31 Jan Shir Warr: An Atypical Copyright Alliance Spotlight
In their ongoing creator profile series, the Copyright Alliance spotlighted Guild member Shir Warr. She is a compelling choice for a profile. Not only is she an excellent designer, but she is also a bodybuilder and trainer. In fact, her profile image is unique for a graphic artist, showing her in top competition bodybuilding form. But we already knew that Warr is a force to be reckoned with as a designer and as a self-advocate.
In her Copyright Alliance interview, Warr was asked if her copyrights had ever been infringed. She related her experience with a former employer who hired her back on contract to create designs for a trade show in Europe. She never was paid for her work, even though her contract clearly stated that she retained the copyrights to the design until receiving full payment. Her client continued to use her artwork and ignored her demands for payment.
Shir’s experience was a story we were already familiar with. During our efforts to get the CASE Act passed, Warr joined us on a call with Senator Murphy’s office. As a constituent of his, she wanted to convey the importance of getting the bill passed and shared her experience. Although her case may not have been one to pursue in a copyright small claims tribunal—the issue would fall more under a contract dispute—we believe that the copyright small claims tribunal will have a deterrent effect on unscrupulous clients such as hers.
When asked what the greatest misconception about her profession is, she responded that “freelance isn’t free.” And when asked what challenges she faces with copyright, she described the difficulty in registering design works, which include pre-existing works, works authored by other individuals, and original works. She also mentioned the high cost of pursuing a copyright infringement as a deterrent to protecting her copyrights.