The Internet literally exploded this week when it was revealed that the clothing retailer Zara has been accused of stealing the work of individual indie designers for its own clothes and jewelry without asking permission or even paying the original artists. Worse, when one of the artists contacted Zara about this, it had one of its lawyers write a letter saying that Zara fails to see how a significant part of the population anywhere in the world would associate these designs with that indie artist. Wow. Just wow. You can literally see the arrogance on full display in that lawyer’s letter.
Then there was the plight of an indie designer label known as Doggie Drawings, who learned that a fashion company known as Mudd, whose parent company is Iconix, have copied the design of a t-shirt sold in Kohl’s. Right now Doggie Drawings are trying to decide whether to launch a major crowdsourcing campaign (such as GoFundMe) in order to raise the needed funds to launch a copyright infringement suit against Iconix/Mudd.
The outrageous part about all this is that the reason why these big companies continue to rip off smaller indie designers time and time again is because they know they can get away with it. Filing a copyright infringement suit against a big company is very expensive and it can be very hard on the finances of a small-time artist. A small indie design company known as Modern Dogs launched a major copyright infringement case against Target and Disney. While Modern Dogs ultimately won, this article and video shows the major effort and legal costs it took for Modern Dogs to take on the giant corporations and win.