People. Please. We get it. Everyone knows how to lift from each others' t-shirt companies, everyone plays the same game of "No, WE did it first," or "shrug, whatever, everyone else has it on their site, why not us?" -- all of it. The funny and the hilarious and the weird and the edgy and the over-the-top and the bloody and the bad-ass (although, hopefully, not simultaneously, because that sounds uncomfortable and possibly cancerous and you may want to consider seeing a doctor and not telling us about it because, yes, that's kind of an overshare). We. Get. It. It happens, it just does, and everyone is sagacious of that fact, for it is, indeed, a fact. It is part and parcel of doing business on-line. People take, liberally, from one another.
And it is, as they say, what it is.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the midst of all that jazz, there's licensed property. With regards to t-shirts, licensed property works in the following fashion; the creative director (who may well be the artist, too) communicates with the licensor, or, that is, the company producing the original content. Take, for example, NBC Universal's property, House M.D., which airs on Fox. So the creative director/artist communicates with the Consumer Products department at NBC who in turn communicates with the Production Company of House M.D. regarding the art they would prefer to see created for the t-shirts that will represent the show. The creative director then extrapolates that information and produces (creates) ideas for the art that will be worked up for those shirts. He or she then funnels the subsequent fleshed-out ideas to the artists, or creates the art him or herself, and sends it back to the producers of the show to review and approve (or, more likely, resubmit, which then requires the creative director/artist(s) to go back to square one in order to come up with something that will be given approval; this can occur several times and take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in order to proceed to the next step, that is, approval of designs). Generally, the designs are difficult to get through the process because not only do the producers exercise their right to review them, but the writers, directors and even the lead actors often participate in the review process prior to their being signed off on by the company and given permission to produce by the t-shirt company's design team. After approval by the licensor, the art becomes a pre-production sample, which goes back to the Consumer Products department at NBC for approval. Only then can the marketing and production of the design be sold (and hopefully profited on).
(Aside: Fans may wish to create their own designs to demonstrate their love of a particular show, but when those designs are a direct knock off/copy/stolen IP, the demonstration ceases to be supportive and becomes conflict. A thing which true fans would not perpetrate on the show they truly care about.)
All of this to say that it SUCKS TOTAL BOLLOCKS when people steal those creations, and I use the term "people" loosely, because what I am inferring is they're barely people and mainly invertebrates who STEAL when they plagiarize licensed designs (and maybe it's because they themselves do not possess the skill to create in the first place, and only know HOW TO STEAL in the first place, which must be their rationale for blatant theft of licensed property that has been carefully, lovingly produced and put through the delicate, grueling, exhausting ringer of the licensed-property abattoir, that once it makes its way through and survives it becomes a rare and precious thing, a shirt that has been deemed worthy of the show, a show that many, many people work excruciatingly hard to create and is cared about greatly, deeply, widely, intensely, a thing that is patently obvious because of the popularity of the show and of the fierce ardor of its fans). They have not had to leap through the massive hurdles presented when purchasing the license -- and by purchase, I mean that these licenses, THEY ARE FAR FROM FREE -- nor have they had to follow the subsequent mandates of the show's producers. IT SUCKS when people steal those designs and sell them as though they were their own, or maybe don't even really try to pretend that at all, instead simply dropping their trousers and bending pompously in the direction of the artists, both from the show and from the t-shirt company, and suggesting, wordlessly, that they may kiss the shining ass that protrudes therefrom. Because they care not at all for the licensing abattoir element. They shall rip off the license with glee. Why not?, they seem to say. Why shouldn't [we]? It's there. And so [we] shall steal it.
And it's disenchanting to note how quietly supported they are by the blogging and on-line advertising system, those pirates. Loads of bloggers happily (or not necessarily *happily,* but obliviously, which is nearly the same) advertise for the companies that steal, saying (*shrug*), "Hayull, man, that shit ain't my problem." So long as their ad revenues arrive steadily, they remain unaffected by the theft that the companies who use stolen, licensed art partake in.
(Even though I happen to know, as a long-time blogger, how upset those same people get when someone steals *their* creative content, i.e., their writing, their blog posts, their ideas. They get PISSED. They stamp their sites with "creative content patented and whatnot, registered trademark TM R etCETERa," and wring their hands and yell at people who dare to use some amalgamation of their blog moniker or one of their photos or a word they think they made up and didn't get proper credit for on urban dictionary, YES, in other words, bloggers care about theft. Theft that affects their own creations.
It is a frustrating thing, this stealing of labor-intensive, cared-for ideas and created creative, this light-hearted lifting of things people have sweated over, strained to make, and may I point out, here, that we're not talking about big, huge corporations; naw, these are the little guys.
And, what the hell!, let the bloggers aid in the theft, because it isn't THEIR effing problem, it isn't their issue, so long as they can keep buying an extra iced Americano with an add-shot every week with the ad revenue.
Jeez, but that must be a great cup of coffee. It must be so good that it eases all of the guilt that one would possibly have to deal with from aiding and abetting creative theft.
Maybe it's laced with raspberry-and-zazzle-flavored Xanax.