Etsy & eBay Details
TierraCast, Inc. regularly introduces new cast pewter products, and is committed to protecting the time and energy it expends in the design and development of those products. The Company, which has been in business for over 30 years, employs on-site staff and, from time to time, contracts with independent jewelers to update its product line. Our on-site staff earns their living by being a part of the design and development process, and many of the independent jewelers receive regular royalty payments for their contributions to our product line.
Unfortunately, TierraCast competes in a marketplace where respect for that design effort is often ignored. The designs that we spend time and energy to develop are often copied directly from our parts by dishonest businesses, and then the illegal copies are sold by those businesses as their own. The great majority of those copies come from overseas, mostly notably China, Korea, and India.
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing of all is that these businesses do not tell their customers that the products that they are offering for sale were illegally obtained from a company who owns the copyright to the design. Hence, many smaller, unsuspecting businesses purchase these illegal copies to use or to resale in their own businesses without being aware of their status. If you received a notification letter or email about copyright infringement that included a link to this page, you are probably one of those smaller businesses.
Over the years, it has become increasingly important for TierraCast to monitor internet sites such as Etsy and eBay and, when necessary, utilize their copyright infringement procedures to remove illegal copies from being sold. This effort not only protects our own customers who attempt to sell legitimate TierraCast products through these same on-line venues, it also protects the livelihood of our staff and independent designers. In addition, it serves to constantly remind the jewelry trade that TierraCast takes protection of its designs seriously.
We would not be surprised if the notice you received about selling illegal copies has confused and upset you. We also would not be surprised to find that you knew nothing about the copyright status of the designs when you bought them. We do not automatically assume you have intentionally engaged in copyright infringement. Only rarely has TierraCast had to resort to legal counsel to settle an infringement issue, and in the vast majority of the cases, we seek only to have the illegal copies removed from sale. Finally, we would not be surprised if your reaction to this notice was something like: "Hey, I bought these parts from a legitimate source. You should be going after the supplier or manufacturer, not me! I’m just trying to run my business and make a dollar where I can."
This reaction is understandable and, in part, we agree wholeheartedly. We are always interested in information that will lead us to the sources of these illegal parts so we can contact the sources directly and stop the illegal parts from being made. Any information about these sources you wish to share with us will always be held in strict confidence; your name will never be disclosed to them. Providing us with such information will help not only you, but also other sellers like you who have also purchased illegal copies.
That said, we must remove the illegal copies when and where we find them. In that regard you must cease sale of the identified designs, even though we understand that you purchased them from a "legitimate source".
TierraCast makes no secret about its copyrighted designs; they are available for public view at our image library. The aggressive stance that TierraCast has adopted is not intended to cause financial hardship on sellers and small businesses. Nor do we make money doing this. In fact, regularly defending our copyrights drains our business resources that we could put to much better use in the Company.
We greatly regret having to police the market in this manner. It is no more pleasant for us than it is for you to be involved in this situation. Before you arrive at the final judgment that TierraCast is responsible for all this trouble, I’d ask that you consider that all we are doing is defending against the unlicensed use of the design(s) we developed. For clarity sake, please understand that TierraCast does not, for example, claim copyright for the idea of a three-to-one link. Copyright law does not protect an idea, only the specific expression in a fixed form. TierraCast does however claim copyright protection for the specific cast metal link pictured here and will not allow the sale of illegal copies of it.
You might want to read Circular 1, available on-line from the Copyright Office. It is a great introduction to the basics of copyright protection.
We would appreciate your understanding and support in this effort. Defense of our copyrights is important to us and we believe that the artistic community in general benefits from businesses that protect their design work from illegal appropriation. We come to work each day with the goal of producing a high quality product that constantly brings fresh cast metal designs to the market. Our unrelenting defense of our design work is an essential part of the process toward that goal.