Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cody Foster - Design Theft


Cody Foster & Co are a big Christmas decoration manufacturing company based in the US who make their money out of the theft of other people's ideas. They take the designs of hard working, honest craftspeople, designers and illustrators and have them mass produced to a ridiculous degree in China, then selling them on as their own designs.
There is no mention of the artist the design has come from, no request to purchase the design, no commissioning of designs for a fee, no royalties offered, just theft, unknown to the makers/creators until someone who is able to access their closed site or be on their registered mailing list to receive a catalogue, recognises the work of the original artist and makes it known to them.

Yesterday I discovered this had happened to me. The design stolen from me was an owl decoration I made in 2010, laser cut from wood to my own illustration. They might have purchased a decoration from me through my Etsy shop or Big Cartel, but never contacted me to ask to buy the design to reproduce it. It is absolutely shameful theft.

My owl to the left, their glittery number to the right, much the same?!?!


This years Cody Foster catalogue also features the work of talented designers/makers: Lisa Congdon, Mimi Kirchner and Cassandra Smith... there may be others (artist's original to the right, Cody Foster to the left):





The kind lady who recognised my work has compiled these Flickr pages, showing the original works of various artists and the rip offs manufactured by Cody Foster over several years, unbeknownst to them:




Cody Foster have a private website so no designs can be seen. Their Twitter page is private so no tweets can be linked to them and seen on their feed, and they are not answering emails.

People such as myself work hard at our craft, we put our life and soul into what we produce and we do it with honesty and integrity. Of course we are all inspired by what is around us and we can arrive at similar conclusions to others, but Cody Foster have undeniably stolen these designs from these people and shouldn't be allowed to continue making money from it.

For now all I can do is to raise awareness of their game and ask for support in sharing the story and possibly emailing them at: info@codyfosterandco.com to voice your own anger at how they operate.
I'll keep you posted on any progress. Thank you x


Cody Foster & Co
PO Box 247
Valentine, NE 69201
402 376 3369 - Tel
402 376 2835 - Fax
info@codyfosterandco.com

31 comments:

jemimalumley said...

Disgusting. Will share.

Anna said...

Abigail this is awful! I suggest as you are not getting any answer to contact places like the New York International Fair where Cody Foster are exhibiting and make them aware of this- no doubt they will be going around to see what other ideas they can steal! If you are able to give them a strong enough argument they may not allow them to exhibit which would definitely be a blow to Cody Foster. Good Luck! Anna

louise35flower said...

So awful and I'm so sorry it has happened to you. I was just going to say the same as Anna, their site shows where they are exhibiting.

Anonymous said...

I would be arranging with local artists to visit all their upcoming events and stand at their booth all day until answers are given. Turn up the heat on this douchebag

Abigail Brown said...

I've contcated the NY gift fair and Atlanta International, anyone know where else they exhibit??? Thank you for the support xx

Jackie said...

Completely and absolutely horrifying. I've always admired Mimi Kirchner so much for her originality and her quirky and wonderful ideas. How dare they. Do what you can to name and shame. This happened with a company called Claires accessories in Uk and they were 'outed' by a Tv show called 'Watchdog'. I don't know if they had any fines or anything.

Rich Marshall said...

Terrible way to operate a company! Abigail - If you didn't already know, they are exhibiting at Pulse in May.

alyssa said...

if you want to organize a demonstration, count me in. i'm another artist they've copied, and they are horrible people

louise35flower said...

Lisa Congdon has done a blog post about it, perhaps you need to join forces?
http://lisacongdon.com/blog/2013/10/my-art-was-stolen-for-profit-and-how-you-can-help/

laura jesson said...

http://blog.renee-garner.com/2010/12/drawing-line-on-design-theft.html

laura jesson said...

http://blog.renee-garner.com/2010/12/drawing-line-on-design-theft.html

patti said...

I would contact the author of this article if I were you: http://www.owhstore.com/article/20121209/LIVING/121209751/1101

Anonymous said...

If your in the uk could I suggest your join ACID .its a organisation who fight againest copying

Anonymous said...

Gonna' start faxing the heathens.

Corinne Orr Island said...

Gonna' start faxing the heathens.

mv said...

Oh my gosh, just went to the Cody Foster site and read their 'Our Story'. The last line reads: 'I hope you’ll
enjoy owning them as much as I enjoy creating them.'
Seriously? Try substituting the word 'creating' with STEALING!

Sarah Burford said...

I feel so angry and frustrated when this happens to artists. I know that heart sinking feeling when you see a rip off of your work. You certainly have my full support on this matter and I will try and retweet and share info as much as I can. As a previous comment suggests ACID are very good at offering support and solutions to these matters. I have sought their advice in the past and they have a fabulous ethos and reputation. Sarah (c pip)

Jules Madden said...

Hey, they have stolen my work too!!! I am not going to let this rest. I'm Jules from tummy ache, I have only just started working again but would like to band together with the other artists that were ripped off. The only web page I have at the moment is http://facebook.com/julesmadden.tummyache Perhaps we could make some sort of common place online that we can join (perhaps a Facebook page?) to collate all our progress and happenings? I am in Australia so our copyright laws may be different too, I will need to look into it all.

Abigail Brown said...

Sadly NY gift fair had this to say back:

Dear Abigail:

My name is Scott Kramer, sales directory of NY NOW. Your email has been forwarded to me and I appreciate that you took the time to write us.

The gift industry, along with many industries, is faced with companies working with other’s ideas and designs. I can understand the frustration that you must feel as an artist. This is however a difficult situation for us in that as a show management company we aren’t able to adjudicate these issues. We wouldn’t be within our legal rights to stop them from exhibiting. You could go through our legal system and attempt to stop them from producing any of your designs.

I wish you luck with this and hope you can reach a favorable conclusion.

Sincerely,

Scott W Kramer | Sales Director | NY NOW® - LIFESTYLE & NEW!

Can they be pressured?? can more people get onto them?? x

Jules Madden said...

They supply to Tiffany's, Bergdorf Goodman and Anthropologie. Maybe we should be contacting these companies and alert them of this dispicable business practise. There was an article on him http://www.owhstore.com/article/20121209/LIVING/121209751/1101 where I got that info. I only just skimmed it as I'm working hard making original designs for an upcoming market!! See, we work hard for our money! Will read it properly later.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that you raise a petition through AVAAZ!

I you go to this link on the page there is a button saying 'Start a Petition'

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/

Sadly this is a big problem with a lot of crafters. I have a friend who has had a lot of VW designs and images stolen and put on mugs, tee shirts etc.

I hope you have some success with your campaign.

Amanda said...

Can you not contact the press or TV stations about this. I agree, it is disgusting and companies like this need boycotting. Kick up a big enough stink and someone will listen.

Natalie said...

Remember the US is a litigious society & as the company is based there I assume you would have to sue them in the states. It is common practice & there are a lot of no win, no fee lawyers. It might be an idea to see if you can find a company to represent you as it seems that may be the only way to stop them. There is also small claims court but you would have to represent yourself, not sure if they were look at an international case. Even if the sums involved won't pay for a mansion it should stop this company from ripping off people art!

Janet said...

I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. In November of 2012 I discovered that a Chinese factory was producing knock offs of six of my original oil paintings. From China, these paintings made their way into the western marketplace through various legitimate British/American/Canadian/European retail chains and distributors. Here is a link to my story if you are interested:

http://janethillstudio.com/2012/12/copyright-infringement-update.html

If you registered your copyrights, you should be able to find a US attorney that can help you on contingency fee basis. Alternatively, if this company has any connection to the UK- you can you can sue them in UK small claims court. It likely won't be for much money but it will make them accountable for their actions and hopefully serve as a deterrent in the future.
When I was deciding on whether or not to purse litigation in my situation I released that I would in the long run regret not defending the integrity of my images. It wasn't a fun year for me but in the end I was happy that I did it.

Tammy said...

One of the things you will encounter when contacting the fairs where Cody Foster exhibits is people who don't want to rock the boat. It is hard to believe that a show management company can't decide who they want to invite to a show. (NY NOW). But maybe they can't. In any case, perhaps your supporters can flood Cody Brown with *courteous* faxes and emails asking them why they don't get permission to copy designs, why they don't credit the original designers, why the don't ask their own attorney about the legal way to use others' designs, how they can sleep at night knowing they profit from others' hard work and talent. Staying courteous would be good so no backlash is caused, but flooding their contact lines (fax, email, and phone) will certainly cause them hardship and perhaps incite action. I am not a creative artist but my blood is boiling for you just the same.

Cody Foster & Co
PO Box 247
Valentine, NE 69201
402 376 3369 - Tel
402 376 2835 - Fax
info@codyfosterandco.com

Jules Woolford said...

Just found your blog and fabulous work. You're the third designer I've heard about this week who's work has been stolen by these thieves at Cody Foster! I'll be e-mailing them shortly and passing this on. Good luck!

Margie Oomen said...

you know you have my support xo

Michelle S. said...

Companies have gotten too comfortable with their policies of looking the other way or handing complaints like this off to their lawyers to bury in red tape. But what will soon become apparent is the little guy now has recourse against corporate complacency and clout because social media levels the playing field for victims. This story has spread like wildfire, shaming Cody Foster & Co on such a large scale that big name retailers have begun to sever ties with the company. I hope social media continues to put bad business and corrupt lawyers out of business.

Anonymous said...

Truly so sad, thank you so much for sharing this. We are very sorry this happened to you but we are grateful for bringing awareness to this .

Ananasa.com- Home For Handmade

Vic Stapelberg said...

Hi I am flabergaasted. I reposted this article on our FB page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Visual-Senses-Design/185177301542529
and retweeted it @voicefromwithin @visualsenses @sergiodivescovi and @colourmatters. When will this world change the copyright system and stop only people with money to rule the lot. For those who may not know if you can make a technical drawing of your item, even it is Art you can copyright everything even building drawings for US$ 35 online at the USA Library of congress http://copyright.gov/
I myself am utmost concerned I am very creative and have been taken for copy rides several times in my long career and yes I also did not have the negative energy to mortgage my business,life or home to pay $200+K to lawyers with only an small chance to win. A friend of mine had a sugarless chocolate that sold in USA at 400 Traders Joe for 10 years. Good life it was made in Spain but due to the USA $ versus EU fluctuation he had to move the production to USA. So he looked for production partners and found EQUAL. They together created a company that held the secret formula to only produce the chocolate in USA. Within no time they managed (don't ask me how) to make that company go bankrupt BUT naturally they had the formula. And he lost his lifelong business. It took him 5 years of legal battle to regain his own formula but not without having to change x % of it. He now is starting from scratch and has lost all all hardly worked for spaces in 400 supermarkets. I know this story as I was the packaging Designer and his appointed agent in Canada. I had moved here and had planned on making this my business after landing. So much for that beside me having spent over $8K in early PRE advertising announcing the launch of his product in Canada within the Canadian baking industry magazine (we had planned a sweetener also for baking). That never happened and I lost my $ also. Equal sure never lost a penny and I can't wait for them to launch a sugarless chocolate that probably may sink his own product as they have a leading market share. And so as usual the 1% have all the say. I also design building and product fashion and uniforms. www.visualsenss.com is my online home. Thanks for reading this far. I feel for you Abigail. Your Designs are very delicate and pretty hope you get your success!

Caroline G. said...

Makes me angry and sad reading this. I w79ill share it to raise more awereness. I hope you can put pressure on them!