Victory! Our Shirts are BACK Online!
It certainly has been an interesting week, that's for sure. Aside from current events, this brouhaha with our Zazzle store made for a whirwind of online this and that, the end result was that our previosly removed designs at the Zazzle store are back online, which is a good thing, and a good thing for anyone choosing to make art or photography celebrating our Muni.
Big thanks go to my colleague, Joe Eskenazi of the SF Weekly, who, unlike I, managed to get someone on the phone, where we all discovered that in fact, the SFMTA never actually asked for any of my designs to be removed at all. Instead, they'd asked for a few from another user that used the Muni "worm" logo and the old SF Muni logo featuring a cable car (both of which are, in fact copyrighted.) Zazzle seems to have just taken things a bit too far, for something the SFMTA never asked for. It's understandable, but still annoying.
I also want to thank Bluoz.com for being the first on the Internet to write about this as well. Finally, I'd like to say thanks to others who worked behind the scenes to assist, and to SFMTA CEO Ed Reiskin for his kind email the other day as well. All were appreciated.
I think this whole situation just highlights how poorly understood the concepts of "copyright," "trademark" and intellectual property are, and how in the Age of the Internet, the inclination is to ban things without thinking. After all, the Hugo Awards had their online broadcast killed off because autobots used by UStream (who was being used to broadcast it), detected 'o hai, contentz bad' and shut it down even though the Hugo Awards had permission to use brief clips of various artists' work for the event. If nothing else, it's an example of how the current system is oriented more towards big media and merchandising, and micro-businesses/artists aren't really accounted for in All This like they should.
This is also an example of how things can get carried away when there's confusion and a lack of hard information to deal with this kind of situation - with so much out there that was erroneous or unclear, and with no set person or persons to go to, etc. it's easy for things to get a bit crazy. Thankfully now, they are not so crazy.
As for our store - we will keep it online for a while, but this situation has made me realize that a locally sourced option, sold locally here in town, in the end may be a better long term way to go.
It'd help local businesses, and I've already begun putting some more time researching this (the only thing that worries me are the up front costs). AND, as always, should the SFMTA ever open up an online store of its own or sell its own stuff somewhere, I will put a big link to it on my blog and be the first one in line to buy their stuff if it looks cool. (Which reminds me, you really should check out Market Street Railway's online store - it's always on my list of places to buy gifts year round).
Anyway, now that this is over for now, it's time to go back to talking about fun stuff once again. Thanks again for all your support.