Friday, April 22, 2011

Boycott The Unethical

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I am having issue with a bead store in Chesapeake, VA.  Gu's Haus of Beads is teaching my Triquetra Rope without permission.
After e-mailing the owner and letting her know she wrote back saying she would remove the class.  What she actually did was change the class name from "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope".  Yep...what bloody nerve.

This store is committing/supporting theft and thumbing their nose at the people they are stealing from to boot!
Unethical, immoral!
And the really ironic thing is the owner of this store actually quotes the Dalai Lama on her Facebook page.

Now, I do have a teacher's version of this pattern available for $30 but obviously these people would rather pay the $7.50 for a personal use pattern and screw the designer and the law over. 
Their ethics and intergrity are worth $22.50.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the unethical behaviour of this store please let them know

This type of thing is going on way too much and needs to be stopped. Please feel free to share this blog post as it's only by being vocal and getting the word out that we will stop these disgusting practices. are the e-mails


My name is Mikki Ferrugiaro and I am the designer/creator of the Triquetra Rope.
I see that someone by the name of Bonnie is going to be teaching my design at your store.
This person has not purchased the rights to teach this design so I request that you have her contact me and pay for the rights to do this, pay for them yourself or cancel this class.
I am trusting that you were not aware that Bonnie did not own this design (which should have my name attached even when rights to teach are purchased) and that you would not knowingly allow copyright infringement to go on in your establishment.
I look forward to hearing back from you regarding a solution to this problem
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Mikki - I'm sorry I didn't know about the circumstances regarding your pattern. I'm taking it off the class schedule. Please let me know if she want's to teach your pattern what your policy is.
Sorry about this
Gu's Haus of Beads"

I'm like most designers we spend a lot of time designing, writing an illustrating patterns and the copyright laws protect our work from being used by others to make a living.
I, like a few other designers, offer a commercial version of my tutorials which give license for my design to be made to sell and even taught. The edition of this pattern in commercial form which allows the project to be taught is $30. When this edition is purchased I send two which has the licensing agreement and another file which is the personal use pattern which can be printed out for students. When someone purchases the commercial edition I am still to be given credit for my design and any variations created from it.
I do even allow someone to 'upgrade' their personal use pattern to the commercial version, they just have to give me the transaction number or date of purchase so I can verify the sale.
To teach or sell my designs without permission is theft and I really appreciate your help in educating people about this. The beading community is a close community and we support each other, keeping an eye out for each other's rights.
Some stores buy my commercial patterns so their in house teachers have something to teach and to protect themselves at the same time.
Thanks for your help and if Bonnie wishes to teach any of my projects have her contact me.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Hi Gu,
I'm not sure if Bonnie has told you she would purchase the rights to the commercial pattern because I do see you still have the class on the website and it has been changed from just "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope". I have not sold this pattern in commercial or personal use editions to anyone called Bonnie so I do really need to hear from her. As you don't list her last name I cannot contact her directly.
I really hope we can get this sorted out as I truly don't want to have to take action on this.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"

"Mikki - I'm sorry it took to long for you to see it's off the web page but I'm not constantly on my computer. Then I'm getting a call from California about this. I told you I'll take it off and it is. We have been in business for 6 years and we have a great reputation. It was a mistake from our side and I thought of buying pattern personally for our store and using them with your permission but after this experience with the E-mails and call I won't do it.
Gu's Haus of Beads"

I looked at the website and it was changed changed the name of the class from "Triquetra" to "Triquetra Rope".
So please do not tell me it was an oversight.
Under 17 U.S.C. 504, the consequences of copyright infringement include statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000 per work, at the discretion of the court, and damages of up to $150,000 per work for willful infringement. If you continue to engage in copyright infringement after being informed and asked to cease and desist, your actions will be evidence of “willful infringement.”

I see that in the last few minutes you have removed the class. Please ensure that you do not teach any of my projects or projects of any designer you do not have permission from and this includes designs that have been published in the magazines. Independent designers have come together to stop this type of thing and we have a lot more power than you may think, including people in your area who can drop by your store to ensure your compliance.
The fact that you were considering buying my designs and decided not to due to my standing up for my lawful rights says a LOT about your ethics or lack thereof. Your store has been added to our watchlist.
Mikki Ferrugiaro"
So...there you have it.

The call she mentions was made by a friend and the class disappeared from the website around the same time.  And more...sheesh!

"Mikki - thank you so much for your information. I don't even own a copy of your rope and I changed it the first time on the schedule because I didn't know how to spell it and didn't have a clue about the rope and even the name.
I just don't want to order patterns because of this innuendo that I'm not doing something I promised to do.
There are no patterns in the store with your name on and if you don't believe it let somebody come by and look.
Gu's Haus of Beads"
" changed it after you told me you would cancel the class and after I told you my name HAD to be attached to any mention of the design. Instead of changing it you should have done as you said you would and take it off the schedule that proved to me you had no intention of living up to your word.
As for my name not being on any patterns...well, people who steal patterns tend to take the designer's name off the patterns however, my designs and illustrations are very recognisable!
You will never know when or if someone is checking your store.

Mikki Ferrugiaro"


  1. Ugh, that's awful.

    There's a bead store (I'm not sure where they are) that constantly have lots of new classes and new projects which are clearly DIRECT copies of other people's designs. A few years ago someone contacted the store about a pattern which was clearly Diane Fitzgerald's, and the owner first said "Oh, it's one of my mom's designs, she's teaching it" but eventually agreed that it was a direct copy. It's not the only one, and she has a direct copy of one of mine as well...

    This sort of thing is impossible to police, and I commend you for following through in an unpleasant situation, especially when the store owner got so belligerent so quickly.

    I hope this is the only time you are plagued by this.

  2. Thanks Charlene. The only real way we can stop this is to band together and deluge the offenders with e-mail complaints, blog about it and get the word out about their unethical and illegal behaviour. Hopefully that's enough but if it isn't I have no qualms about filing a lawsuit particularly when it's a store. I'll be quite happy to accept all the beads in their store as a settlement and I'm sure the lawyer will get what he needs from their bank accounts :)

  3. To people who have to steal their ideas from real designers: USE YOUR OWN CREATIVITY, so you might one day get an idea of how much work is put into creating new patterns and designs.
    Geez, it never ends!

  4. I wish I lived near that store Mikki, I would love to say my piece to them. Unfortunately Australia is a bit far to do that. I have only recently found your designs and have purchased 3 of them, two already made up and the third has been started. I was telling a workmate the other day that I love your designs so much I will probably end up buying all of them lol.
    Keep up the good work and your stand on copyright, it's the only way to protect your work.
    Joanne, Brisbane Australia

  5. Thanks Jo! I just refuse to be beaten down by these people....and with the internet we little people can have a voice, especially if we join together.

  6. I have sent off and email to her expressing my disgust at her obvious attempt at thievery. I am sorry you had to go thru this. I think you have done the right thing by putting her on blast on Facebook and your blog so everyone can express their outrage to stop her and to scare anyone else out of committing this kind of fraud! Bravo to you for standing up to it!

  7.'s the only way. I had my art stolen in my 20s and I had no way to fight it. The thief actually told me to take him to court and that he'd settle before we went in, after I had spent a small fortune on lawyers and I'd still be losing money. And that he would steal anything I put out and my only option was to go work for him. I took a different option and quit doing the work. I lost out but he didn't win. This time I will not lose.....I refuse to be beaten down by unethical people with zero integrity when the law is on my side.


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