We've watched and learned over the months from sculptor John T. Unger, creator of Artisanal Firebowls. He's been a great source of inspiration and information for artists who want to make a living with their art and forge their way into this brave new world of marketing and selling art online. In fact, we have relied on John's experiences to illustrate the effectiveness of the marketing ideas we teach in this space, including quoting him here and here. John was also featured a few months back in an interview on the Lateral Action blog: an interview we linked to, tweeted and recommend all artists take the time to read.
In short, John has always been a friend to the art community...sharing his artwork, his ideas and his stories. We've all learned a lot from him. We've all benefited from the help he has generously provided.
And now, John is asking for your help.
In the post, we have republished the situation, in John's own words. If you would like to help him, feel free to contact him directly.
You can also read the full story on John's blog and find out how you can get involved by clicking here.
The following originally appeared on John T. Unger'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.
What has happened: my original art has been copied by a manufacturer who is now suing me in federal court to continue making knockoffs
How you can help raise money for legal defense
How you can help raise awareness
How this lawsuit affects others
How I'm working to turn disaster into opportunity
There's a lot of information in this post because it is a complicated story. If you care about the arts, or work as a creative professional, I hope you will read it and Email this post to anyone you think can help.
I did not initiate this lawsuit, but am defending my art, my creative rights, my reputation and my livelihood against attack. I've already spent over $50,000 out of pocket in defense of my original designs.
Seeking a judicial ruling in federal court will cost more than any artist or small business can afford on it's own, but attempts at settlement have been unsuccessful. I am holding a fundraising sale of my artwork to finance a defense in court. If you can contribute to the fund or share this story with others to help raise awareness, it would mean the world to me.
Feel free to email or call me at 231.584.2710 if you have any questions or want to help.
John T. Unger
We always tell you to go change the world
Usually we mean to change the world with your artwork but today you can change it with your actions.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
UPDATE - here is another good article outlining what's happening with John T. Unger