Saturday, March 12, 2011

Make The Cut "permanently and immediately disallowed from selling software"; SCAL lawsuit filed

ProvoCraft (PC) ("Cricut") won a lawsuit settlement from Make-The-Cut (MTC), requiring the e-cutter software developer to "permanently and immediately" shut down selling software that is in anyway compatible with Cricut machines.  The settlement, revealed in documents filed with Wisconsin US District Court, was made public via media reports on Friday, March 11. 

It was also disclosed on Friday that ProvoCraft has filed a similar lawsuit against Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL), alleging that SCAL violated the Cricut manufacturer's End Users' License Agreement (EULA) by accessing, decoding and using its software code in the development of its popular SCAL e-cutting program. 

In the 36-page court filing against SCAL, ProvoCraft accuses SCAL developers of violating its EULA by decoding the operating system that drives the Cricut machines. This "unfairly competes" with Cricut's DesignStudio (DS) software and as a result, Cricut's ability to sell DS has been compromised. PC seeks an immediate injunction against the sale of SCAL software, as well as unspecified damages, fees and court costs.

While PC notes in its court filing that Cricut has become the leading and most affordable e-cutting machine in the world, PC seeks to protect both its firmware and software stronghold in the crafting market.

Editorial portion of this posting:

Crafters in the niche-based, affinity market who make greeting cards and scrapbook layouts for personal use or sale on popular sites such as Etsy and e-Bay are distressed. I am one of them. 

I am a user of MTC, SCAL, Cricut's DesignStudio, and a similar e-cutting program called Fairy Cut. I use all of the programs often and interchangeably, in conjunction with my Cricut. None has ever affected my Cricut operation. Because the software allows me to enjoy my Cricut more, I have purchased more, not fewer, Cricut cartridges and hardware ... and I anticipate buying even more in the future.

However, I am now concerned that ProvoCraft will extend its long, well-funded arm of the law to those of us who may have purchased, promote, sell, and/or enjoy these programs. No one needs/wants litigation in their lives.

I respect ProvoCraft's right to copyright protection, though am sad that in today's "free market" entrepreneurial world, e-cutting programs like MTC, SCAL and Fairy Cut may not be available to those of us who want to enhance the capabilities of the Cricut machine.

While PC wants the court to believe that they were harmed by software developers such as MTC and SCAL, they were also helped: many crafters bought their Cricuts solely because they wanted an affordable e-cutter on which to operate MTC and/or SCAL.  Were they unable to use MTC or SCAL on a Cricut, these purchasers might have instead bought a Silhouette, Wishblade, Gazelle, Pazelle, Cougar e-cutting machine.  Those crafters may now turn away from PC's Cricut when considering their upgrades, because of this legal action.

Based on these articles I read on Friday in the excellent online newsletter called "Scrapbook Update" (articles posted below, in their entirety), I have decided effective immediately to suspend my "Fairy Cut Fridays."

I do not know if Fairy Cut has been or will be sued as well, as they are a foreign-based (Canada) company; but they may be stopped from selling and servicing the software to customers in the United States ... and that is enough for me to shut down my promotion.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes my blog readers.  I will keep you posted on any updates to this ongoing saga.  Please read the articles I have posted below:

Articles below, copyright Scrapbook Update, 2011. Links to the original article have been provided, by clicking the title of the article.  Thank you, Nancy, for bringing this to our attention. 

"Make The Cut Settles Cricut Software Lawsuit With Provo Craft
By Nancy Nally on March 11, 2011

Documents filed in (Wisconsin) US District court on Wednesday reveal that Make The Cut has reached a settlement with Provo Craft in the lawsuit over 3rd party Cricut software created by Make The Cut. Provo Craft had sued Make The Cut in April 2010 alleging that Make the Cut’s 3rd party software for Cricut machines illegally circumvented copyright protection on Provo Craft’s products and violated copyright on the company’s Cricut Design Studio software code.

Provo Craft had appeared particularly to be targeting in the suit the recently introduced “back-up” feature in the Make The Cut software, which allowed users to create back-ups of their Cricut cartridges. (The feature was only available to users for a two week period in March 2010 before being pulled from distribution as a result of the litigation.)

Terms of the settlement were stipulated to the court in joint documents filed by the companies Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which had been hearing the case. Under the settlement, Make The Cut is permanently and immediately disallowed from selling software that is compatible in any way with Cricut machines. The company is also required to destroy all copies of the software’s source code.

For the existing software, Make The Cut also is required to take measures within 30 days to disable the 600 copies that were sold of the software with the cartridge back-up feature. Make The Cut is ordered to render these copies of the software completely non-functional until these users update their software to a copy that eliminates the back-up function.

Provo Craft also recently filed suit against another 3rd party Cricut software creator, Craft Edge, in an attempt to stop distribution of their Sure Cuts A Lot product."


"Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations
By Nancy Nally on March 11, 2011
[Editor's Note: Scrapbook Update Contributing Writer Betsy Burnett contributed to this story.]

Provo Craft’s attorneys have once again moved to take action against a company making 3rd party Cricut add-ons. The company filed suit in U.S. District Court on January 20th, 2011 against Craft Edge, the producer of Sure Cuts A Lot software, and Craft Edge’s owner, Brandon Kuroda. The suit alleges that Kuroda violated Provo Craft’s copyright on the Cricut Design Studio software when he created the Sure Cuts A Lot software code, and that the company has been violating Cricut’s trademarks in its products and marketing.

Provo Craft is seeking compensation, damages and attorney’s fees in the suit, as well as an injunction preventing the future sale of the Sure Cuts A Lot software.

Sure Cuts a Lot is a software program by Craft Edge Inc. Developed in 2008, this program was designed to allow users to cut out any true type font, various shapes/dingbats, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files and even their own personal creations with their Cricut Machine. While no specific cartridge is require to use the program, it is necessary to insert a cartridge to cut with the machine.

At its launch in 2008, SCAL was only a Windows release and was met with mixed reviews within the Cricut community. Many people eager to expand their library of Cricut fonts quickly purchased the program. Other Cricut owners, fearful of damage to their machines, shied away from even trying the demo version. Provo Craft also scared off some users by issuing a formal warning stating the use of third party software with the machines voided the warranty on them.

In years following, SCAL gained popularity fueled by the addition of a Mac version, the expiration of many machines’ warranties, and the rising cost and limitations of Cricut Cartridges. A whole community of users formed around SCAL, built around using the program and designing SVG files to use with it.

SCAL is now also compatible with produts from Craft Robo (which manufactures the Silhouette and Wishblade machines) and is also soon to be compatible with the eCraft by Craftwell.

Provo Craft filed suit against Makes The Cut over its 3rd party Cricut software in April 2010. That lawsuit has just reached a settlement."

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Unknown said...

Thanks for the info Ellen I too own SCAL and it has not ever kept me from buying the carts I want. thanks again for the info!!

Ashley Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing Ellen. Of course you know I own Fairy Cut and I also own SCAL. I was in the midst of doing the resellers program for Fairy Cut after I started using it when I won the software but after everything that was going on with Provo Craft, I decided not to pursue it.

Trisha said...

I am so sad that this is happening. I just a couple of weeks ago purchased Make the Cut. I am really having fun with it and the fact that I can do so much more with my beloved Cricut Expression. I, too, will always be purchasing Cricut Cartridges--even though they are awfully expensive. What's next? I s Provocraft going to prevent people from selling the cartridges at reasonable prices? I hope my Make the Cut will still work and that I will still be able to purchase the cut files for it.
patnbobcuddy at gmail dot com

Shawn Mosch said...

I have never used the programs mentioned, but I was thinking about getting one or more of them and giving it a try . . . guess not now.

bcriminger said...

I love SCAL, and although I have not done much with it as far as modifying stuff on cartridges, I love using SVGs in conjunction with things on carts on scrapbook layouts and cards.

Bee's hive said...

Provo Craft lost a customer....I'm never going to buy another one!

Bunnyfreak said...

I wonder what this may mean for companies that make items like the pen holders and such (Chomas and Crikits). Will they also be subject to litigation?

Shana said...

Provo Craft lost a repeat customer. I wouldn't have bought my Expression if not for SCAL. When my bug dies, I'll look for a different brand of machine.

Faith A at Daffodil Cards said...

Only just bought my Expression, after knowing that Scal, Make the Cuts and FairyCuts were able to cut what I wanted, not what I HAD to from each cartridge.
This will now,definitely be a wasted purchase for me as I can't afford to keep buying the hugely expensive cartridges.

Nelda said...

I know this is a rather lkate comment (and you may not see it) but your statement "ProvoCraft (PC) ("Cricut") won a lawsuit settlement from Make-The-Cut (MTC), " is incorrect - read the article that you have posted. No body "won" anything - there was a settlement reached between the 2 parties. PC did not win. MTC agreed to terms but this was settled prior to having a judgement made (which is what winning a case is).