The often-imitated Jess Fink

jess fink cookie comparison

From left to right: Jess Fink's original design, the Forever 21 t-shirt design, the Goldman work

If imitation truly is flattery, Troy artist Jess Fink should be getting a lot of compliments.

Somehow we're guessing that's not the way it feels.

Fink tweeted last night that she's come across yet another piece inspired-by/ripped-off-from her work. This time she says it's Todd Goldman, an artist with a huge merchandising operation. She posted a screenshot of a Goldman work that bears a strong resemblance to her "Cookie loves Milk" design.

She tweeted yesterday that she sent a cease and desist letter to the site selling the work -- when we checked today, we didn't see it listed in the collection (update: here's a screenshot).

As Jessica Pasko told us last year, this has happened to Fink before, by stores such as Forever 21 and Hot Topic. And in a tweet last night, she alleged that Goldman's David and Goliath t-shirt line had engaged in similar borrowing of her work before (she wrote in 2008 that Goldman had actually offered her a job at one point).

Other artists have alleged that Goldman's operation has also borrowed their work. In 2007, Goldman apologized to an artist for essentially copying his work -- and then said of the firestorm of online criticism: "This is just a bunch of hater artists trying to take me down. I'm not an online Web guy. I'm not trying to rip people off. I work with a team of artists at David & Goliath. We create thousands of designs." Attorneys for Goldman's company have since pressured news sites to take down stories about Goldman's alleged copying. [Cartoon Brew] [Wikipedia] [Las Vegas Sun] [Wired]

Fink has a bunch of designs available on Threadless. And she has her own Etsy store, too.

[via Metafilter, which has a long discussion about these situations]

Goldman image from BillionDollarBabies.com via Jess Fink

Comments

Yeah... t-shirt design can be competitive. And evil.

If you do a quick search on CafePress, you'll find that there are many more designs that are similar to Jess Fink's work: http://shop.cafepress.com/cookie-love-milk

CP does have an Intellectual Property Rights Policy. They sometime yoink a design within a few minutes of it being uploaded. But they often rely on others to report problems before pulling items off the shelf.

The striking thing is just how much better Jessica's design is than either of the rip off's. Can't steal talent even if you can steal ideas.

I worked at an Intellectual Property Law firm - and one of the hardest things to do is to police the market for infringing (copied) work. Almost all websites have Intellectual Property Rights Policies that direct an individual to report copied material. The websites are generally very welcoming of such complaints and act quickly to take down items which should not be there. Jess should police such websites each week and identify specific items for the websites should take down - which would protect her work and also put out a message that she is actively watching out for copiers. No need to hire a law firm for such work!

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