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Old 11-21-2018, 08:49 AM   #1
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Default Sheena Douglass stamps

Hi ladies, I don't know if this information has made it over to you yet. The info was sent to me last night by a fellow crafter, and having had a look, the problem is genuine. Briefly, there appears to be a serious copyright issue with a number of Sheena Douglass stamps,going back many years, and from what I'm reading, they appear to be based off photographs to which she does not have copyright for. As yet, there is no definitive list from Crafters Companion, but the advice is that items made with them should not be sold, or donated to charities to sell, until they have resolved this.

HERE is a link to the announcement of CC's Facebook page.
HERE is a link which shows a number of the images that seem to be under investigation.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:50 PM   #2
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Wow, wow, wow. Some of those images look like she just converted them to pencil sketch in Photoshop! The one of the young guy doffing the top hat! smh


Sara Davies must be thrilled.

Thanks for the info, Shaz.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:30 PM   #3
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I never heard of Sheena Douglass, but I can certainly see copyright infringement in some. Others, I wonder. For instance, the typewriter. I also wonder about the castle. Couldn’t she have gone there, and drawn the scene as she saw it? Others, especially the ones with humans, I get.
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Old 11-22-2018, 02:23 AM   #4
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DeeAnn, I totally agree, and no, you are not being mean. It's only by people like you refusing to allow others to get away with it that artists get some protection.I'm glad I shared it here, as it's enabled you to let a friend know her work has been misused. I'm so sorry this happened to her, and that it happened to you in the past. Like any crafter I know, if I see something I'd like to case, I always give a link & credit to the original. Thats just the right and fair thing to do. Simply put, there is sharing, and there is theft.

The shocking part is that she is a super well known crafter over here, and has been for many years. The FB announcement was getting a bit heated in the discussion after it. Fans of hers, and indeed Crafters Companion, were saying 'she made a mistake'. Others are rightly pointing out that a mistake is something you make once, or maybe twice for good measure(!) not this many times over a lot of years. As far as I know, there are currently 40+ designs under scrutiny.

It seems it is not only that she has used images she did not hold copyright for, but that the big tag-line on her stamps is that they are all hand drawn. She also has an Angel policy on them for people to use as they like.
She herself has made a statement of FB, but it's all about making excuses, I feel.

Quote:

"Some of these images are out of copyright and available to us all as inspiration. If I have inadvertently chosen the wrong images as my inspiration I would like to extend my apology to those people concerned. There are occasions when under considerable pressure to deliver on deadlines, short cuts have been taken and insufficient detail has been added by me from the original inspiration. For that I am more than disappointed with myself. I admit that I have made a mistake, I have let myself down, I have let you down and I have let the image owners down for not giving credit to them for the inspiration(s) I have used."
Effectively she's saying she's sorry she didn't alter them enough to make them unrecognisable! I find that shocking, to say the least.

Lynnwithane, I have to agree about the typewriter, I think that may be dubious, at least. It has been said that the image of the two children feeding chickens was taken from a photo on the wall at a holiday cottage.

Fifiwesfan, that's exactly what people are saying was done. That's not what people think of when they see 'hand drawn.
People over here are getting a bit angry at CC, they say they are not acting fast enough, and every time they get people asking for info on what stamps are affected on the post, they are just putting up a comment telling people to email them. What what people want is to know exactly which stamps are the problem, and what CC intend to do about it. I know they are trying to get retrospective licences for the images, but this is going to take a long time to sort out, I think. obviously, people with any of the stamps have no legal right to be using them right now, which is why I wanted to give people the heads up on this. I know her stamps are available over there via CC USA.
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Old 11-22-2018, 05:12 AM   #5
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I don’t have any of the stamps in the link, but I do find this shocking. I have always wondered where stamp artists get their ideas, but this isn’t what I was thinking...
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Old 11-22-2018, 07:50 PM   #6
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What is the penalty for a copyright violation such as this?
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Old 11-22-2018, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:

Originally Posted by howdyheidiView Post
I don’t have any of the stamps in the link, but I do find this shocking. I have always wondered where stamp artists get their ideas, but this isn’t what I was thinking...
I’ve often wondered as well. Do they get assigned to make aa floral, a Christmas, and a birthday set? (I’m thinking Stampin Up.). Do they sit around and doodle until something strikes them?
I am completely un-artistic. I can draw no better than I could in 4th grade, and I have an imagination to match....at least when it comes to art. But, I’m a math teacher so it’s ok. I’m really good at math.
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:21 PM   #8
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Just a reminder of our site posting rules. They are located in the footer of each page of the site. We do not allow disparaging humans, and it's the most important rule we have. I will be editing and removing posts that violate this rule.
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Old 11-24-2018, 06:21 AM   #9
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Thank you shazsilverwolf for letting us know what is going on, this was definitely something we all needed to know about, imho.

To any artist whom this has happened to, you have my upmost sympathies. I'm not sure anything will make you feel better about such blatant and habitual abuse of others and the law but I hope you can find some peace, joy and comfort. It is a special time of year after all, go walk among all the beautiful decorations and try to be inspired instead of angry.

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Old 11-24-2018, 11:58 AM   #10
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It's so sad when artists do this to each other. I know of a few artists whose businesses were practically ruined because of things like this, and they never really bounced back. I feel bad for Crafter's Companion, because many of their designs were created by her. Sara Davies has worked very hard to build her business, which is very successful, and this is a big blow to their credibility. I'll still buy CC products, though. Just not products whose designs were copied.
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Old 11-24-2018, 12:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by lynnewithaneView Post
What is the penalty for a copyright violation such as this?

There’s no fine and no set penalty. The person whose art was copied would have to go to court and show damages.

That’s why Disney, just an example, can easily go after people who copy their images. They have $$ and lawyers. But a solo artist could have trouble affording to take someone to court. They could hire an attorney for not much $$ to write a cease-and-desist letter, which sometimes works.

And if copied by someone in another country - like has happened to a couple artists I knew who worked with glass - there’s nothing they can do - except sometimes shut down their business because their one-of-a-kind bowls or wall hangings can’t compete with knock-offs at a big box store made in China. They’d have signs in their fine art/craft booth saying no cameras, but people can be sneaky.
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Old 11-24-2018, 04:13 PM   #12
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Do you know what set this off Shaz? Was it someone whose pic she used?

While I can totally see some of it...and I have some of her images that I guess I will have to wait now and see....will CC refund the money for them? They are not in their packaging for me so probably not....
But some of that is like come on....the eagle head, the tiger, some other animal shots...I could find 300 just like them and many in public domain.

And artists paint places all the time and sell it for gain....so landscape shots....

I too will continue to patronize CC. This is very unfortunate for them.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wavejumperView Post
But some of that is like come on....the eagle head, the tiger, some other animal shots...I could find 300 just like them and many in public domain.

Except that if you look more carefully at some of the details, you can see how the stamp takes more than inspiration from the image. For example, look at the edge of the white feathers along the eagle's neck. The jaggedness of the pattern is virtually identical.

And tigers' stripes are unique like fingerprints. So when you compare the stripes, especially the ones that come up from its rear paws along its midsection, you can see that the inspiration is not "a tiger," it's this tiger.
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Old 11-25-2018, 02:01 AM   #14
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Wavejumper, I'll be honest and say I'm not sure. It seems like apart from that original announcement, no more info is forthcoming at the moment. There are people in the threads saying something was recognised, and the person raised it with CC, but to be honest, it's hard to know what is fact, and what is just ' I heard', if you follow.
The refund question is one being asked a lot on that FB post, but the only reply at the moment to any questions, from CC is that they would ask people with questions to phone/email them.
I guess they are in a very tough position, and have to be very careful what they say, in case of any future legal action that may be brought.

I too have very few of her stamps, but there have been crafters saying they've bought hundreds of them over time, mainly due to the Angel Policy meaning they can sell them/use for charity sales,and are very worried they will not be able to anymore.
I agree, I feel very much for Sara, she has indeed worked incredibly hard to build the brand, and will now have to deal with the fallout from this.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:11 AM   #15
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Default Sheena Douglass Stamps

Hi, this is my first post in the Forum. I am part of the Admin team of a Facebook group which has been looking into this sorry mess.

This all kicked off on 8 November when someone sent a PM to Sheena Douglass querying the similarity of one of her Women of Substance images (Until We Meet Again) which looked identical to a photo from Vogue/McCall sewing pattern for a 1940s style hat. Sheena did not respond to the poster but she did block her from her FB page. The poster then sent a PM to CC and Hochanda, the Channel where the stamps were being sold, once again her queries were ignore. Annoyed by this she contacted Vogue who informed her that they were unaware of their photos being used and that it was without their consent. It also spurred her to look further and she found that:

Time Traveller "Steampunk Woman" is from a photograph taken by an Italian photographer who is absolutely furious that it was used without consent. (BTW Steampunk Man is from a photograph of an actor, William Terriss, who was murdered outside the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1895.)

Day of the Dead "Eternal Love" was from a photograph. I investigated further and managed to track down the photographer who told me it was taken as part of a themed Engagement photoshoot and it had been used without her knowledge, permission or payment.

Day of the Dead "El Musico" is from artwork "El Guitarrista" by artist David Lozeau, again used without knowledge, permission or payment.

Quote:

It has been said that the image of the two children feeding chickens was taken from a photo on the wall at a holiday cottage.
The image was actually lifted from a holiday let website and the owner was absolutely furious when she found out that the photo of the toddlers had been used without permission.

Another image from another holiday let website has also been used, we are waiting on a reply back from there.

What annoys me intensely is that all the packaging for all of Sheena's products have her copyright mark on them. I think she is needing to familiarise herself with S107of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

There were other images that had been used from the likes of Shutterstock and Alamy, we are unsure what the status is of these, however during an interview a few years ago Sheena said

"I would say my core values when designing would be:

* Affordability – The initial price point is low as we don’t need to recoup licence costs. I’m the designer and as long as I can still think and draw creatively, the source isn’t a finite one. . . "

So that may well imply that licences were not purchased and why Crafters Companion staff are now frantically trying to put things right.

BTW this is not all just about copyright, this is also about the fact that in advertising for Sheena's products have stated that they are all hand drawn, however on looking closely at the ones we've found this would appear to perhaps not to be the case and that they are more likely to have been produced using photo-editing software.

The statements produced by both Sheena and Crafters Companion are a disgrace by referring to the statement of facts as being accusations and by Sheena trying to absolve herself by calling them mistakes due to the pressure of meeting timescales. The group I help admin have taken a lot of flak for exposing this blatant abuse of the copyright of others and some of the comments aimed at us have been disgusting. We have been approached by others in the industry who have been thanking us for exposing something that would apparently have been an open secret within the industry for many, many years.

We currently have around 60 suspect Sheena Douglass stamps and that number would appear to be still climbing. We are waiting to hear back from the production company for the TV series "Merlin" as she appears to have used a still from that for her "The Quest" stamp set. There is another stamp which looks like it may have been taken from a still from a famous film but that has still to be checked.

From what we have found so far there is no way I personally will be using her stamps to make anything to sell until this whole sorry mess has been cleared up.

During the course of our "investigations" (for the want of a better word) we have also found that Stacey Barras "forgot" to get licences sorted out for the Victoria Nelson artwork she used. It seems rather odd to me that Victoria hadn't been contacted for permission before Stacey "designed" them. One thing she did remember was to put "Designed by Stacey Barras" on the packaging.

We are also trying to track down a couple of sources for "inspirations" for stamps by another Crafter Companion "designer" as photographs have been found for those which are perfect overlays.


Sorry for such a long post but I hope it may help. Happy to answer queries if I am able to.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:45 AM   #16
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Saving a copy of this to my desktop, just in case it mysteriously disappears like many of the posts in this thread have. Thank you and your group for your hard work in exposing this situation FayeFife. Having worked in similar industries I can say yes, it's common, and yes, it's very much not right or legal. Would not surprise me at all if the majority of the work identified ends up appropriated without permission. This type of behaviour is rarely a one off; again, in my actual experience. I was also very disappointed in the statements offered. It's a bit more understandable from Crafter's Companion as they may be mobilizing legal services and limited in what they can disclose.

Unfortunately as a consumer, it's very hard to tell what's original and what's not. We rely on the companies doing due diligence - getting WIP's from their artists, giving them reasonable workloads, checking up on suspect designs and choosing honest folk.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:47 PM   #17
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Quote:

Originally Posted by fifiwesfanView Post
Wow, wow, wow. Some of those images look like she just converted them to pencil sketch in Photoshop! The one of the young guy doffing the top hat! smh


Sara Davies must be thrilled.


Thanks for the info, Shaz.
TBH I don't think that Crafters Companion are doing themselves any favours in all of this. Any queries on their FB page are met with cut and paste responses to contact customer services. Contact customer services and they reply with cut and paste platitudes which completely ignore the questions being asked of them.

I don't think it will be glory that the company will be covered in at the end of all this!
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:57 PM   #18
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I’ve found Crafters Companion customer service in the U.S. to be rather odd and sometimes exasperating, though with persistence they have generally come through for me. But in this case they may have been advised by their attorneys not to respond. Though if that’s the case, stating it that would make sense.
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:45 PM   #19
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Quote:

Originally Posted by shazsilverwolfView Post

The refund question is one being asked a lot on that FB post, but the only reply at the moment to any questions, from CC is that they would ask people with questions to phone/email them.
One of our group members visited the Crafters Companion store at Aycliffe. Apparently they have removed everything by Sheena with the exception of some flower stamps. She made enquiries while she was there and was told that if she wished to return the "Tropical Birds" stamp and "The Arches" embossing folder for a refund then she could.

I should perhaps say that it's not just stamps which are affected, we've found embossing folders and stencils that may also have copyright issues.

A second member of the group, who had purchased stamps and dies from Hochanda, has now made arrangements to return them for a refund.

A third contacted Trading Standards and they told her she would be entitled to a refund.
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:09 AM   #20
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I got my post removed. I am sorry I broke the rules. I know Lydia. I know how to read. You know I try my hardest to be respectful when I am visiting your "home". I was a mod too of my own forums. Copyright issues really get me going because I was a victim.

I wasn't feeling good and having bad anxiety the day I posted. If I offended anyone I am sorry. I am not making excuses. I do have PTSD & GAD and the month of November is very hard on me as some of you know. I triggered badly about this Sheena Douglass issue.

I know now in November I will get a post removed, lol. I think that makes two! Whoo, I am doing great. I won't be going for a record.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:22 AM   #21
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Lylacfey, I'am glad you are back, I missed you! I am sorry also this issue has triggered bad memories, hugs!!!

Fayefife, thank you for taking time to clarify things for us. I sure hope your post doesn't 'disappear'.

While I understand this is a major legal mess and the company that owns this site has to be careful: I hope they and the Mods also understand how important this issue is to us the consumer. When things like this are going on, we need to know. If members can't rely on getting important info on issues here then IMO "what is the use of coming here."




... big changes usually start small ...
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:05 AM   #22
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so this whole business of using others work has prompted me to say that I am a card maker and my go to stamps are Art Impressions. I have their permission to use their images on the cards I make and sell. I sell a lot of cards due to the fact I put very sarcastic sayings on them. I find a saying and I mean find and pick an image and stamp, cut, colour and put together many layers and sell a card. People come to my table and ask if I am the author. I look them square in the eye and say I love to colour. I stamp, cut and colour all day long. If I was this brilliant I would not be selling cards at a farmers market each week. ha ha ha. I am able to put together cards that are funny and colourful and make people laugh out loud.

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Old 11-30-2018, 09:59 AM   #23
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Quote:

Originally Posted by stampin stacyView Post
Lylacfey, I'am glad you are back, I missed you! I am sorry also this issue has triggered bad memories, hugs!!!

Fayefife, thank you for taking time to clarify things for us. I sure hope your post doesn't 'disappear'.

While I understand this is a major legal mess and the company that owns this site has to be careful: I hope they and the Mods also understand how important this issue is to us the consumer. When things like this are going on, we need to know. If members can't rely on getting important info on issues here then IMO "what is the use of coming here."



... big changes usually start small ...

I agree. I understand that we're expected to be civil, but if a company or its employee has done something illegal, we should be able to say things that aren't all sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it's just not possible to say nice things about someone who hasn't done something very nice. (I'm saving this post too, in case I want to refer to it later. I should have saved my other one, because it was deleted.)
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:15 AM   #24
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Some of the side by side images seem to be almost exact copies, but others don't (or seem to be changed enough that it is a new image). I think in the US, images over 100 years old is 'public domain' (no copyright), so a lot of the pretty Victorian images and old West photos would be fair game, so to speak. Anyway, to my eye, this is a mixed bag. Certainly some appear to be very questionable.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:44 AM   #25
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Quote:

Originally Posted by stampin stacyView Post
When things like this are going on, we need to know. If members can't rely on getting important info on issues here then IMO "what is the use of coming here."

I'd toast to this.

Meanwhile, I'm interested to see how Crafter's Companion is going to resolve this situation. In the past when I've had to deal with art theft it's been a wholesale 'destroy with fire' approach - everything touched by that artist is considered tainted and can never be used again. It goes into permanent archives (in case needed for future reference) but otherwise is purged. That's not so easy when your product has a physical manifestation - they literally cannot get every copy of every suspect stamp back now that they're out in the world, so what are their options?
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