My hiatus....

My hiatus....

I've had a few wonderful collectors reach out to me over the past few months to ask me if I have stopped creating, if I stopped my newsletter, if I am on a "hiatus", etc.

The fact is I am on a hiatus and this hiatus isn't about abandoning my passion for art; rather, it's a deliberate pause from witnessing corporations, art publishers, and so-called artists exploit my registered works and trademark for their gain. It's about stepping back from a reality where my business faces repeated blows, and where the justice system often fails to protect creators like me.

For too long, I've seen my hard work and creativity used without consent or compensation, undermining the integrity of what I've meticulously crafted. It's disheartening to navigate an environment where profit far too often trumps principles, and where the rights of artists are too easily disregarded.   I've had attorneys promise to help me with "all my cases" as soon as my 'large cases' with them were completed, only to have those 'large cases' come to an end and then never get the help desperately needed on all of the 'small' infringement cases.  I've watched artists lose everything they worked for because law firms wouldn't assist them because in their firm wouldn't make enough money helping them.  All of it has left a very sour taste in my mouth, and I was never a fan of the 'art world' to begin with.  

This pause is not just a break from creating art; it's a stance against the systemic issues that plague our industry. It's a moment for me to reassess how I navigate these challenges, to seek avenues for change, and to advocate for stronger protections for artists' rights. Honestly, it's also a time for me to speak out on what I personally believe to be bias in the U.S. courtrooms.  The great majority of U.S. judges do not take intellectual property rights seriously when the plaintiff isn't a huge corporation, and that is unjust. Intellectual property rights must be protected consistently, whether for individual artists or massive corporations. The law should be applied equally to all, without discrimination based on the size or status of the plaintiff.

There was a studio in Texas that was selling art kits under the name "Michel Keck," using my registered trademark and copyrighted material without my permission, purely for profit. I took legal action against them. What I didn't initially realize was that the studio was owned by Nancy Pelosi's daughter. The judge overseeing the case, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, ruled that this unauthorized use constituted 'fair use.' To add insult to injury, he ordered me to pay her attorney fees, totaling over $100,000. 

Here's the kicker: when I asked my attorneys how this ruling could possibly stand, and if it meant that I could start selling 'Disney art kits' using Disney trademarks and characters under the same 'fair use' principle, every single one of my attorneys that I spoke with on this issue vehemently advised against it, stressing the certainty of me facing lawsuits. So, spare me the nonsense about there being no bias in the courtroom. It is my absolute opinion that the involvement of Nancy Pelosi's daughter clearly influenced both the judge's decision and the absurd order for me to pay her legal fees.  Oh but wait.. I can't speak about 'bias' in the courtroom because that doesn't exist.. hmmm. 

So during this time, I'm focusing on reclaiming my creative energy through different outlets that aren't as vulnerable to exploitation, and fortifying my resolve. It's about finding ways to safeguard my works, to educate others on the importance of respecting intellectual property, and to contribute to a dialogue that pushes for fair treatment of artists in our society.

I've appealed the 'fair use' ruling, and oral arguments have been approved and given a date. I remain hopeful that justice will prevail. Allowing the fair use ruling to stand would greatly and permanently harm all creators.  I am not okay with that.

I appreciate the support from everyone during this challenging time. If you find yourself passing through Wheatfield, Indiana, feel free to schedule a studio appointment. I've been focusing on creating glitz & glam garden artworks and one-of-a-kind jewelry, and I'd love to share them with you.

xoxo

Michel 

 

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