Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ripped Off By Corporate

Anyone who follows Pumpkinrot's blog has undoubtedly already seen this post about how a prop inspired by him ended up being a $79 rip-off featured at Grandin Road.

I don't even know how to express my disgust. I've had some of my art copied (and physically stolen, too), and had another of my creative ventures blatantly ripped off, as well, and it's just nasty that this kind of thing happens. (It's particularly bad form when one member of a small, niche community does it to another, and calling attention to it only creates drama and make you look bad, but I digress...)

(I've sort of been on the other side, too. Some of the plates I'm currently working on are re-using vintage designs from the 1920s and 1930s Hallowe'en diecuts and lanterns. Is it a complete rip-off to take that design and put it on something else? Something completely different? Maybe it is, and maybe I need to re-think that.)

I think the Hallowe'en community and specifically web-savvy prop builders are aware that corporate flunkies (they call themselves Research and Development, I'm sure) regularly comb the boards, blogs and forums for the next idea to make faster, cheaper, and without soul or passion. There's not a lot we can do about it, lacking the funding to retain an attorney for the years of litigation this kind of thing undoubtedly takes. All they have to do is point out that the image of the Grim Reaper, and indeed the concept of the Reaper, itself, has been around for the last bazillion years and presto! They've either won the case or started to wear down your bank accounts. Either way, you generally end up at the other end of it feeling bitter and a lot poorer.

But sometimes, you win.

I wonder what would happen if Grim and Pumpkinrot did decide to sue? Not that they're thinking about it. I'm just speculating.

Would it actually set a precedent that home haunters could use to protect themselves from being ripped off by corporations? Probably not, but wouldn't it be great?

It boils down to ethics, I guess. And ethics, as we all have learned, do not usually put food on the table. More's the pity.


  1. What a shame! Happens all the time I'm sure. My husband being an artist/tattoo artist, I hear it come out of his mouth all the time about others ripping him off.

    Myself being a paralegal and in the law field for over 15 years. Yes, it will be hard for him to sue. To find someone to represent him and a fat retainer to put down, etc... (because I can go on about this)

    He could always write corporate a nice (sarcastic) letter, telling them "thank you for being inspired by my work, I'm flattered". Followed my the middle finger.

  2. just got back in town from hurricane evacuation and was amazed when I saw this and then pumpkinrot's blog about it. makes me so angry but as you say, there's not much you can do about it. frickin' losers...

  3. I also saw this product at a local Halloween store and told my husband that it was a rip off. I saw something else that I snapped a picture of that very closely resembled your Bog Man Scarecrow. It really sucks that these fantastic pieces of art are being ripped off and that they are cheap, overly priced versions that don't have an ounce of the TLC that the origial creators put into it. It's very, very shameful.

  4. "to make faster, cheaper, and without soul or passion"

    You hit the nail on the head with that statement.


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