CafePress, Tiki Shark settle suit


The attorney for a Kona artist who sued an online publishing company said Monday a settlement reached last week was “amicable.”

David E. Smith said he couldn’t provide more information about the settlement, between Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and CafePress.

“Everything is strictly confidential,” Smith said.

He confirmed what CafePress officials said last week, that the settlement does not entitle Parker to any payment from the company, which Parker claimed cost him a $250,000 contract last year.

“We are satisfied with today’s settlement, which highlights CafePress’ insulation from liability for copyright infringement by safe harbor defenses under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” said Kirsten Mellor, General Counsel for CafePress.

Company officials said the settlement doesn’t require making any financial or other payment to Tiki Shark Art Inc. Tiki Shark would then dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, prohibiting it from filing any new lawsuit against CafePress “unless Tiki Shark Art Inc. first provides CafePress with written notice of any user-uploaded content on the CafePress website alleged to infringe Tiki Shark Art Inc.’s intellectual property rights, and CafePress does not promptly remove any such images from the CafePress website in response to any colorably valid claims of infringement.”

Parker referred a voicemail seeking comment to Smith.

Parker filed the lawsuit in October, a few months after learning his “Forbidden Island” painting had been uploaded to CafePress, a website that allows users to customize shirts, mugs, bags and a variety of other items. Art is automatically copyrighted, Parker told Stephens Media Hawaii in March, so no one should be able to print his work without his permission — and without him getting paid.

In this case, someone’s decision to upload his work, likely by scanning either a giclee print or a calendar image, cost Parker a $250,000 contract with a Dubai company. That company was intending to use the image on 25,000 towels, but when it learned the image also was on CafePress, it canceled the order. The company was supposed to have exclusive use of the image, said Abbas Hassan, Parker’s agent and senior vice president for Tiki Shark Art Inc.

After filing the lawsuit, Hassan and Parker heard from a number of other artists who have found their artwork illegally posted on CafePress.

In March, CafePress officials said the lawsuit was “without merit.”

“CafePress facilitates the sale and printing of the products, but the content and images on the websites are created and owned by users, not CafePress,” attorney Lori Chang said. “The alleged image uploaded onto CafePress’ website was removed by CafePress in response to a notice from Brad Parker’s lawyer, David E. Smith, as provided for in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, more than two months prior to the plaintiff filing suit.”

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

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