© Julie Knapp, All artist rights retained.
My work is copyright protected with the U.S. Copyright Office. Thank you for respecting all copyright laws.

What To Do When Someone Steals Your Intellectual Property

Recently I was the victim of theft of my intellectual property. Four of my designs were copied and offered for sale as embroidery designs on another web site. You might wonder what to do if something like this happens to you. Don't worry, the law is on your side!

For anyone out there considering an easy copy of another artists designs, check yourself. Ask, is it ethical or moral to copy someone else's work? Will I hurt others? Will I break the law? Make no mistake, it is a crime to infringe on someones intellectual property.
Denial of the crime is silly as there are many methods to document, archive and trace this offense. In my situation, the offender is an author and teacher; she absolutely would know theft of intellectual property is a crime.

Evidence - Create an archive of the web site or simply use the Web Archive groups content. They are a nonprofit group that copies many sites online and preserves the images, links and other content posted. This is public record and can be viewed by anyone. Hopefully the offending site has been archived but if not, don't worry, create your own archive with the command under the file menu. This will preserve a static copy of the offending page and can be logged as evidence in future legal proceedings.

Contact The Offender - Look for a contact link on the site. Email the person at the other end. Ask them to remove your content and then keep watch to make sure they do. This would include any future posts. Use the Google tool and create an email alert so you know when someone online is mentioning your specific search text.

Payment Processing - Who processes their payment online? This one was easy for me as the offender used PayPal. PayPal insists on ethics in business and they have rules around how a business person can operate. If a business is in violation of the PayPal rules, their account can be suspended. Provide PayPal proof that you own the intellectual property and they will launch an investigation for you. Once you report the site, PayPal will witness the offense and take action. It's very hard to remain in business online, when you can't accept electronic payments. Thanks PayPal!

Web Site Host - Review the posted pages and look for the company that hosts the web site. You can find this information sometimes as simply as reading the URL or you may need to look at the bottom of the web pages for details on support contact. Contact the support group and report the infringement. Many host sites have rules of operation for businesses, one being, don't post copyright infringed material!  Their site can be shut down if they don't pull the content. In my case, the offending site is still in operation because I personally contacted the poster of the content and she removed the infringing designs.

Demand Action - Make a list of demands and send it to the offender. Include specific action steps for them to take, like removing the content, destroying any product they have created etc. Below is the list I used and no, it isn't extortion, it's your legal right to reclaim your property. If the offender has any business ethics, morals, or intellect in general, they will work with you to complete the list and avoid legal penalties.


Comply with this list of requirements and I will not seek intellectual property damages AND profits through legal penalties from you and your business. 
  1. Send me electronic copies of all files and image file types you have created from my designs.
  2. Remove all my designs from your site. This includes any images or 'add to shopping cart links' designed to conduct a payment transaction or free give away.
  3. Remove all my designs from any of your other business publications and communications in any and all media formats.
  4. Do not sell, distribute or share my graphics in any method or venue; online or in person or through third-parties.
  5. Destroy any physical products, supplies or advertising material you have embroidered or applied my designs on.
  6. Provide me with a list of customer contact information who have purchased my designs from you.
  7. Turn over any proceeds generated from my designs.
  8. Post a public apology to me on the page where you had my designs posted.
Keep in mind I have witnesses and archived electronic evidence that you copied my designs for the purpose of making a profit.

Please note this resource from Purdue University on penalties for copyright infringement:
"The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
  1. Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
  2. The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
  3. Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
  4. The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
  5. The Court can impound the illegal works.
  6. The infringer can go to jail.
There are many resources for the protection of intellectual property. The most important thing you can do is copyright protect your designs! Although you are automatically protected when you create intellectual property, record it with formal copyright protection. The legal penalties for officially copyright protected material are higher and can include jail time. Use the USA government site. You can find and submit forms online or through the mail. The online method is SO easy and it's cheaper than the hardcopy method.

I am not a lawyer so please don't assume I am giving you legal advice. I encourage you to get a lawyer with specific focus and experience on intellectual property and copyright infringement. I have one and he is invaluable!

Link to original story

Copy Cat Artist, Copyright Infringements, With Running Updates

NOTE: ALL my designs are copyright protected with the U.S. Copyright Office - a department of the Library of Congress and those copyrights can be viewed publicly.

This is a log of a copyright infringement I am dealing with. It is factual, accurate and the real truth.

I noticed online, there was a site offering FOUR of my designs under the false impression that they were Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs. This person, Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs, had obviously copied my designs and just digitized them for machine embroidery. Some of her "inspirations" were copied almost exactly if not exact. Note, in the images below, the lobster feelers, claws, arms and bodies. Some designs were altered to accommodate the specific needs of the embroidery process but the resulting offering was still a copy.

The brazen nature of this theft, Jennifer's immoral and unlawful acts, shock me. Jennifer MacLennan claims to be a teacher and author, she would know intellectuall property theft is a crime.

Note: Jennifer has also posted slanderous statements on an embroidery site, saying my claim of copyright infringement are false. This is a public lie. Defamation is illegal, any claim she makes that she didn't steal my four designs is another crime she commits.

Short video of evidence <---Click this link to view video. 
I have the web pages archived, she can't deny it even if she deletes her site content.
*** Note: The site mentioned in this video had been redesigned since I shot this video. It was down for about a month (10/2013) but is now back up. There is a different PayPal account and email attached to the site but the same seller runs the site. The site now states it is a not-for-profit; can anyone tell me what charity this site supports? What non-profit is it attached to? Perhaps it's just a euphemism for a business not making any profit. ***

***Update: (12/2014) The site now offers another lobster snowflake with a different lobster... still not very original. What a nasty copy cat, can't think of anything original so she copies other people.***

Origianl Posting (9/2013): 
My FOUR designs: Lobster Snowflake, Let It Snow Lobster, Lobster Wreath and Holly Jolly Lobster copied by Jennifer MacLennan of JML Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs. The site address is:  http://jensoriginalsembroiderydesigns.yolasite.com/

The copied designs were offered at the following link on her site under "Lobster Christmas Pack 1" (please don't purchase MY designs from this person):
http://jensoriginalsembroiderydesigns.yolasite.com/catalogue-christmas-general.php

Here are my four designs as she has rendered them for embroidery with her JML stamp on them. I found these on her web site for sale.


Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs out of Canada - listing from her web site. This Lobster Christmas 1 pack has four of my Lobster Holiday designs in it without my permission.

Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs out of Canada - listing from her web site. This Lobster Christmas 1 pack has four of my Lobster Holiday designs in it without my permission.

Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs out of Canada - listing from her web site. This Lobster Christmas 1 pack has four of my Lobster Holiday designs in it without my permission.

Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs out of Canada - listing from her web site. This Lobster Christmas 1 pack has four of my Lobster Holiday designs in it without my permission.
Jennifer MacLennan of Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs out of Canada - listing from her web site. This Lobster Christmas 1 pack has four of my Lobster Holiday designs in it without my permission. The Lobster w/Santa Hat is by Robert Forest and the image can be found on shutterstock, item #2183874.
9/28/2013 Email to Jen asking why she is claiming my designs as her own and her reply:
Email with Jen MacLennan, about her theft of my four images

It's not an apology if you qualify it with "not your drawings but embroidery designs inspired by them".  WHAT!?! They are my designs. I own that intellectual property. What kind of rhetoric is that? Leave it to a 'Professor of Technical Communications and Rhetoric' to try and make that kind of argument. It's stealing any way you spin it.
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My (Julie Knapp) designs can be seen on my Zazzle site. These designs are all my legal property and are copyright protected:



Browse more Lobster Cards

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UPDATES

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Update 9/30/13: 

Jennifer MacLennan has NOT removed the links (3 PayPal Links), for conducting transactions to purchase my designs from her site, I took further action and sent the following email to her. This is my cease and desist order:
"Jen/JML Jen's Original Embroidery Designs,

Comply with this list of requirements and I will not seek intellectual property damages AND profits through legal penalties from you and your business. 
  1. Send me electronic copies of all files and image file types you have created from my designs.
  2. Remove all my designs from your site. This includes any images or 'add to shopping cart links' designed to conduct a payment transaction or free give away.
  3. Remove all my designs from any of your other business publications and communications in any and all media formats.
  4. Do not sell, distribute or share my graphics in any method or venue; online or in person or through third-parties.
  5. Destroy any physical products, supplies or advertising material you have embroidered or applied my designs on.
  6. Provide me with a list of customer contact information who have purchased my designs from you.
  7. Turn over any proceeds generated from my designs.
  8. Post a public apology to me on the page where you had my designs posted.
Keep in mind I have witnesses and archived electronic evidence that you copied my designs for the purpose of making a profit.

Please note this resource from Purdue University on penalties for copyright infringement:
"The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
  1. Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
  2. The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
  3. Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
  4. The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
  5. The Court can impound the illegal works.
  6. The infringer can go to jail."

Respectfully,

Julie Knapp "

Note: I need the customer data so I can let them know the embroidery patterns they purchased were sold to them fraudulently and they shouldn't reproduce my images on anything. This is a "Branding Nightmare"! People have my designs and can produce them on just about anything now! She's emailing my designs to people!!!

Also note, it is not extortion to reclaim my legal property. 


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Update 10/1/13: 

After communicating via email with Jennifer MacLennan and requesting she follow a list of action steps to correct the situation she created by stealing my designs, she pulled down her entire site. Later she reposted the home page without her business logo, images or other products she had for sale. She also posted some concocted story of cyber-bullying and is saying some wild stuff that includes slander. I have PROOF she stole my designs. I can tie her to the crime with her own actions and posts on her web site.



 I have also archived the web pages that show copyright infringements. The archived web data I have clearly shows my designs on Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs site being sold by Jennifer MacLennan; indisputable proof of the copyright infringement.

I site the book titles listed by Jen on Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs Site: "Simple Puppets You Can Make" (1988)* and "Lovable Soft Toys" (1986)*The Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs web site author claims these books as her own. When I look those two books up, I get Jennifer MacLennan as the author. I take it this is the same Jen from Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs that emailed me and apologized for having my intellectual property for sale on her web site.

*Public Information, Web Archive, 'About Me' page, 20110709, on the archive for
 http://jensoriginalsembroiderydesigns.yolasite.com
Also see the site home page with the authors self published image. Right on the Home page, the web author states her clan name as MacLennan. After viewing her self published image, do a search for the name Jennifer MacLennan on Google and look at the image results.

If it's not Jennifer MacLennan, who is conducting business using the Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs business name, email, PayPal account and website? Who sent me an email from that business? Who is claiming Jennifer MacLennan's books as their own? Who posted a picture of Jennifer MacLennan on the Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs site? All these postings and email are tied to an IP address and specific posting location as well as a PayPal account with financial information attached. My legal team has those details.
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Update, 10/3/13:

Haven't heard back from Jen. Sent her an email this AM with a link to this blog. Asked her to finish the list. Also posted a short YouTube video showing some of the evidence I have.

Note: I have this persons IP address. In case you don't know, you are linked to IP with latitude and longitude coordinates, your service provider and your address. 

Read the full story at the following: Click Here

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Update 10/5/13:

Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs has posted a message about cyber bullying in place of the copyright infringed designs. She has also posted a slanderous statements on an embroidery site, about the validity of my copyright infringement claims. The embroidery site has since removed the post due too the slanderous nature.

I haven't received a request to STOP communicating with her business email address and I have only emailed her at her business email. I am trying to resolve this copyright issue with her but without a proper response from her I will work with my legal team.  I have emailed her only in an effort to tell her to stop selling my designs and resolve this issue. I have used respectful language and have never threatened her. I have procured and saved all business and personal contact information for my legal team. 

Why would a respectable business person completely shut down their web site they sell their product on, when one artist emails them and asks them why they are selling copyright protected designs on that same site, without permission? Very odd that a respectable business would just fold up. Close the shop. Stop selling all those great, 'original' embroidery designs.

The poster of the content on Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs took the site off line, perhaps trying to hide the copyright infringements. Deleting her site does no good as the entire site is archived by the Web Archive group and anyone can view the archives. She's throwing up a smoke screen of slander when she should be working with me to solve this.

I call for transparency of business! No hiding. Who runs, or did run, Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs if not Jennifer MacLennan? Why hide who you are if you are proud of your work, unless it isn't your original work to begin with.

I site the book titles listed by Jen on Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs Site: Simple Puppets You Can Make (1988) and Lovable Soft Toys (1986). Who is conducting business using the Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs business name, email, PayPal account and website? Who sent me an email from that business? Who is claiming Jennifer MacLennan's books as their own? Who posted a picture of Jennifer MacLennan on the Jen's Originasl Embroidery Designs? All these  postings and email are tied to an IP address and specific posting location as well as a PayPal account with financial info attached. My legal team has those details.


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Update: 10/12/13
It's been two weeks since I originally emailed Jennifer MacLennan, from Jen's Originals Embroidery Designs, about the four designs she copied from me. Several of you have asked for another update, here it is.

At the onset of this process, I thought I would give Jen some time to consider her offense and follow the list of requirements I sent her. I am still waiting to hear back from her on her good faith effort in finishing the list of requirements. I clearly stated I wouldn't pursue legal penalties if she finished the list.

What I find interesting about her reaction is that she pulled down her ENTIRE site and later reposted the home page for her site with some story about cyber-bullying. Interesting because the term cyber-bullying applies to children and adolescence, not adults. Why would a legitimate business pull down their entire site? I would assume a legitimate business would carry on regardless.

Her inability to properly apologize and take responsibility for her offenses isn't surprising. Why would I expect someone who so boldly copied FOUR of my designs, to feel any ethical or moral responsibility about what she has done. An author and teacher. Shameful. This amoral author and teacher then posted slanderous statements, about the legitimacy of my claim of piracy against her, on an embroidery site. Public lies and slander from this same thief, no surprise there either. The embroidery site remover her post, as they were clearly slanderous statements.

Now that the designs and slanderous statements are down, I will continue with electronic monitoring to ensure my designs and IP are protected. Such monitoring is a relentless and easy thing when automated and causes me no hardship or investment of time.

I will also continue to nudge this legal issue forward at the fastest snails pace the legal system allows, unless I hear back from her with the completed list. It might be some time before I have another update. Have no fear, I will protect my intellectual property.

Thanks to all my readers for your support, comments, and words of encouragement. Thank you also for the attention to details and for sharing the enlightening book review found on Amazon. As the reader said, really not surprising.

Lobster Snowflake, 198, 20080719

Lobster Snowflake, 198, 20080719, © Julie Knapp,  I grouped six lobsters to form a Lobster Snowflake. Offered in many colors, I like this light blue best. 
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