Sunday, February 24, 2008

{Oh no you didn't!}

Thursday night I was laying in bed browsing through various wedding sites looking for the dress that my soon to be sister in law chose as her brides maids dresses. I loved searching various wedding websites when I was planning my wedding, and in my search for the bridesmaid dress, I stumbled upon the wedding invitation website that I was going to use when I was planning my own wedding. Now, before I go on, I need to rewind for a minute and give you a little background information!
Last year, in my search for the perfect invitation, I found a local invitation company with catchy designs. But what impressed me the most was that they would also design a custom invitation for you. I was sold. I compiled a stack of pictures and graphics that I liked and made an appointment to talk to them about my ideas for my invites. The appointment went well, and I was assigned a "designer" to compose my ideas. When I got home, I got an email from the designer and found out we couldn't actually meet in person to talk about what I wanted. Now, if you're a creative person like me, it's almost impossible to convey an idea in my head without some visual aides, so I tried my best to explain to her through an email what I wanted. She wrote back with an attached proof and I was disappointed. She hadn't caught my vision at all. So, I wrote back again, trying to explain what I wanted and even attached a few pictures to show her what styles I liked. She said she'd work on it for a few days and send me another proof. In the mean time, in my search for fabulous wedding ideas, I had stumbled upon a blog that had a picture of a graphic they had used on their wedding invitations. I fell in love with the graphic and asked the girl if I could use it. She commented back and said it was fine, as long as I didn't use it for resale. So, I played around on publisher and designed own rough draft invitation. As promised, I received another proof from my designer a few days later and again, was disappointed with what she came up with. I replied back and attached the graphic I found, as well as what I had designed and told her that was what I was looking for. I asked her if she could design something similar and/or incorporate that graphic into the design. She wrote me back with the exact design I had come up with, only she added the colors I wanted, as mine had been black and white. Although it was what I wanted, I wasn't going to pay the design fee for something I came up with (thankfully, I hadn't paid them yet), so I kindly told her I would no longer be needed her services and I had my brother help me perfect the invitation which we had printed by a local printer. They turned out fantastic, and it was much cheaper doing it on our own!
My wedding invitation
So...10 months pass and we fast forward to Thursday night. As I looked at the invitation website, I gasped and saw MY invitation on the homepage of their website!!! It was the exact one I had designed! Then I scrolled through their invitations and saw this... I freaked out! It was the design I had come up with and it had the graphic I had used! Here's the thing peeps...I don't have a problem if you want to use a design or graphic you find for your own personal use, as long as you get permission from the original designer to use it, and you don't use it to make a profit! But these people were selling it as their original design! After I saw that, I really couldn't sleep. I felt it was totally wrong to not only copy another person's design without their permission, but to then sell it! The next day, I wrote the manager and explained the situation. I told him that the designer hadn't come up with anything I liked, so I sent her my design, hoping she could use it as inspiration to come up with something on her own. I explained that she sent me back the exact design I sent her, and I decided to do the invitations myself. I told him that she never got permission to use it, nor did I pay them and I felt it was plagiarism that they were using a design that was not their own to make money. He immediately wrote me back, apologized, and explained that he wasn't aware it wasn't an original design. He also took it off the website. Then I got an email from the designer explaining that she was a new employee when she saw my design and didn't know it was plagiarism to use it. (yeah right...) I felt better once they took it off the website, but it really made me think about people in the creative field. All of us who design are inspired by others designs, and that is great. But I wondered how many times another person's design gets copied and the original designer doesn't get credit. We can all be inspired by something and usually designs have similarities, but the bottom line is: If you want to use another person's exact design, get permission and give them credit!

7 comments:

Ashley said...

That looks just like one I saw at the Paper Source when I was invitation shopping with my sister. They don;t have the exact one online, but I swear I saw one like that. http://www.paper-source.com/custom_letterpress/custom_letterpress.php#cards

Look at the Brocade one. Is paper source the place you were talking about? You should email them too, that's messed up!!

Shan said...

Ashley, you're right, it's the same graphic. They could have gotten permission from the same gal I got the graphic from, or even bought it from her. Paper Source just used it on half of the invite though, so it's not exactly the same. I'm sure there are a million people out there who have seen that graphic and used it. What can you do?

The Smith Family said...

Hey you,
I need your email address, I want to express my opinion on this subject, but I have a "BIG" story to tell, and it would be easier in an email. So shoot it my way. Thanks Shannon.
Shelley Smith
casonshelley@gmail.com

Scott and Lindsey said...

This comes up often with photography and copyrighted images. People scan their copyrighted images all the time. For us it is next to impossible to stop. That is great that you called them though and that they fixed it. Good for you!
Hey, how did you add your music on your blog. I would love to do it, but can't figure out how. I'm guessing it is something to do with adding in your own html?
Thanks,
Lindsey

Brittney Andy and Boston said...

I'm glad you stood up for yourself and the origianl designer. and now a note from Boston. He is dying to bang out a comment.
fg m,rm98oo8rfiotgjfrgbg75bh gyn9g 8in or0vht6iughbgiup345gp ino8v, boyh,oobggygyyyi9 ignm m4ghgghbbg bgnmg n nhnbnbngn jirgd g 4gbb7g8ub vbbn
HOpe you have a urim and thummin and that you read phonetically cuz I can't spell

Kat said...

That's crazy! I would have peed my pants. No wonder you couldn't sleep. I love it by the way... wish we had been in contact when I got married.. could have used some of those creative juices you've got

The Badgers said...

I would have done the same thing if someone had copied or stolen our idea for invites. We worked so hard to get them right, and they were unique to us not like every other one. Yours turned out awesome! You did the right thing. I was surprised you heard back from them at all.