Well, it happened to me. If you have happened to google CraftySasha, there is a chance you may have come across my Etsy store that has crochet patterns listed. You probably thought you had made a wrong turn on the internet and ended up somewhere completely random, but that is my store, as well! My Etsy store is where I have my digital crochet patterns still listed, simply for the ease of use through Etsy.
Once I have a pattern created and have the listing setup on Etsy, at that point it requires little to no intervention or interaction for anything. Etsy handles the sales, collecting the money, and providing the patterns to buyers. All I really have to do is sit back and let them handle everything. Because of it all being so easy and automated, I have become a little hands-off and complacent about my patterns.
Just today, I received a message from someone on Etsy. They let me know that one of my patterns was being offered for sale by someone else, not just on Etsy, but also on Ravelry, as well. This person was so extremely helpful in providing not only the links to the copies, but also sent me info on what I needed to do in order to request Etsy and Ravelry get those listings taken down. I am indebted to this person for not only taking the time to let me know my pattern is being stolen, but they took an extra 8 steps beyond that to give me tons of additional information. You know who you are, and if you are reading this: Thank you!!
Now, I must admit, when I first started designing filet crochet patterns, the urge was there to create patterns of copyright and trademarked images. I did not resist that urge. I created patterns from Star Wars, Hello Kitty, Oregon Trail, Transformers, Zelda, and a bunch of others. As I started getting some sales in, I realized that I was in the wrong, and went through all my patterns and ended up deactivating those that were infringing on the IP of others. It took me a little while, but I did learn that what I was doing was wrong and I ended it.
That being said, though, I never flat out stole a pattern (and the image of it) and blatantly listed it for sale as my own. That is a level that even I did not stoop to. I was even able to find the order where they purchased the copy of this pattern from me.
I submitted takedown requests for both listings. Ravelry was good about getting it removed right away. They were super quick about it. Etsy, on the other hand, took slightly longer. Overall, though, both listings were removed within a couple days.
As it is, all I wanted was the listings taken down. There haven't been any sales of the pattern, so I'm not too worried about pursuing things any further. I am going to be devoting some time next week to do some searches online in order to ensure nobody else has done the same thing with any of my patterns.