Photo: By jamie nyc on Flickr
Jason Shelowitz, the New York art director who designed some of the most ubiquitous signs for Occupy Wall Street (“Lost My Job, Found An Occupation #occupywallstreet”) is apparently getting ripped off by an online signage company.Shelowitz designed the signs (which also include “Less Employment = More Occupations” and “The 99% Are 100% Fed Up”) earlier this month to help the protesters brand and legitimatize their message. He offered to share the .pdf files with protesters via his Twitter account (@jayshells) so they could make their own renditions of the signs, and a couple of people contacted him.
Now it appears OXgraphics, which is hosted through CafePress, is offering yard signs, T-shirts, mugs and more with the exact copy from the signs Shelowitz and his partner for the sign project, @blulaces, created.
“To make a profit off of it is so disgusting,” Shelowitz tells us. “Once we made these, we both agreed we’d be happy to share. I didn’t think we had to say ‘not for personal financial gain.”
It’s true that the slogan isn’t copyrighted — that would be contrary to the original notion of sharing and freely distributing signage, says Shelowitz — but he’s troubled that someone out there is appropriating it to make money.
He’s not sure whether OXgraphics got the files straight from him, or ripped his work off another way.
“I guess you could argue that [OXgraphics] is helping spread the message, but he’s also lining his pockets. This person’s missing the whole point [of Occupy Wall Street].”OXgraphics is selling yard signs for $15.99 apiece, T-shirts for $14.99 and up, and mugs for $15.99, among other items.
The copy in question was written by @blulaces (who wishes to keep his involvement with the sign project anonymous), who says that while he was taken aback when he stumbled about his verbiage for sale, he’s not entirely surprised.
“As the movement continues to grow, these sorts of profiteers are going to move in,” he says, adding that neither he nor Shelowitz plan to go after OXgraphics. They consider the signs to be in the public domain, for the benefit of protesters.
“I just want to make clear this guy grabbed our slogans and Jason’s graphic language,” he says. “We have nothing to do with him.”
We have been trying to get in touch with whoever is behind OXgraphics, and will update the story if we hear back.
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