Declawing copycats

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

It is probably one of the worst things that can happen to an artist: One's own work is copied and sold by another person – without attribution, without payment of a share and, above all, without permission. Proprietary law infringements are commonplace in the art world and usually go unpunished, but not unnoticed.

"People always steal, even by hobby artists. That's normal and I don't find it so dramatic, because many of them don't always know what they're doing and you can talk to them. But when it comes to big brands, it's a completely different thing." They are sobering words with which Lisa Junius begins the interview. In the summer of last year, customers drew the artist's attention to something she had never experienced before.

Two of her iconic Love Potions, small, irregularly shaped vases in different shades of blue, are being sold in a shop in Australia – but not one on Lisa's list of retailers. "Some customers discovered the Potions and secretly took photos of them with references and barcodes to send to me, otherwise I would never have known about it", she says. Normally she would have ignored the matter, but the Australian shop was a wholesaler. "All of a sudden, more people told me the same thing and I got a lawyer."

Demands towards copycats

A Barcelona lawyer was recommended to Lisa by other creatives because he specialised in copyright and proprietary law in the arts. After checking her details against images and online data on the originals, the lawyer contacted the Australian company by email with two demands. "On the one hand, they should immediately stop selling the stolen products, and on the other hand, they should pay me a certain percentage of the profit or a total sum as compensation for each item already sold", Lisa explains. As a third option, she could have offered the company future cooperation, but the execution and quality of the copies was too poor for her to do so.

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