Tag Archives: copyright violation

from there to here and somewhere

Ahhh….time for a blog post.  Seems I’ve been blogging in my head for a few months now. But now for real, here. Let’s see how this goes…

As always, gardening is keeping me sane here- a good time for gardening and sanity with elections (finally behind us here until November) and more of the same old BS of copyright issues, Amazon(this time), and Chinese sellers. If you follow me on FB you may have seen some of these pics but I add them here once more.

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I think I will call it the Sanity Garden!

Regarding Amazon, I had to spend a bit of time playing Whack-A Mole there by issuing complaints to Amazon regarding a network of Chinese sellers slapping my images on over 40 crap products.  Some have been taken down, some strangely remain (how Amazon decides these things is beyond me) and new ones have popped up under new names with slightly reworded descriptions. They all seem to contain the wording “Printed Watermarked Shibori Ribbon” which is hilarious seeing that they stole the watermarked image of mine online and used the metadata info to describe. Yes, folks they are that kind of stupid. Kind folks have added their 2¢ in some of the product reviews. One of the items was a doormat (since removed) which seemed demoralizing in a funny way and another was a brandy flask which I could certainly make of use!  Moving on…

The last Indigo and Shibori workshop at the JAMN was wonderful and filled with good, creative and enthusiastic folks. The next Shibori On! workshop at the Japanese American National Museum is August 4-5.  It has only 3 spots left so if interested please check in there soon! They do keep a waiting list so, if full, ask to have your name added.  Some pics from the last workshop:

Next up at the JANM though is Moth to Cloth Silk Workshop  (sign up through the link)–there are still spots open.  I have some great video and photos of silk production in Japan as well as a collection of tools and implements to explore and use. We will reel silk cocoons purchased from my friend and sericulturist in Japan, Nobue Higashi san as well as make silk hankies for spinning and dyeing (both of which we will do in the class). Cut flowers made from cocoons will also be made. But the real star of the workshop will be the live silkworms that just hatched two days ago and for those interested and willing, you can take some home to watch them spin and emerge from their cocoons.  Here is what they are looking like as of yesterday. At this stage we call them kego and they remind us of hairy ants. I have already found my mulberry sources in the neighborhood and am ready to feed the “tiny masters” as Micheal Cook of Wormspit affectionately calls them.

Moving right along, work slowed up a bit the past couple of months which let me somehow to doing a quick turn-around for a bridal designer in LA whose customer wanted her wedding dress indigo ombre dyed for her one year anniversary. Apparently, the other dyers she had previously used were not available and my name came up. these sort of things are not undertaken lightly as you only have one chance to do it and it must be done right. The dress was all silk and the skirting was 3 layers of different silks.  Here is the result:

In addition, I am filling in with my indigo and shibori teachings at a garment felting workshop by Beth Marx in October that will also include some eco-printing (hers, not mine). Apparently there was an issue with the original teacher coming from the EU and I agreed to fill in with the acceptance of the already signed up students (they all agreed!) Class is full with a waiting list. Interesting to me was that Beth also lives in Long Beach and we don’t know each other.  I’m such a loner in that regard. It sounds interesting.

I added some new shibori ribbon colors to the shop- my favorite is the colorway called CopperPlate. I had beaders who like rich colored metals in their beadwork in mind when I made it.  I also added some shibori pieces I call “A Little Fancy”. Check it out! 

Let’s not make it so long between visits next time shall we?



Museum Ethics 101

You know I don’t want to have to go here again. You do. But Here We Are. Once again.

Let’s restate this, o n e  m o r e  t i m e.

If you are teaching a class, use your own work to sell or market the class. Your work. Not someone else’s. Doing so is unethical and fraudulent. If you are a museum, make sure the images you are using to sell these classes are the works of the instructor you have hired.

In this day and age you cannot simply say you “didn’t know”, you “thought it was OK”, or that “it wasn’t my responsibility”.  Your desire to “pretty up” your website does not supersede copyright infringement laws.

I thought a museum was the caretaker of art, artists, and artworks. If not museums, then what is your contribution to the art world? What happened to being a good citizen of the art community?

Here is a good set of rules to go by:

You stole an image, used it fraudulently for commercial purposes, and made money from it. You used it on your website to sell workshops. You posted about it all over the web and your various social media sites.

The United States statutory damages for copyright infringement are set out in 17 U.S.C. 504 of the U.S. Code. The basic level of damages is between $750 and $30,000 per work at the discretion of the court.  Isn’t it easier and more cost effective to use your own work?

What?  You don’t have any credible work to show? No work worthy of museum presentation?   Ethics people!!  Do they teach you nothing these days??  Is this how you wish to be known, as someone who steals the work of others?

A letter has been sent.  Screenshots taken. Requests made. Their response?

We’re “looking into it”.

What should happen?
I’m just wondering…

Globalization-not all I hope for

Coming this October I will be in Houston, as usual, manning my booth at the upcoming International Quilt Festival selling my shibori creations. I will also be teaching a shibori techniques class which I am pleased to report is full. ( If you want to try to get into the class at this point you will have to be put on a waiting list or check the “classes for sale” board on site.)

Additionally, I will be presenting a one hour lecture Thursday morning from 9-10 Am before the show begins speaking to the global issue of connecting traditional crafts and craftspeople to contemporary artisans and their work.
My talk, entitled Silk and Shibori-Touching the past and moving forward requires registration and an $8 fee. If you are a teacher at the show or have other special affiliations I believe the talk is free but you still have to register. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this topic-not just recently but really ever since I started this shibori adventure.

WARNING! Reading beyond this point might bore you to death, cause seizures, bring on depression, or other unforeseen malaise.
(don’t say I didn’t warn you)

Over the past 3 years I have used the internet to learn, inform, and share many aspects of shibori-mainly focusing on Japanese shibori and contemporary artisans as well as my own work. I have happily devoted myself full time to this endeavor and am doing my utmost to make a living at it-combining studio work, marketing and selling, and teaching to make ends meet. I also try to be aware and respectful of the work of others as that is how I too would like to be treated. I find that to be the case at least 95% of the time which adds to my faith in humanity. But sometimes that faith fails me and I feel slightly abused as I did this morning while sifting through my email.

Here is what I saw:

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft

-most if not all the shibori shown here are photo-shopped copies of my textiles. Their website claims:

“It has been a long and successful journey for fibre2fashion since our inception in early 2000. From 1000 visitors a month we have grown to more than 1.9 million visitors.”

As I have also mentioned before, I am a big fan of Google alerts. Once again I was alerted to an article on shibori-Globalization breathes new life into Shibori Craft-sounds interesting no?. Clicking over to see if there was any new info I might glean from the article (there was not), or to see if it was worth posting a link for my readers here (not in the context I would like it to be), I was no longer surprised to find a commercial entity trying to make a dime off of the use of my copyrighted shibori images. I could go through the usual machinations- contact them, ask for monetary reimbursement for a one time use, request removal, ask for attribution, SOMETHING! I could wait for a response that likely will never come and if it does it will claim they didn’t know they weren’t permitted to use it, didn’t know how to get hold of me, think I should be happy for the exposure-and on and on.
If you get the PDF version of the article, you will see this-also my image:

I might feel differently if there wasn’t a profit motive on the part of the grafter (graft-unscrupulous use of one’s position to derive profit or advantages; extortion.) but the “article” covers no new ground and simply looks to take advantage of the rising interest in shibori to sell membership and advertising on their website. The company, based in India, can’t really claim ignorance as a look at the BOD’s claims a long impressive list of law, marketing, management, and IT degrees (to name a few). One of the board members even specializes in “workshops based on modern research in management, semantics, psychology, behavioral sciences, Western thought and Eastern wisdom. They motivate the participants to realize their full potential, and facilitate successful business agreement, increased productivity and teamwork.” I am sure that my images are not the only ones being “borrowed” nor will they be the last. But I have contacted them and suggested a price for use of my images. Only seems fair. I’ll even gift them some of my silk shibori pocket squares to wear to their next board meeting should they decide on some monetary compensation.

I also might feel differently if I wasn’t working so hard to make things fall into place and create the $ to make the final booth payment, buy my airline ticket, pay my phone bill, order supplies, blah, blah, blah.
So I guess this is another bitch session- sorry about that – just feel the need to get it out and expose this sort of thing once again as it keeps cropping up and getting under my skin. I know I shouldn’t let it. Perhaps they will surprise me and restore my faith in the last 5%-I’ll keep you posted.

On the brighter side-
As a maker I am thankful for so many things including:
-Stampington for seeing the value in the artists they feature in their magazines by actually compensating us for articles and features we write.
-other bloggers (too many to name-you know who you are) for the networking they provide
-Quilts Inc. for careful and knowledgeable management of their shows throughout the years and their appreciation of both vendors, customers, artists and teachers equally.
-for customers who pay on time and allow me to continue my work
-to my etsy customers around the world! including all the men who order pocket squares from me- so nice to include you as members of my shibori world (shipping an order to Dubai today!)
-to the universe for allowing me to be me and do what i do

Thank you!

new world order, small fish/big ocean, and moving on..

So it’s done. The site has been entirely removed. There are literally hundreds of links to this site scattered throughout the internet in the form of “aricles”, craigslist ads, wikipedia commons, forum posts, and many more permutations. I imagine that they are removing the offending images and will re-launch the site once that has been accomplished.

This has been a good lesson for me. It points out how easy it is to have your “identity” stolen and “borrowed”. Whether it is in the form of CC & SS #’s, personal info or in the form of your artwork, images, and branding. AND, I never would have caught it so soon if they hadn’t actually placed a link ON MY OWN BLOG advertising their business. I don’t imagine the next time will be so simple. It’s more likely to come from someone anonymous behind the shelter of various screens half a world away. And it will take more time & creative energy away from my work. This is the New World Order. But at the same time, I am thankful for the opportunity to do business, share, and communicate with all the great
people around the world that the internet provides to me. I want to thank all of you who bravely left comments and sent me emails of support and encouragement-it really did help. And for those of you who worked behind the scene on your own time, I thank you. I am a small fish, but it is a big ocean- and there is room enough for all of us- so to the best of our ability let’s not pollute it and move ahead.

Here are some things I learned that might help others:
-I might want to watermark more of my images- pain in the *^*S and more time spent away from the studio.
-I was already a fan of Google alerts but I just became a bigger one. Again, it does involve more work but in my opinion, well worth it. I literally have scores of them set (and I now have many new ones!) and I learn a lot from them.
-have all the appropriate forms (Notice of Infringement, etc.) on hand and saved as a draft to use over and over again.
– be ready to spend a little $ on copyright if necessary (wasn’t this time) and be thankful for the legal help of friends and family (get some)
-be ethical, it will come home to roost if you are not. the internet is a big place, just like the ocean, and the effects of pollution last a long, long time.
– i found an interesting pool in Flickr regarding copyright infringement. in the discussion area there is a strong argument about the dangers of the Orphan Rights Bill now making its way into becoming law. To voice your concerns and learn more you can visit the Illustrators Partnership of America.

” any publicity is good publicity”

if you go here it seems like you could order my shibori omiyage. but you can’t. they are only using my images without my permission. doesn’t seem quite right to me.
perhaps this “this mother-daughter duo business power house with a passion for creativity” should rethink their business plan.

they won’t respond to emails and they won’t take down my images. i’m just plain mad. but i’ll get over it. i’ve had several kind offers of pro bono legal help offered. thank you. you know who you are.
not having to think about this and having someone else handle it allows me to get back to what i really need to be doing-making and selling my work and visiting a 4th grade classroom each week.

you know, i could just ignore the whole thing and go on dyeing and creating. but i do feel a responsibility to the greater good to do my small part to stop this sort of thing. even if it feels like i’m swimming upstream. this is just the tip of the iceburg. today i found a second similar site using my images- but they have since removed them. i’m only a small fish in a huge ocean. buyer beware.

it is hard enough to make a living this way but when people just brazenly co-op your work for their own profit it really is too much! it appears as if these ladies want to test out the viability of selling furoshiki products. So with that in mind they create a website and populate it with stolen images. mind you, they don’t own the rights to these images nor do they have an inventory to support it- just the images and the grand idea of selling furoshiki. they didn’t dye the silk, create, invent, design the item, or even photograph it. they simply searched the internet and flickr for images they liked and thought were creative and pretty (gee..thanks..i’m flattered) and threw them up on their site to see what stuck. then they went around the internet and posted links, wrote “articles”, and sent press releases.
this is what passes for entrepreneurs these days. so much for a background in art. looks like we need to be teaching ethics instead of grantwriting in art school.

i feel better already. onward and upward! thanks for hearing me out.

(note*-to see the outcome of this situation, go here.)

ahhh…life in blogland

shibori girl furoshiki image lifted and used on a commercial website

shibori girl furoshiki image lifted and used on a commercial website

Woke up this morning to the usual list of email and started hitting the reply and delete buttons as needed with Milo on one arm of the sofa, Tigga on the other, and a cup of coffee. Paper read and discarded to the recycle bin.

Several posts were running around my head, just which one would I write today? First, I have a post on Jude’s CQR collaborative (what if?) project- I finished my first block– took me several hours- but what fun it was what- iffing all over the place! Photos have been posted over at the Flickr pool. Thanks for all the comments and all the fun I had looking at everyone else’s crazy blocks. There’s more to come I’m sure!

I finished all the silk shibori scrap bags and they are all addressed and ready to go. I even managed to sneak in a couple extra to make it a total of 12. (Sorry- no more right now-have to move on to other things. I may put them up on the etsy site for a while at a fair price if you are interested- give me a day or two). I can’t wait to see what all you creative crazies do with them. Of course they are not just for the CQ blocks but it would be great if you send links to an image of what you created with them.
All the bags contain some ribbon as well as some pieces of various shibori- I did a little color coordinating by the pool with a glass of wine with my friend Gail (thanks Gail!)and they looked quite interesting when we were done. I hope you enjoy them!

A little milestone to share- the two year milestone of the blog just passed and over the weekend Shibori Girl leaped over the 100,000 view mark-that’s views, not visits. But still a high watermark. Thanks to all who share and contribute here.

As I scrolled through the email I came across one that indicated a comment had been left on the blog regarding one of my posts on furoshiki. It was one of those comments that I usually delete as it was someone placing a link for their business as a comment and nothing more (now deleted). This one piqued my interest as it was a site advertising furoshiki so I clicked over to look. Imagine my surprise when I discovered an image of my work being used on their site to promote their product! You know, I take lots of photos and many people have asked permission for usage and made all the appropriate attribution etc.. Most of it for non commercial usage. Not so the case here. This is also one of those websites where there is no contact info, no phone number or address to indicate where they are located. I have filled out the requisite contact form, hit the send button, and am waiting to see if there is any response. I have, however, (thanks to Google) been able to come up with 2 names but still without any real info. What would you do?
Hopefully, they’ll contact me and we’ll straighten it out.