Apr 14, 2008

Imperial Rip-Off!

Imperial Toy, LLC ripped off my "Tribal Tattoo Face" artwork.

UPDATE: 8/8/08

Weasels Defeated! After four months Imperial Toys, LLC has paid for using my art illegally.

UPDATE: 4/23/08

Times up! Received a response from Imperial weasels and true to character they are acting like weasels. I also found out that these weasels are reading my blog and don't like being called weasels apparently? They even insisted I remove this information immediately accusing me of slander?. Apparently this breed of weasel has a dominant irony gene?

UPDATE: 4/23/08

Well the Imperial weasels are still at it. They've told me since last week that the company president and their legal team are reviewing this matter. Reviewing what? My 13 year old daughter understands you can't steal and expect not to get in trouble for it, but these weasels seem to think if they stall I'll just forget about it and go away? Nice try chief, not going to happen.

They promised to contact me by today to resolve this and so far I haven't heard a peep. No response to an email asking for resolution either.

Well they have about 35 minutes and then off it goes to my lawyer and they'll quickly realize that it's going to cost them a whole lot more then my reasonable invoice to cover the usage of my art in their product line.

UPDATE: 4/22/08

Sent off an email again to Imperial Weasels stating if I didn't hear from them today I'd be turning this matter over to my copyright attorney. I then followed that email up with a phone call and the following conversation took place with one of their legal people.

Imperial weasel says "We were not even aware of your artwork."

I try not to laugh and respond "Someone on your end was aware of it because it appeared in your product line."

They said I'd hear from their president by today. Not holding my breath.

Imperial Weasels

It's been a while since someone tried to use my artwork without paying for it. Most of the time it's been individuals caught doing it but a few times it's been corporations who got their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar and I've had to legally go after them.

It's happened so many times now that I know the copyright laws pretty well and have a good relationship with a copyright lawyer as well who can back me up if a company gets cranky and doesn't respond to reasonable requests when I catch them.

So hopefully Imperial Toy, LLC won't be weasels and will deal with me honestly?

My original artwork that was lifted and used in Imperials product line.

I guess what bugs me almost more than a company thinking they can use my art for free is the fact they simply don't hire me to create it for them in the first place? In all honesty it would be far cheaper to just hire me to create some original art for their line instead of them borrowing my art illegally and risk getting caught?

I suppose this is the down side of showcasing art online and if it wasn't for the watchful eyes of fellow design and illustration friends I'd never know about most of the infringements. Thankfully they take the time to notify me and alert me of the artistic violation and then I get to spend a day dealing with it instead of working which is what happened today.

The offender: Imperial Toy, LLC.

So we'll see how Imperial Toy, LLC responds to my letter to their lawyer and the usage invoice I included. I'll post what happens in a follow up once I know more.


Shelley Paulson said...

That's just wrong. I hope you make out very well in the deal.

NaVeed said...

ooooooh man this is really sad hope that u fix things out pretty soon will be waiting to see what happens next

Shawn Escott said...

Wow! That stinks! They should have just commissioned you. I am interested in how this turns out. Thanks for posting about this, it is something so important for us artists to know and learn from.

millah87 said...

You should also submit this over on

That site features similar stories. Spread the word.

DM Speaks said...

Wow, that's crazy. Do you think that an individual stole the work from your site and submitted it as his/her own? Or do you think someone in the company just got lazy? What's been your past experience?

Hope it all works out for your benefit!

darcylea said...

It leaves me with a very bitter edge towards Imperial. The company obviously lacks integrity. There are better toys to be found by better companies on multiple levels.