canine copiers

by Art Chantry:

about ten years ago, charles anderson sent me a tshirt he bought at a nordstom rack store. it was covered with images of old postage stamps and cancellations. this looked extremely suspicious to me because I had done the very same design on a poster for an old theater company in seattle (the bathhouse theater) and the poster was published in my monograph (on chronicle), called “some people can’t surf.” but I barely noticed that, because there among the faked canceled stamps design was a reproduction of MY BUSiNESS CARD! at the time it was also (literally) a postage stamp with my name and face on it, stuck to the cardblank and then rubber-stamped cancelled with a cancellation with my name, address and phone number (all outdated info.) so, there was not only my design idea and my artwork from an old poster design on this tshirt being sold at nordstrom department stores – its also had MY FACE, MY ADDRESS AND MY BUSINESS PHONE NUMBER on it. and all of it was lifted directly from my book!

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i approached a law firm who had just won a major copyright infringement case against another major retailer (winning millions and even forcing the sale of the department store chain.) however, the firm didn’t understand my complaint and immediately dumped my case onto an intern. this intern could not figure what my issue was and said, “well, maybe if you could produce the original artwork, we could get some royalties for you. but, mostly the publisher (chronicle) would have to file suit because the image was lifted front ‘their’ book”. then he said that I should just think of the tshirt as free advertising for myself. (!)

so, I walked away from the whole mess and took my lumps. every time I’ve tried to sue people over outright fraud and theft concerning my artwork, I’ve run into this ‘ignorance and incompetence’ problem. so, I wish you the very best of luck. I hope you stomp them (for all of us.)

Going after a major corporation that has almost unlimited resources and the ability to stonewall the plaintiff to silence is the common strategy adopted.Claude Robinson won his case against Cinar for plagiarizing a cartoon  and was awarded five million,had it reduced, but he will never collect the aggravation and time. But he stuck it out and won. Here is the case Art Chantry was referring to:

Last September someone from another design studio contacted us saying they had seen our dogs on a T-shirt being sold through a major retailer. Our first reaction was that it was probably just other dog illustrations that looked very similar to ours. We looked at the online version and thought we recognized some of the dogs, but to be sure we bought the t-shirt so we could take a closer look.

If we take our drawings and flip them horizontally, the images line up and do look strikingly similar to our dogs. We believe that all 27 T-shirt dogs originated from our book.The T-shirt is also part of an advertising campaign for a movie, and was packaged with a hangtag advertising the movie.

We have seen our work show up in unexpected places before, but nothing like this. Bewildered, we felt compelled to make things right. So we entered into a lawsuit that is now more than 8 months in the making….Read More:

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