What do you do when Target steals your design?

 |  Printables  |  52 Comments

Do you ever have moments in your life where you feel like you are in another world?!  A few months ago, I walked into Target and as I always do, ran through the dollar section to see the fun extras. As I rounded the front part of the aisle, I was slapped in the face when I saw this:
kandco1I was with my sister in law at the time and I said, “What the what?!! I designed that wreath.” Now when I said it is mine, I meant that I designed it and have used it on lots of prints for all kinds of holidays. So after we got over our initial shock, we then looked behind this bag and found an entire line that took bits and pieces of my wreath or the entire wreath and put them on more bags, stickers and pails and window clings and pillows… I was astonished. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a line with Target, right?! Shouldn’t I be totally excited? If it was done in collaboration or had they purchased it, this would have been a huge day for me, but I was there staring at this stack of products where my work had been stolen and I was upset. You guys, my favorite thing to do is design prints and printable projects to help beautify your life and your home. I love seeing your pictures and hearing how you use my prints. It makes my day so happy. This brought a total opposite reaction for me. It makes me so mad to spend my precious time designing prints to have them taken right from you.

Here is one of the original designs:

red white and blue flower frameHere are some other products (and these are not all of them) with the stolen design that Horizon Group, U.S.A. and Made for Retail, Inc., used, sold to Target and that Target sold this Fourth of July Season:

Cute bags:

kandco 3Pails:

kandco 4

Stickers:

kandco 6

and the list went on. I even ran by my neighbors house one night and saw that she had a pillow with one of the designs on it! I’ve seen notepads, To-do lists, at least 2 other bags, a wooden sign, window clings..and the list goes on.

kandco 5

 

 

After looking into it a bit, I realized that the companies responsible for the actual stealing of the design was Horizon Group, U.S.A. and Made for Retail, Inc. They design and manufacture a lot of craft lines for big retailers such as Michaels, Target, Walmart and Toys R Us. I was astonished that such large companies would steal designs to use on their products. And it is so wrong. First I called Horizon Group to see if I could talk to their designers, to their attorneys, etc., but was continually given an answering machine and no one would call me back. (Imagine that!)  So we had an attorney draft up a letter, not only to cease and desist, but to pay for the design.  And they have ignored us.

red white and blue flower frame stolen

I feel I have no other recourse than to now spread this via social media. Horizon Group, U.S.A. and Made for Retail, Inc. did not buy or design this 4th of July product. They stole it. Target then got the product from them and and sold the products to the masses. A stolen design. Did they not think they would get caught? Did they think I was too small to make a stink. I want to show them that any designer big or small deserves to be compensated for their work. I have always LOVED Target. I love seeing my blogger friends get recognized by them and feel like they do a great job working with them in all kinds of capacity, but have been sickened to walk into their store, scared that I might find more of my work stolen and selling.

 

Target, you are not okay with this, right?! Horizon Group, U.S.A., Made for Retail, Inc. I would LOVE to have a line in any of those big stores you get to work directly with…designing is my favorite thing to do in the world, but to steal someone else’s design is not only wrong, it’s illegal. So now it’s time to pay up.

 

So what can I do? Well, I want to enlist your help. Help me tag Target, Horizon Group, U.S.A. and Made for Retail, Inc and get them to respond to me. Let them know it’s not okay to steal designs and claim them as their own. A designer should be paid for their work and in this case for the product that was sold with their work on it.  Here is an easy way to share. Share this post, grab this picture and tag, tag away on social media. I put the social media for these stores down below this picture so it’s easy for you.

stolen

 

 

Facebook: @HGUSA @target @MadeforRetail

 

Instagram: @horizongroupusa @target @madeforretail

 

Twitter: @HorizonGroupUSA @target @made4retail

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support and help!

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52 Responses to “What do you do when Target steals your design?”

  1. Southern Gal

    Oh, that is horrible! I hope they respond and you are able to get this resolved quickly.

  2. Mary L.

    I hope and pray that you win this battle! It was a very shady thing for a large company to do. I can see where they changed it just enough to make it “look like” it was their own creation, but anyone can see where the idea actually came from. From one small business person to the you, I really hope this a battle that you win. You definitely deserve to make a stink about it! Peace and Love

  3. Susan Shearer

    There has to be an attorney somewhere willing to file suit against these people. Compensation in a case like this could add up to a LOT of money.

  4. Cindy Bendel

    I’m really sorry to hear this, I’ve shared your post with the Facebook group “Who Stole My Images?” and we will do our best to get the attention of Target, Horizon and Made for Retail. It’s downright shameful!

  5. Kristen

    I’m sorry to see this! Facebook is blocking the posts as “spam” when I try to leave a comment for these businesses, unfortunately, but it didn’t stop me from reminding them in as many ways as I could that this is NOT ok.

  6. Katie

    You should file a formal lawsuit. If they have done it to you, they have done it to other people and will continue to steal in the future. I am an author, if someone stole something I slaved over for months, I would be livid. Take a stand. Defend what is yours. Don’t go quietly. Your actions may save someone from having the same experience in the future.

  7. Carrie

    I’m sorry! Sharing sharing and sharing!!!… Is it possible to make their SM handles links on your post so it’s easy to respond to them all? Hope you get restitution!!

  8. Kelley Fitzgerald

    Is there any chance you had a copywrite to the image? You might want to discuss this with a intellectual property lawyer to see what your options would be (legally). The burden of proof would be on you (which, I’m pretty sure you have), but if you can prove damages, it could potentially benefit you greatly.

    • Nicole

      Copyright is automatic. You can’t copyright something with any organisation like you can a patent but you need to be able to prove that it’s your original design in a court of law – which many designers/photographers etc can usually show particularly if they are active on social media

      • Scottie

        Nichole, technically copyright attaches at creation, however, if you wish to sue for infringement, you must register the work with the copyright office upon creation. It’s a sticky workaround that is abused often. As a blogger, it’s cost prohibitive as I would have to register every post at $65 a piece. The US government has NOT caught up with modern technology. :(

  9. Alma

    Not okay!!!! Best of luck! I had a friend in a similar situation recently who was able to get in contact with the offending company and make things right. I hope it works out for you as well.

  10. Maria

    2 years ago, 2 of my designs were being sold at Wallmart,and 18 others websites, big name stores. An attorney took on my case, we had proof , knew who actually made the items and so on. As artists we own the rights to our art, but Unfortunately unless it is registered with the us copyright office BEFORE you would take any action , there is nothing you can do. We tried to get them to settle, but can’t force them to open their books, no way to prove what money they made on The products to regain that amount. Not much to do unless the case goes to litigation ( which can drag out for years and cost tens of thousands of dollars) we did get them to immediately stop selling and actually shut down the manufacturer. They are probably at it again under another name. I now put a watermark with name over all of my art.
    Good luck!

  11. erin wood

    i’ve been saying for awhile now that there’s going to have to be some widely publicized legal action against this kinda of behavior. people do not understand copyright law, and that includes us crafters! the problem is all the way from the bottom, simply facebook users sharing posts they have no right to share, all the way to this kind of BLATANT stealing. something is gonna have to give. sounds like other crafters have been affected by big box stores as well…. wonder if someone would like to make their name as the attorney of record on a class action against one (or more) of these big box violators?

  12. Annette

    This is so heartbreaking. I know how you feel! You’re heart was in your throat. Unfortunately, these designers think that if they change it just enough, it’s not stealing. Actually I’ve heard that things only have to be changed 10% in order to use it. So horrible!

  13. EAMiranti

    Target responded on their Facebook early today that they wanted you to contact them. I do not see any info in your blog about your copyright registration. Noone should use others people’s designs without approval, but only the copyright counts for legal matters.

    • Adrienne Fritze

      An artists material is copyrighted with or without the copyright symbol or notification.

      Works created on or after January 1, 1978: A work that is created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is given a term of copyright protection enduring for the lifetime of the artist plus an additional 70 years after the artist’s death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more artists who did not work for hire,” the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving artist’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the artist’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

      Go here for further details http://www.arsny.com/copyright-basics/

  14. EAMiranti

    The contact for Target according to Target’s Facebook post concerning this issue is: Target.Brands@Target.com They posted it on many of the posts concerning this issue 11 hours ago.

  15. Erin

    I am so sorry you have to go through this! Intellectual property theft due to the Internet is sadly common. Doesn’t make it right or legal. I think you should pursue this and keep spreading the message. You are generous to share your designs with your followers, but only for personal use. This is so wrong what they did. Good luck and hope that you are compensated fully and furnished with an apology from all parties involved.

  16. Jen Segrest

    I have an old site called Pixeldecor, i made desktop patterns as well as high res files for use on printables etc. I have had my work ripped off multiple times. Once by the “checks in the mail” place who had a line of checks with my patterns, another couple times on various items by Chinese factories you cant do crap about, and once by a american lighting comp that put my work on lampshades. Thatw asnt too hard to prove, I did design layovers and every design/color they used was a sample offering on the site in that exact color set. Someone got fired over that one, and I got a big paycheck without going to court. I even put an extra $1K on the bill scattered in fees as a “fuck you”.

  17. Barbara Campbell

    Appalling!

  18. Jen

    First, let me say how sorry I am to hear this is happening to you too! Over the summer, I was lying in a hospital bed after surgery and saw a Cat & Jack commercial for Target that featured a little girl with leggings exactly like the ones I’ve been selling in my popular etsy shop for 8 yrs. so I’m in the middle of going back and forth between Target and one of their vendors, Peds. Still not resolved. There is strength in numbers and power in social media. Feel free to reach out if I can help in anyway!!

  19. Dolores

    Received this comment from Target on my FB page after posting the article and tagging them.
    Hi Dolores – We appreciate you sharing this with us and are looking into it further. Thank you!
    Hope they really are looking into it further and will pull items and compensate

  20. Kristina Barbee

    Oh heck NO! I just shared this on my social media, tagged all 3 of them, AND I put it on Targets Facebook page asking them to explain how this happened!

    I’m SO sorry this happened- makes me glad I never bought any of those items this year!

  21. Shannon Laux

    As a beginner designer, I would be crushed! It takes me so long to get everything just so. I have posted on their FB pages and left comments to them on their website. I hope you are compensated. Please let us know the outcome!

  22. India

    Take them to small claims court.

  23. Natalie Barnes

    I am thinking you have enough to enlist the help of an Attorney.
    Contacting them directly through your representation.

    The court of social media doesn’t always get the desired result.
    Best of luck! I am so sorry this happened to you.

    Have an attorney contact them.

  24. Stacy

    This sucks and is totally unfair!! I am so sorry! I support you and your creativity! Target should fire those companies and make them pay you. Stay strong!

  25. Pam White

    Hi, as some one who is thinking about getting into designing patterns…this is the side I am aware of and worry about. Goodluck!

  26. Katherine

    Oh my gosh..this is infuriating. I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope you get the compensation that you deserve. Good Luck. I am sharing now.

  27. Leah

    This happened to my friend, renowned author and quilting teacher Marsha McCloskey. She found a copy of a quilt which had been published in a book. She simply sent the company of the offender a copy of the book with highlighting over the copyright wording. She sent a pleasant letter to them stating her objection to them using her quilt design without her consent. She and the company came to an agreement and she was sent a check which would have been the equivalent to the amount she would have received if she would have given them permission. No lawyers were needed, which meant more money for her.
    I’d encourage you to pursue this, starting without attorney’s, just to see what kind of a response you get. But they will continue this practice until it cuts into the profits. Good luck to you.

  28. Jamie Stimpson

    Sad thing is this isn’t the first time they have done this. I hope you get answers

  29. Melinda

    This is crazy! So wrong!

  30. Gwenn W

    I tweeted this and got this response: @gwennwright Please have your friend contact us directly at Target.Brands@Target.com. Thank you.

  31. Dianne Veltum

    This does suck, not to mention, highly unethical, but in today’s age you have to protect yourself with a copyright.

  32. Lalisa Derrick

    A letter from a lawyer is a start. A very large lawsuit filed is now the next step (find an intellectual property attny in the
    state/s where the companies are headquartered and/or have their corporations registered. Ask if the attny will work on contingency. Once the suit is filed, contact local, regional and national media. One “oh you stole my client’s artwork” note means nothing. A six figure lawsuit does. Social media is a good place to start. Now get brutal, lex talonis, baby

  33. Miranda Anderson

    This is not the first post I’ve seen where an artist has felt that Target stole their work! You should try to find others and band together! This is incredibly wrong. Wishing you all the best as you take a stand for yourself and others!

  34. Dan

    You have multiple intellectual property and false and deceptive federal claims plus potential teademark and trade dress claims, including federal Lanham Act claims. You need an intellectual property trial attorney.

  35. Haley

    This is just terrible! I saw on the news about a year ago where a girl had a tshirt design stolen from her and low and behold.. Sold by TARGET! Someone MUST do something. This is just WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS! There is no telling how many designs they have stolen and already gotten away with it! There has to be a lawyer somewhere willing to take on this case and all the others that have been effected and sue the fire out of them!!!!!!!!

  36. the Plarnstar

    This really grinds my gears! Sharing your story. I hope you get the compensation you deserve!

  37. Kim

    why not just sue? If you already had a lawyer draft up a letter and they ignore why not take it further and sue and not just blast them? How many other people have had this done? I hope you get compensated big time.

  38. Anita Kay

    This happened to me but it was a different situation. I had written a poem as a tribute to my dog Bear who was extremely special to me, as he had literally saved my life. I had to put him down at 3 1/2 years old due to having 30 grand mal seizures in over half his life. In that poem which I rote I coined the phrase “Paw Prints on my Heart”. Two years later Braddock Exchange came out with a line of plates using that phrase. It broke my heart seeing those words and after all these years it still does. I even wrote to one author who used it on his book. No response. Nothing from Bradford Exchange either. They don’t care. They liked the phrase and stole. Since then I have refused to share anything I write on-line. You never know who will scoop in and claim it as theirs and exploit it everywhere!!!

  39. Craig King

    Did you copyright your design? It always helps in court if you can prove ownership of your work. However, if you can prove that you had the design before Target, e.g. documentation that show printing and production dates, you will win your case. Good luck.

  40. Cynthia Soucy

    Have you tried contacting your local news station or Abc news about this? This wouod be a great story for.them to cover and you will be more likwly to get a response after they are evwn more publicly blasted. Good luck and I hope you do well with suing them!!

  41. Lanie J

    So wrong. Helping you spread the word by sharing on my Facebook business page.

    • Kiki Comin

      thanks so much for looking out for me. this one is not my design…but super cute! thank you!

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