It's a Disney-esque story that includes cute dogs, a Hollywood starlet and a dastardly case of alleged copyright infringement.
A book entitled "Modern Dog" by Seattle graphic designers Robynn Raye and Michael Strassburger includes sketches of various pooches. They are sketches they say were stolen, put on a t-shirt and sold across the country in Target stores as part of the promotion for the Disney movie, "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure." Because they’re suing Disney and Target in federal court, the team will not discuss the case. Their friend and fellow designer, Terry Marks, however, will.
“I think it’s obvious,” said Marks. “It was just lifted.”
A closer look at the drawings shows striking similarities among almost every dog depicted on the shirt. Some simply appear to have been flipped electronically so that a dog is looking left instead of right.
“They're so vastly similar,” said Marks. “I'm hard pressed to believe this just happens to look like this.”
Raye and Strassburger’s suit has dragged on much longer than they expected. More than a year has passed since the situation was first brought to their attention by a friend who saw the t-shirt on a Target rack. In order to fight the corporate giants, Raye had to sell her house. On her website she says the suit threatens to bankrupt the pair.
“I realize now that we are in it for the long haul,” said Raye. “I cried the day I handed the new owners the keys, but I also felt a sense of relief because I knew that I personally would be able to help my company fight.”
“Just because an entity has more money than another doesn't mean they should win,” Marks added.
Marks says an artist's ideas are all they have. Ideas, and in this case, are a need to bring a moral to the story.
“It's hard to find justice sometimes,” said Marks. “I think they just want to do what they have to in order to pursue what is right.”
While both Disney and Target are named in the suit, the licensee that chose the artwork could ultimately be held liable.
The folks at Modern Dog have been forced to turn to the community to continue their legal battle. To find out more visit their website www.friendsofmoderndog.com.