Thanks to the internet, artists can easily share their creations with people around the world. In the past, they had to rely on more traditional media or word of mouth in order to promote their work, but now “going viral” online can mean great financial success for artists of all mediums. Unfortunately, this also opens up potential intellectual property violations. New York artists may be interested in the story of a T-shirt designer who says a verbal slip-up by the President of the United States has been both a blessing and a curse for her work.
Several years ago, the artist in question created a T-shirt with the phrase “Yo Semite,” as a play on the name of Yosemite National Park. When President Trump recently mispronounced the name of Yosemite Park in a speech, sales of her T-shirt skyrocketed. However, she says that due to the recent interest, many other T-shirt designers have stolen her design and the phrase, selling their own versions.
She has tried reporting many of these sellers through proper channels, and has had some success doing so. Other sellers are still using her design without permission, and more versions pop up faster than she is able to handle them, she says. The artist has since registered a domain name for the T-shirt, hoping that will help convince people she is the proper copyright owner.
Even something as simple as a T-shirt design may need copyright protection. However, there are many laws that surround intellectual property that can be difficult for artists to navigate. It may be best for artists here in New York to work with a copyright law attorney who can help them determine the best way to protect their work.