Protecting your work: The Urban Outfitters debacle

May 30, 2011

Picture this: you begin making jewelry as a creative outlet to your mundane day job.  Gradually your friends evangelize your beautiful designs and you sell enough to realize that this could be a viable business (yay)!  In time you quit your day job and sell the jewelry through the online storefront Etsy, acquiring the huge responsibility of promotion, operations and production. You feel confident the extra strain is worth it to run an independent business. Until one day a friend emails you an exact replica of your necklace from a major retailer’s website.  You discover that your design has been copied (design name and all) and is selling for half the price. Further, you’re not getting paid for it.

Chicago native, jewelry-maker and entrepreneur Stevie Koerner is the entrepreneur in this story, and Urban Outfitters, the retailer (who has since issued a response).  The story began trending on Twitter last week and has led to mainstream media coverage by many of the national news outlets.

FreshBooks is committed to supporting people getting paid for the work they love to do, so it’s more than disheartening to see a hardworking entrepreneur being taken advantage of by profitable retailers; it’s shameful.

Have you ever run into a copyright issue? Leave us a comment about how you protect your creative work.

image credit to Stevie – see her Etsy shop Truche.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.