This is a follow-up to this post concerning an ongoing Copyright Infringement issue with Palas Jewellery.
So, why an open letter? It’s been two weeks to the day that I sent the first of many emails to the Palas Jewellery team and I’ve yet to receive a single email back from them.
Last week, I took to their Facebook page and left a private message. I was kindly asked to re-send my email to one of the Palas team’s email address. She promised to forward it on to Palas head honcho, Anna. Days later, still no reply. I then left a post on same said page requesting that someone please answer my emails along with a brief summary of why. A day later, I received this Facebook reply (the whole post was then deleted barely five minutes later):
‘Dear Jina, our use of the words about dreams are not a replica of ‘your’ words, please research and see that there are so many variations of these words about dreams used in various applications. Ours is not a derivative of ‘your’ artwork as you claim, we have never seen your artwork nor do we know of yourself. Thank you so much for contacting us and we wish you the very best in life Jina. Light and love x’
Nothing says backhanded like ‘light and love x’ at the end of a curt dismissal.
I felt numb. How could a business thrive on a lack of moral conscience? It was clear that Palas Jewellery had no intention of ever dealing with their violation of copyright. To be sure, I sent one more email.
Nothin’ but tumbleweed.
That doesn’t mean I’m backing down. On the contrary, I’m seeking the appropriate advise as we speak. No one should ever have to settle for their work being used without consent – especially when that use creates a profit for the offender.
And so, onto business. My open letter…
We haven’t officially met, but you know me. I’m the artist whose emails you’ve been ignoring for the last two weeks. I’m the artist you eventually replied to on Facebook with a touch of contempt, which you then deleted five minutes later. I’m the artist whose work you have used without permission and have proceeded to profit from.
I can take your Facebook message one of two ways: the first is that you hold a genuine lack of understanding concerning Copyright Infringement (doubtful though, considering the copyright notice on your website); the second is that you understand it all quite perfectly and feel, as some companies do, that they are above being answerable to independent, small-time artists for something as insignificant as infringing upon their legal rights.
The Copyrighted work in question is my Dreamer artwork and its associated quote. This quote is the crux of your violation. The quote in question formed part of a series of works I created in 2009. It was a combination of original quotations authored by me and combined into a set of art prints, some of which I uploaded to my account on DeviantArt.
My Dreamer quote in its entirely is as follows;
‘Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one’s time, for dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plant the seeds of our future.’ – Jina C
I authored this quote from scratch. It is not a mash-up of existing dream quotes as you appeared to imply on Facebook. It is completely original, integrated into a tangible creative work and completely, unequivocally copyrighted.
You mentioned having never heard of me or seen my artwork. This does not surprise me. Nor does it negate my claim. The sheer ignorance of such a statement greatly displays the lack of awareness of your actions.
It would be an understatement to say that I found it highly offensive to be told to ‘please research and see that there are so many variations on these words’. Given the evidence, I cannot comprehend how you could dispute the facts and then find it appropriate to respond so flippantly, given the circumstances.
To be clear on the ‘derivative’ term – a term you have some trouble grasping, my quote is part of an original artwork and is protected under a ‘All rights reserved’ license. This means my works cannot be published, reproduced, copied, distributed, or used in any other way without my written permission and/or usage license.
Palas Jewellery created a charm with my quote on it. This is considered a derivative work. Whether the whole quote or a portion of it was used is irrelevant. The charm uses my quote verbatim;
It seems to be a top seller in the Top 40 Styles. I did good! Oh, wait…
You, or your team of designers, quoted word-for-word, directly from my work. Not knowing it was my quote is of no consequence. There are no blurred lines here. This is copyright infringement.
I have come across two online stores that were found to be using my quotes in multiple derivative forms. The first of which was online print shop, Behappy.me, which sold my quote on mugs, tees, bags and various other products. The other was Amazon.com, which sold vinyl wall decals of one of my quotes. Both companies were served Copyright Infringement Notifications and all products in violation of my copyrighted content were removed within days.
Which is to say, I know my rights. If you were to seek legal advise from a copyright lawyer, they will undoubtedly tell you the same thing. You have not acted in accordance with the law. Your refusal to acknowledge this violation does you more harm than good.
I had hoped Palas Jewellery might have been humble enough to admit when in the wrong and act quickly to make amends. To dispute the basic facts in the way you have via a Facebook reply written in such a cavalier manner is disconcerting, and on a personal level, deeply distressing.
I’m still very much hoping you’ll do the honourable thing by working with me to resolve this issue and I hope to hear from you soon.
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