Public Visibility Isn’t Public Domain

Having been on something a tear about works that are or should be in the public domain, it’s probably right to balance out the end of the week by pointing out an instance of the opposite. Because, folks, just because you run into art online, doesn’t make it free for use or public domain. I have vague sympathy for younger folks who haven’t had a lot or exposure to it, but longtime businesses should know more than enough not to steal the work of independent artists. Unfortunately for artist Lisa Congdon, wholesaler Cody Foster has done exactly that:

I don’t care about the money. What I care about is exposing Cody Foster for what they have done and continue to do to independent artists. The people I want most to expose them to are the retailers who purchase from them. You see, Cody Foster is a wholesale company. Unlike other larger, public-facing retail companies who have been accused of stealing from artists, Cody Foster is hidden from the public eye for the most part. Except for a showroom in Atlanta and booths at gift shows designed to show their wares to retailers, they have a very limited public presence. Their products do not bear their logo. You buy them at your local gift shop or even some larger retailer. You might have Cody Foster products in your home, and you wouldn’t even know it. You can’t even view their catalog without having the login and password reserved for retail stores that purchase from them.

Making art is hard. It’s daunting. Putting it out in the world is dangerous enough to both one’s finances and soul. The last thing someone making a living from her art needs is having said art co-opted by greedy “entrepreneurs” who seem to think Google image search is the equivalent of product development.

This, right here, is what copyright is actually about. It protects the people who expose themselves to the world for the sake of their passions from the corporate equivalent of Yertle the Turtle. Please help protect it by spreading the word and keeping your own eyes open for more of the same.

(found via Ursula Vernon’s Twitter)

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