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Featured image showing Crisy Meschieri supporting the CASE Act

Why Designer/Illustrator Crisy Meschieri Supports the CASE Act  

By Crisy Meschieri

I’m a freelance graphic designer specializing in branding, advertising, and illustration. I’m currently based out of Huntsville, Alabama and have been a freelancer in various states for the past 7 years.

Only recently have I had the chance to learn about the advocacy efforts that go on behind the scenes for our industry. The Graphic Artist Guild has been working diligently with various other professional groups to get support for the CASE Act in Congress.

As I sat in on committee meetings, and even had the chance to speak with my local Senator’s staff on the topic, I was able to see just how important the CASE Act is, and why folks across the nation are investing personal time and efforts into seeing it passed.

Lawyers are expensive, copyright lawsuits take time, effort, and significant finances. But for me, knockoffs and blatant infringements mean that I lose income.

I’m going to pause and tell a personal story, but trust me, it’s relevant! A few years ago I had an idea for a t-shirt that I was pretty darn proud of. I worked on it, refined the humor, and after much effort, posted it on my online shop and started making some passive income from it. It was so exciting to see how people resonated with the shirt, and loved the idea enough to buy it and wear it! I couldn’t wait to see someone I didn’t know wearing it out in the world.

Fast forward a few years: I’m on a family vacation, and my in-laws happily point out that someone is wearing my shirt! How exciting! I finally get to see a stranger wearing my design out in public! But as I turned and looked, I felt like the floor had been dropped out from underneath my feet. It wasn’t my design, but rather, a very terribly knocked off version of it. While my husband tries to explain to our families what’s happened, I quickly used my phone to Google the title of my shirt design, only to find that it had been knocked off by several companies. It was even being sold as a straight copy without my permission on various sites.

If this has ever happened to you, you know exactly how horrible discovering a copyright infringement feels. I felt split between complete rage, fury, and utter helplessness. What could I do? Lawyers are expensive, and copyright lawsuits take time, effort, and significant finances. But for me, knockoffs and blatant infringements mean that I lose income.

I’ve come to think of S 1273 as the “Just in CASE” Act. I support it, just in case in the future one of my other designs gets stolen and I need to take the copyright infringer to court.

This is where the importance of the CASE Act, S 1273, comes in. If passed, it would empower us as creators to be able to protect our copyrights by permitting us to choose to use a small claims tribunal  for small copyright infringements. Under the current system, we would have to take copyright cases through the federal legal system. Te costs can be astronomical, especially for the average illustrator or designer. The legal fees for small copyright infringements (like my t-shirt design infringement) are often much smaller than the potential award. That alone is a huge reason why creators are often left feeling helpless when we see yet another one of our designs being sold online by someone else.

I’ve come to think of S 1273 as the “Just in CASE” Act.

I support it, just in case in the future one of my other designs gets stolen and I need to take it to court. I support it, just in case my fellow creatives need it to help keep their business financially stable.

I’ve come to think of S 1273 as the “Just in CASE” Act. I support it, just in case in the future one of my other designs gets stolen and I need to take the copyright infringer to court.

And thankfully, you don’t have to do much to support it! Just do what I did, reach out to your Senator and explain why this is so important. Need help getting the phrasing right? Feel free to use this as inspiration:

“Especially with how things are going in 2020, having a source of passive income is a really helpful way for many designers to keep themselves afloat when they don’t have any active clients. Please consider supporting this bill and help us remain independent and self sufficient as creators and illustrators.”

Simple as that.

So why not reach out, just in case…

Contact your Senators directly: https://graphicartistsguild.org/case-act-down-to-the-wire/

Or use this portal which will find your Senators and send an email on your behalf: http://copyrightdefense.com/action

Ask your Senators to support S 1273. Contact your Senators directly here. Or use this portal which will find your Senators and send an email on your behalf.



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