Fans of this gibberish will be aware that I’ve had many a run-in in my time, with the fuck-witted legal departments of the various Print-on-Demand [POD] 'Tshirts and Miscellaneous Tat' emporia on which I flog my unpopular designs. Who can forget; Amazon deciding a cartoon hand was too 'obscene' to sell, whilst they flog guns and bear traps online; Spreadshirt deciding that a hand-drawn silhouette of a car [with no identifying badges or features] was a trademark violation and, of course, the crowning turd in the cess-pit; Society6 stealing money from the artists who use their site. [all here] or, more recently, RedBubble deciding that it’s a copyright violation to even mention the name of a C5th mediaeval manuscript.
Well, up until now, I’d actually had no problems at all with Teepublic.
Up until now!
The other day, I came up with these couple of designs which I thought were a moderately witty artist’s response to the constant battle to produce anything which didn’t fall foul of the absolutely farcical US-based [surprise! surprise!] legal departments of these various companies:
Fans of Kafka-esque insanity should check out the Amazon Merch Reddit and read about some of the designs people have had banned for copyright/trademark reasons, which would make even the most drool-drenched window-licker in all of Englandshire shake their head in disbelief.
Anyway, you’ll have guessed the punchline by now. So let’s cut to the chase. This morning I received the following email from Teepublic’s legal department. I presume the original was written in crayon and a grown-up typed it out for them:
Terms and Conditions Notice
We’re very sorry to inform you, but due to a violation of our terms and conditions, we had to remove your design(s):
Copyright Infringement Notice
We understand that it can be frustrating when you’re abruptly told you can’t continue to sell something on TeePublic, but in order for us to continue supporting artists we must comply with applicable intellectual property laws.
If you believe that your work has been removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, you are welcome to contact us at email@example.com and we will consider the matter. However, nothing herein shall be construed as an agreement or course of dealing by us to in the future take any action or refrain from taking any action, and TeePublic reserves all rights. If you have any questions for us directly, please feel free to reach out!
We also ask that you please refrain from re-uploading any removed designs back to the site as doing so could result in the suspension of your user account.
So, let me get this straight: according to Teepublic’s legal wizards a notice warning of a copyright infringement er… is in itself an infringement of someone’s copyright.
No, really. I mean it this time: Stop the World. I want to get off!
Well, in the interests of fairness, I’ve emailed Teepublic’s Legal Team [ie. The teaboy armed with a copy of 'The Law for Congenital Idiots'] to see what their response [if any] will be. If I do hear anything back, I’ll add it to this post. But I ain’t holding my breath.
Can you explain why this design was removed please? Did it break your copyright detecting algorithms, like typing Google into Google?
Holy Jivvens! --I don’t believe it. I’ve actually received a reply from Teepublic, admitting that they made a mistake and my design shouldn’t have been rejected after all.
Thanks for reaching out, and your design was mistakenly flagged but I was able to put your design back up.
Sorry for that inconvenience, and please let me know if you have any other questions about this, or any other concerns I can help with.
XXXX, on behalf of TeePublic.com
This is a watershed moment in legal history!