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Bobbins Bootlegs

“Why you should respect other people’s copyright” A Guest Post by Jim Cardboard

I don’t want this to sound like it’s come from a government department (god forbid) and for people to get the wrong idea about 11:37 Enterprises but it’s time for me to set the record straight…

Everything and anything seems freely available to see, hear and download in the age of the internet and we’ve all got used to being able to access almost all of it with super speed. But alarmingly there are more and more products out there that blatantly disregard copyright laws. Included in this is loads of Chris Sievey’s original Frank Sidebottom artwork.

What has prompted me to write this is the seemingly widespread illicit use of his artwork and the menagerie of (mostly inferior) products derived from his work. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t buy them:

1. Chris died penniless in 2010 and his two sons and daughter, Stirling, Harry (RIP) and Asher were left with nothing other than his archive, consisting of images, drawings, photographs, DVDs etc. that Chris left in his cellar. All of the original artwork that’s been copied or bootlegged was in this archive and for the avoidance of any doubt, it belongs to them—they own the copyright. If you sell products which infringe this copyright, you are stealing from Stirling and Asher, Chris’s (Frank’s) surviving children.

2. Just because another version of something is available for sale doesn’t mean it is OK. This is where I think most people who make bootleg products go wrong—just because someone else is infringing a copyright doesn’t mean anyone else can do the same. If you are creating your own artwork to sell on then you still need to abide by copyright laws—you can break copyright by making something that bears a similarity. The Frank Sidebottom likeness and all associated imagery are copyrighted to the Sievey Estate. In the UK, copyright on artistic works lasts for 70 years after the death of the artist, so in Chris’s case, the year 2080.

3. The bootleggers are ultimately cheating their customers. They’re selling fakes, copies, phonies, bogus, false items—a lot of the ones I’ve seen are awful—poorly made, cheap tat. If you want official Frank Sidebottom merchandise, then there is only one place to get them, that’s from 11:37. We promise to deliver the best quality items, that’s what we believe in. 11:37 Sievey Enterprises is a small family-run operation dedicated to producing authentic products to a marginal fan-base and competition from opportunist bootleggers adversely affects us.

4. Bootleg merchandise is fraud and the moral of the story is to buy directly from us, every time. It completely eliminates the possibility of coming into contact with fake merch and ultimately shopping responsibly is the only way this problem can ever begin to shrink.

We have a lot of things planned for 2020 and with your continued support we should be able to fulfill it all. Cheers!

Jim Cardboard,

February 2020, stood on a Cardboard soapbox.


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