your own artwork in the frames. Having the artwork extend into the frame on one edge could be something to try as your personal touch.
Jan. 19th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I think I am more worried about the possible drama more that legal stuff. After all, loads of people make more or less the same jewellery as each other (like the resin sprinkles I mentioned in another comment) but that doesnt seem to stop people making a huge deal out of stuff online.
Im going to keep working on ideas and hopefully no one else will have done it XD thanks!
Jan. 19th, 2013 10:34 pm (UTC)
I would say go for it. (Selling on Etsy.) Because you draw your own pictures and hers are copies from images she finds on the internet. Drawing your own images is sort of a style thing all on its own.
Jan. 20th, 2013 10:24 am (UTC)
Thank you ^^ Im going to do it - and I'll be sure to post my makings here!
Jan. 20th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
when you make a piece of art that is your own original creation, without plagiarizing from anthers work, you automatically own the copyright for your creation.

in the scientific world it often happens that scientists produce the same results at the same time, or very near the same time, as it's scientifically documented and recorded, without knowledge of each other. drama ensues. it doesnt mean they plagiarized each other. its more about the prestige of having conducted original research. they should make peace not war.

and you should feel free to make your own original creations, sell them, and screw them who would falsely accuse you of copying.
Jan. 20th, 2013 10:24 am (UTC)
Yes, thats totally correct =) Thank you.

And I will!!
Jan. 20th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Lots of advice already given but here's my take.

1) There is no such thing as an original idea anymore.
2) Don't worry about drama
3) As long as you are using your own artwork, you have the copyright of your original work protecting you. The fact that you are embellishing it in similar ways simply proves point 1.
4) You have a history of selling as proof that you haven't copied anyone else's ideas.

Experienced crafters know that whatever they are doing has been done by someone else, whether in the present day or the past. In fact, give a group of kids a bunch of craft materials and you will see almost anything that has been put out for sale done in some form or other. All we really do is add our own unique touch in some subtle or not-so-subtle way by using colour combinations, materials, and/or adding something different.

Few crafters bother with copyrights because they know that other people will do similar crafts. The person who got the copyright for Taggies took advantage of the fact that few craft ideas are protected as such and most designers copyright the finished project, not pieces of the project. In fact, I used to have a blanket with ribbon loops on it when my daughter was extremely young. I know no one copied the idea from the Taggies designer because the blanket was over 30 years old at that time and that was 25 years ago.

So don't worry about copyright infringement. Especially if the other designer does not have anything on her page stating she has a copyright. If you do start getting drama from friends of hers, block, ban, and ignore them.
Jan. 20th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
Excellent points, thank you. I keep making point number 1 to my boyfriend all the time; the internet is great for info, sales and all sorts of stuff but nothing seems unique or special anymore.

I'm going to look up the taggies thing because I hadn't heard of it until you and another user commented about it - I'm intrigued!

Thanks again!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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