Last month, inspired by Marco and bolstered by the drop-dead-simple Teespring web site, I put the first Hypercritical t-shirt up for sale. The response from fans was amazing, vastly exceeding my expectations. Unfortunately, that sale was aborted due to my unauthorized use of copyrighted artwork. All orders were refunded and no t-shirts were printed.
John’s being too self-critical here: there’s a bit more to the story.
The previous shirt design included an icon derived from one in the original 1984 Macintosh.1 (Update: John corrected me with the variant used, which is slightly different from the 1984 original.)
On the final day of his previous T-shirt sale, after more than 900 shirts had been ordered, the original icon’s artist emailed John and me — I was copied because the artist mistakenly thought I had something to do with the shirt — with a passive-aggressive, thinly veiled copyright threat.
The artist had no right to make such a threat. Only Apple could, and if their legal department saw the shirt and objected, they could have filed a simple DMCA claim with Teespring. But they didn’t, because who cares if a guy with a podcast makes a one-off run of a thousand T-shirts for a bunch of geeks like us with a decades-old monochrome icon?
Nobody. I believe it’s even fair use.2 But John voluntarily asked Teespring to cancel the sale and forfeit a sizable chunk of money because he’s a nice guy and didn’t want any trouble.
Now, it would be a shame if the new T-shirt sale sold any fewer shirts than the canceled one. How often does John Siracusa ask his audience to buy anything?
Let’s blow away the old one to make all of this worth it. Go buy a Hypercritical shirt!
I previously used an icon from the same artist, with permission, as the favicon for this site in exchange for a promotional footer link. I no longer want to support this artist, so I’ve removed the icon and temporarily have no favicon. I’ll get a new one soon. ↩
But, like most fair use, nobody can afford to prove it. ↩