Copyright, commissions and the like

Something came to my attention today that I thought I should talk a little bit about. Sorry in advance for the slightly negative and serious entry this time. This is kind of a hard entry to write, but I’ll try my best to do it properly.

This morning, I was browsing the internet and ended up at the FB page of someone who takes custom orders for doll clothing and spotted something very familiar. Even from the tumbnail it was clear to me whose design it was because, well, I have made several of such outfits myself. I wondered why it was there and opened it up for a closer look, which actually made me more upset.

My outfit design had been used to create an outfit for another doll. It’s sligthly altered but it’s still clearly the same style, shape and colour (kind of combined from three of my outfits). This is one of the designs that is quite personal to me, because it was specifically made for mine and mizya‘s characters. I designed it with inspiration from Noblesse (manhwa) but worked very hard to make it uniform-like and yet not base it on existing outfits that I know of.

I contacted the seamstress, and the matter is resolved on that part. She’s apologized and the images have been removed from her portfolio online. She should’ve never accepted the commission but mistakes happen. It’s done, it’s happened, it can’t be changed anymore. Please, no blame on anyone anymore.

I’m sure this not super uncommon so I’d like to say this, and this is speaking generally to everyone, not to one person:
To avoid upsets like these, the original creator should always be contacted first. If it’s not clear who it is, the design shouldn’t be used. If the original creator refuses to relinquish the design, they should be respected and not sent to some other seamstress to make. That seamstress also should not make it, if it seems from the reference images that it’s someone else’s design (or at the very least contact the original creator and ask if it’s okay to duplicate it).

This is important.

It does not feel good to see something you’ve designed, made by someone else and profited upon. In this case, if I had been contacted first about the design, while I don’t make these particular uniforms for others, I would’ve offered to design and create a similarly themed outfit that would be different enough to be called a design of it’s own. I’ve done it once before.

I’ve included some photos here, just to clarify that this isn’t a case of something ‘generally like it’ or ‘kind of similar’. I’m not overeacting.

This is the outfit I stumbled upon:

(edited the photo and used with permission of the owner)

Anyone that has seen my Withdoll uniforms can see the similarity right away, but here’s what I gave the seamstress: ⇠This is the particular design used (as each character has a slightly varied uniform) with the skirt type mizya used with it. ⇠These are most of the colours that were used and the actual base mizya’s outfit was made from.

And then this huge file:

I’ve made different style and colour variations but they always have certain elements, most of which are present in the copy design. =__= Really, this was not something I was prepared to see while casually browsing about. This feeling is also why I’m really against copying things in general: it’s not a nice feeling.


Now, related to this, I’ve also been told by friends that especially in tumblr (?), people seem to think that I don’t take commissions. That is not true. I do take commissions. This seems to me like a case of someone saying they don’t think that I do and then it’s spread out as a fact. Please, always ask me, before someone else (or any other artist). The only times I have refused commissions are these: a) I can’t make it (=no access to the right fabrics) b) I don’t own the right size -or a similar doll to try it on and/or c) I’ve been too busy to make it.

Really, I take commissions. I’ve made quite a bit of commissioned outfits over the years. I even have a commission thread on the Finnish BJD forum, and I’ve been procrastinating about putting one up on DoA as well. I’ve written it -like a year ago, but putting it up makes me nervous because my local fabric store has such a bad selection I’m afraid I might not be able to make most things.

7 thoughts on “Copyright, commissions and the like

  1. I think you’ve handled the whole situation really well… I still feel pretty upset on your behalf, though. :’D But well, I suppose it’s best to leave it be since there’s nothing that can be done about it now. However if this kind of thing happens again, I don’t think I can stay still… u__u But let’s hope this is the last time something like this happens.

    Hopefully seamstresses who take commissions will be careful about what kind of work they accept… if it’s something generic like “a white dress decorated with lace and flowers” it shouldn’t pose a problem to anyone. But if a seamstress is given reference photos of a detailed outfit consisting of several pieces modelled on a doll… you might be better off doing a little research in order to make sure it’s not someone’s personal doll and design.

    I think commissioning replicas based on doll companies’ stock outfits isn’t that bad (like a lot of people have commissioned Dream of Doll’s outfits and that pink dress Feeple65 Chloe had was popular too), because those are meant as commercial characters… and usually the companies either sell or have sold those outfits themselves anyway. But if it’s someone’s original design that they made for their own doll… it really is not cool to commission someone else to make a replica of it. Especially if the person whose design it is offers commissions and could’ve made something similar themselves. -__-

  2. I do wonder why people think stuff like this might even be remotely okay, esp. in this days something like this will sooner or later come to the attention of the original creator :/

    I’m glad to hear that the seamstress was at least reasonable in removing the picture from her portfolio and I hope, something like this won’t happen again!

    (It’s also awesome to hear that you do take commissions x’D I adore the fantasy clothes you make and would personally don’t mind send you the body of my doll to work for the sizing)

    1. Well, I guess people don’t think about that when they want something. But yes, she apologized and removed all online images of the outfit right away. She’ll also be more careful in the future with such commissions. Though, I understand how difficult it is sometimes to know if the outfit is indeed someone’s personal work or a cosplay piece of an anime character or an original creation, but let’s hope this won’t happen again.

      And yes, I still do take commissions. I’ve been considering putting up a commission page in my blog’s menu maybe (could have my face up commissions in the same place). Within the EU I could also easily accept the body for a visit, too, as long as you’re prepared for the shipping (which would probably be in the 20-25e range for a body maybe).

      1. Considering I just shipped two bodies to the US for the very same purpose, that shipping price back within the EU is a dream x’D
        Do you have any place you’d prefer to be contacted for commissions? I think DoA might be better due to flickr’s no-selling-ToS?

        1. Haha, true. Pretty sure the shipping here is smaller as well. You can contact me at DoA or straight up email (there’s a mail to link on the selling page up top).

  3. It all came out okay in the end, though it really sucks when someone asks for a copy of your design.

    I know exactly how you feel, though I don’t own any copyrights – I once found my SQ Navi’s face-up almost copied exactly by another SQ Navi owner =/ the same tri-color eye shadow and everything! It was rather upsetting but I felt I really didn’t have any rights to claim to that face-up… and the commissioned artist may have had no idea about that..

    1. Well, anything you do is automatically copyrighted -but of course if you make something general, like basic skirt in blue with a white top or just a simple brown-toned face-up, it’s kind of hard to say that someone copied you. But when it’s something detailed and especially if the copy is on/for the same doll type, it’s really not okay. Someone once copied the face up I did for my Soom Glati -also for a Glati, and despite the colours being different, people noticed it right away. It was just too similar all around. This outfit was also for a Withdoll Priscilla which makes me even more upset because I could’ve made them another one without copying my character. -__-

      I’m sure you could’ve mentioned it as well, especially since it was the same doll it was copied on. It’s especially upsetting when it’s a straight copy and for the same doll. Inspiration is always fine, but there’s a difference between that and copying. =__=

      In this case I also didn’t know if it was the customer or the seamstress (+didn’t know who the customer was) or both, so I contacted the seamstress and asked her straight up if she knew it was my design. It was resolved very quickly and with no drama.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *