Artists sue Francesca’s For Ripping off Pin Designs
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it another hundred times; artists should know their rights. I’m consistently seeing the work of friends and acquaintances being ripped off in a myriad of ways- from using artwork in the background of advertisements to co-opting their work into merchandise (like calendars and notebooks). Another huge culprit is the fashion industry, as illustrated in a recent case raised by a group of artists against Francesca’s, a store I’ve seen at malls and shopping centers across America. (not that I’m a mall tourist or anything…)
The case here involves pins, yes pins, which have pilfered the designs of a handful of artists, and are up for sale in enamel form. In some cases, pins were ordered from the original artists, then replicated and sold by Francesca’s (and their vendors like O.K. Originals and Orion Fashions)- without paying, crediting, or involving the artists whatsoever. With over 600 Francesca’s locations across the country, that’s a lotta pins.
You may think, well its just a pin…but it is important for artists to not only defend their work at any level for the purpose of lost income, but also to set the precedent for future copyright infringements. If an artist lets an infringement slide, they may have a tougher time in the future should an infringement happen again. The defense could site the previous infringement, with the claim that if the artist didn’t do anything then, why does it matter on their case.
Represented by Kushnirksy Gerber, the eleven artists, Sean Aaberg, Kristina Alderette, Brianna Bulski, Susan Ghahremani, Anita Ivancenko, Thais Marchese, Eleanor Mortimer, Eric Solomon, Caitlin Whittington, Beth Wilson, and Katharine Wilson, are seeking damages that could reach $4 million for copyright infringement penalties across the board. (You may remember the firm from the Lili Chin case against Kohl’s…or because I work as a consultant for them.)