Selling Handmade Miniatures
When selling handmade miniatures what do you do
if your work is copied?
First steps in protecting your creations
So, you have a bright idea and you make some craft
or miniature items and sell them.
Then you see someone else selling items that look
like yours that to all intents and purposes are copies of yours.
How many times has that happened to you and is there anything
that you can do about it?
When this happens, it leaves us angry and frustrated
as developing ideas, producing new items and selling handmade
miniatures is hard work.
If you develop something that is all your own idea
then the copyright belongs to you, in the same way that you own
any other property. You can allow someone to use it, give it away,
sell it or leave it, as any other possessions, in a will.
The Law in the UK has not long changed and is now
clear on this point. It is as true for the 'big boys' with large
R & D budgets as small crafters and miniaturists.
The difficult part is proving that it is yours.
If I own a car it is easy to prove that it is mine but ideas can
be nebulous making proof of ownership more problematic.
So protecting and proving ownership of ideas and
items needs to become part of the crafters and miniaturists normal
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to prove copyright
when selling handmade miniatures is as follows
Write down what you have done with a picture
if possible. (can be paper or CD based)
Seal it in an envelope and mark the outside
with a code or title of what it contains.
Address it to yourself and post signed for.
When it arrives DO NOT OPEN IT.
Put it somewhere safe.
It may be useful to attach a copy of what
is in the envelope to the outside as a reminder of the contents
What you have then is a record of the idea/item,
showing traceable passage from yourself to yourself, dated and
untouched. This is enough evidence to prove ownership of something
if you are ever called upon to do so.
There are also companies that will store the records
for you at a price or you could lodge a copy at your solicitors,
again at a price.
If you have not been copyrighting automatically
you probably have a 'backlog' and to merely send yourself a letter
will only prove that it was your idea from the postage date.
So in addition the contents of the envelope need
to show additional proof that the idea was yours for some time
prior to the letter. Have you any copies of listings, web dates,
old receipts or photos or testimonials from buyers that show that
you actually have owned this for some time? This will be additional
evidence of proof of ownership.
So you have a bright idea of a Trading Name and
the next thing you know someone else is using it.
We are surrounded by products and services
most of which carry recognisable names that are Trade Marked.
To register a Trade Mark is expensive but what you
can do is copyright your trading name and logo in the same way
as your work. You need to make sure that fonts and colours are
included in your records.
This may well sound scary or just plain 'paperwork'
but it could be invaluable and after a time it will become automatic.
It will save your blood pressure when you see other
people passing off your work as their own and may even prove to
be a nice little earner when selling handmade miniatures!
This article was submitted by Anne Bowen from http://www.bitsandkits.com
For more information on selling handmade miniatures Click Selling