Daryl Banks is a local shooter who has recently run into some trouble with copyright infringement with a series of his called Crinoline Flowers:
Through an anonymous tip, Daryl learned that this series was being used without permission by a condom company from the UK and China. Though he tried many times to contact the company through his lawyer, those attempts were ignored and, as Daryl says: It looks like they win as I can not afford any further legal action. I suspect the images were scanned out of a magazine editorial.
Condom company! China! Scanned out of a magazine! This is all over wrong. Let’s look at the offending use from the company’s website:
I asked Daryl if there was anything he thought he could do about this:
If the company was based in the west I would pursue it but seeing as how I would need to drag it through the Chinese legal system I figure I should let it go. The fax line and email we have for the company both bounced back. To pursue litigation will cost too much money and take too much time. I thought about having a fundraiser but I feel like I would be asking my friends to throw their money down the toilet. At the end of the day there are more important causes that could use those sort of donations.
If anything I want people to know my work was taken and used with out my permission and there is nothing I can do about it. The company has ignored my lawyers letter of demand. Most likely they are aware that I could never afford to pursue the case half way across the world. Even if I could I am sure it would only end badly after years of headaches.
This has also caused me to have a massive rethink on limited edition prints. The idea of limiting or controlling the spread of an image/idea in this day and age seems somewhat of an impossible feat. Perhaps even counter intuitive. So much amazing information has come to me over the internet, most of which was free. It feels somewhat hypocritical to throw up my arms and stomp my feet. I love taking photographs and I will continue to take them regardless if I make money from it or not. I am curious how other photographers handle their print sales. I sell mine as limited editions but I realize that there is really nothing limited about them when I have no control over other people printing them. I may lose the ability to make an income off my work but when compared to how much I have gained from the internet I am ok with that.
At the very least I can now say I tried to sue a Chinese condom company. Seems like a good party story!
What a drag. I wish this could be a cautionary tale but I can’t think of what else Daryl could have done to protect himself from this theft. But, in the spirit of Daryl’s upbeat attitude and just because it’s funny (and a bit of a cautionary tale in it’s own right), here’s a description from the website of one of the many brands of Solomon Condoms. This first sexy number is called Colourful and Magic:
The colorful sets + shock classic with the magic ring, the young feel, stylish atmosphere, the multicolored magic take you into a magical world! – Colorful, mind you, change!
And because I can’t resist, here’s the description of Enthusiasm Dots:
The ultra-thin design + Zest dynamic combination of large particles, while adding heat-sensitive bacteria especially lubricants, increased incentives, more fun, more care! – There is me, a warm and full of passion!
I hope that Solomon’s lawyers take the lawsuits that are sure to arise from their “heat sensitive bacteria” a little more seriously then they took this copyright infringement case. Thanks for sharing your story Daryl, you’ve brought up some interesting questions on the concept of limited edition prints.