20 Jun 2023
Why the Internet Is Made of Cats
“because everything else is copyrighted”
IMAGE CREDIT: wee me and my artificially intelligent assistant

Sigh--another week, another run in with the Fuckwitt Copyright Lawyers of America; a series which, unfortunately, I fear will run and run.

This week’s ennui-packed episode is a triple whammy, starring Redbubble, Spreadshirt and Teepublic.. well, effectively Redbubble and Spreadshirt, since Teepublic has recently been taken over by Redbubble and has, not surprisingly, gone completely to shit. So it doesn’t really count as a separate site anymore.

Anyway, the objects of this week’s corporate fuckwittism were a series of grungy pen & ink style images I produced of the classic old VW T1 Transporter camper van.

Exhibit A

I titled the images "Van Life" and used the following description and keywords:

A classic old campervan / microbus / kombi, ready to take off on its adventures.

#campervan, #camper, #kombi, #bus, #van, #microbus, #veedub, #adventure, #travel

…​and, of course, had them rejected by all three sites --whose legal teams piss their nappies any time anyone uploads anything remotely recognisable as a manufactured object-- with the usual baloney emails about them violating Volkswagen AG’s intellectual property. Here’s the reject notice in my Spreadshirt account dashboard:


So, let’s see: I avoided using the word "Volkswagen" or "VW" in title, description or keywords. Yet I somehow infringed Volkswagen’s intellectual property or copyright? How exactly? By depicting one of their [historical] vehicles in a stylised artistic way?

Let’s not forget that the absolute morons at Spreadshirt previously banned this image because they claimed it infringed BMW’s copyright


So, according to these window-lickers, it’s a copyright violation for any artist to depict anything whatsoever that has been manufactured. Because the company that made the original object own the copyright on any image of their product --no matter how abstract or derivative the rendition.

Well, that’s really going to put a dent in street photography [amongst other artforms], isn’t it? All those vehicles…​ and people’s clothing…​ and buildings…​ [I seem to remember a while back, there was a story doing the rounds that Paris was trying to claim copyright over all images of the Eiffel Tower] all those food and drink products…​ and shop signs…​ and street signs…​ and appliances…​ etc. Those were all designed and produced by some corporation or other. So, don’t you dare use their likeness in your art!

I think, to be on the safe side, in future we should all stick to photographing or painting nudes [no tattoos mind. Those are somebody else’s design], preferably out in the countryside, far far away from anything anybody else might have created.

That not being feasible, we can always fall back on making our cats our feline muses.

Which, as the title suggests, is probably why the Internet today is predominantly made of cats. They’re the only fucking thing left that you can safely depict, without some copyright troll wanker ordering you to "cease and desist". I just hope Yusuf Islam doesn’t decide that using Cats is a violation of his previous incarnation, or we’re really screwed.

Anyway, while I go off and wipe the froth flecks from my lips, after yet another futile rant against the American cock-brainery that has taken over the world, let’s take a look at how some lesser artists than myself might have fared today, had they been rash enough to try and submit their works to Redbubble, Spreadshirt and "Redbubble Mini Me", AKA Teepublic…​.

Salvador Dali – Clothed Automobiles

Oh dear, Salvador. What on earth were you thinking? We can’t possibly allow this sort of thing. You’re infringing Cadillac’s copyright.


Pablo Picasso – Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper

Sorry Pablo. You’ll need to remove that "Le Figaro" clipping before we can consider letting that one in. And could you not mention the bottle of booze by name. Copyright and all thon.


Andy Warhol – 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans

Bloody hell, Andy! I’m not sure if this is 32 copyright infringements or a single copyright infringement multiplied by 32. Whatever the case, get this crap out of here before someone from Redbubble or Spreadshirt has a coronary on behalf of Campbell’s.


Marcel Duchamp – Fountain

Now now, Marcel. If you want to go showing a urinal as a work of art, make sure you’ve got permission of "La Compagnie Pissoir Céramique" first.


Marcel Duchamp – LHOOQ

Not you again, Marcel. I hear what you’re saying but don’t think that the Mona Lisa being over 500 years old lets you off the hook. The razor-sharp legal minds at Redbubble have already ruled that copyright is eternal


Peter Blake – Sergeant Pepper’s Cover

I hardly know where to start with this one. Before we can allow it, we’re going to need written authorisation from every single depicted person, living or dead, or their legal representatives, confirming that you have permission to use their likenesses.


Paul Smith – Classic Car Paintings

I really hope that no-one from Redbubble or Spreadshirt’s legal teams ever stumble across this guy’s website. You’ll hear the bang from their heads exploding halfway round the world.


Right. That’ll do for now. Time for a fresh assault on the art world. Now where has that bloody cat got to?

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