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Friends and Enemies [May. 19th, 2006|03:14 pm]
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UPDATE: The owner of the company in question has emailed me to tell me that he's taken down the bootleg t-shirts. I consider the matter closed at this point. Thanks for all your support and kind words, but please don't bug this guy anymore, he has done the right thing.

Looks like there's a t-shirt company (no links, I don't want to promote the bastard) that has copied my Republicans for Voldemort design and is making their own identical counterfeit t-shirts (selling 'em for two bucks more than we are, as well).

The owner doesn't seem to see a problem with this. Since I'm using the name of someone else's character on the shirt, he feels it's his right to copy my design and use it as well.

Thing is, we know that Warners and Scholastic folks know about our merch. They've bought dozens of shirts from us at a number of conventions, and told us that J.K. Rowling herself would most likely find it amusing. I don't know how much stock to put in that, and I'm not going to email the lady to ask her. I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. That said, they seem to have left us alone to do our thing. Plus, I'm of the opinion that our shirt is genuine political speech and parody, and as such should be protected speech (I'm aware that current legal opinion does not always agree with me on this point).

This guy, though? Most of his shirts are blatant copies of IP from large, lawyer-infested companies. Hasbro, Nintendo, just about every movie studio in existence. Just straight-up knockoffs, no original thought or designs at all.

It's kind of an interesting situation. You've got a spectrum of legal grayness here, and one could say that if you're going to use someone else's trademarks in your design, even as a parody, you get what you deserve. In my mind, the difference is that my design is transformative. His is a xerox copy with no added value. Regardless, he's right. There's not much I can do about it.

But what he did was super-shitty. I asked nicely if he was interested in buying shirts from us, or licensing the design, and he pretty much told me to go to hell. I'm not a huge international conglomerate, here. I depend on my creative skills to put food on the table, and you shouldn't get between a hungry dog and his food dish.

I might not be able to take legal action myself, but I'm guessing that all those big-money companies would love to hear about this guy's operation.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: also_huey
2006-05-19 07:40 pm (UTC)

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[voice type="Jerry Seinfeld"] Release the hounds!
[User Picture]From: seeker_ix
2006-05-19 07:47 pm (UTC)

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sell that bastard out.
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-19 08:09 pm (UTC)

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yanno, the physical store that they have is in austin... i could go kick some butt and take some names. i'm not making a living off of my work but I still think that stealing another's intellectual property is shitty. I mean, the least they could do is come up with their own design...
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 08:28 pm (UTC)

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I'm sure complaints from customers would find more receptive ears than my meager attempts to communicate.
[User Picture]From: jwetzel
2006-05-19 09:05 pm (UTC)

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I doubt it. From what you said it seems that his entire product would have to be taken down to make the customers happy, thereby eliminating the customer. And the customers money.

Did he thief the image itself? The only other RfV shirt I found was on the ebay, and looked like it was originally yours being resold with a markup. I doubt you would be upset if that was the case.
[User Picture]From: beeeej
2006-05-19 09:12 pm (UTC)

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If you look carefully, you'll note the eBay shirt doesn't have the Goats.com URL in the design.
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 09:13 pm (UTC)

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Consigliere, we must talk.
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 09:12 pm (UTC)

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They snagged the design and are printing them themselves, they are not reselling them. I'd have no problem with that.
[User Picture]From: frobisher
2006-05-19 08:17 pm (UTC)

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Huh. What an asshole. Can we have him tortured?
[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-05-19 08:22 pm (UTC)

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That depends. Does the land he's living on contain oil?
[User Picture]From: frobisher
2006-05-19 09:27 pm (UTC)

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Apparently he's in texas, so... yes!
From: reallife2010
2006-05-19 08:45 pm (UTC)

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Last resort; let lose your fans on his website, Im sure they would tear'em appart.

Copyright infringment is never cool.
From: dbonner
2006-05-19 09:03 pm (UTC)

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googled looking for the dirtbag...is it the ebay guy?
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 10:06 pm (UTC)

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i think that's him... the shirt design on those ebay auctions looks slightly... off.
[User Picture]From: _xenogenesis
2006-05-19 09:05 pm (UTC)

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This guy deserves to have his ass handed to him, so he can wear it as a hat and live up to my opinion of him. Barring that, someone should smear honey in his jockies and then dump in a cup of fire ants.

...Hm? Me? Mean mood today? What makes you ask that?
From: kntckyfrdbnbn
2006-05-19 09:29 pm (UTC)

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I say post about it on site, in a newspost or whateverthefuck. Utilizing the magical power of Google and attacking anything even remotely threatening, your rabid fans (myself included) shall violently eviscerate the opposition.

And, going on the assumption that it is that dick on eBay - presumably, if eBay recieves enough complaints, in great numbers and with great swiftness, about the seller with evidence that he is, indeed, an unoriginal cockbite, something may be done about it. Though eBay has a history of attracting pricks with access to printing services and no morals whatsoever in regards to intellectual property or the work put into art and design.

Anyone who thinks finding something on Google image search makes it free needs to be shanked.
[User Picture]From: roninspoon
2006-05-19 09:43 pm (UTC)

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The road to hell is paved by dumbasses who don't understand copyright law.
[User Picture]From: pogo_punk
2006-05-19 09:47 pm (UTC)

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well i was on the fence before but i'm definitely going to buy one of your shirts now. yay
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 09:52 pm (UTC)

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I bought that shirt for my g/f (from you of course)

death to anyone who steals from goats.com

You do realize we are your army, waiting for your word to attack this thieving bastard, don't you?
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 10:02 pm (UTC)

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I do realize that, but we must wait until we see the whites of their eyes, so to speak.

It's best to do these things in proper order for maximum enjoyment.
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 10:07 pm (UTC)

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Just say the word ;-)

I, your humble servant, await your command.
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 10:00 pm (UTC)

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I sent him a question on the ebay page... it said "why are you stealing from goats.com? I hate you, you're a douche..."

I bet it will make him cry.

I mean, I stole some of your artwork for user icons, but I credit you on my icon info page... and I've told like 500 people about goats since I started reading... oh, and I don't make money off it. That, at least to me, is the lamest part of the whole thing.
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 10:03 pm (UTC)

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I like it when people use the art for stuff like LJ icons, it's for personal use and like you said, you're not selling it to other folks and passing it off as your own. There's a huge fundamental difference.
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 10:05 pm (UTC)

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Awesome. I always imagined you'd say something like that... Or at least I'd always hoped but was too afraid to ask since I thought you'd tell me to piss off and stop using your (awesome) art ;-)

I had to redo some of the text on the JLD icon, when I shrunk the frame to 100x100 the text was too garbled, but it's the same text as the original.
[User Picture]From: beeeej
2006-05-19 10:07 pm (UTC)

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I'm all for calling the guy on the carpet, but you might want to avoid verbal abuse and bad language lest he report you for violating eBay policies.
[User Picture]From: brutalentropy
2006-05-19 10:08 pm (UTC)

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eh I don't care... the ebay account I used is one I haven't used for purchasing/selling in years.

Frankly, I'm surprised I even remembered the password. I'm sure it won't make any difference, I just wanted to voice my displeasure... and of course, I can't do that without profanity (I'm not very eloquent ;-))
From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-19 10:24 pm (UTC)

Uh...

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You know, if someone starts making a case for one guy to stop selling these Voldemort shirts/stickers to Warner, don't you think it could backlash and you BOTH might have to stop? I'd hate to see you get in trouble as well.

Yours are cheaper, yours are first- I'd just let the guy go screw.
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-19 10:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Uh...

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Certainly something I've considered, which is why I plan on pursuing a more.... roundabout course of action.
From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-19 10:29 pm (UTC)

Re: Uh...

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Oooh! Evil plans!
From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-19 11:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Uh...

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Hey- I took a look at the guy's site it looks like most the stuff he's selling on his site are iron-on decals from the Bang-on company out of Canada- and as such, probably are copyright clear.

Doesn't mean he isn't a dick.
[User Picture]From: ericmonster
2006-05-20 12:22 am (UTC)

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I hate pirate merch. I shut down an operation out of Seattle that was not only printing Fetus-X t-shirts, but using a picture of Fetus-X for their corporate logo. One of my readers at the art institute thre saw somebody wearing one of the shirts ...

... the really stupid thing about your situation is that they could have easily put just the slightest twist on it to make it not a total rip-off. Republicans for Sauron. Republicans for Green Goblin. Republicans for Satan. Republicans for Leatherface. Environmentalists for Hitler. Whatever.
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-20 01:20 am (UTC)

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interestingly enough, someone else has done that with the whole "voldemort votes republican" merch available of cafe press. however, that at least has original graphics.
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-20 12:41 am (UTC)

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is this something you could take to the BBB? Or is the issue of the use of the name Voldemort something that would potentially backfire and affect you as well?
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-20 12:45 am (UTC)

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btw.. the ebay dude responded with the following:


Nah, it's a complete and utter rip off of a bumper sticker I saw a few months back...I had never been to goats.com until I got an email from him the other day, asking me to license the design from him. I was intrigued, because I wasn't aware that he owned the copyright to the character Voldemort, and thought he had quite a large lawsuit on his hands against that JK Rowling person if he wanted to pursue it. He informed me that he did not in fact own the right to that character, at which point I asked him to bugger off.
Life is funny sometimes...
If anyone is interested in representing me, I swear I was the 1st guy to come up with the 'I'm with stupid' shirt design, and everyone owes me a whole lot of money.

dunno if that's something you can use in your efforts to get him stopped, but just drop me a line if necessary. I think the guy is a bit of an asshat because the bumper stickers have the website on them as well. (I saw one on a car a couple of weeks ago. It made me smile)
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-20 02:54 am (UTC)

Re: copyright infringement?

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god too many replies from me, but when i get curious, well... according to the US Patent and Trademark Office, "Lord Voldemort" is a registered trademark. However, I was unable to find anything for "Voldemort" by itself
From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-20 01:48 am (UTC)

copyright infringement?

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To: legal@wb.com

Hello-
I was wondering if you were aware of the site- www.goats.com , which carries a line of Harry Potter "Republicans for Voldemort" T-shirts and bumper stickers. I ask this, because he has contacted sites also carrying "Republicans for Voldemort" product (all boot leg, I'm sure) demanding a licensing fee.

Now, I do understand you guys turning a blind eye to someone making a parody-type t-shirt based on one of your properties, but for someone to demand a licensing fee for something that doesn't belong to them, and in fact is based on one of your properties in the first place, seems a little over the top.

I thought I should draw this to your attention.

Thanks-

[User Picture]From: kioku_jonny
2006-05-20 02:15 am (UTC)

Re: copyright infringement?

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Parody is not Infringement.
and it's been made clear the license was for the graphic design, not the character name.

you cowardly nameless asshat.
[User Picture]From: _xenogenesis
2006-05-20 02:56 am (UTC)

Re: copyright infringement?

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To: Dingbat@dumbass.com

Dear Fuckwit:

Obviously you haven't read the above Livejournal post, which states that Warners and Scholastic are not only aware of what Goats is doing, but has actively purchased the shirts in question, stating that Rowling would enjoy them. No doubt you lack the reading comprehension skills for this. My condolences to your parents, who are no doubt aghast at having produced such an illiterate lunkhead as their offspring. One can only hope they are still young enough to try again.

As to the rest of your asinine comments: the artist has contacted one, count it, one seller of t-shirts--t-shirts which use his idea and his design. He has had to do this because some troll with micropscopic genitalia and an IQ to match doesn't seem to understand the difference between fair use and intellectual theft. This is presumably because the perpetrator of this inanity has no intellect to speak of, hence his having to resort to thievery. You may wish to look these concepts up in a legal dictionary. This means you'll have to learn to read first, but I'm sure you'll manage.

It is one thing to borrow a name from a book and create a T-shirt using an original idea of one's own. That is fair use, and in this case it has the tacit approval of the author. It is something else again to take that individual's work as one's own and sell it without their knowledge or permission. That is intellectual property theft. That is what the seller of these shirts is guilty of doing.

I presume you are that individual, since your wheedling, sniveling little missive above matches the snot-nosed, childish tone of the email quoted above almost perfectly. And really, you should be congratulated. In a world of liars, cheats and thieves, you have mahanged to distinguish yourself as a true prince among sleaze. So even though you have neither brains nor talent, you do have your inestimably slimy nature going for you. Way to go, you thieving little turd.

Die In A Fire,
_xenognesis

PS: You may wish to know that LiveJournal records the ISP addresses of commenters...even anonymous ones. So the odds are that Jon Rosenberg is now in possession of yours. He knows programmers...lots of programmers. Enjoy thinking about that while you steal other people's hard work.

Oh, and one more thing: eat shit and die. Or eat dye and shit, whichever is easier for you.

_x

(Jon, you can delete this if you want; I just had to get that out of my system. It's been a really shitty day.)
[User Picture]From: dana1witch
2006-05-20 03:45 am (UTC)

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Your use of this is fair. His use isn't fair. Let us know if we can write anywhere to help against him.

Some people will use any quirk in the legal terms and definition to compensate for their own lack of creative imagination.
[User Picture]From: diablochicken
2006-05-20 03:53 am (UTC)

The matter is now resolved.

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UPDATE: The owner of the company in question has emailed me to tell me that he's taken down the bootleg t-shirts. I consider the matter closed at this point. Thanks for all your support and kind words, but please don't bug this guy anymore, he has done the right thing.
[User Picture]From: frobisher
2006-05-20 05:47 am (UTC)

Re: The matter is now resolved.

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Excellent. I shall call off the death squads.
[User Picture]From: robonun
2006-05-23 03:06 pm (UTC)

Re: The matter is now resolved.

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But...dammit...I went and paid big bucks for the high explosives and everything! Now what am I going to do with all these WMDs?
[User Picture]From: gaminfiend
2006-05-20 02:46 pm (UTC)

Re: The matter is now resolved.

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yay! that's spiffy!