Supposing you came across a website selling works that looked very similar to yours. To you, it looked like a straightforward case of copyright infringement. So you asked the owner to stop. But instead of stopping, they took you to court, to challenge the copyright in your work.
And supposing that the way the legal system worked meant that you had to spend tens of thousands of pounds to keep your defence going — because if you ran out of money, you would lose the copyright by default.
Hopefully, you’ll never find out what that’s like. Unfortunately for John T. Unger, he knows exactly how it feels:
I need your help. My original art has been copied by a manufacturer who is now suing me in federal court to overturn my existing copyrights and continue making knockoffs. I have a strong case, a great lawyer and believe that if I can continue to defend myself, the case will be resolved in my favor. If I run out of funds before we reach trial, a default judgment would be issued against me and could put me out of business.
John is an inspiring artist and creative entrepreneur. He’s also a good friend of Lateral Action. To learn about his amazing career, read the interviews he gave us at Lateral Action and Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Nonconformity.
To learn more about John’s current situation — and what you can do to help him — visit this page on John’s blog.
EDIT: Good news! John’s case has now been resolved. But as he points out, this is an issue that concerns all creative professionals, since our intellectual property is often our biggest business asset, so it pays to consider what you might do if it happened to you.
Oh, and make sure to follow John on Twitter. He’s a great guy, well worth getting to know.