No arrgh-ument here, piracy is bad.

As you may have heard, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act.  A large portion of the general public worries about how S.O.P.A. would affect their rights.  To those that are worried about how they will be affected–if you aren’t purchasing knock-offs, if you don’t illegally download music and movies, if you aren’t helping others to do these illegal things, then what have you got to worry about?  
It should be as simple as this…theft, no matter what form, is bad.     

Not only is it theft to allow people to freely download a song or movie on the internet, it is also theft to take someone else’s photo and slightly alter it, then call it your own. When a person purchases a pattern, then prints out a bunch of copies to hand out or sell, it is a form of theft.  When someone makes items that look, in any way, similar to another’s products, then uses that other person’s trademark, these items then become counterfeit items–which is also theft.  When counterfeit items are distributed, it not only robs the trademark/patent/copyright owner of potential customers, it also robs them of valuable time in trying to stop the piracy.

Our company has had quite a bit of experience with piracy.  There are still some people who offer counterfeit Thread Bears® products.  As many of you may know, our biggest offender is the same person who continues to battle us in litigation for our trademarks.

In this current trial process, this offender has mailed us documents on 12/07/11, sworn under oath, that claim (again) that we don’t police our trademark. They submitted printouts of websites and auctions that use “thread bear” (in any form) in connection to items that are (in any form) similar to our products. She also included one of her own listings as an example of the abuse! She titled this list as “uses of phrase ‘thread bear(s); individuals to manufacturers, without being policed.” However, in stating this, she is showing that she is aware that this is a registered trademark. She is also showing that she offers counterfeit items.

We have not only contacted this infringer to have the illegal information removed, we have also contacted her hosting service and webmaster to have the information removed. In swearing that we don’t police the mark, she is blatantly lying to a Federal Court. In fact, we have kept over 100 policing emails that we have sent in the last three months alone. The only response we get in regards to her website is from her webmaster, which usually includes profanity.  Many people, including her webmaster, may be unaware that aiding someone in the production and distribution of stolen ideas or products is also a serious offense with serious repercussions.  We had discovered that this webmaster had received misinformation from the infringer in regards to our trademark. So, we sent him links for all of the information to verify registration for himself. At this point, he cannot use lack of knowledge as an excuse for non-compliance.

This infringer continues to offer counterfeit items. She has no shame in knowing that she is offering fraudulent items–so much so that she is not ashamed to tell a Federal Court.  If the government needs to step in to stop easy access to websites that are stealing from the actual owners of the trademarks/patents/copyrights, then so be it. Piracy is a big issue at this time–obviously big enough for an Act to be drawn up. There should be resources in place to help the victims of online theft. It shouldn’t have to take over 100 emails to cease the selling of pirated items.

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15 thoughts on “No arrgh-ument here, piracy is bad.

  1. First I will agree that piracy is bad and that trademark violators are bad too.

    But you really should cool it when you find out that someone is using the very common search term by mistake. I have use your trademark phrase in a keyword search hundreds, upon hundreds of times and came across every other crocheted bear BUT yours. I had absolutely NO IDEA that your little company even existed, yet you chose to seek Etsy legal on me, get my listing remove and call me a trademark violator. I live in Canada, not where your from. I make my own patterns and I even have a way more different style then you other then I use Crochet Thread to make my bears. So naturally, when adding my tags, I figured that buyers would search for crochet thread bears, and thread bears, thread jointed bears etc. You are very rude and condsending and I was deeply offended when I received your notice tonight. I hope you realize that now, my shop will be blackmarked by Etsy as a Trademark violator. Thanks a lot. You could have just as easily sent me a polite convo instead of your legal team. I would have complied with you. Now I know you will probably delete this message, but just FYI, my bear friends and others will be hearing about this for sure. I have never been so embarrassed. You should be ashamed for trapping people into litigation like this and making people nervous about what they tag. Disney, NIKE, Kellogg are all names of businesses, but what you did was just as sneaky as McDonald's and trademarking their stupid “I'm Lovin' it” phrase. It's dirty and underhanded. Yeah sure it's legal, but if it ever comes up again to have it remove I will sign it first.

    Good Day.
    MA Bears

  2. Our company had contacted violators on Etsy® prior to removal. It shows that you were contacted, given the notice of the violation on your one item–with alternative options to use in your tags, and you were given 24 hours to change it. As you have said, these bears are classified as “thread jointed bears,” “thread crocheted bears,” etc. It is actually a rare misconception that “thread bear” is the name for these types of products. It isn't. Our trademark has just been abused by some–which could mislead others to misuse this phrase. Similar to Kleenex®. Since your company was one that we had not dealt with before, we decided to give you notice of the infringement. Either way, we see that you are still able to list this item in compliance.

    In our previous blog posts, it shows that this phrase was actually trademarked long before you started selling on Etsy®. There's nothing underhanded about that.

  3. Well just FYI. I have used that search term ON MY OWN without influence hundreds of times and I have never heard of you, your business, your other company affliates etc. You are completely unknown to all around here so I would have to say that you are incorrect in thinking that these keywords are not more common then you think. And what I think is underhanded is you trademarking common words just to get yourself exclusive rights to traffic and sales. It's a dirty cheat practiced by many business people that should be outlawed. Nobody should be able to trademark anything short of 4 common words. Although, I'm certainly sure the courts and lawyers are loving it as well as the small time home business being able to cut their competition. Of course, I am not surprised that an American handmade person thinks of themselves as Walmart or something and feels the need to sic lawyers on and sue anyone they can. I'm also not surprised that the US court ruled in your favor. Wouldn't happen here that's for sure. Monopolizing is not looked at too kindly. Oh and your previous blog posts mean nothing to mean as I just found out about you Mother/Daughter business just the other day. I will waste no more of your time as you probably could care less anyway. I would just advise you to be more courteous. You can't delete this if you like. I have a copy of it anyway. Good luck policing your so called phrase.

  4. P.S. I am not a violator, I was a victim of an a common MISTAKE. There was NO NEED to have your lawyer send a cease and deciest and to contact Etsy. I hadn't checked my email THAT DAY because ya know I'm like you a house wife with children and a business and I got busy. So excuse me for not answering your lawyers letter in less then 24hrs before you contacted EtsyLegal. I will now have a black mark on my shop and anything I do now could potentially get me kicked off the site. It has happened many times before to others. So again I say, Thanks a lot.

  5. As you are new to this business, one thing that we can recommend is to not take information second-hand. It is clear that you are involved in gossip by what you have stated. If you are unsure about a business, you shouldn't listen to a biased party. You should go to the original source for information. If you would have actually done research, you would have found out that we were the first (over 20 years ago) to offer to collectors these miniature, fully-jointed animals, crocheted from thread. You would have found out that we haven't taken anyone to court…yet. We haven't sued anyone. We don't “sic” a lawyer on anyone–in fact, it is a branch of our company that does the policing. We don't police to “monopolize” or “cut competition,” as you have stated. We police because it is our right, and our obligation. Most violators are notified of the infringment, and allowed an opportunity to correct it–which we are not REQUIRED to do. Most of the violators on Etsy® were thankful for the opportunity to correct the listings, or had apologized for their mistake–such as you did in your Etsy® conversations to us days ago. It is odd, now, that you are publicly exhaggerating the situation. You still have the same items available for sale in your Etsy® shop.

    You claim that you are not a violator, yet we have discovered that your Etsy® shop is still in violation. Under your “shop sections” you have titled a section as “Crocheted Thread Bears.” We will give you an additional 24 hours to correct this violation before we report it to Etsy®. And since you are checking this blog regularly, you should get this notification with ample time to correct the “mistake.”

  6. First I didn't get second hand info from anyone. I haven't spoken to anyone except to find out who the heck you are and guess what. Noone could tell me because they never heard of you. All that I have stated has been first hand experience dealing with you in the last few days. And from my experience I see that you are targeting words to point buyers exclusively to your products. I am not new to this game at all BTW. I have been selling on/off line for 10+ yrs. I am just a little less pompous then you. I am not a trademark violator. I don't reasearch every tag I add. I just know what keywords I would search for. Now what, you want me to drop the “ed” because that's all you can ask me to do. You can't claim crochet thread bears. Again I didn't know that you placed your”flag” on crocheted thread bears either. I am not publically exaggerating anything. I'm PO'd beyond belief that you are labelling me a violator. And your too high and mighty to admit that you may have made a mistake.

    Like I said above. Had you sent a personal note eg. “Hey you seem to be using our name.” I would have responded better. But off the bat, I'm labelled a criminal and because I didn't check my email in a timely manner, you sent Etsy after me. And you have yet to even acknowledge that fact. What everyone around the globe is supposed to be born with the knowledge that you exist? Or are you too small minded to realize that we up here in Canada are not constantly in the know of what goes on in the US. It's a huge world and an even bigger internet and I hardly think you are even remotely as large as that.

    Again I will bend to your monopoly and alter yet another common phrase that my potential buyers may find my merger shop at. I will apologize for being the gum stuck to your shoe.

  7. Hey! I just checked my shop and it says “Crochet Thread Bears” not “Crocheted Thread Bears” ?!!! WT?!! Ya right. Nice try. Good luck with that one.

  8. Sorry no. You may own Thread Bears but not “Crochet Thread Bears” It's a completely different statement then what you have registered. My bears are crocheted with crochet thread and they are bears. I won't delete that and I know that you know that too or else ALL my and a 1000 other listings would be deleted to because that phrase is in my descriptions and tags of other bears too. Again, nice try

  9. Your listing that was in violation was removed–hence your purpose for being here.
    Any use of “thread bears)” or “threadbear(s)” is an infringement–regardless of the words that come before or after the phrase. We will still give you the remaining 23 hours to correct this–to be “courteous,” and to show that we honor our word.

  10. Sue, you also were using the term thread bear descriptively for years before you found out Thread Bears was someone elses registered trademark. Why can you not allow that someone else might not know either? Perhaps you should read the parable of the unmerciful servant.

  11. K WHAT THE H*** DID I DO NOW?!

    I gone over all the listings that you had etsy remove and although I have the words Thread and Bears they are not together. Are you now saying that I can't use those words ever?! I cannot find my infraction! Etsy won't tell me and if I relist it they will close my account!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What kind of fr****ken joke is this?!! I told you before, if I have made some sort of mistake you can actually talk to me, not have my listings remove and expect me to be nice about it. especially since I can't find where I went wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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