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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Art Licensing Editorial: Copyright Infringement of Artists Art Continues to Increase

More and more companies are producing popular products that consumers can enjoy at home while they are under COVID-19 lockdown.  For example, jigsaw puzzles and different kinds of paint-by-number kits are VERY popular during these difficult times. But, unfortunately many of the companies that produce these products use artist art without permission.  
Art licensing agent Suzanne Cruise informed me about a company* that is infringing on a lot of her artists art. Also, Facebook “Art of Licensing” members have been recently posting about paint-by-number companies and a jigsaw puzzle that are infringing on artists art.  Artists that have their art infringed on suggest that artists search these companies website to make sure that their art is not being infringed. And if it is, ask the companies to remove the art from their website. Some of these companies will remove the art. Sadly many companies ignore the requests.

* The name of the company that Suzanne Cruise found that was infringing on her artists art is Get Paint by Number.    

 • Information from artists about companies that infringe on artists art.

- Artist Bob Giordano comment on Facebook: "There are literally hundreds of these “companies” (ones that infringe on artists art) masquerading as Facebook pages and websites. POD allows them countless images without having to carry inventory. Search Santa or Cats for example on some of them, and get ready to leaf through 200 pages carrying 15-20 images per page. If you search one in detail, your wall will then show a handful of other pages offering the same product under another name. The pervasive products: Puzzles, Paint by #, Diamond Dot painting, Blankets & Throws, T-Shirts.

• Below is a list of more websites that is infringing on artists art. [from Facebook “Art of Licensing” member posts]

    - Hobby Painter

    - Painting Valley

    - Jigsaw Puzzles

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example:

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Art Licensing Editorial: Coronavirus and its Impact on the World Economy and Art Industries

The U.S./China Trade War that started in 2018 and is continuing into 2020 has impacted the economy and the art licensing industry as described in the article “The U.S. China Trade War and its Impact on the U.S. Art licensing Industry”.  Surprisingly the economy continued to get stronger and consumers continued to purchase products during the 2019 holiday according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) article “NRF says 2019 holiday sales were up 4.1 percent”. And the trade shows such as the Atlanta Gift Show last January was very successful as described in the article “Art Licensing Editorial: Buyers Swarm the January 2020 Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishing Market”.   

So it looked like 2020 was also going to be very successful for artists that license their art to wholesalers/manufacturers because the increase in the number of retail buyers at the Atlanta Gift Show purchased more products for consumers to buy and that would increase the royalty amount that artists earn.  But unfortunately, with the massive influx of the Coronavirus disease in China and spreading throughout the world it is not only causing tragic death but also it is impacting less products being manufactured, closure of factories and drop in jobs, travel, entertainment and world wide economy.  

This article discusses the impact of Coronavirus on product imports that wholesalers/manufacturers depend upon, how it also impacts other companies, and what is happening to the economy.  Most of the information below is from recent articles published on the Internet.

Note: The information in this article that is “quoted" from Internet articles have a  symbol and a number placed after the "quote “ to notify the reader what article the quote came from. The articles can be found in the Resources section at the bottom of this article. And, any text in the red bracket [text] inserted in the Internet quotes is a comment by me.

The term manufacturer that the U.S. uses in the art licensing industry is not really accurate because not all the companies that artists license their art to literally manufacture the products. Many companies hire other companies (mostly outside the U.S.) to manufacturer products according to their specifications.  A more accurate word is wholesaler instead of manufacturer and is used in this article.

"The Chinese economy – the world’s second largest – has been suddenly hamstrung by the need to halt the spread of a virus that the Communist authorities at first tried to hide. Wuhan and other cities have been placed under lockdown. Much of the rest of the country has been subject to large-scale quarantines, restrictions on movement, interruptions in public transport, and the closure of factories and other businesses." 1 Thus, "American companies with operations in China are struggling to find enough workers to get their factories up to speed, with most of the country still shut down because of the raging Coronavirus.” 2

"America's seaports are now beginning to feel the effects of the sailing cancellations that ocean carriers implemented at Chinese ports over the span of the past month. The Port of Long Beach, the second-largest in the United States, is now seeing lower cargo numbers portwide, and its longshore hiring needs have fallen accordingly.  . . . Our labor levels have not been this slow in about four or five years," deputy executive director Noel Hacegaba told the Long Beach Post. “The uncertainty that was created by the trade war has now shifted to chaos brought on by the coronavirus.  . . . The head of the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, told CNBC that Port of LA - the nation's largest container port by TEU - expects a 25 percent fall in volume for February. The Georgia Ports Authority, which handles a fifth of East Coast container volume, expects March traffic to be well below forecast levels.” 3A And, "Through mid-February, the Port of Oakland [California] had largely escaped any slowdowns related to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Asia, but that appears to be changing.  . . . Port spokesman Mike Zampa says more than 20 container ships from China have cancelled trips to the U.S. west coast over the next four to five weeks. [2/26/2020]” 3B 

According to Gift Beat (runs surveys to track the gift industry) in their e-mail post  "Cautiously Optimistic” by Erica Kirkland,  "Sales in January increased year-over-year for over half of our reporting stores, the second straight year of gains for a month that is typically slow, and two-thirds of retailers currently feel optimistic about their business. The general consensus among store owners and showroom vendors was that the winter show circuit was busy, that buyers are buying. Yet there is an underlying fear that these rosy conditions could turn on a dime. The impending election is keeping store owners up at night, fretting about whether the primaries and the campaign will be a train wreck nobody can pull their eyes away from or whether the political outcome will be bad for business. Add to this worry the Coronavirus outbreak which is already impacting shipping deadlines. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope the political road ahead is only slightly rocky rather than pitted with landmines.” - published Feb 28, 2020. Comment:  I find it interesting that storeowners and showroom vendors (retailers and wholesalers) are concerned that the outcome to the election may impact their businesses.  As said in the post, all they can do is hope for the best.

Other Businesses
"The coronavirus has had a broad impact on the tech industry. Microsoft on Wednesday said it did not expect to meet the quarterly revenue guidance it had previously issued due to the outbreak. That same day, Workday canceled its annual internal sales meeting due to coronavirus fears. And Apple last week warned investors that it did not expect to meet its quarterly revenue forecast due to lower iPhone supply and lower Chinese demand as a result of the outbreak.  . . .  Facebook on Thursday announced its decision to cancel its annual F8 software developer conference due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. This is the second conference that Facebook cancels due to the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the company canceled its global marketing summit that was scheduled to take place in San Francisco in March.” 4

"The world economy is now on course for its weakest year since the financial crisis as the coronavirus damages demand in China and beyond, according to analysts at Bank of America Corp. Global growth will slip to 2.8% this year rather than the 3.1% previously predicted, the slowest since 2009, economists led by Ethan Harris said in a report to clients on Thursday. China, where the virus outbreak began, is predicted to grow 5.2%, the worst performance since 1990.” 5  "The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1% in the final quarter of 2019, but damage from the spreading coronavirus is likely depressing growth in the current quarter and for 2020 as a whole.” 6 

Artist Industries
I have not found any articles about Coronavirus impacting the art licensing industry but it does not mean that it is not impacting it.  Delivering products to wholesalers on time for them to send to retailers so that retailers can sell them to consumers is a must.  But because of the effect that Coronavirus is having on manufacturing and importing the products, is difficult to meet deadlines.  Many wholesalers request that the factories that are manufacturing their products first send them samples so they can be Okayed before the products are produced. But, the drop in producing products and delivering shipments from China is affecting wholesalers from receiving the products on time for each season and holiday.  Hopefully this year even with the impact of the Coronavirus the products will arrive on time so that they will be available to be sold to consumers and that artists earn a nice amount of royalties for their art

I have noticed that some wholesalers that license art are requesting that artists submit their art earlier in the year than the wholesalers have requested in previous years.  I assume that it is so that they can have the products produced earlier and that they will be able to met deadlines in sending the products to wholesale companies.  That would allow the companies to sell the products to retailers in an enough time so they would be available to be sold for the different seasons and holidays.

Other art industries are also being impacted by the coronavirus such as the Fashion Industry, Art Institutions, and Movie Studios, etc. "The coronavirus is increasingly having a negative impact on the fashion industry specifically, especially the fall 2020 fashion month season. Reports of the coronavirus hitting Italy coincided with the end of Milan Fashion Week, leading to the cancellation of a number of runway shows and events.  The outbreak has also affected a number of international trade shows. Many fashion and beauty companies are facing financial repercussions due to the virus’ effect on production and consumption, with the following companies projecting decreases in sales.” 7 

And, "With the outbreak of COVID-19, the art industry has also been hit by the epidemic. The major auction houses, art institutions, and artists around the world have taken various measures to cope with the impact of their original work plans.  International auctioneers adjust the auction schedules. Following the announcement of the cancellation of Art Basel in Hong Kong exhibition on February 7, Art Central also announced the cancellation of this year's exhibition.” 8

Also, "Movie theaters have almost entirely closed down in China, which makes up one of the largest percentages of Hollywood's international box office revenue. The financial loss is expected to be in the billions, according to some analysts.  Studios remain on alert. The Walt Disney Company is in a "wait and see" mode for its upcoming releases and will continue to adjust plans as needed, EW has learned. Paramount Pictures recently announced it's "altering production plan" for Mission: Impossible 7, starring Tom Cruise. The film's three-week shoot in Venice, Italy was halted when local officials shut down public gatherings. As of now, at least 650 cases of infection and 17 cases of death have been reported in Italy." 9

The above post mentions quotes from the following articles. I recommend that you read these articles because they contain a lot of interesting and some important information you should be aware of.

 1  "Coronavirus and China's global image” - published Feb 21, 2020

2  "Most U.S. companies in China can't find enough workers as coronavirus rages on” - published Feb 17, 2020

3A  "U.S. Container Ports Seeing Impact of China's Coronavirus Slowdown” - published Feb 27, 2020

3B  "Port of Oakland beginning to see effects of coronavirus on imports from China” - published Feb 26, 2020

4  "Facebook Cancels Annual Developer Conference Amid Coronavirus Outbreak” published Feb 27, 2020

5  "Bank of America Says World Economy Weakest Since 2009” - published Feb 27,2020

6  "U.S. economy grew 2.1% at end of 2019 as virus threatens 2020 outlook” - published Feb 27, 2020

7  "Coronavirus Impact: How the Epidemic Has Impacted the Fashion Industry” - published Feb 27,2020

8 "The impact of the coronavirus epidemic on art institutions” - published Feb 17, 2020

9 "Bond, Mulan, BTS, and more: How coronavirus is hitting Hollywood” - published Feb 28, 2020

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: