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Old January 22nd, 2007 -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: threadless and copyright infringement: a discussion :)

Originally Posted by Rodney
How do you think threadless handled it?
Poorly, as they always do. That said, way better than their many previous plagiarism issues. I think the way Threadless handle legal violations (ftc regulations, copyright, etc.) is the single most unprofessional part of their business. I'm genuinely surprised it hasn't had more serious consequences for them.

They knew it was a copyright violation and that the original owners had a problem with it for several days, during which time they didn't stop sales. They were clearly trying to run out the clock so they didn't get stuck with inventory.

I think inviting Miso and Ghostpatrol to do Threadless Select was a very good idea. Miso and Ghostpatrol are that calibre, so it's fair. Threadless are damn lucky they said yes though - in some ways Threadless are beneath them (Threadless are mass produced tees at cheap prices; Miso and Ghostpatrol design successful tees that are limited run at considerably higher prices... Threadless make more money and are more successful, but most people would consider them to have "sold out"... associating themselves with Threadless could hurt the Miso/Ghostpatrol "brand", but it was the easiest way out).

Interestingly it has created a stir amongst some members who don't think they deserve to do a select tee, so there is some resentment.

Threadless said the prize package was transferred: they didn't say whether or not they doubled it so that each artist got paid what a normal Threadless designer would (I think they should).

I think the solution was a good one, but the way they handled it was bad.

It also sets an interesting precedent: print whatever you want, then browbeat the original owners into consenting after the fact.

Originally Posted by Rodney
Do you think it was copyright infringement?
Actually, no.

As far as the current law goes it would appear to be, but I don't think it should be and I'm not convinced it couldn't be overturned in a court case.

The original artists do, because they claim copyright on their work. That would be fine if the work was in a gallery, but my opinion is that grafitti is by its very nature artwork put into the public domain.

Originally Posted by Rodney
Can we have a cool discussion about this without drama?
I doubt it, but fingers crossed.