Paperchase forced to deny it copied artist's work after Twitter backlash

A British artist has accused the stationery chain Paperchase of copying one of her designs and reproducing it on thousands of bags, notebooks and albums without her permission.

The artist, who calls herself Hidden Eloise, sells illustrations through the online shop Etsy, many of which feature a picture of a girl with long dark hair. On a blog post on her website, the 28-year-old, from London, claimed that her design had been redrawn and used on numerous Paperchase products.

“My lovely girl from the artwork...has been stolen, badly traced and stuck in front of a poor (and separately traced) mushroom that now decorates untold numbers of notebooks, albums and tote bags sold throughout the UK through Paperchase and Amazon.co.uk,” she wrote.

She found out about the alleged plagiarism through a friend, who had noticed the design adorning a Paperchase bag. When she contacted the company, they denied any copyright infringement and refused to stop selling the products, which include diaries and albums.

Hidden Eloise, who said she was unable to afford a lawyer to fight her case in the courts, added: “Thank you Paperchase for making a killing out of my hard work! And an especially strong, bone-crackling bear hug to the anonymous designer that badly traced my art and then denied it!”

This morning, her blog post began to generate interest on the social networking website Twitter after it was noted by the British science fiction author Neil Gaiman, who has 1.4 million followers. By lunchtime, “Paperchase” had become one of Twitter’s top 10 trending topics – a sign that lots of people were discussing it.

Hidden Eloise encouraged her online friends to express their dissatisfaction by emailing Paperchase or by posting negative comments underneath the products listed on Amazon.co.uk. Many of them obliged.

Jane Doe wrote: “Utterly despicable not only that Paperchase would steal Eloise’s work, but that when confronted about it have denied there’s any similarity and resorted to bullying, knowing they’re the big company. Will not be buying Paperchase’s products in the future and would advise anyone who cares about the rights of artists to do the same.”

David Evans wrote: “Don’t buy this product – the design is stolen from an independent artist. Shame on Paperchase for not answering her calls to stop selling this obviously plundered design! Disgraceful!”

A spokesman for Paperchase said the company had bought the design in October 2008 from a “well-known central London design studio” which had “categorically denied any plagiarism”. He refused to name the design studio in question.

He also criticised the way that the “cock-eyed” allegations had spread “like wildfire” over Twitter: “We’ve had the most unbelievable amount of emails this afternoon of extraordinary vitriol – and we haven’t actually done anything wrong. It must have damaged people’s perception of us.”

Paperchase has temporarily suspended the sale of products featuring the design while it investigates the claims for a second time.

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat