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GCA investigates the extent of IP theft

Berni Parker’s discovery has unearthed a lot of images being used illegally.
Berni Parker’s discovery has unearthed a lot of images being used illegally.

Sparked by Berni Parker’s outrage that images from her Berni Park Designs greeting cards had been translated onto other products and put on sale without her permission on the GearPassio.com website (see PG Buzz), it has come to light that more and more card publishers and artists are also seeing their IP being infringed on the site.

The Gearpassio website has for sale many products using unlicensed imagery.
The Gearpassio website has for sale many products using unlicensed imagery.
The GCA is investigating the extent of the copyright infringement by Gearpassio.
The GCA is investigating the extent of the copyright infringement by Gearpassio.

Having received reports of more publisher members who have found their images being used without permission on the website, the GCA felt compelled to investigate further.

GCA’s Sharon Little (right) with Margaret Briffa (centre) from Briffa at last year’s PG Live.
GCA’s Sharon Little (right) with Margaret Briffa (centre) from Briffa at last year’s PG Live.

Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA sent an email to members yesterday (28 March) urging members to check the www.gearpassio.com website to check whether any of their images have been used and, if so, take screengrabs and report back to the GCA by next Tuesday. If the response justifies, with the help of Briffa – the GCA’s IP legal advisors – the GCA will send a cease and desist letter, highlighting the product names as shown on Gearpassio’s website. The aim is to get these items removed from sale from the site.

One of the products on the Gearpassio website featuring Berni Parker’s artwork.
One of the products on the Gearpassio website featuring Berni Parker’s artwork.

“In order to decide how to progress we need to know how many members are affected and gather evidence of the images involved,” Sharon told PG Buzz. “We would like to act as quickly as possible on this so have a short deadline to receive images.”

The deadline to get back to Sharon with details of images being used on the website is 4.30pm on Tuesday 3 April.

As Berni Parker summed up: “It is so wrong that there are companies out there who are stealing our artwork. You feel so helpless. It is great that the GCA is investigating what can be done to help this situation. With its wide membership, Sharon’s email will alert other artists and publishers to this problem.”

Vicky Mount, an artist with Tom Cat Cards, also fell victim to Gearpassio.
Vicky Mount, an artist with Tom Cat Cards, also fell victim to Gearpassio.

* One publisher has already acted on images from his company being used without permission on the GearPassio website. Merv Thomas, co-owner of Tom Cat Cards discovered images from two of its artists being used on the website, as reported on PG Buzz on 22 March. Merv made a complaint to Shopify (the host of the GearPassio) and his since had these products removed from the website.

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