I’ve been wanting to write about this for a few days now but I wanted to make sure that I was coherent in how I wrote it. I came up with a name for my little notebooks, Jotters. I’ve considered it something like a brand name. I came up with it, it’s mine. Recently when cruising etsy looking at what other binders were making, I typed in Jotter, to see what I got, and lo and behold I didn’t get just my books, I got a ton of other books. There were 2 sellers in particular that were selling their books as jotter notebooks. Their books were in fact very similar to mine, but obviously they were not my notebooks.
My first thought was to send out an angry cease and desist letter. Then I thought a nicely worded cease and desist letter would work letter. Then I considered doing what I did when a seller on eBay started to use my exact format for selling her books, and ignore it to a point while putting into my description "The Original Jotter Notebook."
I guess I wouldn’t mind if in their description they had written "modeled after the jotter notebooks made my Leslie HErger/COnforableShoesStudio.com" or given me the credit somewhere. Instead the binders just used my hard work to come up with a "brand"name for my books and are using it to sell their notebooks.
What would you do as a bookbinder if you came up with a name for one of your books, a brand name if you will, and another artesian started to use it? Without permission and without giving you credit?
I posted this a couple of places and the response was interesting on one source, it was pointed out to me that jotter is actually in the dictionary as a word for notebook. This is true but it’s also not quite an archaic term and no one used it until I popularized it on several forums online. (just thought I’d point that out.) Another person pointed out that my notebooks are not that original and that the solution was to be more creative. While I’m aware that these particular notebooks/jotters aren’t the most creative line of my books that wasn’t the point in my question, the point being that several sellers are using the name I chose to use for my line of books.
And yes I have looked into copyright and trademark, both are very expensive so I guess unless I’m willing to shell out $350 for the trademark and more for the copyright I’m stuck. I think it’s just rude to co-opt someone else’s hard work. This goes inline with a recent discussion on the handmade book forum about infringement and how many people think if it’s online it’ must be okay to use (AKA steal). I guess a lot of these people who haven’t been online for years and working hard and just taking other people’s ideas and hard work don’t see the harm that it does. It must be okay to steal some one else’s idea if it furthers your work.(please note my bitter sarcasm.)