David vs Goliath – When Craft and Copyright Collide

We’ve all heard the horror stories. A big, household name brand steals a design from an artist and sells it in their stores cheaply. Or maybe a bot scours Twitter looking for tweets about art with comments like “I want this on a shirt”, takes the art and sells it on a shirt. We’ve seen small wins by artists in minor battles, but large-scale victories are few and far between. Good news stories about crafts are even rarer.

So how does craft fit into the copyright story?

Taking On A Corporate Giant

Victoria Balva is an artist who works with the medium of glass. Her stained-glass domes and skylights can be seen across America, Canada, and Europe. Having never worked in China, she was surprised to see a stained-glass dome being made for Huawei’s new headquarters that was strikingly similar to her own work.

This led her to contact Nikken, a Japanese architectural and interior design company that was creating the dome and, eventually, a 4-month long legal battle that resulted in Nikken agreeing to redesign the dome. The new design, while still similar to Balva’s work, was deemed to be original.

A Win?

Fighting for your craft can be expensive and exhausting. Despite winning this claim, Balva states “I had financial expenses that I did not intend to have … I experienced a lot of negative emotions while I was working on this case … Sadly, four months of my professional life were taken away. The case has not been fully resolved.”

Be prepared for the worst case scenario by learning how to protect your craft at Protect Your Practice: Copyright Your Craft this Law Week.

This webinar by Craft Victoria will take you through the principles of copyright and intellectual property law that are important to understand, how you can protect your practice, work and ideas before a crisis hits, how to be respectful of intellectual property within the craft community, and how to strengthen your brand and intellectual property in positive ways.  

Find the event details and discover more Law Week events on the Law Week website.


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