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October 28th, 2009

Support John Unger

I found out about this through Leather Yenta’s tweet yesterday. (Twitter used for activism? Woot!)

From John’s site:
Imitator Sues Me to Overturn Copyrights: Please Help Defend My Art
“I need your help. My original art has been copied by a manufacturer who is now suing me in federal court to overturn my existing copyrights and continue making knockoffs. I have a strong case, a great lawyer and believe that if I can continue to defend myself, the case will be resolved in my favor. If I run out of funds before we reach trial, a default judgment would be issued against me and could put me out of business. I don’t believe my opponent can win this case in court and I don’t believe he really intends to try. I believe his goal is to use strong-arm litigation tactics to force me to keep spending money or risk losing my copyrights — not by true adjudication, but by default if he is able to outspend me.

What has happened: my original art has been copied by a manufacturer who is now suing me in federal court to continue making knockoffs
How you can help raise money for legal defense
How you can help raise awareness
How this lawsuit affects others
How I’m working to turn disaster into opportunity

He put up a follow up post earlier today.

Defend Art: The First 24 Hours
“I want to thank you not only for your financial support, but more importantly, your emotional and moral encouragement during this time. This has been a tough year and the last couple days are the first time I’ve felt encouraged in a long time. By assisting in funding our fight in this lawsuit, you are not only helping our case, but showing support of all artists struggling with similar battles.

The most important thing I have to tell you today is this:

In my first appeal for help I wrote: “If you have a blog, please write a post and link to this page. Feel free to quote as much of this post as you like or to write about it in your own words. It is important to stick to the facts and to avoid derogatory language.”

It is very important for all of us to take the ethical high ground in this issue and not to bully, threaten or malign the other side. I know better than anyone that this is an emotional issue for artists but don’t make us look bad as a group by being hateful. Lets tell the story sticking to the facts. Let’s raise awareness of the issues without resorting to name calling or other defamatory statements. The facts should be sufficient. By keeping it clean, it makes us look like the creative professionals we are.


I hope to use what I’ve learned to educate other artists about their rights, and how they can best protect their own creations from falling prey to a similar situation. Please pass my message on, not only in support of my case, but in support of all artists.

I have registered the domain and when this is over, I hope to set up a foundation to help other artists in need of legal assistance. Any money I raise that is not eaten up by court costs will be used for this purpose. Currently the only legal aid groups for artists that I have found operate only within the boundaries of each state. I can’t find a national organization. In my state, Michigan, the legal program for artists was closed due to lack of funding. It’s obvious from the stories I’ve heard on Twitter, in email, on forums and elsewhere that we need something like this and I believe that artists could work together to make it happen.

Because that’s what artists do, actually: when they see something that should exist but doesn’t, they build it.

Now that I see how many of us there are and how incredibly we can pull together I have a larger vision for #defendart. I think there’s a way to raise funds that can protect artists when other options fail them.”

I’ve blogged about John before; I like him and his artwork. I have not one but two of his tire paddles and they’re some of my favorite, and most wicked, toys. He also made a mosaic table based on a pic of me! He’s always been friendly to chat with and his art is super groovy.

You can see his passion in his art. I can’t believe this company would copy his designs and then sue him!?! Sure there’s being inspired by artwork. But then I’d think you’d make something and give it your own unique twist. That’s what I do when I’m inspired by someone’s art.

I’m supporting him and hope some of you will too. You can do so by clicking the widget up top. I’m getting one of his Fire Imp Sculptures with my donation. John says he’ll ship them out by Xmas. The sculpture I’ll be getting will make a perfect Yule present. It’s a win-win!

Posted by Vixen as Activism at 7:52 PM CDT

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