Thursday, 23 July 2009

the word


Yes, I was a little worked up yesterday. I was cross and surprised by all this 'word' fuss. And although I should not talk about the situation regarding the 'word', I will fill you in, the best I can.

Like hundreds of other sellers on a well known website for handmade goods, I described my babies all in one bodysuits by a typically American term. This well known website for handmade goods also used this word. They had a category titled and dedicated to this word and used it as a tag for listings. So we all used this word. I always preferred 'bodysuit' but some people in other parts of the world were a little confused with this term so used the 'word'. I am sure you can work out what this 'word' is.

So fast forward to yesterday when I find that some of my on-line store listings have been removed by the administrators of the website for handmade goods. I am faced with a message about a 'complaint.' At this point I just want to say how I am careful in how I name, show and sell my clothes and accessories. I am mindful of intellectual property and am often surprised when I see things for sale that are clearly from the pattern belonging to another crafter. I have even 'discovered' applique designs that were, for all intense and purposes, identical to mine - so much so that my best friend thought it was mine. I digress...

Then I get the letters (as emails). A very large legal firm representing a very large company (US based company producing babies all in one bodysuits) point out that they in fact own that 'word.' Apparently it is their invention. And we can't use the 'word' or there will be trouble. It turns out that the 'word', that was commonly used, was under copyright. All forms of the word (singular and plural) are not permitted to be used by parties that do not have express permission to use this 'word'. The 'word' has become a generic term for bodysuits, and although has been commonly used throughout the world, is in fact not to be used unless it is in reference to the 'real' one.

I am sure I will get another email if this gets back to them but, I am a little disappointed in the website selling handmade. As you know, we pay to list our items on there and they take a percentage of our takings. I understand that this website is quite a cash cow. I am not sure if they have been as supportive as they can be. Perhaps if they, given they are based in the US and therefore bound by US laws regarding copyright, had checked if the 'word' was free to use, none of these nasty letters, removed items and frustration would have been necessary.

And yes, perhaps I would have researched the 'word' too. But really...

Although I understand the importance of copyright, intellectual property and ownership, I just wonder if all the millions and millions of dollars a year spent by this company ensuring the purity of this 'word' is worth it. Imagine how many children at risk in the US could be clothed by this company with the money they saved by ending this legal pursuit? How many babies in the developing world could have something to wear with this money? How many of their staff in the weaving mills and factories could be payed a few extra dollars an hour with the savings?

Ed: I have now removed the 'word' from here...

15 comments:

Cass said...

I am horrified at this. I can't believe a word like is copyrighted. Were all the listings using this word removed? Maybe try Made It and then you can use word bodysuit and every one will know what you mean.

Cass said...

Just had to come back and post this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_bodysuit

Rach said...

Thanks Cass - I read about that case yesterday when I was investigating the 'word.'

Kate said...

Well my word for the day is flabbergasted! I can't believe it and I can't believe that homemade site will remove those listings and not people who copy others work and use their patterns.

Poppy and Mei said...

Um, so, what's America to do?
Put their babies in "Quite stretchy little suits for babies"?
Hmmmmmm, that is a mouth full.
Smacks of 'Stitch & Bitch' to me.
OH! I just composed a little ditty in my head..."Onesie, onesie, onesie, Stitch & Bitch!" (To be sang to the tune of Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy! Oi! Oi! Oi!)
COME & GET ME! XXxx

Tania said...

WHAT THE!! That is ludicrous... but then after an American company placed a copyright on the UGG Boot - yes our UGG boot!!...nothing would suprise me....
Hmmm - some perspective clearly lacking here.

katiecrackernuts said...

Hon, I get the grief and angst, but as someone who gets copyright law, you might wanna take this one down. I think it's clean-ish, but better safe than sorry. Sorry. :( (PS: Advice meant in good faith and as a means of not making hot water hotter.)

CurlyPops said...

I was racking my brain yesterday trying to work out what the word was... and now I'm just flabbergasted.

Dick and Dora said...

It would be very interesting to know which company the law firm was representing, as it may inform our buying preferences...do you think we could work it out for ourselves without too much trouble?

Black Eyed Susie said...

At least it looks like they've been on to everyone in that category. How frustrating for you. It makes you wonder what other words we have to worry about.

Michelle said...

sigh, I'm speechless....

Loz and Dinny said...

what?????? do people in big companies have too much time on their hands? or do their lawyers need to work out new ways to keep their jobs in an economic down turn ...

tiny and little said...

*sigh* how frustrating! I stopped by to see what you had for sale of said item while said craft site is down and am amazed to see this. I had no idea so I guess that's my new thing I learn today... sorry you're going through this for what I think most people would've thought was a generic word.

Claire (ethel loves fred) said...

FAR-OUT (soon to be copy righted)!
Your point regarding the money involved to persue people, so true - so apt. The Company who have copy righted this silly term (never liked it) must be consumed by greed, yeuch ... we need to come up with an alternative word, that is catchier, funkier, and all together cuter!

PottyMouthMama said...

Oh jeepers, it's pretty pitiful when they're quibbling over that word. I mean REALLY!?