Today, a great comment appeared on an ad I'm running. It said, "Are you in the USA? Will it take 6-weeks to get an order?" It made me laugh aloud. I completely understand the question. Most of the "I Love Volleyball", "Volleyball Is Life", "Can't Live Without Volleyball" FB pages are just sham artists trolling every sport you can think of with the same title and a different sport subbed in. I met the Vietnamese T-Shirt Pirates right from the get go with Frisco Mo. The Welcome Volleyball Pineapple shirt was stolen immediately, and then adopted into a baseball pineapple, a basketball pineapple and a softball pineapple shirt. They even kept my Frisco Mo logo on it. I don't think I slept for 2 days after that. I couldn't comprehend how they got the art, (they take screenshots and remove the background in Photoshop), how they were selling them, (there are so many t-shirt platforms out there) or who was buying them, (likely, not many. Except for that volleyball softball one, I think they sold a bunch of those.) I learned to calm down a bit, accept it as part of the business and follow the rules regarding reporting copyright and trademark infringement. Every few weeks, I google the titles of my shirts and file the reports. In fact, just tonight, I did the very same thing and couldn't believe the results. (Hence the blog post.)
Advertising is a double edged sword. It gets Frisco Mo out there and helps me grow and make money. By getting the message out, I'm also introducing it to thieves. I like to call them pirates. These folks don't care about anything other than making money. They don't care that the product is junk. They don't care about you, their customer. They don't care if you ever buy from them again. Tonight, however, I found a new, type of pirate. They are volleyball businesses here in the USA that run tournaments and tournament shops, and sell things via their websites. I will not name names. Yet. I've contacted them and asked them to remove the items from their shops. If they don't. Well, then it's hire a lawyer. Which is fine, but kind of yuck. I don't understand blatantly stealing an idea. I get seeing something and adapting it in your vision, with a different look and feel and style. But grabbing someone's work and just dropping the logo and changing a year, does not at all sit well with this rule follower.
If you're ever bored, or tired of Candy Crush, google Set Me Bro. Or Your Mom Would Have Dug That Ball. Or Why Unicorns Play Volleyball. Or Wanna Pepper? Or The Periodic Table of Volleyball. (The Periodic Table is the most ripped off design. It's all over China.) You'll be amazed at what you see. I reported 9 violations tonight, from Amazon to Etsy to Tee Public and Those Who Won't Be Named (Yet). It's It's frustrating for sure. And can really drag you down, if you let it. (And believe me, I used to really let it.) Now, I focus on something a few of you nice folks told me at the beginning, a quote from Oscar Wilde, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." I'm also going to focus on a lawyer and a bounty! Here it is. This tournament season, if you see straight up copies of Frisco Mo designs being sold, snap a pic, let me know the tournament name and the operator of that tournament store and I'll send you any item you'd like from my shop. Boo pirates!