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acid: anti copying in design (was re: where is the fine line in

updated thu 27 feb 03


Janet Kaiser on wed 26 feb 03


Ned and John: It is my impression that items made in low-wage countries and
sold at rock bottom prices "here", have been designed by our own people and
rarely by the makers/manufacturers. The manufacturing is done "over there",
but even the tacky stuff to which Ned was referring, most probably started
out on a drawing board "here" if it was bone fide or in the form of an
"original" if it was copied without the original maker knowing about it.

(An aside: now we are educating graduate "designers" and not producing
makers in our art schools and colleges, this will be the trend in the
future... Designed here, made there and everyone gets their cheap products
with the right flavour to suit our different national tastes. Our own
consumer drive for "value for money" fuels this mess more than anything

Your experience of illegal copies actually hanging up next to your own
originals must have been quite a shock, John. No wonder you went ballistic!
IMO it is a great shame you did not "take the matter further". And
stopping the production is not the only solution... You could, for example,
have held out for a licensing agreement... At even a couple of cents per
piece, it would make it worth the hassle at the very least.

A similar thing happened to a maker here in Wales back in 1999... Tony
White became an overnight UK success story with his Indian Running Ducks
(as I think they were called) and was doing pretty well, until the market
was flooded with copies.

Luckily for Tony, who could not have afforded the legal wrangle involved in
upholding copyright, especially at an international level, he applied to
and was helped by ACID, an association set up to support artists/makers in
exactly this sort of situation. I want to get my facts right here... Wait a
minute (quick google search)... Ah, yes, here you are:

ACID Anti Copying in Design can be seen at and after
entering the "visitors section", Tony White's ducks are used as an image
for a section at the top of page...

You can read the whole Duck Story and see what they achieved at:

I think every country should have such an organisation as ACID... It is all
very well having copyright laws, but what real use are they without the
means to uphold them? As ACID apparently now have 1000 members throughout
the UK (see banner at the top of their page), I should imagine that there
are at least that many people around, who have suffered some form of
copyright infringement, although probably not as high-profile as Tony's


Janet Kaiser - After a day of trying to spring clean... Reckon dead hands
are going to be this year's excellent excuse... At least that is "original"
and not a weak as those used in past, run-of-the-mill sort of years :-)
TRUTH is too precious to tell every fool who asks for it...
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