Drawing the Line on Design Theft

After reading Jan's Sidetrack Cafe post yesterday on Poppytalk I had a flood of thoughts. I reminded myself to keep working and moving forward, developing ideas and keep blinders on but maintain wisdom to know there are people in the world that will steal designs and ideas. I also wanted to reach out to all the people who felt like her message was telling "newbies" to give up. That wasn't it at all, the beauty of the internet as a medium is that there is a level playing field for everyone, but you're not playing fair if you're duplicating (stealing) another person's work.

Yes, people steal. Even on etsy. There are people who buy your work and ship it off to China to have it reproduced, then sell that work wholesale to big companies (Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie/Terrain, I'm looking at you).

UO/A/T also sell a lot of artist-made items, so somewhere between buyer and seller the integrity of their wares becomes muddled. {And yes, it's a bit scary to call them out because they do support the independent crafts person.}But they also support Cody Foster {perhaps inspired by this?}, a gift ware wholesaler who does shop etsy, and does send those hand-crafted items off to China to be duplicated and resold, without the consent of the artist.

I could go through their whole catalog and attribute 75% of their goods to online crafters' wares. These images are just an example.
So what do we do? I'm going to write a letter to Anthropologie and let them know I won't be shopping with them while they support design thieves. I don't know what else to do, but this will be a good start. And maybe, just maybe, others will do the same. And someone will see Cody Foster wares at another retailer and let me know and I'll send that retailer a letter. . . and maybe something bigger will happen.

Maybe not, who knows. But as we all figure out how to maintain image rights and property within the abstract realm of technology we have to start drawing lines somewhere, right? Anyone else up for a boycott?

(Obviously this blog post is written based on my own observations and findings. I am not aware of any court findings or judgements on the subject. I am only presenting things as I see them.)