Caveat first and foremost: I believe and love derivative works of art. I think fan fiction deserves a place in the Universe. I am full on board with Creative Commons and worship collaboration in the arts. I am after all, a filmmaker, and theatre alum. You can't make film or theatre without others. It doesn't exist in a vacuum.
My own work has been heavily influenced by Ridley Scott, Annie Liebowitz, Clive Barker and many, many others. You can see it. I don't hide it.
But when you directly copy my work or someone else's, put your name on it and then turn around say it's yours?
Dude, that's no different than if you walked in my house and robbed me.
John T. Unger makes art/fire bowls. He's environmentally aware and works with reclaimed materials to make work that I wish I had enough money to own and a place to put it. I want one so bad that it's stupid. But then those of you who know me, know how much I love fire. And he makes fire art! He's personally an inspiration to me because he has gone through adversity after tribulation after disaster and gotten up on his feet again and again. He has not given up the fight, not once. Even when he's wanted to. I respect that down to the ground.
He also personally helps other artists when and where he can and has demonstrated personal integrity over and over again. I don't know that I could be as strong as he's been in the face of all that he's gone through. I haven't had a roof collapse underneath me.
And an imitator is suing *him* to rob him of his copyrights. From John's blog:
I need your help. My original art has been copied by a manufacturer who is now suing me in federal court to overturn my existing copyrights and continue making knockoffs. I have a strong case, a great lawyer and believe that if I can continue to defend myself, the case will be resolved in my favor. If I run out of funds before we reach trial, a default judgment would be issued against me and could put me out of business. I don't believe my opponent can win this case in court and I don't believe he really intends to try. I believe his goal is to use strong-arm litigation tactics to force me to keep spending money or risk losing my copyrights — not by true adjudication, but by default if he is able to outspend me.
I can't adequately put into words how angry this makes me.
John needs help for legal defense. I am personally donating a pittance of money in conjunction with Hunt Press, but also art towards an auction and Hunt Press will be donating books towards the same auction, because if he loses this, *we all lose with him*.
Again, this isn't about derivative work. Or the equivalent of fan art versions of his work. This is the equivalent of someone taking your novel or story, erasing your name and putting theirs in its place. Or your photograph. Or your painting.
Please help, either by donating or by spreading the word. Let it not be said that art no longer has defenders. That no one cares to protect it, because it is easily copied and spread.
Defend Art. www.johntunger.com/legal-defense-fund.html