Creator Basics Part 5 – Copyright

Last time in our creator basics series, we spoke about creating content. Now it’s time to talk about what you can do if your content gets ripped off.

Recently, we’ve had more and more creators come to us about cards they’ve spotted on other sites being copies of their designs. So, in light of this we have spoken to our legal team who have drafted a letter you can use to report the unauthorised use of your intellectual property and put together some info for us.

What is copyright?

  1. UK copyright is an unregistered right and exists in a copyright work as soon as it is created.It seeks to protect the form of expression of ideas and not the ideas themselves.
  2. There are a number of different categories of work which are protected under UK copyright law. Of most relevance to greetings cards will be literary and artistic works (words and pictures). Artistic works encompass a wide variety of things including a graphic work, photograph, or collage irrespective of artistic quality. Copyright can also be found in sound recordings, and typographical arrangements but we do not examine those in this guidance note.
  3. Typical aspects of a greetings card which may be protected by copyright are:
  4. The overall design of the card including the layout of any words and pictures –these may be seen as an artistic work;
  5. Any specific pictures that are on the card could be artistic works in their own right;
  6. And the wording used on the card may be literary works.
me when someone copies my designs quote with picture of man crying.

How does it apply to me?

To establish whether what has been copied/reproduced infringes copyright laws, we need to assess whether what has been copied/reproduced constitutes a “substantial part” of the original copyright work.

In order to answer this question, we need to look at two elements: quantity and quality.

Quantity: How much was copied?

  • The quantitative part of the test is a comparison exercise as it looks at the similarities between what has been copied against the original copyright work to establish “how much” of the content has been copied/reproduced word for word. Nonetheless, this comparison exercise needs to be read in a wider context, i.e.looking not only at how much was copied but also the actual content of what was copied.

Quality: What was copied?

  • To establish infringement, it is important to consider the qualitative aspect of what has been copied. This involves assessing whether the specific content of what has been copied/reproduced, captures the “heart” / “essence” of the copyright work. This will depend on the facts and specific circumstances of any particular instance of copying and will vary on a case by case basis.

Of the two elements, what was copied will be considered more important than how much was copied. As a general rule of thumb if you have a “gut feeling” that a “substantial part”has been taken of your copyright work (a sense of déjà vu when seeing the infringers work which brings to mind your copyright work) then it is worth exploring the possibility of copyright infringement further.

You can download the letter template for reporting instances here:

At thortful:

When moderating your designs, we take the possibility of copying very seriously and if we think it is a copy of a previous design we will reject it. If you see a design on our site that you think is a copy of yours, get in touch via email and our team will happily look into it and advise.

We know you – our talented creators, put so much time and effort into your designs and so hopefully this helps. If you have any further questions please contact us and we’ll do our best to help! ☺️