The stark reality of copying on social media platforms


On British Intellectual Property Day 2018, Duncan and Nessie Maclay of Thisisnessie Ltd travelled to Westminster to join a national event organised by the Alliance for Intellectual Property to celebrate the IP upon which theirs and others within the creative industries thrive.  For artist Nessie Maclay it is her creative skill as an artist which formed the basis of a successful IP-rich small business called Thisisnessie.

They joined Ministers, parliamentarians and those representing song writers, musicians, authors and film makers, just a small part of the array of vastly talented creators who make the UK creative industries the envy of the world!

Thisisnessie is a successful growth company supporting 12 employees, their partners and children. But success has been marred by daily and significant challenges through insidious, blatant copies of their artwork and products for sale on social media platforms and through the larger online marketplaces.  Last month Thisisnessie had to lay off three staff as a direct result of online theft.

This is theft!

Here are a couple of examples of the hundreds of knock-offs appearing on a daily basis:




At a creative industries briefing at Westminster on British IP Day, the Minister The Rt Hon Sam Gyimah, MP said, “This is an important occasion – IP is the lifeblood of modern economies – and there is much to celebrate … The work we are doing to improve understanding of, and respect for, intellectual property is beginning to pay dividends. However I recognise there is still more to do, with 25% of consumers still accessing some content illegally. I am committed to tackling piracy. Through greater collaboration we can continue to reach the current and next generation of digital consumers, for the long term benefit of us all. Our modern Industrial Strategy and the transformative Creative Industries Sector Deal are key in helping us achieve this.”

Thisisnessie Ltd Managing Director Duncan Maclay said, I spoke to our constituency MP Sam Gyimah who is also the Minister for Intellectual Property and showed him the stark reality of what we face every day. He instantly agreed to visit our studio to witness for himself the devastating effect that this is having on our business and discuss ways in which government can help. Our IP is the most valuable asset in our business and when this is compromised there is a price to pay. At the close of the last financial year, a projected growth of 20% had become a contraction and we had to lay off three employees. The redundancies have affected the business directly as we have less resource to direct at the development of new products. Never far from our minds at times like this are the partners and children whose lives are affected by these redundancies.”

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said “Anti Copying in Design (ACID) is intent on working with Government, policy makers and the industry to insist on solutions for cost and time effective enforcement to address blatant copying on social media platforms and online marketplaces so that growth is not impeded by theft. Intellectual property is at the heart of the design sector and must be protected!”