Tuesday, July 28, 2009

little guy wins

Remember last spring when I stumbled across a major rip-off of my sprout vase in a little gift store in San Luis Obispo, California? Well my man, Mr. Escobar --my hot shit lawyer--pursued the case on my behalf. After a few months of back and forth, Escobar informed me yesterday that the company pulled their copied version of my work from their website and product line. What I really loved is that they actually said in their letter to Escobar "we pulled your client's work from our product line," basically admitting that the work is mine, not theirs. Score one for the little guy! Or in my case, the hot potter chick! Yeah!

Though the case seemed clearly in my favor-- they did such an obvious rip-off of my work-- I have to admit, I'm surprised. I expected them to go to the wall to defend their copyright, and force me to drop out of the game before I drained my own resources. I'm always pushing my own friends to step up and defend their copyright and ideas. I once offered to picket Pottery Barn on behalf of one of my artist friends, who was blatantly copying some of her signature work, as others continue to do today. I'm a major stickler when it comes to fairness, and nothing enrages me more than watching people get walked on. Well that, and bad firings. And dirty floors. And, if I'm honest, silverware sliding off the plate and clattering onto the floor also totally pisses me off. But when I had this happen to me, in a larger venue than I'm used to dealing with I have to say that I wanted to ignore it. It seemed like a major hassle, expensive, and a battle I would not win anyway. I put it off for at least a month before an attack of insomnia made me realize that it may be all those things, but it still had to be done. If I think what this company did is wrong, then it's wrong for me to ignore it.

Now, this is the funny thing: during this whole event, and a similar episode that was happening around the same time, I heard over and over from certain people, "Being copied is the highest form of flattery," and "Coco Chanel said she would shed tears the day no one copied her," and "If you're being copied it means you are great and you should be happy." I shot back my own arguments against these comments and felt pretty secure in my stance. But... when Escobar said they were pulling out, the second or third thought that ran through my head was, "What, it's not selling well enough to pay for their lawyer? They don't think my Sprout vase is worth fighting for?" And with these thoughts came a feeling of insult and injury. I think I understand now what those people were saying, even though I still think it's crappy. Anyway, I'm over all that. I feel vindicated, and that it was worth the fight.

And just in case you were wondering how cute I looked on my birthday, I looked this cute:




12 comments:

  1. Wooohooo! I love it when the little guy wins!

    They should pay you compensation as well! :)

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  2. YES!!!!So happy to hear this. Whitney, I need advice. I just yesterday found yet another blatant rip off of my work. This one has me thinking it's time to call a lawyer but then I think I'm too small and it's too expensive to bother. But it enrages me so that I feel I must do something. So I posted about it on my blog as it feels like the only way to channel the anger and frustration. I contacted the business owners to talk about it and of course they claimed to have never seen my work and said it must be a coincidence. Yeah, right. I am so happy for your victory. You are my role model for chasing down the copiers!

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  3. woowoo! im happy for you. i saw your post when you found out you were being copied. and im glad the little guy is the winner. screw those losers. and you look dang cute on your birthday! happy belated one! :)

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  4. This is a wonderful story, Whitney. Congratulations! You're right; it's not often that an infringer pulls out so quickly. Obviously, they recognized that your case was very strong, and that it wasn't worth the time and expense it would have taken to defend it.

    I really appreciate your honesty about the feelings you had when you heard that they weren't going to pursue it. Isn't it interesting how we find ways to undermine our self-confidence, even when we get the outcome we wanted?

    I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Clara

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  5. Happy Birthday! And -grats on the win....

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  6. You look totally cute. And thanks for standing up for your rights. Corporations shouldn't be allowed to rule the world. They still have to work with us. Corporations can't be completely divorced from other humans.

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  7. So glad you stuck to your guns and won. By fighting you also helped other artists who might have that happen to them too. that's great and you look great on your birthday too.

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  8. congrats whitney... vindication is a truly rare occurrence these days. it still irks the hell out of me that they said they would pull YOUR piece out of their product line... WTF is that? no shame... corporations=death.

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  9. Yay! Happy b-day, what a great present. Still loving your blog!

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  10. Congratulations on this one! So glad it worked in your favour!

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  11. Congrats! Happy belated birthday!

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