Victory Is Mine

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Over the weekend I learned a huge wholesaler is selling my I Just Want To Hang With My Dog shirt.

It's in boutiques all over the country now. Search #ijustwantohangwithmydog and you'll see what I'm talking about. You'll also see me hounding every insta post with "BUT ARE YOU GIVING BACK TO SHELTERS?" If they say yes, I back off. It's that simple.

But sadly not one has said yes. The only boutique giving back is Three Eighteen in Norfolk because they purchased from me and my one condition was they had to give a portion back to shelters, and Marie the owner, was more than happy to do so.

I stopped searching the shirt on Etsy after I saw more than 30 shops reselling it. Let it be, I told myself. You've all heard this rant enough I know, and I apologize for bringing it up so much. It just kills me that some people are so unoriginal they can't change literally ONE word so it's not a direct copy. That's all it takes in t-shirt world to be an okayish person.

Just one word. That's all I ask.

Then on Monday I found out people are copying my MARRIED AF shirt. That was quick. It took less than six weeks for someone to steal it.



I contacted the seller, she admitted she stole, and then she suggested I, "move on and not worry about other people taking my designs."

Ooof. Not a good thing to tell me when I'm feeling aggressive.

I have a copyright for MARRIED AF, but laws about this stuff are weird. You can't copyright a t-shirt phrase, so instead I copyrighted another piece of work dealing with MARRIED AF and tied my t-shirts into it.

I reported the shop to ETSY as I have in the past but I didn't expect much. As mentioned, I've butt heads a few times with Etsy regarding this stuff before.

But yesterday Etsy wrote me back and informed me they took the other sellers' items down. They took them down! VICTORY IS MINE. And boy did it feel good. It's such a little thing, but for a small business owner it felt huge.

So now I'm wondering, should I rethink how I've tried (and failed) to protect the dog shirt? It's documented all over the internet I'm the first to have created, published and sold it. Or do I just come up with a new one? Both will take time and money, but it's worth it to me.

I think it may be time for a new one...

This isn't meant to be another bitchy t-shirt post (but such is my life so again I'm sorry I write about it so much) instead this is a tale of victory.


VICTORY IS MINE. (I just keep repeating this while I walk around my living room with my arms in the air.) I've said it before and I'll say it many more times, I'm really very appreciative to everyone who has ever purchased a shirt from me. Thank you!

One shirt down, ten to go. Tackle Wednesday, friends. It's going to be a good one.


37 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh this is HUGE! I'm so happy they took them down. Creative copyright is a tricky bitch and I've dealt with it more times than I care to admit. I say go for the gusto with the dog shirts! I'll send Bill to help. He's really good at growling and puffing up all his fur.

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  2. YAY! I definitely think its wrong for other people co capitalize off of your ideas without your permission, so I'm glad Etsy did the right thing. Personally I would only tackle the dog shirt if I knew it wouldn't consume my life. Since it may have already blown way up, maybe your creativity and time are better spent coming up with something new. Just a thought. In a perfect world, of course, I'd fight hard for the dog shirt.

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    1. I definitely agree. It may be out of my hands at this point and the negativity it brings into my life when I think about fighting it is exhausting.

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  3. Congrats! Um, I would go after the others but that's just me

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  4. It makes me mad just thinking about this. I want to grab a pitchfork and bang on wooden doors. glad you have SOME victory in this. i'll be there with you to the death fighting this.

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  5. I've wanted to go into T-Shirt making for awhile now but I keep reading these horror stories of people stealing designs & the laws of copyright for them, that I keep shying away from it. Congrats on the win, that's a huge victory for yourself and small businesses!

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  6. Are there no honest people left out there? I am stunned that the Etsy girl basically told you to "get over it", and equally as happy you got her shut down. You can do this! I say figure out how to get your dog tee shirt slogan trademarked somehow (easier said than done, I'm sure...) You deserve to own what you created!

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  7. Ah yes - a local woman is doing the crafts using the "fox" phrases I assume you coined first and every time I see them I yell at the screen, "YOU STOLE THAT FROM TAYLOR"....like you and I are on a first name, well known to each other basis and like yelling at the screen helps you at all but hey - it's the thought right? I yell at the screen every time. You're welcome. Keep up the good fight.

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    1. Oh you're too kind and I wish I had come up with that Fox phrase but I actually bought that mug on etsy! (hopefully from the original person who created it, but I just don't know anymore :(

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  8. People are such jerks. I'm so glad it worked out in this case and I kinda think you should pursue protecting the dog shirts just on principle if nothing else.

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  9. Good for you! When people use my photo or graphic without permission, I always reach out first and ask nicely. THEN if they don't oblige, I file a formal copyright take down notice. Suddenly they start to listen then...

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  10. You go girl! I love my "hang with my dog" shirt and when I told the husband that I wanted it I gave him YOUR link so there was no mistake. Hell yeah!

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  11. I can't believe how much trouble you've had with people copying your phrases. It's ridiculous. What a tough business to be in.

    Also I can't wait to buy the married AF shirt from you. In getting married in September so I haven't bought it quite yet but it will be happening soon :)

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  12. I wish people didnt steal. They are great shirt designs. Just buy them and enjoy. No need to make money off of it and STEAL at that. Glad there was a little justice for you.

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  13. I saw someone on Insta say "be professional" to you. Wouldn't copying someone else's business idea fall under not being professional? SMH

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  14. Start selling a VICTORY IS MINE t and copyright the hell out of it :)

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  15. So I'm basically on an Instagram vendetta trying to draw attention to every boutique selling what (in my opinion) aren't even well-designed knockoffs of your dog shirt. I don't want to bring em down cause sure they're mostly small businesses trying to do the right thing but if even one person sees my comments and is rerouted to YOUR shop - victory!! Good luck, girl. People are pulling for you!

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    1. I totally appreciate what you're doing and agree, it's not the boutiques. It's that damn wholesaler :(

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  16. That is super annoying! Like seriously and for her to have the audacity to tell you to let it go! Arg! So happy that you got them to take it down, and super annoying about the dog shirt...I hope you think of something bigger and better for next time! You got this.

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  17. I'm taking a class on current debates in fashion right now and I was surprised to learn that when it comes to fashion in general copyright laws are pretty much non existent. It makes sense when I think about all of the designs that are knocked off by H&M, Forever 21, etc but you would think in terms of stealing an exact phrase there would be SOME sort of protection. I'm happy you had a victory!!!

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  18. Way to go!! That's awesome that you finally won against stealers! Your shirts are fantastic and I know I'm saving up for one of my own! (Why, student loans, must you take all my money?!?)

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  19. Jeez. That lady who admitted to stealing and was still such an ass to you... where did she sell all her self-respect? I'd be furious.

    Did the sellers who are selling the "I just want to hang out with my dog" shirt also admit to stealing? Like, how do you know that they are copying you, not someone else? (Or that they didn't think of it on their own?)

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  20. You get 'em, girl! What a bunch of a-holes for stealing your stuff!

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  21. Show 'em who's boss! So happy you got this victory--it's a stepping stone. And don't apologize for writing posts like this, it gets the word out there making people aware of these injustices to creative small-business owners like yourself.

    Now, you should make a shirt just for yourself stating "VICTORY IS MINE!"

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  22. Can I just pump the breaks on this a bit. Many of the sellers who are selling these shirts are small boutiques just like yourself, mom and pop shops all buying from the same LARGE vendor in the Los Angeles Fashion District. I'm almost certain the majority of them do not know what they are buying from said designer/wholesaleer is stolen. They are buying this tshirt from a US designer who makes these shirts in the US. Why would they think the design is stolen? I know the vendor, and have purchased different shirts from them before. I didn't purchase this particular one however. I didn't know you designed it when seeing it in their showroom and almost bought it. I only learned about you from Helene, and when I saw her twitter post commenting on a small boutique selling the shirt. I knew immediately who the vendor was and provided you with the vendor info. I just feel that is who you should direct your anger/effort toward BUT still letting the other boutiques know that they are selling something that has your saying on it. Have you applied for a trademark? That would be the only way to protect your text/term. I'm not trying to cause ruffled feathers, I'm just saying I can almost guarantee the majority of people selling the shirt are NOT doing it knowingly. Educating them first before visiting them with venom would probably be a better approach. I'm sure if they are a reputable seller, they will take it down. If not... then unleash the venom. :)

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  23. Hurray for small business owners not being the brunt of the litter!! (dog pun intended) All too often creators get their ideas stolen and it's just not cool. I'm so glad you took the steps to get the stolen stuff off of Etsy. If I were you, I'd fight for your "I Just Want To Hang With My Dog" stuff too. Especially since those businesses are keeping the profit. It's true you have to choose your battles, but where do you draw the line?

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  24. I can't even imagine trying to track down every seller of the shirt. I'm so sorry you have to work this hard to protect your intellectual property. At this point, I would say go after the big wholesaler, ask all the small boutiques to take down the shirt, and then start thinking about your next big thing. I think you have every right to go after these guys until they all take the shirt down, but it just seems so emotionally exhausting on your end.

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  25. Totally not being rude, I'm seriously curious about this. But, how do you make sure you are the original creator of these shirts? Do you do a ton of research to make sure it doesn't already exist? I feel like that would be such a daunting task and I'm willing to bet the other people who are selling the shirt think it's a PITA too and therefore don't do the research and think they're selling something original? I'm glad to hear Etsy is being helpful though :)

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  26. Ugh that's so frustrating! So glad one of them had a good outcome!

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