The Rip Advances *Update*


I caught the above item for sale on Etsy, Gameboy Color Cufflinks (Link) via Wonderland this morning. And I see it’s also being advertised on Boing Boing.

My first thought is: I bet this isn’t a licensed product.

My second thought is: I wonder if Sega is still around to protect this other game-related product, Sega Saturn Cufflinks (Link) (for sale by the same individual)?

My third thought is: Can repurposed Micro Machines toys be turned into “Micro Machines Toy Car Cufflinks” (Link) and sold using the “Micro Machines” name (as are the other two products)?

I don’t know. The one thing I do know is that one person has decided it’s easier to make a living leveraging other brands than develop their own. And as people become increasingly empowered to fabricate products just as they now have the power to make perfect digital copies of music, movies and software, trademarks and other intellectual property are going to be under serious siege.

I wonder what Etsy is going to do as more and more people follow this person’s lead.

In the spirit of that thought I’ll go ahead and point to an article I caught a few days ago over on the International Herald Tribune titled ” Next step in pirating: Faking a company” (Link). It’s an amazing story that’s been getting some coverage on various media outlets. It’s also getting some discussion over on the Core77 forum where I posted a thread (Link). To see what a few designers are saying, you might want to swing by. You might be surprised. I’m sure some of them will be in the next ten years or so.

{Update – It appears the seller, Ahchay, has found this entry and posted the link on a private forum. Here’s the post:

I was browsing the blog-sphere when I came across this little gem:

Gameboy Cufflinks are sick and wrong

I know that the issue of licensing was bound to crop up (and I think I’m reasonably clear to be honest) but do you think this is worth answering or should I just chuckle quietly under my breath and leave him to it?

Always amusing how people are unable to read. I believe I said “I don’t know” if there are any laws being violated. Of course defending the activity (and all those wonderful profits) are all that really matters here.

In any event, the conversation continues with Koworld saying this:

He’s an idiot. You’re taking one officially licensed product and transforming it in a way that does no detriment to the brands involved. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t touch you for it even if they took umbridge.

If Nintendo, Sega or Matchbox (?) did have a crack then the worst they could do is sue for the cash you’ve made. But I really don’t think you’ve breached copyright anyway.

Actually, the only potential violation I see is that the Nintendo cufflinks include the tradename “Nintendo” and all items use the brand names. The issue I raise isn’t copyright, it’s trademark infringement. And unless Koworld is a high-priced lawyer, I wouldn’t bet on how bad the damages could be.

Anyway, Ahchay goes on with more brilliance:

I did like the way he compared my little cufflinks to a chinese company mass-counterfeiting NEC components though.

I must be making more money than I thought.

In truth, I wasn’t comparing at all. I was showing a range from the little, insignificant pimple-on-ass individual to a real rip off scheme. I think Ahchay read into it that I was making a comparison because that’s how Ahchay sees him/herself. Pretty funny.

There’s more. But it’s mostly the same blather. The internet is full of these characters.}

{Image Source: – where there are plenty more}