Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A friend of mine alerted me to the legal plight of a fellow artist. You may have seen these incredibly cool fire-pit metal sculptures on 1000 Markets or Etsy. They are the work of John T. Unger, an extremely talented artist and designer.
Turns out, there is an unscrupulous individual, who has sued John so that this individual can continue to manufacture and sell knock-offs of John's copyrighted designs! In order to maintain hsi legal copyright, John has to defend himself in court, which, as you can guess, costs an enormous amount of money. You can read all about the details, and how you can support John, at his website.
What made me so furious about this case? I am frankly tired of all of the unethical scumbags out there looking to make a fast buck by copying artist created designs. With our economy in shambles, these people farm out manufacturing to third-world countries, and sell cheap copies. So what if they cost pennies on the dollar? Whenever you buy one of these copies, you are taking money out of a local US community, out of the pocket of an artist. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the "steal" you got at Wally World or Tar-get is called that, because you are stealing from the artist as much as the copier themselves.
John T. Unger has done what he needs to legally protect his work. He has made certain he has the legal copyright for his work. That he can be in this predicament should be a warning to all handmade artists and its supporters, that we need to be vigilant and resist the temptation to buy what's cheap--the next time, it may be us being sued.