COPYRIGHT VIOLATION IN MINNESOTA
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any fellow boardies here live near the mall of america in minnesota? i recently learned of these losers, called CANVAS STUDIO, who are violating mine and probably many other artists' copyrights by reprinting our images, unlicensed. you 

can clearly see the image of darth vader on a unicorn, which is my painting. they have cropped and distorted it badly to fit on their lame format. i'm willing to bet every single image here that they are printing is stolen from other artists too.

just hoping someone here knows a local lawyer there in MN who might be interested in taking this on? 

https://mallofamerica.com/directory/14851

 

canvas-studio-pic1.jpg

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While I am sure you are upset... you should smile to a degree knowing that your work is worth stealing.  

With that said, “go git em.”

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Posted (edited)

It's a kiosk in a mall. I don't even see a website for them, just the Mall of America listing for them. Spending money on an attorney to go after them isn't likely to recover even your attorney fees. 

Find an attorney that will - for a reasonable price - send Canvas Studio a "cease and desist" letter based on their selling prints of your art without compensation.  Or do the letter yourself. That is the most important step at this moment. To establish you own the copyright on the image and act to protect it. You should CC Mall of America as well. They probably would be more interested in stopping any copyright violations than Canvas Studio, since they have much deeper pockets were someone to sue. 

Edited by Tony S

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19,549 posts

Your image is itself a copyright violation, but that is between you and Disney. It doesn't mean he can grab it. Derivative works are tricky.

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4 minutes ago, the blob said:

Your image is itself a copyright violation, but that is between you and Disney. It doesn't mean he can grab it. Derivative works are tricky.

I have zero to add to the legal argument side, but would an evil overlord of the empire riding a unicorn like he's at a parade be fundamentally different from the image Lucas envisioned? It's particularly interesting to see something Lucas himself appropriated from Kirby now being brought up in a discussion of this sort.

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they are probably relying on the (I can only assume) unlicensed nature of your original creation @www.alexgross.com that you dont have enough legal grounds to stand on to sue them. Im betting all of the images they use are not licensed by the artist they swiped them from. 

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1 minute ago, miraclemet said:

they are probably relying on the (I can only assume) unlicensed nature of your original creation @www.alexgross.com that you dont have enough legal grounds to stand on to sue them. Im betting all of the images they use are not licensed by the artist they swiped them from. 

Clean hands doctrine comes to mind.

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thanks for all the suggestions that painting a copyrighted character is a trademark violation. just FYI, it's not. you can paint whatever you want. if you choose to make multiples, legal precedent has established that as long as a work can be considered "transformative," it is not a copyright violation. parody is also protected under the first amendment as i'm sure all boardies are aware. 

this seller is more likely relying on the idea that none of these artists will ever discover that he has stolen their work. 

but thanks for all the support here. 

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8 minutes ago, www.alexgross.com said:

thanks for all the suggestions that painting a copyrighted character is a trademark violation. just FYI, it's not. you can paint whatever you want. if you choose to make multiples, legal precedent has established that as long as a work can be considered "transformative," it is not a copyright violation. parody is also protected under the first amendment as i'm sure all boardies are aware. 

this seller is more likely relying on the idea that none of these artists will ever discover that he has stolen their work. 

but thanks for all the support here. 

If they copied your painting but added say a beach ball would it be ok then because that would be transformative?  Not trying to be argumentative I'm actually curious.

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Can you make an entire Star Wars VS X Men comic and print/sell it?

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22 minutes ago, kav said:

If they copied your painting but added say a beach ball would it be ok then because that would be transformative?  Not trying to be argumentative I'm actually curious.

it's possible this would be permissible. the legal interpretation of "transformative" is obviously subject to interpretation. you can google it to learn more about legal precedent relating to intellectual property and trademarks.

when shepard fairey did his obama HOPE piece and traced a photographers image, but changed the color scheme and design, it was an example of a case that could have gone either way. in his case, he lost in court, for various reasons. 

again, all of this only matters if doing multiples. as you know, artists can draw and paint whatever they want, as proven by all our favorite comic artists drawing batman and wolverine, legally, for sale, at every con. 

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They have a chat feature and I wrote the following

I just wanted to point out that the kiosk Canvas Studio is selling works that they do not hold copyright to and hope that the Mall of America can takes steps to protect the copyrights that are being exploited by one of their vendors. Unless of course the MoA condones this behavior?

 

I didn't stay to chat though. Go get them Alex!

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1 hour ago, www.alexgross.com said:

thanks for all the suggestions that painting a copyrighted character is a trademark violation. just FYI, it's not. you can paint whatever you want. if you choose to make multiples, legal precedent has established that as long as a work can be considered "transformative," it is not a copyright violation. parody is also protected under the first amendment as i'm sure all boardies are aware. 

this seller is more likely relying on the idea that none of these artists will ever discover that he has stolen their work. 

but thanks for all the support here. 

sounds like you're covered on your end! I was just trying to imagine their approach to try and avoid legal issues, sounds like they're gonna be in it up to their necks. 

go get em!

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1 hour ago, dupont2005 said:

Can you make an entire Star Wars VS X Men comic and print/sell it?

If it was parody yes.

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Posted (edited)

Con sketches of copyrighted characters are tolerated, but legally on shaky ground. Colleen Doran among others has talked about that. And besides, you sell prints.

You really need to hire lawyer to examine your own possible liabilities for your works before you draw any more attention to yourself. Maybe you're correct and everything's the way you think, but if you're asserting copyright over an unlicensed image of a Disney character you better have absolutely everything on your site and every recorded sale cleared first.

Edited by Greenlake

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