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Alandart.co.uk

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A Challenge: International Copyright Theft

Alan Dart is an internationally recognised designer of knitted and sewn toy patterns. In addition to being a published author, magazine contributor and presenter of craft makes on two children's television series, he has also created, under license, knitted toy patterns for major character brands such as Wallace and Gromit, Postman Pat and Beatrix Potter.

When we first met Alan, he was struggling to control a deluge of illegal sales of his copyrighted property on eBay by unauthorised third parties. At this time, Alan had no website and his licensed character patterns, together with patterns that had been published in national titles such as Simply Knitting and Woman's Weekly, were being photocopied or transferred on to CD and sold through eBay with no respect of Alan's intellectual rights or any royalties being paid to Alan.

The Solution? Undercut the Pirates.

Alan Darts Pattern catalogue

After consulting with Alan on the dynamics of the problem (it was a game of 'Whack a Rat' to try and control these unauthorised sellers), we suggested creating a digital format for the patterns, allowing them to be sold globally as PDF files at a reasonable price, and so undercut the eBay sellers.

We then built a bespoke e-commerce platform through which to sell the patterns, and assisted in the  administration by uploading and editing details of patterns each month. By agreeing a regular publishing schedule for the new patterns, and by having rich copy accompany each new pattern published, we helped Alan to push his site to the front page of several search terms on Google and other search engines.

alandart.co.uk today

alandart.co.uk continues to grow and thrive, with a worldwide audience of admiring fans who eagerly await the release of each month's pattern. We recently moved alandart.co.uk away from our early bespoke e-commerce system and on to the easy-to-use, flexible WP-Ecommerce extension for Wordpress. This has allowed Alan to take more control of his website (Alan has a hawkish eye for detail, and our spelling sometimes attracts his attention) and to manage and monitor the progress of sales more easily.

We created some bespoke WP-Ecommerce extensions for alandart.co.uk to allow the new WP-Ecommerce system to incorporate several of the features we had built into the original e-commerce system. These includes a more attractive list of the products when they become available to download after purchase, showing images as well as descriptions, and a facility to allow zero priced goods to be added to the basket, as Alan has designed several patterns which are available as free downloads, allowing these to be knitted and the resulting toys sold for charity.

The Future for alandart.co.uk

With the move to a new server out of the way, leaving the site better equipped to cope with the demands of Alan's admiring fans each month, and with a system of daily backups in place to ensure that this much-used and loved site can be restored should the worst happen, alandart.co.uk is ready to face the future.

Alan continues to add patterns every month and his fan base, particularly among the Ravelry community, continues to grow. There are still those who attempt to sell his copyrighted material through third parties, especially the character patterns which Alan cannot sell on his site due to licensing restrictions, but this is much diminished, and Alan now has a Copyright Department that vigorously pursues any instances of copyright infringement on his behalf, so Pattern Pirates beware!

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