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The Battle Continues

(October 2011) posted on Tue Oct 11, 2011

What do you expect when your main weapons consist of a piece of synthetic rubber and a square of cloth?

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By Andy MacDougall

I’ve received a number of e-mails about my last Shop Talk column, “Screen Printers Fight Back.” Most were from printers in other states, wondering whether they’ll have to deal with a licensing scheme in their area. Luckily, as far as my sources tell me, the manufacturer’s license is only required in a few other jurisdictions—New York being one, where the cost is only $150 compared to California’s $750-2000 annual fee.

One has to question the need and ultimate result of the large difference in fees, or lack of them, between states and between countries. This unfair and unlevel playing field causes manufacturing to migrate and smaller, locally owned businesses to fold. Meanwhile, governments wonder why people support a grey economy and deal in cash.

A $2,000 fee for a business doing $2 million per year is chump change, but it can close the doors forever for many small shops. The stats tell us small business is the only part of the economy that is creating jobs. Wouldn’t it be something if governments were to stop paying lip service to this fact and, instead of wasting resources enforcing outdated regulations and levying fines, put their efforts into supporting the growth of small businesses?

More battles
In another area of the Empire of Squeegistan, the locals report attacks from Giclée Monsters in the form of unauthorized replicas of screen-printed rock posters showing up on eBay. This is actually a bigger problem than you might think, as the combination of high demand among collectors and fans, plus the ease of scanning and printing out copies and then selling them to unsuspecting suckers is just a little too tempting for some people.

It’s copyright infringement, and it affects the artists who create the prints and the bands whose names, in many cases, sell the poster. The originals were created and printed for a specific gig and signed in limited numbers. The eBay scammers save a file and then just print the replica posters off as needed. Maybe the scale isn’t the same, but it’s no different than counterfeit Gucci bags or fake Rolex watches, although these cheap knockoffs are made in the USA!

My buddies over at the American Poster Institute (API), the artists who make this stuff, jump on the scammers right away. When one discovers an eBay Store with fakes being flogged, artists are alerted and the fun begins.


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