An alert e-mailer sent me this link to an online seller offering this “collector stamp sheet” from the Democratic Republic of Congo:
… which is¬¨‚Ä† a rip off of this VERY old park sample of Scully and Mulder from “The X-Files” that I had on my original website back in 1996:
Actually I’ve known about these Congo stamps for years. They surfaced around 2000 or so and featured about half a dozen of my caricature samples, apparently taken from my website, as well as caricatures by a number of other artists. There was a small country in Russia that did the same thing. Apparently there is nothing that can be legally done about it, and these same countries issued photo stamps featuring Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and other celebrities who’s estates are famous for litigating infringement of their rights of publicity. Interesting to think there might have been letters mailed in the Congo with some caricature of mine as a stamp.
You might think that was the most bizarre case of copyright infringement of my work I’ve ever seen… but you’d be wrong.
Back in the summer of 1999 I was eating breakfast one morning before I went into the theme park for another day of drawing live caricatures when I got a call from my father-in-law. He told me to open the morning paper and look at the local variety section. I grabbed our copy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and paged through the section in question and was dumbfounded as to what I saw.
Earlier that year our new governor had been sworn in- Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and the press was having a field day with it. Every chance they got to do some piece of weirdness involving Ventura they jumped all over it. In this issue they did a story about Jesse’s intense popularity with the younger generation of voters, and there was a huge picture of someone’s shoulder sporting a Jesse Ventura tattoo that was an exact copy of this park sample of mine:
Yes, that’s right… a real tattoo. Someone had bought a copy of this drawing at Valleyfair (samples occasionally sell off the wall and I have to redraw them later), brought it to a tattoo artist and had them permanently ink it on their shoulder. No mention of that in the story of course.
The most bizarre part was that since this drawing is cropped off on the bottom, the tattoo artist improvised by adding feet to Jesse, and gave him huge, Bozo clown feet. I mean giant bubble feet. It looked ridiculous… I mean even more ridiculous than having a caricature of Jesse Ventura tattooed on your shoulder in the first place.
That one is the all time champ of weirdness featuring copyright infringement of my work.
I am so proud.
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