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11 February 2010 @ 10:29 am
Paperchase plagiarism - have you seen this yet?  
This isn't strictly about Borders, but it is about Paperchase. Apparently it's all over the internet already this morning, but I didn't see it here yet, and I think it's important to bring up. Paperchase is apparently in the habit of purchasing artwork from design firms that steal artwork from independent artists.

I got this artist's blog link from Neil Gaiman's Twitter...

Here is the original print on Etsy.

Here is the actual tote bag by itself.

And here is the artist's blog post about it.

I was a little skeptical til I saw her animation comparing the two, but it's unmistakeable. In true Paperchase fashion there are photo albums, notebooks... all sorts of junk. According to a friend of mine, apparently Borders isn't carrying much of this design yet, but I'm sure it doesn't end here.

Paperchase's UK contact page addresses this and makes the excuse that they "bought the design in good faith" from an outside design firm, but that's not good enough.

I'll admit I've bought plenty of Paperchase stuff in the past (I'm a sucker for notebooks and bags, what can I say) but I can say I'm very unlikely to EVER buy their products again. I stopped shopping at Borders after I stopped working there, in part because I'm working at a different bookstore now, but the few times I've been in I've paused to look at the PC tables. I'm done with that, and I'll be spreading the word to my friends to boycott them too. It just makes me sick what they are getting away with.
Current Mood: angryangry
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Nothing makes me feel sicker than plagiarism, especially when it comes to a corporation ripping off a struggling artist. That's just wrong. I rarely purchased paperchase products, but now I never will.
fanbot on February 11th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
If they acknowledge the theft, they can at least give a percentage of profits from this design which will go by the wayside soon enough (just like all their patterns which last a season.)
And this artist has Neil Gaiman and the CBLD on his side! Hurrah!
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Paperchase haunts me. Hated that crap.
bismarn on February 11th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Stalin hated poets!
With all of the evils our company has done the past year, this has to rank about 1,116th of the things that anger me. So Borders carries imported stuff from a British company that buys stuff from other companies, one of which *kind of* borrowed the *general* look of a girl leaning against a bear? Okay so what? Kind of reminds me of that "explosive" book that recently came out detailing Stalin's suppression of poetry - if you're guilty of killing millions through starvation, executions, and deportations, who gives a shit about your crimes against art? If and when we do carry this bag, it will sit unsold until put the dollar clearance table like all other PC, and I'm sure we can throw a couple pence at whoever the poor independent artist is. This is even worse than HuffPost's cry about our stripped books. Hundreds of Waldenbooks just closed, and thousands have lost their income. Keep your priorities straight!
katranna on February 11th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Um, Stalin DID hate poets, and I actually have to say as a Russian I DO consider that to be among one of his worse crimes. Not that I'm saying it's "worse" than the other crimes, but something significant in my opinion of him and his regime. Partly because so many of the people he starved, executed or deported WERE artists, and they were killed or deported because he did not agree with their art.

Also this is not "kind of borrowed the general look." It is "traced the outline and just did a different pattern on the dress."
cafesoup on February 11th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Mm, this tote has been in stores at least a month, and the journal to match has been here since before Christmas. There's a second tote that is clearly made to match, I wonder what will happen to the whole line... anyone get a Store Perform about it yet?
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, this is pretty common. Usually it's the other way around, though. My wife has worked in the design room for a number of fairly large women's clothing company's. They send someone to the designer shows, pick up the newest styles, and copy them. All they have to do is use a different button or move a pocket and it isn't considered stealing. In the case of the designer that did the Paperchase totes, they'll just say they were "inspired" by the original. Unless it's a direct copy, they're safe.
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
This only applies to copying clothing patterns/ styles, which cannot be copyrighted the way "real" art is copyrighted. In this case, it is a direct trace of original art work - and therefore definitely illegal.
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Posted on her blog
"Someone posted this on our employee blog this morning. I feel so bad for you, and as a fellow artist, I am appalled at this company's behavior and thinly veiled excuse. I can't write to the offending Paperchase as I am an employee of Borders Books in the US and fear retaliation. However, I can certainly make sure that these plagarised items "get lost" in the stockroom and are not available for sale in my store."

I too am done with the Paperchase product. I saw the bags with this design a couple months ago and remember thinking they were hideous. The original design is wonderful, and I hope the artist gets some pro bono legal assistance with this issue. The fact that Neil Gaiman tweeted about this will help her out. He has over a million followers, which is probably as good as telling 5-10 million people. Unfortunately, this kind of thing will hurt Borders too, but in the days of Golden Parachutes, paying off the artist would only be chump change in the grander scheme of things.
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I actually like the Paperchase design more than the original!
itsallajokehaha on February 13th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Yeah. Sounds like a typical corporate rip-off. A phalanx of company lawyers that will tie you up forever while you slowly go broke defending yourself.
Time is on their side. I had a friend who was an engineer and she patented a device for remote meter reading that was stolen by the gas company. She mortgaged her house, exhausted her savings, depleted herself financially and she still lost. I hated what it did to her and her family and I did all I could to help her but once you've been fucked over like that it's hard to come back from it. All we can do is not let Paperchase make money by boycotting the products and hope Gaiman's tweets make a difference somehow.
Might makes right and that's why Marshall and Keeney get big shiny golden parachutes and we get zip.
oldbookishlady on February 12th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
This stuff has always made me want to puke. This is just the bad icing on the inedible cake.
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2010 11:40 am (UTC)
Some of the water bottles even look like Twilight "inspired" tribal designs. Borrowed indeed!
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)
i think that the water bottles that you're thinking of are actually the Giaim ...er...Gaiim..er...the yoga company's brand, not paperchase.
(Anonymous) on February 13th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
have you seen the Twilight rip off book lights? They even have the same font on the package.
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
Totes & things
Control what you can, let go what you can't.

Don't buy product with the design. If your a PCM, don't put it out or display it under other totes etc. (Too bad, I liked this one & thought it was groovy.)

Instead of dwelling on it, focus your energy elsewhere ( alot of GOOD things are going on now in our stores) & hope that Paperchase will do their own little investigation. If they bought this design, trusting that the artist was honest, invested money in the production, merchandising, & logistics of said design, I've got to believe they are pretty pissed, and will be taking care of this in a professional & responsible matter. We just may not know all that is going on.

& as for not ever buying Paperchase again...I have friends that work in that field as well. They love their stores, the booksellers, the customers...don't ruin their prosperity all because a designer misrepresented themselves (lied blatantly) to Paperchase. Take a deep breath, & write to Paperchase professionally about the matter, & let that energy move onto new things. I have a feeling this will all be made right & I appreciate you informing us all too. Now we can do something productive with that information. I'm going to talk to my PC regional manager today.
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
There is a store perform to pull these items from the floor. Obviously, the blog or tweets got somebody's attention.
(Anonymous) on February 14th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
They pulled all this product from the shelf yesterday stating legal issues...I guess someone is gonna help this poor artist get whats due to her.