Selling Products with Japan Cartoon Image is Easily be Involved in Infringement
Because selling the T-shirt with Pikachu, a famous animated character, Australian web art platform Redbubble was fined $ 1 to Pokemon as compensation.
Redbubble allows artists to sell their own products (clothes, etc.) on their platform. Many artists upload their own designed cartoon images on the site, and popular Pikachu image is also included in them.
But when Pokemon found the T-shirt with Pikachu is sold on the site, the company filed a lawsuit against Redbubble for infringment and demanded that Redbubble pay more than $ 40,000 as compensation.
On December 19 (Tuesday), the federal court sentenced the Pokemon was the winner and Redbubble had to pay Pokemon only $ 1 in damages. The judge explained that because the Pokemon officials did not sell those designs, there was no royalties involved.
Justice Pagone said: "The design of many products that Redbubble sells adapt image-blending techniques such as combine Pikachu and Homer Simpson, and the evidence available is not enough to prove that Pokemon has really suffered so much loss. "
Judge Pagone also said Redbubble's business model allows artists to upload and sell all kinds of design work, and copyright infringement is unavoidable. "
Redbubble usually looks at their accounts after the artist product in their platform is purchased, to see if there are any infringement of intellectual property rights.
"The Redbubble business model inherently has the risk of copyright infringement," Judge Pagone said. "Although Redbubble has a business base to manage and address potential infringement issues, the platform itself empowers infringement."
In this case, apart from Pikachu, other popular cartoon characters are involved, such as Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Jigglypuff and Mewtoo among them.
Redbubble grew rapidly after it was founded in Melbourne in 2006 and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2016. The company currently has offices in San Francisco with revenues of $ 115 million in 2016. The court asked Redbubble to make a copyright infringement statement and face a hearing on the cost of litigation later on.