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WTF Friday: Property of Poops March 18, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.

There was a time, gentle reader, if you stole from someone, you had the good sense to be cool about it.  You kept your crime quiet–stayed under the radar.  If you told anyone what you did, it was probably another thief, knowing that there was honor among thieves and there were penalties for ratting out a fellow criminal.

One would think that the Internet would have made all that harder, right?  It’s a world-wide public forum.  There’s a reason no one says “What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.”  Everyone is a potential rat.

Suffice it to say, I’m sick of dishonesty.  And not just your run-of-the-mill stealing, but the blatant in-your-face stealing.  The kind of stealing where the deck is stacked entirely against the victim and is to the point it’s at because even dumber than shit criminals know that there’s not a damn thing anyone can do to them that won’t make it worthwhile.

What the fuck is up with that?

I love Regretsy.com.  Besides being funny, I think in a lot of cases the site does a service to the etsy community at large.  At one time, etsy had the potential to be something great.  It was supposed to be a place that celebrated things made by hand.  There are some amazing artists selling over there (like me!  Click the booties on the sidebar!).  Unfortunately, to find them you have to weed through thousands of listings by people cleaning out their garages.  People are gluing pipe-cleaners to flowerpots or decoupaging porn magazines to ballet flats and calling it “art,” and Regretsy calls them on it.  Regretsy wants you to think about it for a minute before you decide to sell house slippers made out of maxi pads.

But more than that, Regretsy wants you to stop importing cheap shit from Asia and selling it as something you made yourself.  The maxi-pad slippers are ugly, but at least someone put them together by hand.

Yesterday I think was just one straw too many for this camel, and for thousands of other camels as well.  The Regretsy post that set me off, for those that don’t feel like linking to it, shows the picture of a t-shirt that designer Jess Fink created and sells over on Threadless.com.  You can also see the shop of one “glitterbiscuits” where she not only sells a blatant copy of that same shirt, but admits as much right on the page.  She even changed her store banner to brag about stealing the design and encourages everyone to keep sending her hate mail because she enjoys it.  Oh, and she’s sold out of her counterfeit t-shirts, but she’s making more!

I have a t-shirt for her, right here.

Regretsy encouraged all of us reading to flag her shop and get  it shut down.  I read the original post on Regretsy at 8:30 last night and by 10:00 they reported that 26,000 people had complained to etsy about her.  As of this morning, the cuntwaffle otherwise known as “glitterbiscuits” still has a shop and her new store banner is, while admittedly more subtle this time, still making it obvious that she knows she stole, she doesn’t feel bad at all about it, and what the fuck are you going to do about it?

I feel for Jess Fink.  You can read her blog post about how many times she’s been plagarized here, and not just by this worthless cow.  It’s pretty easy to see that being creative makes you a target, and it makes me wonder why coming up with the next great idea or design is even worth it.  If it’s good enough, someone is going to steal it anyway, and it seems that the only legal avenues the victim has are not worth it in the long run.  Well, maybe Jo Rowling has the money and the attorneys to go after people pirating her novels, but for the little guy?  Someone like Jess who has cute ideas and a modicum of success as a designer but is in no way equipped or funded to go after everyone trying to make a buck off of her.

What the fuck makes anyone think it’s okay to use another person’s designs and call them her own?  The law.  It’s set up so that it’s ridiculously hard and expensive to get justice for the victim, and the thief gets away with it because they can.   And not just gets away with it–continues it, brags about it, and no doubt escalates at some point because the rewards of selling her knock-off t-shirts at craft fairs and flea markets to people who don’t know better is clearly lucrative for her.  And that’s wrong.

Maybe Jess’s story just rubbed me the wrong way because I feel like a walking target myself lately.  Maybe it’s the fact that I had a roofer steal money from me.  Maybe it’s because even after the court ruled in my favor, they did nothing when he failed to pay me, unless you consider telling him he could make monthly payments as “doing something.”  Maybe it’s because so far he’s not made one single payment on time.  I just filed papers yet again to bring him back into court so that he can explain how broke he is to the judge.  It’s bad enough that they’re making me treat the theft like some sort of interest-free loan to this fucking dirtbag, but they don’t even enforce the payments.  Why not?  Because that’s not how the law works.  The deck is stacked against the victim and no matter what I do or say in court, the judge has operate within the law.

What the fuck makes him think that he is entitled to my money?  The law.  The law has made it impossible for me to get my money back from the guy who stole it.  And that’s wrong.

Maybe Jess’s story rubbed me the wrong way because I’ve had stories that I posted online to a story-sharing site stolen and re-posted on another site under another writer’s name.

It was a word for word, cut and paste job.   Heinous, but if you’re the type of fuckwit that gets off on accepting praise from strangers for something you didn’t write, what kind of sad existence do you have?  If you need to copy my stories from one free site to post them on another free site–for free–just so that other people can tell you how good they are, you’re fucked up.  What kind of jackass takes credit and praise for something they didn’t do?  Nevermind.  Don’t answer that.

It was only annoying until stories from that site started showing up in self-published Amazon books.  I haven’t yet found any of my stories published for sale illegally yet, but I took everything down I posted and ordered the other sites do the same, and they seem to be all down.  For now, anyway.   Getting unearned glory is one thing, but getting paid for something I wrote?  Fuck no.

As a blogger I’ve made it a point to read up on Fair Use laws just to be sure that when I’m using quotes or pictures or whatever that I’m not violating anyone’s intellectual rights.  And you want to know something?  Fair Use laws as they apply to the Internet are pretty damn generous.  How anyone could feel the need to go that step beyond what is already a pretty generously written clause and brag about the stuff they admit they ripped off from the Internet is beyond me.  When did it become cool to steal things?

But the truth is, whenever you post something to the Internet, consider it a gift to the world.   Even if I pay to copyright all my work before putting it up, I could never afford the lawyer I’d need to enforce the copyright, and even then, is it worth the time, effort, and gobs of money it takes to pursue it?  Is the slap on the wrist going to be enough to keep that thief from doing it again and serve as a warning to others who’d follow the same route?  Yeaaaaah…no.

Life was easier when the bad guys just snuck in and stole the TV.



1. Cindy in Happy Valley - March 18, 2011

I’m sorry…maybe, well probably, it’s me. But that’s the ugliest shirt I’ve seen in a while (either version). Who the hell is buying these?

My poor taste not withstanding, if you’re going to steal a design (can’t imagine, but I work in higher ed and cheating is rampant), pick something good!

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