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Todd Goldman's At It Again
May 19, 2010 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Artist Jess Fink has some crappy luck. She's found her Threadless designs co-opted by Forever 21 and by Newbreed girl for Hot Topic. And now? Thanks to Billion Dollar Babes, unrepentant rip-off artist Todd Goldman (previously) is joining in.
posted by griphus (65 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's always hard for me to read about this kind of thing because it immediately makes me want to lose my mind with rage. There's no surer sign of a terrible, venal, weak mind than appropriating other people's ideas without giving them any credit. There's a special place in hell for Todd Goldman.
posted by orville sash at 2:55 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, nothing to add except to say that this totally sucks. I just saw her tweet about it and thought, "jesus, again?!" I'm a huge fan of her work and I guess the bright side is that it's apparent why people would want to steal from her. Her stuff is really great.
posted by a.steele at 2:56 PM on May 19, 2010


Wow, that sucks. At least the Hot Topic one (Mr. Boozy & Friends is what we're discussing, right?) could fall under "inspired by." The others are just blatant, blatant rip-offs. Embarrassing.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:57 PM on May 19, 2010


I love Jess Fink's art and have been following her for a while now. I'd say that I'd boycott Forever 21 and Hot Topic, but as I never shop at either of those stores anyway, it doesn't feel like a hefty enough reprimand.

What can we, the art fans, do?
posted by chatongriffes at 3:01 PM on May 19, 2010


Motherfuckers of the internet, volume 8:
In an interview with Sense magazine, Goldman said, "I guess what happened was this: I have a whole design team that works back in Florida creating t-shirts for me. And then I take some of these images and make paintings out of them. If we do 50 t-shirts a month we probably create over 300 images to narrow down to those 50. Listen, I couldn't paint in my lifetime the amount of stuff that we've done. I thought that image was created internally within 'David and Goliath'. I guess the original idea came from that Kelly guy which one of my artists had seen. We changed it to "Please God Make All my Friends Fat," because the Die wouldn't sell on t-shirts. But I thought it'd make a great painting. So I painted two images from it. 5 months later it was hanging in this gallery and someone saw it and started this whole Internet thing. When I found out it wasn't our image, I apologized to the guy and gave him the full proceeds for the sale of the paintings. They sold for $10,000. So I didn't profit from him. There was no lawsuit from it. But then a whole can of worms opens up and suddenly I'm knocking off everyone apparently."
posted by boo_radley at 3:01 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this whole internet making money for artists thing is going to work out at all, one thing needs to happen: Artists + lawyers = BFFs. (For a start, at least.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jess Fink's designs want to be free, though. And if that doesn't work out for her, she obviously had a crappy business model.

That's how it will get spun, anyway.
posted by adipocere at 3:08 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do Todd Goldman's artists get to sign these paintings? They probably should -- both because they deserve the credit and because that will take care of this whole blame issue. Because yeah, I absolutely believe Goldman's story; it's hard to imagine someone signing his name to something that's so obviously a total ripoff, but it's easy as fuck to imagine a guy whose job it is to provide him with unattributed material giving him recycled work...out of sheer laziness, contempt, or both.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:09 PM on May 19, 2010


My theory for the reason why plagiarism is so prevalent among the Forever 21s, Urban Outfitters, et al, is that the stakes are so low. What I mean is that at the end of the day they are selling objects that are essentially ephemeral. These t-shirts will be worn a season or two and then end up at the local second-hand store or Goodwill.

But this is an unfortunate demonstration of what happens when talent and creativity are commoditized down to virtually nothing. Genuinely gifted people get lumped in with the the unwashed crowdsourced millions and all contributions are summarily diminished. It's a challenge for folks committed to their work to capitalize on an idea fast enough when they're up against the distribution channels of big clothing chains.

I'd be curious to know if any one of these chains has a competent person on staff devoted to researching plagiarism before a product is manufactured.
posted by quadog at 3:14 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So wait, are the artists these people are ripping off relying on lawyers or karma to deal with copyright infringement?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:17 PM on May 19, 2010


*singing* I feel litigious, oh so litigious...
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:19 PM on May 19, 2010


An hour of a lawyer's time costs more than most of the t-shirt designs will net the artists in forever. So they tend to go with karma I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 3:19 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

And lawsuits are the sincerest form of chastisement.
posted by lekvar at 3:20 PM on May 19, 2010


I'd be curious to know if any one of these chains has a competent person on staff devoted to researching plagiarism before a product is manufactured.

To be fair, how would a person on staff ever do this with any expectation of accuracy? Do you just run "soap loves butt" through Google or what?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:28 PM on May 19, 2010


Kind of hard to be litigious on a design that someone else (Threadless) owns the rights to. Which makes it all the more despicable that Goldman and others are ripping off those designs (and Goldman has a clear history of ripping off Threadless designs in particular).
posted by piratebowling at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2010


Whoa. Not with safe search turned off, apparently.
posted by elizardbits at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


@quadog they (big stores) probably also do a risk/benefit analysis, since they're literally moving thousands upon thousands of t-shirts and they know very well that the small fry they're ripping the design off is moving, perhaps hundreds. "Get a lawyer" is great advice, except when you would rather "get a bed, instead of sleeping on the floor"

(I run a screen print shop - just my own stuff)

Ms. Fink isn't really helping herself by making her designs deceptively simple. A crackhead with a piece of tracing paper could rip it off - and that's what the rip offs look like. Not saying simple = bad, but if you're one for the money, the low hanging fruit is what you're going to go after.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does Threadless offer legal support? Like, do they have a policy for such things?

Threadless is also not super small. What's being offered via Threadless is going to be on the same park as what's being offered by Urban Outfitters, just in terms of # of prints made.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:34 PM on May 19, 2010


Jess Fink's designs want to be free, though. And if that doesn't work out for her, she obviously had a crappy business model.

What?
posted by edbles at 3:34 PM on May 19, 2010


The Goldman version of Cookies and Milk is so charmless, too.

Newbreed Girl sell in Topshop in the UK. I've seen rip-offs of Threadless' Impossible Love and For The Birds. I saw the latter on the shelf and actually wondered whether Threadless had started licensing.
posted by mippy at 3:36 PM on May 19, 2010


I'd really like to get upset about this, but it's hard for me to get upset because most of the designs aren't exact copies of the originals.

It seems to me that it's more the ideas behind the t-shirts that are being copied and I don't know if that's plagiarism. Take the comparison between the Jim Bunton and Todd Goldman designs. One has a graphic of a girl and one has the graphic of a bunny above a phrase.

To me, that's not plagiarism. It's different executions of the same idea. If the situation was reversed, and it was a corporation that had developed the initial idea, I would argue that the independent artists work was legitimate.
posted by hellx at 3:38 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


A crackhead with a piece of tracing paper could rip it off

I could forge a Damien Hirst spot painting with a cereal packet and some acrylics, but it doesn't mean I should be able to make money out of it.
posted by mippy at 3:39 PM on May 19, 2010


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by acb at 3:43 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hellx: To me, that's not plagiarism. It's different executions of the same idea. If the situation was reversed, and it was a corporation that had developed the initial idea, I would argue that the independent artists work was legitimate.

If the situation were reversed, well, the logic would be reversed. If a large corporation slapped a mascot on millions of T-shirts, and then an indie artist riffed on that, it would be commentary or satire, and would be explicitly trading on the public's awareness of the original material. And would probably get a C&D notice, even if it is fair use. What's happening here is a no-talent hack is ripping off an indie artist by gambling that not enough people to matter have seen the original to get worked up over it, and even if the original artist notices, she probably doesn't have the resources to do much about it.

In both cases, the big guy wins.
posted by adamrice at 3:50 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I gotta say, as unpopular as I'll be by doing so, that the cookie-loves-milk concept is not all that original either. It derives from similar advertising as far back as I can remember (ketchup and [McCain?] fries in the 70s). Therefore it's not any sort of stretch for the Mr. Boozy to be derived from those ads rather than Fink's.

A much stronger case exists, of course, for the nearly identical cookie-loves-milk clone. But even then it's entirely possible for two artists to arrive at the same place by different routes (how many godforsaken crucifixes do we need in art anyway? Pun intended).
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 3:52 PM on May 19, 2010


It does suck for Jess Fink but this is the clothing industry, and pretty much every single item you wear is a result of some creative person making something new and different and then someone else mass-producing it without so much as a by-your-leave. It goes with the territory.

Jess, if she's as genuinely gifted as people claim, will have no problem coming up with new designs.
posted by Ritchie at 3:52 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ms. Fink isn't really helping herself by making her designs deceptively simple.

Isn't this the artistic version of "If your dress wasn't so revealing, you wouldn't have been raped?"
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:52 PM on May 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


I would also admit that I've been an accidental perpetrator of art plagiarism, which I fully discussed in a AskMe regarding Cryptomnesia. So take it as you will.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 3:54 PM on May 19, 2010


I'd really like to get upset about this, but it's hard for me to get upset because most of the designs aren't exact copies of the originals.

I figured I'd be upset about this, but it's difficult for me to get upset because the majority of the designs aren't perfect copies of the original works.
posted by kmz at 4:01 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Intellectual property of concepts (like Cookies love Milk) is a murky concept both legally and ethically (and covered very well by Malcolm Gladwell here)

But what floors me is when someone tips off their plagiarism by their own laziness. The Forever 21 shirt is a perfect example. The thief could have moved the word MILK from the top of the carton to the middle, and not put a wavy design at the bottom, and make them show affection in a way besides holding hands, and given themselves some plausible deniability. But they are either too lazy or un-creative to even do that.
posted by mreleganza at 4:12 PM on May 19, 2010


Remember that Nazi symbol on a Walmart T-shirt? One thing I learned from that is how these T-shirt design shops actually work: people click around on the Internet and find stuff that looks cool. I know that there are lots of examples of this online: graphics taken from old newspaper ads, patent drawings, etc.

So what's the difference between that and this? What's the difference between putting a page from an old car user manual on a T-shirt and putting the praying cat on a T-shirt? I understand what the difference is on an emotional level, but how is that difference enumerated in copyright law?
posted by roll truck roll at 4:20 PM on May 19, 2010


Cookies love Milk...is a murky concept both legally and ethically..

Indeed. It's very difficult to believe that the Milk in that image could be over the age of consent. Wouldn't it be spoiled by now?
posted by DU at 4:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meh.
Yes, the designs are similar, but calling them stolen or plagiarized is a bit much.
Milk and cookies? Not exactly an original idea.
Hack comedians have been making bar of soap on your butt jokes for years.

Seems like she's reading way too much into it to me, but then, I am neither a t-shirt designer or a t-shirt aficionado.
posted by madajb at 4:29 PM on May 19, 2010


So what's the difference between that and this? What's the difference between putting a page from an old car user manual on a T-shirt and putting the praying cat on a T-shirt? I understand what the difference is on an emotional level, but how is that difference enumerated in copyright law?

IANAL, but since you used the word "old" twice, I think the difference is "public domain."
posted by mreleganza at 4:32 PM on May 19, 2010


posted by Ritchie Jess, if she's as genuinely gifted as people claim, will have no problem coming up with new designs.

And then Todd Goldman, if he's as genuinely untalented and unoriginal as people claim, will have no problem copying her new designs and selling them as his own.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:36 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think a good place to start the conversation is this: who had the design first, and who's making the most money from/getting the credit for it? If the answer is not the same person/corporation, then something needs to change, unless a legal agreement is in place in advance. This isn't really particularly difficult. Or at least doesn't need to be.
posted by davejay at 5:00 PM on May 19, 2010


Oh, yay -- my son wears the Jess Fink "Rub Me On Your Butt"! So glad to find out I have the original.
posted by davejay at 5:02 PM on May 19, 2010


It almost looks like Hot Topic blatantly ripped off Jess Fink, but Todd Goldman then blatantly ripped off Hot Topic.
posted by davejay at 5:06 PM on May 19, 2010


Ripoffs (almost) all the way down.
posted by box at 5:56 PM on May 19, 2010


Or, 'If this is anyone other than Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!'
posted by box at 5:57 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


See it OK to download an artists song x1 million without paying them a penny but it's not OK to steal an artists t-shirt design x 1 million without paying them a penny. See what you did there? As the world turns insane.
posted by Muirwylde at 6:36 PM on May 19, 2010


I only buy knock-offs of designer or corporate chain stuff, and I make sure that I buy knock-offs that are poorly made so that their fake-itude is obvious.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 PM on May 19, 2010


See what you did there?

The difference between a visual artist's and a musician's revenue streams are really, really vast.
posted by griphus at 7:17 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Muirwyde, they aren't copying her designs exactly and selling them as "Genuine Jess Fink designs, get 'em free/cheap!" which is what happens with music (and of course, with clothing too with designer knockoffs). They're pretending they made the designs, and to add insult to injury, doing so with crappy-ass copies.

At least the dude selling purses on the street corner is not actually pretending to be a famous designer.

The musical equivalent, I suppose, would be the "soundalike" artists they stick in old episodes of Beavis and Butthead because they couldn't get the rights to the actual Poison song or whatever.
posted by emjaybee at 7:40 PM on May 19, 2010


I think there is a moral difference between making a copy of a design for your personal use and claiming it as your own and selling it.

I think there is even a difference between giving something away and selling it, as long as you don't claim ownership of it when you give it away.
posted by empath at 7:52 PM on May 19, 2010


Because in one case, the person getting the copy for free knows who made the work and can support them financially in the future and in the second case, they think they already have. It's really a theft from both the artist and the purchaser.
posted by empath at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2010


Jess Fink's designs want to be free, though. And if that doesn't work out for her, she obviously had a crappy business model.

If she created a digital image, and I downloaded it and put it on a shirt of my very own, then, yes, it would be comparable. If I took her design, printed it on a million t-shirts, and then sold it as my very own design, and actually made money at it, then it would be a different discussion and a different ethical question.

Now which discussion were we having? Oh, yeah. The one that isn't about file sharing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The situations aren't exactly comparable, no, but either such a thing as intellectual property exists, or it does not. The whole "intellectual property should be protected but only for cases where it doesn't prevent me from downloading free shit" worldview is actually more common than you'd think. Believe me, if tomorrow everyone had a super advanced fabrication device you could hook up to your computer, download the design, and "print" a t-shirt, it'd be all "crappy business model!" here on metafilter.
posted by Justinian at 9:26 PM on May 19, 2010


griphus: The difference between a visual artist's and a musician's revenue streams are really, really vast.

I have no idea what that difference is, and how it's relevant here. Could you explain?
posted by dogrose at 9:30 PM on May 19, 2010


The situations aren't exactly comparable, no, but either such a thing as intellectual property exists, or it does not.

it only exists insofar as the law enforces it and people respect it. It's by no means a natural thing.
posted by empath at 9:51 PM on May 19, 2010


"Believe me, if tomorrow everyone had a super advanced fabrication device you could hook up to your computer, download the design, and "print" a t-shirt, it'd be all "crappy business model!" here on metafilter."

Well, yeah, because it would be. Luckily, t-shirt artists can still tour and sell their designs to Volkswagen ads.
posted by klangklangston at 9:57 PM on May 19, 2010


A good artist borrows, a great artist steals.
posted by dj unimportant at 11:19 PM on May 19, 2010


Isn't this the artistic version of "If your dress wasn't so revealing, you wouldn't have been raped?"

No. On so many levels. I think I'm just saying an easy to rip off design is going to be easy to rip off - especially if it sells well you'll make tons of money, since you have crap stores in ever bullshit mall, filled with dumb ass kids.

Your example is a misogynist's excuse to rape women. I see chasms of difference. Using rape for any sort of metaphorical evidence in an online conversation is a lowly thing to do - did you want to start trolling? I thought me-fi isn't about all that.

I could forge a Damien Hirst spot painting with a cereal packet and some acrylics, but it doesn't mean I should be able to make money out of it.


That's because selling artwork for thousands of dollars/millions of dollars is a little different from selling t-shirts for ten dollars. The market for that sort of contemporary art is a handful of people - one person basically bought damien hirst's (saatchi) and brought up the price, just via wild speculation and the social pull someone with a ridiculous amount of money has. We're not talking about a world that we even are a part of. And other... stuff.

Make cute, funny t-shirts en-mass is an entirely different economic system.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2010


It's not a file sharing discussion, it's an intellectual property discussion. File sharing has, however, tainted a lot of intellectual property discussions in that so many people have worked so hard to justify file sharing to themselves that the contortions necessary have warped discourse about intellectual property.

The "so who cares if someone copied it, I guess your business model sucked" has begun to reach outside of file sharing issues. If you want an example of the extreme front of the sort of thinking at which I'm snarking, hit TechDirt. Without actually coming out and saying, "We're against intellectual property in all of its forms," that's what they are about — continual railing against copyright, and to a lesser extent trademark and patents. (I'm with them on red light cameras)

It's not file sharing, but it's close enough that you'll see people begin to apply the excuses they've used elsewhere. I believe the end result is going to look like a more widespread version of what we see here — the small get smaller and more poor, the big get bigger and more rich.
posted by adipocere at 5:03 AM on May 20, 2010


That's because selling artwork for thousands of dollars/millions of dollars is a little different from selling t-shirts for ten dollars.

That's not the point. I could be using Hirst's ideas to make mugs and teatowels without credit and the principle is the same. I know the art market is very different to the mass market but it's still intellectual property. Remember, Todd Goldman sells his work in galleries.
posted by mippy at 5:09 AM on May 20, 2010


Jess, if she's as genuinely gifted as people claim, will have no problem coming up with new designs.

Interesting argument. If someone is "gifted", it's perfectly ok to steal their ideas as quickly as they can come up with them. No need to compensate them, since they will soon come up with another idea. Which you can steal immediately. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2010


This keeps happening. Last time it happened with another artist, I suggested to a friend that the thing to do would be to find out who the anonymous hack was that copied the design in the first place and call them out by name for shaming within the artistic community. I very much personally appreciate how difficult it is to get paid to do anything remotely rewarding artistically, and these designers are probably desperate to keep their jobs, but this is not how you go about doing it, robbing and insulting their peers, who are struggling just as much as they, but are managing to keep their methods clean. The creatively bankrupt designers have crossed a line and should be held accountable.

And some of the comments in this thread illustrate why it's so hard for artists to make any kind of headway, financially. One downside of the internet is that it has spoiled and made cultural gluttons out of us, so that artistic endeavour is cheapened. I'm hearing a lot of 'stop whining and feed me more'.
posted by picea at 6:00 AM on May 20, 2010


An interesting take on this is that Threadless unintentionally encourages this behavior. That's no excuse for stealing art, but considering the way trhe market works, it's almost inevitable.

Threadless pays WAY more than average market rates for t-shirt graphics. Like 10 times more. They can do this because their designs are pre-vetted by a large community. They only buy art that has already proven it can sell, which for t-shirts is like a license to print money. T-shirts are inherently risky in that it's a fickle market. Before threadless the only guaranteed money in t-shirts was licenses.(rock bands, sports teams, mickey mouse) Everything else was a crapshoot, and the only way to minimize risk was to cut costs on every step of the process you could. Design being one of the easiest costs to cut. I've sold graphics to major clothing companies for $200 per approved design. That's peanuts compared to the $2500 you get for an winning threadless design.

So if you're a freelance t-shirt designer who's not good enough to consistently sell designs to threadless (which is really hard to do) your only real way to make good money at it is to come up with enough proven sellers that you can get clients to buy from you repeatedly. Where are the proven sellers? Threadless.

But looking at what threadless pays, and how quickly they've grown I have a feeling they don't care too much about copies. Why would they? They have a new crop of designs every week.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:17 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does the law actually deal with issues of parallel construction? It seems to me that a shirt based on the pun Pillow Fight isn’t that out of the realm of possibility. Unique vs. original. I think the milk and cookies one is pretty clearly similar and worthy of further investigation.

It's not file sharing, but it's close enough that you'll see people begin to apply the excuses they've used elsewhere. I believe the end result is going to look like a more widespread version of what we see here — the small get smaller and more poor, the big get bigger and more rich.

This is really alarmist. I think there’s a cultural conversation happening around intellectual property, that’s pushing us back towards a more patronage based model rather than a product based model. Individual artists are making decisions on their own on how to deal with this, open source vs. creative commons vs. DRM. The problem is that we’d tied an understanding of ownership to distribution and people are just beginning to figure out how to grok a world where those two things are distinct. But it’s not an insidious plot by corporate America to starve artists out. We as a culture are just really confused about IP right now and it’s going to take some time to settle down.
posted by edbles at 6:21 AM on May 20, 2010


If someone is "gifted", it's perfectly ok to steal their ideas as quickly as they can come up with them.

It's not perfectly okay. It's a far from ideal situation. I'm not chiming in to be one of those 'I don't see where all the outrage is coming from' guys. I can see perfectly well where the outrage is coming from. But the fact remains right now that Jess has talent and these competitors apparently don't, and that gives her a big advantage: the hacks copying her designs have to be reactive, continually playing catch-up. It sucks for her she can't rely on generating revenue from her back catalog, but if the alternative is to rewrite the law such that the concept of 'cookies' and 'milk' cannot appear on the same t-shirt without lawyers getting involved, then so be it.
posted by Ritchie at 7:12 AM on May 20, 2010


No, alarmist would be, "... and then we all catch fire and die." I'm suggesting that the shape of the curve is going to look different. Saying, "the distribution curve changes" is not alarmist, merely predictive.

I did not posit an insidious plot to starve artists out, at all. If there's any conspiracy, it's an unconscious one by the consumers, without realizing the consequences of their desire — quite the opposite of a cabal of old guys chowing down on stogies and saying, "Gentlemen, let's get back to business: how do we kill Superman Art?"

This "patronage model" — did it not seem to bottleneck some of the art of the time? Fewer artists, more widely known? Let's envision corporate patronage: what will the art look like? What artists will we get out of it? I need pull no alarms there, you may do that for yourself. Simply amble to your nearest movie theater and watch the commercials amidst the previews. That will be our music and our film. Corporate patronage, do you think we're going to get more Christina Aguileras or more Kristin Hershes out of the deal? More Jonas Brothers or more Nick Caves?

Select strategies which you believe will have outcomes you desire. I'm not a fortune-teller (or an economist), so I have no claim on crystal balls. And I have no idea how to cram the experimental method into this one — we have no control group. This leaves me little to base my intuition upon. All I have left is the corporate track record — do you think they'll do us huge favors for art? I don't.
posted by adipocere at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2010


I was seeing patronage as Kickstarter Jonathan Coulton-esque Jason Rohrer-esque pay-what-you-want citizen patronage. The old model was what I saw as corporate patronage. The recording label/game company/art dealer/agent/infrastructure picked you up and told you what art to make. In the patronage model, you make your art and then hunt down your audience.

The problem with this is it creates a new capital of the well-connected. Joss Whedon producing Dr. Horrible for free with his talented, rich, popular friends and Radiohead releasing a pay-what-you-want album are not taking the same risks as Coulton was when he started his song a week podcast. Or Jess Fink is when she uploads her art to the internet.

I think the adult take on ideas want to be free is, ideas want to be free and I as a responsible consumer will support keeping them around by throwing some money at it. Things that I care passionately about I will throw more money at. Things I could take-or-leave I might just free-load on, because if it left I wouldn’t be that upset. But hopefully collectively there are enough die-hard fans for things.
posted by edbles at 7:48 AM on May 20, 2010


What can we, the art fans, do?

That's really simple: buy art. No, really. That's it. The answer is not Jess Fink getting lawyers. The answer is people who care about art should buy art from artists. If you like Fink's work, buy it. That's how she gets paid. That's how karma gets dealt out. Give her sales from this publicity. Truly, it's that simple: buy art.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:21 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, buy art well.

I recently hit a Faith and the Muse concert (great show). I wanted to get the whole Ankoku Butoh (there's some weird issues with colons and capitalization in there; I don't care) set, so I emailed their site and asked where the band gets the most bang for their buck in this scenario: from their webstore or from Amazon. Their answer was, unsurprisingly, the webstore. This doesn't hold true everywhere, but it's a trend. CDBaby gives the artists a better deal, too.

If you can, take the time to talk to your preferred artists' merchfolk and find out how best to get them money in exchange for their CDs, DVDs, and whatever. Buy CDs at their shows. Hand them twenty bucks and say, "For your gas money on the way to the next show."
posted by adipocere at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


There used to be a website that promoted sending an artist five dollars (considerably more than their share from any label) for CDs you'd pirated. I think that's a pretty great idea.

Time for me to do an annoying self-link. Artists who can be as creative with distribution as they are with content can and do fluorish. That's true of T-shirt designs, music, film, poetry, video games, anything.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:18 AM on May 20, 2010


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