View Full Version : Company to avoid...
11-05-2002, 09:48 AM
I wanted to let you know about a company called Custom Ink (www.customink.com). They, on a regular basis, use copyrighted work illegally in producing tshirts and other imprinted items. Worse yet is the fact that they will add your custom artwork to their clip art library for others to use without your permission or knowledge. The CEO, who I have spoken with about this, claims its ok to use copyrighted work if the customer is using the shirts for "personal use". Do not use this companies services if you value your work. Thank you.
11-08-2002, 09:21 PM
Well, I don't know the whole circumstances surrounding this, but there is one statement that bothers me here, the one that says,,," its okay to use copyright art if the customer is using it for "private use"...I think this person(s) are in for a surprise. One of the reasons copyright has strengthened and in favor of the artist is to stop "know it all's" like these people who feel they can "rape" an artist and not worry about him/her coming back on them........big mistake......
11-09-2002, 11:57 AM
Are they using you artwork without your permission? Because if they are, you get yourself a lawyer because this guy needs to be straightened out. If he is using your art in a manner which you have not specifically granted to him, you need to do something about it. Part of your responsibility in holding a copyright on art is protecting your work from those who would steal it from you. I saw the disclaimer on his site that said his company owns copyright on SOME of the art shown. That right there is a violation....he can't display works for sale that he is not legally able to.
:mad: :mad: :mad:
11-11-2002, 08:42 AM
They are not using my work. I worked for them until my mortgage was signed and covered and then left. I found out about the copyright problems just 2 weeks before. I saw them use Calvin and Hobbes, Star Trek, verious company logos, Far Side, Peanuts, you name it. However when someone uploaded a
college logo (one that one of the company founders is an alumnus), he was screaming about infringement. I spoke with the CEO and he was dancing all over the place about the issue, personal use and all. He is a shmuck!
This company also took away full time employee vacation/sick time benefits one day out of the blue claiming they never offered them.
Regardless of the benefits, please let your friends know and your organiations (churches, etc.) not to use their services! Thank you for your attention on this matter.
11-11-2002, 09:31 AM
I'm sorry to hear that...unfortunately there are a lot of companies that do this type of thing. I've worked for people like that too. Do you know the names of anyone they may be infringing on? I'm sure they would appreciate a heads-up. I will pass the word along!
11-11-2002, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the offer! The work I saw being used illegally was wellknown artists work, ie. Calvin and Hobbes. I have been attempting to let them know about the company but they can't press charges unless they actually had the illegal product which is unfortunate. Also, since most of Custominks orders are less than $100, thats really all they could recover. It stinks that the law is set up this way.
Again, for those new to the thread, if you value your copyrights, do not use www.customink.com for your imprinting or tshirt business.
04-27-2004, 09:27 AM
I'm Marc -- the CEO of CustomInk. A friend who helped start CustomInk found this discussion and pointed it out to me.
I disagree with Lee's assessment of our copyright practices. I don't recall the specific instances about which Lee is speaking (as it was a year or two ago that she was here), but I think her contention might stem from our customers' use of parody in their designs. The student groups and other organizations who order from us often use pop culture references and adaptations of such icons in their designs. These uses are non-commercial, and we believe they are protected expression. An example of this is when a college fraternity makes t-shirts that say "The Godfather of All Fraternities" and use a parody of the movie logo. I'm not a lawyer, but I do know this is something lawyers argue about. In any case, in addition to this being harmless, it actually helps the Godfather franchise (or Calvin & Hobbes or whoever else) by keeping them relevant.
What we absolutely will not do is print counterfeit merchandise that could harm copyright or trademark owners (such as artists) by stealing sales from them. This is probably what the university sweatshirt was that Lee said bothered me when it made it through our process. These "counterfeit" items are generally products that could be sold at retail and demand a premium price because of the intellectual property included. There are many instances when we have turned away otherwise attractive orders without hesitation because they were knock-offs of small upstart apparel brands or large, well-known trademarks. I think we have a responsible and reasonable approach to these issues, and we are more conservative when it comes to honoring intellectual property rights than probably 90% of printers. I realize that verbalizing the distinction between legal parody and illegal counterfeit can be somewhat subtle (even though you know it when you see it), but it doesn't make me evasive and Lee suggested.
As to Lee's other gripes about our vacation policies, I can only say that we have about 20 artists on the team here at CustomInk (mostly salaried, some hourly) and based on regular assessments of the company, their level of satisfaction with our policies as well as their overall level of satisfaction with the company is high, and the turnover rate is low. The job is not for everyone, and we are very demanding in terms of accuracy and commitment to customer satisfaction, but we care about people, and most people that join the team have a successful experience. This is a company with caring, hardworking, talented people (including me), and in the four years we have been around, we've grown to a 55 person team and done great things for customers, suppliers, and our own team members. The ironic thing about seeing this post is that I think I recall Lee doing nice work during the brief period she was here!
In any case, we consider ourselves to be a great outlet and resource to the creative community, and I think anyone concerned enough to read this page should check out our web site, read uncensored comments from our customers, call and speak with our representatives, try to design custom t-shirts online (http://www.customink.com), and make a decision for themselves! Please take a look.
04-02-2011, 10:42 AM
Good grief.....update on CustomInk ethics. They were sued in 2009 in Minnesota Federal Court for outright theft, stealing graphics from CSA Graphics (Charles Anderson). CustomInk settled this lawsuit as they would not have won. Owner says was clear case of robbing them that went on for years and no way that the top brass didn't know about. Hear they paid a handsome ransom but likely didn't help the individual artists who provide CSA with their artwork. You can still find some evidence of this lawsuit by doing google searchs for "CSA graphics vs Customink" or just "Customink vs" with the word "minnesota" . I hear they stiff the printers pretty good too...in case you didn't know, CustomInk contracts out all their work except 6 shirt runs on a digital print (not screen printing). CustomInk tries to come off as being socially responsible and also big on their "core values". It's a myth.....wish this would get more media play.
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