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Provo Craft Sues Make The Cut

Cricut manufacturer Provo Craft filed suit in U.S. District Court on April 1st against software manufacturer Make The Cut, which makes software that allows for cutting with Cricut machines without using cartridges.

Make The Cut is a Wisconsin-based company that is owned by Andrew Heinlein. It was organized as an LLC in early December 2009. An active community of users has grown around their software in a short period of time, sharing and trading cut files to use with the software on Cricut machines. The software is also, according to notes in recent updates, compatible with other machines such as the Silhouette, Craft Robo and Wishblade, although most users appear to be Cricut owners.

Provo Craft alleges multiple violations have been committed against them by Make The Cut. The suit alleges that Make The Cut:

  • Circumvented the copyright protection on the Cricut Design Studio software
  • Sells to others the ability to illegally circumvent copyright protection on Cricut Design Studio software
  • Encourages others to illegally circumvent copyright protection and assists with the infringement
  • Violates the copyright on Cricut Design Studio software and Cricut’s design cartridges
  • Violates and dilutes the Cricut trademarks by using them in advertising for Make The Cut products

No specific dollar amount is provided for requested damages, but Provo Craft is seeking damages under applicable laws for the violations, as well as court orders directing Make The Cut to stop further infringement. Make The Cut will have 21 days to file a response to the lawsuit with the court after they are officially served notification of the suit. Court filings currently have no record of a date of service.

Scrapbook Update has requested comment on this matter from representatives for both Provo Craft and Make The Cut. No response had been received as of the time of publication. Scrapbook Update will publish updates on this story as they become available.

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30 Responses to Provo Craft Sues Make The Cut

  1. Melissa Kaye April 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Interesting. I’m not really surprised, but also think that Provo Craft would get more customers if they created a program similar to Make The Cut. Since getting the program I still purchase cartridges, and I would love it if the Gypsy would have similar capabilities to MTC or SCAL.

    • Monica Aulich April 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

      I’m not surprised that they are being sued, as it seems people will use any excuse for that. What Provocraft is not addressing, is that most of the designs built into their cartridges can be downloaded for free from font websites and then rescaled using SCAL or MTC. All the Provocraft cartridges are, are just font files that are encrypted, so almost anyone can make their own to match.

  2. Mary Schmidt April 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Why didn’t they go after SCAL, as well? Was it because Scal has been around for awhile? I, too, would like it if PC would come up with some way for us to make other cuts besides the cartridges. I think that most of us would still buy the cartridges because they are so stinking cute. They also have a large content. I don’t have SCAL or MTC & strickly use PC cartridges. What if another company started making cartridges that could be used on the Cricut? Does Microsoft say that you can’t run any other software on a computer that runs microsoft? Just how much rights does PC have?

    • Lindsay Weirich April 13, 2010 at 9:24 am #

      They did not go after scal because scal did nothing wron, they do not condone converting copyrighted materail or assist those who want to rip off the Cricut carts. They used to block scal with each update but that was turning customers off so now they don’t and let users just downlod the fonts for CDS so SCAL users can use both. Many people have bought Cricuts because of programs like scal and MTC but MTC stepped over the line with this one I think. Scal does business the right way, a good product, great service without stealing from another company. Taking images you do not own, or have not paid or been given permission to use is stealing plain and simple. Buy a cartiridge or design your own template, don’t rip off someone else. Provo craft is in the right here, they are not ripping off just cricut but the designers Cricut licenses the designs from. That’s my 2 cents. BTW I have lots of free svg templates on my blog that I designerd (not converted) if anyone is interested:) Free and legal!

  3. Sandra April 8, 2010 at 2:22 am #

    I think it great, Competion may bring some of their prices down. I really enjoy my Cricut Expressions. But the Cartridges are not cheap that’s for sure. I Wish You All A Happy Scrapp”n” Day.

  4. Beanie April 8, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    I personally think that PC is just upset because someone thought of something they didn’t did you read what they did to the cake lady?
    ( http://deseretdesigns.com/rich_text_1.html ) I think PC has some major issues. They sell products under several differant names and at last check some of those names had D or lower ratings with the BBB. I have had to deal with PC several times on the phone and it is a crap shot on how you will be treated. As far as MTC taking customers away I think it has actually made more customers as a lot of people have stated MTC and/or SCAl is what got them to buy a Cricut die cut machine and since they have it they have bought cartridges for it. As far as MTC and cartridge back up you still have to have the cartridge to back it up so in my opinion why bother I have the cartridge. Also after playing with the software the images on the cartridges are very elementary so I don’t use that as much. To make a craft you need to take lots of little things and make something big it is never all going to be from the same company and if PC thinks it is they are just crazy. I will not buy any more products from Provo Craft until this is settled and then it will depend on the outcome. It is not because I have MTC or SCAL it is because of their attuide and customer service! PC start placing your loyal customers a little higher up the ladded or you may find you won’t have any.

    • Monica Aulich April 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

      I totally agree with everything you’ve said. Provocraft seems to think THEY can get away
      with stealing a major idea (the cake machine) from someone because they are bigger. Their greed will overcome them someday, when more people become aware of their bullying and stop buying. I would love to see this company go belly up! I hope more
      people buy one of the other machines MTC is compatible with and do away with cartridges all together! GO ANDY!

  5. Jo Hicks April 8, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    I am behind Andy and hope people STOP buy Provo Craft…to show their support….I want cartridges but I will wait….

  6. Judy Crites April 8, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    I had purchased the Design Studio, what a dissapointment that was, It need’s a lot of work on it to come close to the MTC software. Sorry, ProvoCraft but you need to remember that in order for your business to continue you need the goodwill of the consumer, once that is lost you can kiss your profit’s goodbye. Don’t threaten the small guy, America was built on great idea’s.

  7. Laurinda April 8, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I too am quite upset with PC. They have targeted one small business that has accomplished more in the few short months it’s been around than PC has done since they first introduced Design Studio years ago. During these years another company, SCAL, has introduced software that can be used with Cricut as well. PC was quite upset at the begining, but cooled off. Why now? Why MTC? PC is going to loose a lot of very loyal customer over this “big business” bullying.

  8. Lynn G. April 8, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    Personally I would not have purchased the Cricut if SCAL or MTC wasn’t available. I wouldn’t be able to afford the cartridge prices that are so inflated. Also, the files will never compare to the svg files that many talented people are so willing to share.

  9. Inga April 8, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    you said it all lynn

  10. Rosebud April 8, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I also would not have even thought about buying a Cricut if it hadn’t been for the other software available to run it. I would have been crazy to think I would keep buying those expensive cartridges. We really don’t need Provo Craft if they want to be that way. We can always buy another cutting machine. Let them keep their cartridges. Andy of MTC and Todd of SCAL have provided us with a wonderful outlet to use our Cricuts but we do not have to keep purchasing a Cricut to use their software and that is what is going to happen to PC if they keep this up. Give it a rest PC…maybe you should hire Andy and Todd to actually get your own software to work as nicely as theirs!

  11. BethAnne April 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I own MTC, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! It is totally awesome software, and Andy’s customer service is out of this world! He listens to what his customers need/want, and then tries to figure out a way to work those requests into the program.

    BUT… the guy is a Pied Piper leading the rats to their deaths.

    Provo Craft’s suit is right on target. The question keeps popping up: why haven’t they gone after SCAL? I don’t own SCAL; I have never even been on their message board–but I am fairly certain the SCAL developers have never written anything like this:

    (anything I’ve written below that is in “quotes” is a direct copy and paste for the MTC message board)

    CommentAuthorTucirc CommentTimeDec 26th 2009: “Funny side note… i figured out how to make CDS cut any cartridge even if you don’t own it. Since CDS stores all the cartridge font data on your computer whether you have the cartridge or not, you can trick CDS into thinking you have the cartridge — obviously you need to know how to “debug” software to do this… but i just thought it was funny when i started pumping out cartridges i didn’t own.

    Before anyone asks, i won’t release software to do this since it would be illegal… but, it can be done (*hint, hint* if there are any other programmers reading this)”

    User comments in reference to the above:

    “I can confirm Andy’s information about CDS regarding the cartridge check. It is possible to alter CDS to believe that you have any and all cartridges. It is also possible to alter CDS to allow you to cut designs that use more than 18 carts.”

    and

    “This is why i ask my question before…sooo i can COVERT these babysss without spendinggg sooo much money on softwares…MAYBE Andy could figure a way for us to change these PDF file into TRUE SVG files…ANDY!!! help us on this…You got the BRAINS for this stuff…tell us something….PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…yes i was wineing there..sorry!!..hahahah”

    And then there was this comment he wrote in response to someone posting a link to MediaFire downloads of Cricut vector .pdf manuals:

    CommentAuthorTucirc CommentTimeMar 26th 2010: “these aren’t the vector ones are they?”

    You can’t tell me this was an “innocent” comment. It started off an entire FLURRY of where to get the files and which ones were vectors and tutorials for how to covert the .pdfs to .svgs.

    Various comments:

    I donwloaded ALL of the cricut sheets from that link last night. I”m thrilled.LOL

    “This is so freakin’ amazing! The cartridge that I want that they’re discontinuing (and I’ve never found at a decent price – even tried eBay which is NOT me at all) is Christmas Solutions. Thought I’d be out of luck even with this solution since there isn’t a handbook for it. But there’s an 8.5 x 11 PDF of it and it WORKED!!! So far I’ve just cleaned out all the stuff I don’t need. Will need to break things down, but what a goldmine!!!”

    By the way, the above quote was written by the same person who also wrote: “We can just ignore them because we know we will find a work around when it comes to PC…lol”
    AND “I had my brother take a look at DS to see if he could figure out the secret and the terms of use scared him off.”

    Everyone one who commented in that thread knew what they were doing was WRONG. If they OWNED the cartridges and MTC can make a backup of the cartridges then why would this be necessary:

    “If you are sharing these check to make sure you know who you are sending these to. Go to search and check thenames out if you are not familiar with them, Some we know by real names some by screennames. the post i posted before is still up but I am not sure if they are vector but for themost part it looks like qite a few are not.”

    It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out.

    • Lisa April 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

      BethAnne, thank you so much for referring to myself and other MTC users as rats being led to our deaths. Maybe you should read aloud to see how your comments sound before you hit submit. I’ll just assume you didn’t mean to be insulting, crass and rude.

      Wow. I just found out that Bank of America now owns the majority share of PC. Not surprised.

      I haven’t used the MTC cartridge backup myself, as cartridges have become largely irrelevant to me now that I can design my own images. I did one or two layouts using PC cartridges after buying MTC, but now they lay in a bag in my closet. Anything I want to do, I can design for myself or buy from another retailer at a “reasonable” price. I do believe MTC has “unleashed” my cutter from PC’s unrealistic monopoly. I haven’t broken any copyright laws using MTC.

      PC can kiss my business goodbye, and that of any and all crafters who come my way. I will point them to other cutters with more options. When the time comes, I will replace my E with another cutter.

  12. Fawn April 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I bought the Cricut Expression because of MTC. I was planning on buying the Silhouette SD until I found this software!!
    Go team MTC!!!!!!

  13. Phyllis April 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    I bought the first Cricut, was excited about design studio, bought a experssions. My sister, granddaughter, all have one now. I have bought 58 carts. This law suit is crazy, Since I have had MTC. Provo Craft can be assured that I will replace my cricut with a cutting machine from elsewhere. I will not be buying any new cartridges. My saving money will be put in an envelope for a new cutter. I love the new carts, but alass Provo Craft, I will not buy any more. I have used my carts and MTC with my Expressions twice as much since I bougt MTC. Andy, we are behind you!! By the way I believe in the beginning of the hoop la about the gyspy, there was a question about losing information on our carts to protect our purchase. MTC nor Andy has ever encouraged any one to break copyrights. I wouldn’t anyway. If i people deserve to be paid. This stuff has been going on since the beginning of computers. ( YES, I am that old) There is always a fly in the ointment. It is funny that a previous post talks about about infringement, but the post that a person asked about sharing saved back ups and she got blasted from every department including andy. Never put in print what you don’t want the entire world to know> Quote from my Grandmother 60 years ago: Still true today.
    Keep the Faith Andy!!!!
    Phyllis

  14. Terri M April 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    I purchased the Cricut Expression after reading all of the good things I heard about MTC. Yes I have also purchased carts as well. If not for MTC I would NOT have made any of these PC purchases. This program has aroused alot of attention to the Cricut for PC and they should be greatful for that, not trying to shut him down.

  15. BethAnne April 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    The Pied Piper story is about a guy who played a flute, hypnotized rats and led them to the river where they drowned. The reference here is called an analogy (similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar).

    Phyllis is right–you should never put into writing anything you don’t want the world to see; I copied and pasted the quotes I wrote above. Most of the quotes are from a thread called “Cricut Cartridge PDF manuals found” dated Feb 26, 2010. You’ll have to do a search for it, but you can go in and read the various CRAZY things people actually wrote (unless they’ve edited their comments). Those comments were detrimental not only to Andy but THEMSELVES.

  16. Carla April 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Based on what I’ve read from quotes that were posted from the MTC website, MTC should have been more careful on what they put out there. Even if it wasn’t the intent to encourage people to crack the CDS code, they sure did put it out there…hint. hint. That only put it out that they may have illegally used CDS code to write MTC. I’m not saying they did, but it puts the thought out there.

    The alleged violations are mostly related to copyright infringement on CDS. If I were Provocraft, I’d be pissed too. Who wouldn’t. If Provocraft doesn’t believe SCAL has infringed on their copyright material then they have no reason to go after them.

    The issue here does not seem to be that MTC made a program to work with the Cricut, it is that Provocraft believes MTC and violated the copyright of CDS.

    Related to the comment about Microsoft: Running a program on a system with Microsoft on it is one thing, but taking Microsoft’s copyrighted codes and then modifying them and selling it for a profit would land you in court.

    I’m not saying in any way that MTC has violated any copyright, but Provocraft seems to think they have.

  17. Karleen April 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I have MTC,SCAL and Design Studio and like them all. I hope the lawsuit fails. There is enough in this world for everyone. Why dosen’t PC answer anyones questions?

  18. Susan April 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Provo Craft has brought all this on themselves. They refused to make changes to the Design Studio software to allow users to get the most from their machines and investment. If they had done that, these other companies wouldn’t have started to pop up to give people the flexibility they want. I hope Provo Craft spends a lot of money on this and loses.

  19. BethAnne April 9, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Couple of more comments from Miss Popularity:

    Phyllis brought up a really good point–that I didn’t reference a post where a member ” got blasted from every department including andy.” For the sake of fairness, I SHOULD have posted a quote from that thread. However, I must have missed that thread. I’m not saying it’s not out there; I’m just saying I didn’t see it.

    As a matter of fact, I have NEVER seen anybody on the MTC board be blasted–especially not from Andy. I HAVE seen some heated debate concerning the two different sides of the “That’s-Illegal-Camp” vs. “No-it’s-Not-Illegal-Camp”–and those threads were in response to various images that had ALREADY been posted; not from somebody asking if they could post. The only comment I’ve ever seen Andy make concerning copyrighted material was in a thread that got VERY heated. It was marked as [SINK] and eventually deleted (or at least I can’t find it again). It started with a person suggesting a moderator help with weeding out questionable images in the Gallery. Lots of back and forth there before Andy popped in and wrote something to the effect that copyright concerns are a non-issue for him, and he was tired of hearing the “your stick figure looks like my stick figure” argument. He was working on eliminating the existing Gallery and improving it to make it much better.

    For the most part, everyone on that board is incredibly encouraging.

    The problem with the encouragement from the “No-it’s-Not-Illegal-Camp” is that there are people who have INSISTED all along that the things they posted are perfectly acceptable to post because (again, these are direct quotes):

    #1) “…if i see Mickey mouse picture…i KNOW it is copywrited…..but if i turn it into an SVG FILe…then I CREATED THE SVG FILE NOT THE CHARACTER…DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA…”

    #2) “…I am not “creating” the image, but just the “MTC File”. So I am sharing an MTC file that I “created” by tracing the image and breaking it apart for others to use if they want… So it is just the “MTC file” [I’m sharing]. No where do I claim to have drawn the image.”

    #3) They are coloring pages that are for personal use. “99 precent of the MTC files I have posted or shared are file made from coloring pages… we are not selling these and they are posted as a learning tool for us here. how do we expect to learn to do some thing if we don’t use some of the tools and images that are out there.”

    By the way, the last comment above is from the person who’s Cricut head file is specifically named in the Provo Craft complaint. She has posted FIVE HUNDRED files of various licensed characters (check out the Gallery and count them yourself: userid 714). I’m not sure how many times a person has to post to LEARN how to do something, but 500 times is rather excessive…

    Phyllis may or may not be right that “MTC nor Andy has ever encouraged any one to break copyrights.” But, Carla is also right that Provo Craft believes they did. I’m positive that’s the exact argument Andy is going to present to fight his case. Think about it, though… where does that leave the people who made the comments above?

    Finally, Susan (you are not the only one so don’t take this too personally, but…), the argument that Provo Craft sucks isn’t and has never been the issue. The issue of the Provo Craft complaint is unauthorized use of their copyrighted images. So, within the context and scope of the Provo Craft complaint, you’re actually arguing that “Provo Craft has brought all this on themselves” so the theft of their copyright images is perfectly acceptable….

  20. Pina April 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I have posted this in the “newer” post regarding the same topic:

    Copyright laws are not common information among many people. The common thought is: if I bought it, I own it, and I can do whatever I want with it. That is why in cases like this, the consumer is not the one being sued but the source of the copyright violation. I don’t have MTC, SCAL or DS. In fact I just bought a Gypsy. From the consumer’s point of view, I’d love to have the “backup” of all the cartridges for a very cheap price. Sure. But if I was in PC’s shoes, I won’t be very happy with anyone cracking my product. The bottom line is: the law is the law. I agree that PC should have listened more to the demands of their customers and did something to satisfy that. But it’s their business and they can do whatever they want with their product that they designed, supported by these copyright laws. I never was a fan of Sony or Apple because of this exclusivity that they have with their products. And because of that, I don’t own a single Sony or Apply product. However, we craft consumers do have choices. If you want to cut anything from your computer including your own designs, why didn’t you buy Pazzles or Wishblade? Let me guess. Because they are definitely more expensive than Cricut. That’s the price you have to pay for not having to buy cartridges to cut shapes. The Cricut machines are a lot cheaper but they do require cartridges which are not really cheap. I guess we can’t just have everything, won’t we? Personally, I chose to buy the Cricut because I didn’t want to go through my computer to cut things. For me, it’s more convenient to cut with the Cricut and its cartridges. It’s all a matter of preference. I am not suprised that MTC got in trouble for this because PC has good grounds on the issue. This is not a about a company giant stepping on a small business. MTC violated the law and that’s it. I do feel bad for MTC and it’s users because MTC seemed to be a really good product with great customer service. I am curious how all this is going to end. Cases like this don’t happen too often in the craft world. We will all just have to wait and see.

  21. kim April 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    My husband bought his own Cricut Expressions after seeing what I do with mine. With the capabilities that SCAL and MTC have, the Cricut is a useful tool for him in our business. He was needing to do a display board for an Industry Day convention and the Cricut along with SCAL/MTC allowed him to make the board without spending $1000 for someone else to do it. He was excited when I told him all the different uses that the Cricut has for him, not just crafting. Those things are not possible without the third party software. If Provo Craft had been on the ball and taken care of their customers, the third party software would not have been needed. SCAL and MTC have expanded the capabilities of the Cricut and has won new customers to Provo Craft, not diminished the Cricut. Provo Craft is only making themselves the “bad guy” in this lawsuit. The vast majority of Cricut users that use SCAL and MTC are law abiding citizens that use the software for thier own creativity and share their own art.(very generously). I know of many people who would not have purchased the Cricut if not for SCAL or MTC, my husband being one. Shame on you Provo Craft. You are going to be the biggest loser in this lawsuit.

  22. Ann April 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I was never going to buy any Cricut machine if I was forced to buy expensive cartridges. As soon as I heard about MTC, I bought a Cricut expression. The program is wonderful and does not infringe on Cricut copyright, even with the backup capability, because you can only backup a cartridge that you already own!! MTC has actually increased sales for PC so I can’t understand why they would sue Andy, who is very mindful of copyright issues.

  23. Josie April 12, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    I sold my Cricut, along with the Design Studio software because I thought it was just a terrible rip-off. The software was so poor that I contemplated throwing it out the window!!! Then I saw the Pazzles Inspiration working and just had to have one. I’ve been using my Pazzles for several years now and never looked back. I don’t care what other software becomes available for the Cricut or what Provo Craft do in future, I’ll never go back to a Cricut. Long live the Pazzles Inspiration.

  24. CDP April 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    I think some of you may find this an interesting read
    http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/HallOfShame/CraftSites/Cricut/Cricut.shtml

  25. Donna C April 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    It’s a shame that Provo Craft has forced so many of you to buy a machine…..all the while knowing you couldn’t afford the “expensive” cartridges! Imagine the nerve of PC, trying to run a successful business…….and how crazy to think that a copyright means something!

    Here’s an idea: If you don’t like the price, or the designs…….either don’t buy it, or buy a machine that doesn’t use cartridges. It’s baffling to me that any of you even bought Cricut machines when you could have purchased a Silhouette, or Pazzles, or whatever!

    This is really sad to hear so many of you feel like you’re the victim. It’s PC’s right, and the right of anyone (in the US) to start their own business and the right to have their ideas, designs, etc. copyrighted and protected.