Stefan Lawrence is a much-loved designer whose work graces such Maximum Fun podcasts as Judge John Hodgman and Bullseye, noticed that the "fast-fashion" brand Topman (a division of the notorious slavers Topshop) had ripped off one of his designs and used it without license or credit in a bunch of its products.
He sent the company a stiff letter, and they promised to stop.
Instead, they dumped all their inventory into bottom-feeding secondary markets all over the world, so that Lawrence could no longer simply send one letter to get sales halted, but would instead have to chase his artwork around the globe if he wanted justice.
Hereâs the thing: I completely understand how this kind of situation arises, especially with the fast turnaround Christmas market. Iâm sure they assigned some junior designer the task of coming up with a bajillion sweater ideas. The mockup became the artwork, and somebody forgot to do the due diligence of making sure it was copyright cleared.
I get it.
But a stand-up company would acknowledge their mistake and make it right. All I ask, as a working design professional, is that Iâm compensated for my design. Iâm happy to work out a licensing arrangement, given that theyâre willing to continue to profit off my work. I do challenge Topman to make this right, and show that they really care about copyright infringement, as they indicated to me in their initial letter. Also: an apology would be nice.
Topman, Santa Jaws and Copyright Infringement [Stefan Lawrence/Medium]