Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No! An Artist's Defence

Earlier this year, an unscrupulous operator filed a suit against my friend, the American artist, John T. Unger, in a federal court. They sought to overturn John's copyrights on a series of his works in order to sell unauthorised, unlicensed, mass-produced knockoffs of them.
John has spent over $50,000 in legal fees but because he was not the instigator of the suit, he now faces the risk of a default judgment being entered against him unless he is able to finance a full defence in court.
He cannot afford not to: the case poses the risk of a dangerous precedent being established that could be used by other imitators to strip artists of the rights which protect their original work.
You can read the full story on John's website.
To help John finance his defence, I've donated five, different coloured NO! images, each valued at $US1,000, from my limited edition series, the Yes/No Stencils for John to sell. As these are now hard to obtain even through my studio, John's edition, specially inscribed on the verso by both John and me, represents an opportunity to own an unique edition of the NO! images as well as help an artist locked in a desperate battle to protect his work and his income.
I would urge other artists to donate their work to help John's fight.
For further information, visit John's blog – or just place an order.


Caio Fernandes said...

thank you for this information . i am now going to visit his page .
i do not tolerate this kind of think . this is a risk for every one .

Anonymous said...

Good on you Hazel!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hazel,

The drawing for this entry, like a car wreck found
in the desert at dusk, forces me to stop and have
a look-see around. Well done.

Also, very kind of you to help John like you are.
I hope it turns out well for him.


Aaron B. Brown said...

Unfortunately this is the way business is done today, copyright laws are turned against the people who actually do the creating, often find themselves deprived of their rightful due.

Unger's situation reminds me of my uncle who built his furniture business from the ground up in the 70s, only to have the company he owned a franchise through bought out by Middle Eastern interests, Dubai I believe. He spent 10 years, beginning in the 90s fighting them in court, finally throwing in the towel when he realized that these corporate interests with unlimited funding were going to bankrupt him in the courts leaving his family with nothing to show for 30 years building the business. He once owning all the Ethan Allen stores in the St. Louis area, but closed the doors of the last one and his warehouse in 2006, leaving everyone who worked in the family business to find new careers, along with dozens of other employees who had worked for him for decades.

I'm familiar with these issues through the music world, which is another sinkhole that strips those who create and lavishes wealth upon those who get their hands on the copyrights, oftentimes for virtually nothing. It's one of the greatest travesties of the music business, and so many others businesses, that the people who actually do the work in the trenches often end up with nothing to show for their sweat and blood, while corporations make out like bandits every time someone even thinks about sampling a piece of music. And artists who came along later became millionaires without giving a dime to the people whose work they built upon, but I suppose that's been going on for time immemorial. The whole thing has had a really destructive and repressive effect on music creation, because the laws have not kept pace with the technology and and how it's changed the way art and music is produced.

I recently saw and early screening of an excellent documentary about this that will be out soon,

Copyright Criminals

Anonymous said...

thought this program might interest you Hazel.