What’s That They Say About Imitation?

[UPDATE 10/18/14 – 6:31 pm EST]

As of this afternoon the Beer Fanatics have decided to take down the shirt for ordering off of Teespring.

Thanks to everyone for their support.  A new batch of shirts will be available mid November.  I’ve also been working on a new design that I think you all will like as well.

[UPDATE 10/18/14 – 9:21 am EST]

The Beer Fanatics have finally replied to my Facebook message.  They appear willing to work things out however because of their ban/block of me on Facebook I can not reply to their message.  If you have not been blocked please let them know that they must unblock me in order for me to respond.

[UPDATE 10/17/14 – 8:30 pm EST]

Teespring has replied to my email and has let me know that they are investigating the claim by stating that they take these claims very seriously.

Additionally I have noticed a lot of fans and previous customers of Florida Beer Geek going on Beer Fanatics and questioning the design.  These posts are getting deleted by the group.  Thanks to those of you out there supporting and trying to get the word.

[ORIGINAL POST]

Wow, it’s been awhile since I posted a blog on the site.  I also wish this were under different circumstances as well.

I have been working on updating the Florida breweries shirt design with the many brand spanking new breweries to pop up in the state over the past half a year.  I wanted to get some new shirts made in time for the holiday shopping season so that you or your loved one can get an awesome new shirt to show your love for Florida made suds.  It’s during this time that people started pointing out to me a shirt that looked eerily familiar going across the internet.

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A Facebook page that calls themselves Beer Fanatics have begun to advertise the sale of shirts and hoodies with the design of states being formed by the names of breweries including the state of Florida.  I by no means think that my design was revolutionary or ground breaking but as far as I know I was the only one making a Florida related shirt like that starting in 2011.  In March 2012 I registered the design with myows.com, a site used by designers to register their designs in the case they need to prove that they created something or even the time at which they created it.

Friends and previous customers alike started contacting me asking if this was an updating version of the shirt.  I even saw a previous customer share the status on Facebook talking about how he has one of the first ones and that it was an updated version.  Obviously I had to do something about this as it was beginning to cause confusion.

The Beer Fanatics page has no direct mention of an individuals that run the page.  There is no email addresses listed under the about section.  They have no Twitter handle.  The site that they use to sell the shirts (teespring.com) has no way of directly contacting the seller.  So I was forced to try to contact them through the dreaded Facebook messaging system.

I very nicely explained that things happen and ideas can come from multiple sources on a design.  I in no way insinuated that my design idea was stolen or ripped off.  I simply showed that I had done this design a good while ago and that the shirt has caused confusion with those believing that I had made the shirts.  My simple request was that they take down the design and sale of the shirts.  Nothing more, I’m not asking for any money.  Just a request from one designer to another.

My original intention was to give them until this coming Monday to reply however this morning some actions have forced me to do otherwise.  I woke up to find that my original comment on their picture of the shirt had been deleted along with those of friends and previous customers making mention of the similarities.  I found myself also banned on their page from making any comments.  It seemed that my simple request was not going to be so simple.

This morning I have reached out to teespring.com directly.  I explained my side of things including links to this site so that they can see the similarities in the designs.  I requested that they have the sale taken down.  I will keep you updated on this.

I am really trying to keep a level head about this.  I admit that I was pretty upset when I first saw the post but gave myself a night to sleep it off before contacting them.  I wanted to be able to work this out with the Beer Fanatics directly but it seems from their actions of deleting comments and banning postings that they did not take kindly to my friendly email (it really was friendly, no sarcasm).  Hopefully things will get resolved soon.

They claim that their shirt can not be bought in stores or anywhere else.  Remember that the shirt I made was created by a Florida resident, printed in Florida and for the Florida beer geeks out there.  This shirt was for you.

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