I have a love for webcomics. By the time I graduated college, I read anywhere from 20-30 different comic series each day. As I got older and my life filled with other responsibilities, I had to prioritize my time and I stopped checking many of them, but there are a few which I continue to follow. One of these is the comic Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler. It follows the story of two rival speakeasies in St. Louis during Prohibition, but portrayed by cats. Don’t let that turn you away! It is so much more than anthropomorphized felines. Her story line is interesting and funny, her attention to historical detail is astounding, and her artwork is beautiful! Seriously, you should check it out.
HOWEVER, her wonderful web comic is not why I am writing my post. Earlier today, my sister (another avid reader of Lackadaisy) sent me a message saying that she saw one of Ms. Butler’s non-comic pieces for sale on Amazon as one of those newly-popular “diamond cross stitch” pieces. Both of us thought that it seemed suspect, and my sister reached out to the artist to notify her about the product and ask if it was legitimate.
It was not.
Seriously? Also, this image does not lend itself to a diamond cross stitch. Anyone who did buy it would be severely disappointed in the result.
While we were glad to be able to help notify her of what was going on, I couldn’t help but be depressed thinking about it. She could reach out and tell these sellers to cut it out or cut her a check, but pursuing these issues is usually fruitless and/or costly, once lawyers get involved.
Since I began following several children’s illustrators on Twitter, I have heard of two other cases of this sort of theft. Both involved stores selling ripoff products without the consent of the artists. The first was a case against Francescas regarding enamel pins ripped off of a variety of artists.
The second was against Old Navy for using Lili Chin’s adorable dog illustrations on pajamas.
And Old Navy is denying that this is copied! Unbelievable.
So what can I do? I’m going to make this post. I’m going to post about it on every social media platform I use. I’m going to ask you to do the same. Talk about it. Spread the word! Personally, I will not be shopping at Francesca’s or Old Navy again. I don’t think they have handled these cases well, and it is a slap in the face to artists. I want the world to hear that artists deserve credit and control over their works.
Please, support the artists you enjoy, and speak out when you see a case of art theft.