When You Find Out Your Copyrights & Trademark Have NO Meaning
Fact: Late 2020 I became aware of a website and retail establishment in Texas, named artmix, that was selling Michel Keck dog art kits on their website for profit without my permission. These kits contained unauthorized use of my registered trademark and unauthorized use of six of my registered copyrighted dog collages. Fact: As soon as I was made aware of art kits being sold in my trademark name, for their own profit and without my permission, I contacted one of the law firms that takes infringement cases on my behalf. The attorney I contacted agreed with me that what was happening with the sale of these kits in my name without my permission was indeed infringing on my copyrights and trademark.
Fact: I did not know that the owner of the Artmix website/business was owned by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Jacqueline Keneally. My attorneys that took the case for me have told me that they were never aware that the owner of Artmix was Nancy Pelosi’s daughter. I had to find this information out on my own, and I did so through a simple Google search in under 1 minutes time, after finally being made aware of the owners name through paperwork given to me near the end of the case.
Fact: Michel Keck® is a registered trademark with the USPTO, and has been for several years.
Fact: I have registered over 800 hundred of my original paintings, drawings and collage works with the United States Copyright Office. This is a very costly expense for an artist. I spent my hard-earned money on legally registering over 800 of my artworks so that I would receive extra legal protection under the law for doing so. The only reason I pay the U.S. Copyright Office to register my copyrights is so I can legally protect myself from this exact type of situation from happening to me.
Fact: The only items included in the cardboard box were colored copies of six of my registered dog collage artworks with the title Michel Keck pets, and some extremely cheap art supplies; small cut up pieces of paper, some paper with some patterns on it, some tiny cups of paint that had spilled out inside the bag that was holding them, a sponge brush, a tiny cup of glue, pencil and some inexpensive and tiny paintbrushes.
Fact: The Michel Keck art kits were being sold for $40 each on the Artmix website. Again, this company never asked contacted me to ask if they could use my copyrighted images/registered trademark to attach to a product they created to sell on their website for profit.
Fact: Many art school teachers, in classrooms all around the world, have reached out to me to ask if they could teach their students about me and my artwork in their school’s classrooms. I have responded to all who have contacted me and granted each of them permission to do so because all of them were doing so in real classrooms, face to face with their students, not in a commercial setting and not for profit.
Fact: I have not personally found any information anywhere online or offline where fair use was applied to any situations where the (‘educational’) product was being sold commercially, for profit outside of a classroom setting without the permission of the copyright holder. I have however found much information about fair use, regarding educational purposes, applying to in a classroom setting when not for profit.
Fact: The information I have personally found regarding fair use for educational purposes has still stressed the fact that permission still needed to be obtained from the copyright holder when using copyrighted/trademark material even in a not-for-profit educational classroom setting.
Fact: Ignorantia juris non excusat is described as the following; In law, ignorantia juris non excusat, or ignorantia legis neminem excusat, is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely by being unaware of its content.
FACT: I asked my attorneys to counteroffer to settle this case for $40k, an extremely reasonable amount for what can be legally argued willful trademark and copyright infringement. We have proof of this. Any outrageous comments being made other than this are absolute false statements.
Fact: Several attorneys I’ve personally spoken with, a few I am personal friends with, have all stated that in their opinions, what has happened in this case should not have been ruled as fair use, and that this case needs to be appealed.
Fact: Several attorneys have offered to appeal this case for me because they believe this was an unjust ruling.
Fact: Several comments made in the final ruling are blatantly false. Several statements made throughout this case were blatantly false.
Fact: I was not in the courtroom during any meeting on this case.
Fact: I am not provided with any transcripts of any discussions that took place on my behalf or the defendants behalf so that I can know word for word what was said and by whom about any point in this case.
Fact: Every artist, art teacher and art professor I have personally spoke to on this issue holds the personal opinion that the copyrights and trademark infringement that took place in this case were willful and that fair use should never have been applied to this case. All agree a fair use ruling in this case was not only a bad ruling, but one that harms every artist.
Fact: I was offered an amount to settle this case that I believed was very unreasonable. I asked my attorneys to counter in writing at a higher amount, that was in the opinion of many, extremely reasonable, but that did not happen.
Fact: No agreement was ever reached because we could not come to agreement on another term inside of the agreement separate of dollar amount. The defendant’s attorneys said since I would not agree with their offer they would pull the offer from the table. I said this was 100% fine by me.
Fact: A judge issued that I must pay $102,569.72 to Jacqueline Kenneally for her attorney fees. The judge ruled that Jacqueline Kenneally could use my copyrighted images and my trademark name in a product that she was selling on her website without my permission because it falls under the law ‘fair use’
Fact: The framework for determining whether something is a fair use is described in full detail on the US copyright website at the link below. For those curious in learning more about fair use, you can read the four determining factors of fair use as set by the U.S. Copyright Office at the following link.
Fact: The Defendant’s attorneys did not claim fair use until after discovery was over. Fair use was not used as a defense from the onset.
Fact: If I do not appeal this case this ruling will stand and it sets a very unfavorable precedent for all U.S. artists.
Fact: I live in the United States of America and my opinions are protected by my First Amendment Rights.
Fact: I am not a fan of liars.
Fact: I take the defamation of my character & business very seriously.
Fact: I will no longer list my original paintings and collage works on the internet specifically because what has happened to me with this case.
Fact: I no longer have any faith in our judicial system.
Fact: My mother, husband and I made a phone call to the U.S. copyright office, and while on speaker, I asked the U.S. Copyright representative if it would be legal for me to do exactly what happened to me in this case. Her response was quite comical. Her voice sounded as if she thought I had lost my mind. She said well, you could be sued and went on to say she discouraged it but ultimately I am going to make my own decisions.
Fact: If you are a reporter contacting the attorneys who filed this case on my behalf with any questions please be aware I have not given anyone permission to speak on my behalf, please speak to me directly if you have questions for me.
It is my pure opinion, and belief that the judge made a horrible ruling that causes damages to all artists in the U.S..
It is my pure opinion that there is a justice system for the powerful and wealthy, and one for the rest of us.
From all that I have read, researched, and understand about copyright and trademark infringement, it is my pure opinion and true belief that the copyright and trademark infringements that took place in this case; with the unauthorized use of my copyrighted images and registered trademark for commercial purposes, without my permission, should have absolutely been considered willful infringements, and never considered fair use.
Michel Keck ® is a registered trademark and I do not give anyone permission to sell art kits/courses/classes or any product with my trademark or copyrights for their own profit, without my permission, ever. Every single work of art I created holds a copyright to which I am the owner. A great majority of my artworks are officially registered with the U.S. copyright office. I take the protection of my copyrights and trademark very seriously and if you think that you can do what this person did to me legally, because a judge made an extremely poor ruling, I promise you that I will take legal action against you. Feel free to try me.