When we get new referring links to our website we get an alert about it. It’s a handy way to keep track of the buzz about our brand, keep in touch with fans, thank blogs for writing about us and so on. This morning I was pretty bummed to see this. It seems this young lady was offended by our shirt prices and decided that the best course of action would be to copy my illustration and send it to Cafe Press to have them print her a shirt. She saved a whole $6.00!
I am not going to get too into why our prices are what they are, all I’m going to say is this is not Walmart and we have certain costs that limit how cheaply we can offer our shirts. We’re a small business, printing original illustrations on premium tees. We offer unique illustrations you can’t (legally) get elsewhere and we offer them in a pretty vast selection of colors, styles and sizes. To put it another way, you’re basically buying a custom print of my art in t-shirt form, instead of a canvas that just hangs on your wall. I totally get that this isn’t important to everyone, but what I am not cool with is someone commandeering my work so it can be acquired on the cheap.
Now aside from the obvious, I-don’t-get-paid grievance I have with people making pirated versions of my shirts, here are some other pressing concerns I have with this kind of thing.
1. My partners don’t get paid. When you buy a tee from this website, it doesn’t just support me (the illustrator), it also supports the independent print shop that actually produces our shirts. Furthermore, it supports the critters. We donate a portion of our profits to animal rescues and when someone uses my illustrations to have a shirt printed elsewhere, that’s less money I have to give to animals in need.
2. My prints are going to look like crap. If you take images off of the internet and use them to print a shirt, they’re just not going to look very good. Without getting too design-nerd on you, images used for printing need to be much higher resolution (more dots per inch) than images used on the internet. I shutter to think that there are people walking around with blurry, grainy pirated versions of my illustrations. Passersby probably think “neat idea for a shirt, too bad it looks like crap.”
You have to wonder what kind of person even thinks it’s worth bragging about ripping off your work, so I did a little surfing around to see. A few choice quotations from the design thief:
On the gay:
Homosexuality is not the way nature intended it. Marriage should be shared between a man and a woman only. If there are two gay men and they adopt a child that child will be messed up for the rest of it’s life. He will grow up with “two daddies” and think it’s normal which it is not. Same thing for lesbians.
English people scare me now, I used to like it there, I’m half for Christ sake and I think my own countrymen are scary! France is a no-no to begin with. Spain, have no clue,Germany= brutal, Italy= everyone is too damn emotional and self-centered. Ireland, most are drunk and swear profusely in public. Well I don’t EVEN want to get into the other ones! … Actually, America is the most civilized nation in the world.
On hip hop:
it is just people with no talent trying to song. As I said Rap=
That is what it stands for my friends.
On sex, drugs and global poverty:
Weed is wrong because it disables your thinking abilities leaving you wasted and doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Sex is bad because if you met someone and had sex, what if a child came out of that? You have just ruined someones life by having sex senselessly. That child will now know that he/she was an accident and feel very poor about themselves. Why do you think there are so many starving children in Africa? The parents have nothing better to do so the have sex, and there’s no birth control in the poor parts so basically it is the parent’s fault that the kids are starving. They brought them into this world. And don’t start with the birthcontrol rebuttal because you know what, it doesn’t always work.
So to sum it up, at first I was upset about my illustration getting ripped off. Now I’m just kind of embarrassed about who’s wearing it.