Thursday , 13 May 2021
Target Steals Etsy Sellers #MERICA T-Shirt Design

Target Steals Etsy Sellers #MERICA T-Shirt Design

Building a creative business is hard but rewarding work. Designing, making, shipping, emailing, marketing… you know the list and what it takes. So when Melissa from Sandilake Clothing found out that Target stole her most popular¬†#MERICA t-shirt design she was BLOWN AWAY!

Check out her story below!

sandilake #merica


Her are some more of Melissa’s awesome designs!



sandilake #mericasandilake #mericasandilake #merica

sandilake #merica

sandilake #merica


sandilake #merica



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  1. Target is dispicable! I’m so sorry for SandiLake. I hope she finds a way to get the credit she deserves. She shouldn’t give up. Good luck.

  2. Angela Vangelisto

    Great Reward for the Little People Trying to Eke out an Honest Living!

  3. cant believe they would stoop so low to do that. as if they needed the money !!!! to the designer, … keep on trucking and wishing you lots of success, and you should take this up legally you may be able to get reimbursed and more….

  4. I love how the tv commentator state, “she doesn’t have a copyright on that shirt” Hell yes she does — as soon as she created it it because copyrighted!!! Target has really stooped low. I will never ever shop there again.

  5. you need to know that target has a long history of preying on American artists.
    You will find story after story of their blatant piracy in Sunshine Artist magazine & other such publications.
    The last one I read was about a woman who crafted & painted her own children’s furniture. She displayed her amazing work at art shows.. Then one day she walks into her local Target & is stunned to see her baby furniture line on display.
    She spent her whole life savings fighting them & got nothing. No apologies & no royalties. They know they can throw a stable of lawyers at little people like us & win.
    Perhaps with your national news coverage, you will win this one.

  6. I’m a little confused there news anchor… She doesn’t have a copyright? A little 411 in intellectual property laws:

    Technically, your work is copyrighted the moment it is created. That means it is illegal for others to copy it. However, in order to be able to prove that it is yours, the safest thing to do is to register it. Registration is not mandatory for copyright protection. Since 1999, neither is publication. As far as the U.S. government is concerned, your work is protected the moment it is created. It’s just a matter of whether or not you can prove that you are the creator.

    Under the laws of more than 160 countries, copyright is granted automatically to the author upon the event of recording a creative work of expression in a tangible form, be it paint on canvas, pixels in a digital camera, or pencil on paper.

    Under current USA law, there have been no “formalities” required to obtain copyright — prior to that the publication may have been required to be registered or marked with a copyright notice (Copyright, date, name of author). For example: ¬© 2015 Megs Broken Wings Jewelry

    While the above is true, a copyright has more legitimacy IF it is registered with the Copyright Office in a person’s government. It is much easier to prove you own the work if you have documented it for the record. The drawback is that you must pay a fee to have any work copyrighted. Forms can be obtained online through the Library of Congress.

    All of the information provided is available through the Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

  7. Shame on Target !!!
    Etsy Sellers work very hard for whom they have become !!
    Prayers and Well wishes for you Melissa from Sandilake Clothing !!!!

  8. There is a really good TED talk about copyright in fashion. Short story – there is none.

    • I’m watching the video right now, but I think they’re talking about no copyright on the PATTERN of the clothing; a t-shirt’s stitching is not copyrighted, but the logo or picture/design on a t-shirt IS protected.

  9. I found one of my quilt patterns made up into quilts in China and sold in the Orvis catlog. I found copyright lawyer to help me. He agreed that by changing a couple of colors in my designs, didn’t matter, it was still my design. He wrote to Orvis in a non-threatening way and got me a commission on their sales. We all agreed that they could continue to sell the quilts till they were all gone. (I actually saw one in an Orvis outlet store. It was not a work of art.)

    If you go this route, you need to find a copyright lawyer. That was tricky. It wasn’t like I could look him up in the phone book. I had to go to a center where they had a list of lawyers with specialties (and pay a small fee) and they recommended that I contact the one I worked with. He easily made his fee and a few thousand dollars for me. It was relatively painless to deal with Orvis. They are an upstanding company, who leaned on their supplier to pay me.

    The Orvis quilt was used on the bedroom wall of the PBS TV series Wishbone and the show paid me a small fee, because the producers understood what copyright meant.

  10. In case anyone thinks Sandilake’s is a one-off mistake by Target:

    Target is apparently having a difficult time coming up with its own ideas. In 2007, we created a ministry website for working Christians called ( wasn’t being used but had been reserved by an individual, and thus wasn’t available, but we asked to be notified when/if it opened up. Our reader base reached 100,000-plus, including people in over 100 countries on six continents. (One of our key messages includes reminding Christians we are given the task of tending Creation responsibly (Target’s MTM “mission’ minus the Christian lingo) as we do our work and live our lives. We noticed a sudden drop in search engine driven discoveries which then ate into our unique IP numbers, which then impacted our ‘regular reader” numbers, and it was then we learned about Target’s new initiative to be environmentally responsible: Titled, you guessed it, Made to Matter, including much to our surprise their procurement of the address, which we believed we had first rights of refusal on. We’ve tried every soft effort to reach Target with no response; although they did send us to the ad agency who “created” the idea; and they essentially told us there’s no overlap. Hmmm. Turning the other cheek sounds easy until it threatens your mission and your livelihood. …and I’m certainly not suggesting it’s what Sandilake should do. We did it primarily because taking on Target would consume us and distract us from our primary purposes; and because we aren’t any good with slingshots (a la David and Goliath). Plus, there’s just a little bit of irony if we’re telling people God wants us to use resources wisely and responsibly and then we go after someone who starts a program which purports to do just that.

  11. COPYRIGHT! Yes, she has a copyright. Ugh! I see so many copyright articles that I can’t imagine everyone doesn’t understand that creation is copyrightable action.
    I hope that she get’s paid by Target. Even a small fee on that many units would go a long way to help her succeed.

  12. Hey Melissa take heart- it’s not the first time target has pulled something like this. As a fellow Etsy seller, I support you all the way! Perhaps you can get some wisdom from this episode.

  13. They should pay her a good percentage of the profits.

  14. One thing you can do is mail through a postal system, as long as its not huge – right, to yourself and keep in the envelope with the time stamp etc. At least this shows date of creation. Just a thought

  15. Linda Constantine

    That just sucks! I’ve had my designs stolen twice. Once by a Nursery, who I took my work to show them, in hopes of snagging them for my suncatchers. They asked me about some glass pieces in the designs, and I told them the name of the local glass artists who do these for me. They weren’t interested. Low and behold, just 3 months later, as spring was beginning, they carried a full line of suncatchers, using the same glass studio. It was appalling! And obviously no coincidence. Had they already had these(and I was told that it was too late for me to sell to them because ALL of their summer stuff was ordered much further in advance, and they were finished buying for the season), wouldn’t you think they would say,”Oh, we have a line quite similar to these” Nope. Total rip-off. But practically impossible for me to prove…they weren’t exact replicas. All of my suncatchers are ooak. But the worst, just for how it made me feel, was a fellow vendor at a summer market I work. I told her about this sweet little display idea I found on Pinterest, that I was going to try out. The next week, she comes up to me, and shows me the finished version of my design(as I didn’t outright copy the pinterest post), all proud of herself. I was dumbstruck, and said.”you STOLE my design?” To which she answered that she guessed I could still use it too, if I was that upset. Un-freaking-believable. I lodged a complaint….and urged two other artists(whose work she had copied) to do the same. It will be interesting to see if she is still accepted into the show this year. As it’s highly doubtful the others lodged complaints(they wanted to complain to everyone, but seemed pretty unwilling to do anything about it…. I imagine she will get in. She never did seem to “get it”…she couldn’t see where she had done anything wrong. Had it been a start to finish design of my own(rather than an idea from Pinterest as inspiration), I would have gone ballistic on her. Sometimes I think integrity is dead…..or, at least, moving in that direction, like so many social graces are.

  16. I’m sooooo embarrassed to be from MN right now! As someone who is just beginning to venture out into the small business market this makes so angry… like I’m angry for her. You work so hard for everything, to make your vision a reality, and see your dreams come to life only to have big business come in and pull the rug! Well here’s to Melissa, keep on creatin’ and live that dream- I’m pulling and praying for you!

  17. No, don’t tell me,,, The copies were made overseas right? For this reason, I look for “Made In America” on the label. If the design is stolen by an American company it should make it a little easier to get some justice. Etsy is no longer what it started out to be, and smaller stores are being robbed of designs that are mass-produced overseas. We are all to blame. I know, it’s almost impossible to “Buy American” anymore, but if you try hard enough to find what you need, at the same time letting stores know you demand American made products we at least have a fighting chance.

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