I was just saying to my husband yesterday, that i was almost unaware that this thread had become a debate over corporations and whatnot, and i've been reading it daily, (maybe b/c I've been busy dealing with my situation....); to which he replied, "yeah, but to keep a thread on topic for 10 pages is pretty good!" (another thing i like about craftster, the ability to stay on topic--for the most part).
I will say that i agree with people on both sides of the issue, as thriftjunnkie said, "each situation is unique;" but am not here to debate either side. basically, as RachOfTheJungle said, i came here seeking help, support, advice and perhaps shared experience. all of which i have gotten. I have also learned alot
and sincerely appreciate all the opinions and advice that' have been expressed here.
While the whole issue of "corporations vs. the little guy" is important, it's not necessarily my central issue here.
The issues of trademarks and copyrights are definitely worth discussing though, especially in a forum of artists, and especially those that use recycled/used/thrifted/collaged/reconstructed/deconstructed/slightly altered/etc goods in their art.
For example, say you are at the mall (gasp!
) and there's some sort of promo thing going on in the middle of the mall, sponsored by coke, or pepsi, or beer, or chocolate, or whatever and you get a free t-shirt, you think, "I'll never wear this" and make it into a skirt that you then decide to sell on your website. then, you get a cease and desist letter (that demands thousands of dollars) arrives from a third party company claiming to represent the trademark holder. what do you do? this is sort of my situation....
People need to be aware that there is something that seems very shadey going on, I'll explain: while doing research on the Third Party Company that sent me the letter, i have discovered that this company, and other's I'm sure, are pretty much trolling around looking for things that could
be trademark/copyright issues, they then send these demand letters basically to scare you into paying them. They may even go so far as to approach trademark holders to sign up for their investigative
service & charge the trademark owner for these investigative reports
. So, these big Corporations may not even know what's going on, which i actually believe may be the case in my situation.
Again, it's basically just frivolous and silly legal work (for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Stoller
) but if you don't have much money you'll simply pay to make it go away rather than go to court which can cost alot.
Which is where i really agree with what RachOfTheJungle had to say:
Moreover, even if we did "owe" them something, that doesn't give them the right to do whatever they want un-policed and unquestioned.
As I said, my lawyer suggested that what was happening to me was a form of extortion (which is illegal).
I suppose I could go on, but, as today was the "deadline" for my reply to the company, i'm hoping it's over. the letter my lawyer composed is fabulous. and she then gave them a deadline of next week to basically file this away under "wishful thinking" or "money grubbing" or "if the actual corporation only knew what we were doing..." (ok, not in those words, but close...)
Thanks again for all the advice and kind words! there were times during these past 2 or 3 weeks that i was really scared and nervous, and thinking, "how many paychecks would it take to pay this off?" or "will i have to quit my job to go to court?" or "will i cry when i talk to the people from this company on the phone?" it's very worrisome.
but it's nice to know i had all these people here who were not only interested about the outcome but concerned and invested. and, the amount of wonderful people who offered me legal help is AWESOME! (who knew that 1/2 the people on craftster work for lawyers!?!
) I will be letting you all know what happens next....