I wanted to be writing a different
kind of blog about my artwork “Morning Coffee” today.
I sketch about our lives,
and especially times with Mitchell and the cats, the best times of the day, cooking, laughing, color, sharing.
Mitchell makes coffee every morning. I see a scene like this in the morning on the counter, watching my amazing husband start our day. We love this colorful pottery which I cannot name, because lawyers have stopped me from naming what I own when describing my work. They call it copyright infringement.
We also love our coffee made in a Bodum press-pot,
and have fallen in love with our new colorful Emsa Samba thermos.
I also paint my favorite pens and inks bottles and THOSE companies love it —
they know it is free advertising because is a celebration of objects we love.
Some have asked if they could use it in a blog post for their company.
Anyhow, I painted it, made cards of it and then a lawyer from the firm of Andrew Cornelius, PC, representing HLC Holding, INC, notified Etsy that I had called my pottery by name, that it was a trademark violation, and proceeded to block the sale of my cards. I named it innocently. If Etsy and the lawyers who blocked my cards from being sold on Etsy gave me a way to comply, this would be over, but the lawyers have to release me, all because I named “Fiestaware”.
They think I was co-opting it in order to make a buck.
btw, that is about right. a buck a card…
and I wish people were clammering to buy my artwork
but i can’t quit my day job!
So it WAS trademark infringement, legally, and I learned something. The spirit of it doesn’t matter –the truth was I was just describing my artwork, our mornings, and made a mistake. I have no way to rectify that mistake, and sell the cards I’ve printed. Money to reproduce artwork does not come easy to this artist.
And now I am stuck with these cards because the
lawyer from the firm of Andrew Cornelius, PC, won’t write to Etsy.
Etsy won’t give me a way back.
Etsy won’t allow me to change what was said in my description,
to write to them and share the emails (I tried)
and show compliance and have my artwork released for sale.
I now have not one but three black marks against me on Etsy
(I sold my cards in packages, hence THREE removals)
I’ve written Andrew Cornelius, PC, many many times asking them to release my work,
that I am happy to comply, and other than the one email response in the beginning,
“You were using a federally registered trademark, FIESTA,
to market and sell artwork. You do not have a license
or permission to use the trademark.”
Etsy suggests that I hire a lawyer to fight it.
like I can afford to fight a big company
just to tell them I’M COMPLYING FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!
Gwenn Seemel, who introduced me to Creative Commons and whose blog
is not only lovely because she is a fantastic artist, but also because she speaks to our issues, wrote about my fight with these lawyers with a better spin on it.
She has written about others who had these fights with companies, including her own.
Every artist should read about these things.
That’s it, for now; if it changes (don’t hold your breath) I will tell you.
I doubt if we buy any more of the colorful pottery we’ve loved collecting.
When I set our table and open the cupboard to see
dozens of vintage and new plates and platters and cups and pitchers,
I makes me look at my favorite pieces very differently,
and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not what I want to start my day.
I will leave you with Tom Paxton’s song… Gotta love him.
And btw, he has no issue with me using this song in my blog.
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“Memory is more indelible than ink.”
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
“I think not….”
Me… why I journal!
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I teach architectural sketching,
art journaling (art+writing), creativity, watercolors.
That annoying loud-mouth editor/critic in your head? GONE! How great would that be?
Oh my gosh–Kate! I’ve always thought you did such a great job (still DO a great job!) naming all the brand of paint/ink/pens you use. Yes! It does get me looking at those products. But Fiestaware–of which I have boxes–calls it a trademark violation? And they won’t respond to you? Ya know–this has totally turned me off Etsy. I have no time for attorneys, having worked with many in my previous job–but this really stinks. I hope somehow things work out for you, but this is really shameful.
It has been upsetting to understand that there is no way back unless I hire an attorney — even though I am happy to comply. PFFT!
I like your artwork
It all seems perfectly ridiculous to me, Kate. If they have a problem, they make contact but should be open to discussion. I guess they isn’t what lawyers do.
It is an easy do, they have a willing subject. PFFT!
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all I can sy is wow what an experience.
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