Threadless lawsuit

So what is happening with this threadless lawsuit about the three moon cat shirt? Is it gonna impact threadless at all?

Watch this

Probably not,I'd imagine the worst case scenario is they get a take down notice (which is pointless because they arent printing any more right now) and get made to pay the original guy the same amount of money they made from selling the tee's in the first place.

Acording to the article the artist made $14,000, if you minus the $2000 prize that means three moon cat got reprinted 24 times (25 including the initial run)

Each run was probably around 2000 prints, so thats 50,000 tee's, each tee sells at $20 so thats $100,000, but each tee costs around $5 to print which is $25,000 so that brings the total to $75,000.

-$14,000 is $61,000.

Its a hit but even if he demands the full $100,000 Threadless is a multi million dollar company so to quote the social network, at this point its a speeding ticket.


id love to get that speeding ticket...


Ivantobealone profile pic Alumni

Oh FFS! I knew that damn tee was nuthin' but trouble

SuperRyan profile pic Alumni

I haven't seen the Social Network yet. SPOILER ALERT.

jublin profile pic Alumni

yeah i don't think the tee has been printed 25 times. A lot of that money probably came from the bestee stuff. But now i'm wondering how 14k is even possible since bestee winners aren't given money for reprints. (I think)


I didn't know it had won bestee, I kind of stopped paying attention to it, that sort of throws my calculations off a bit, it also got iphone cases printed and I don't know what the prize money is for that.


i don't even think anyone bought that tee, so what's all the hubbub, bub?

sonmi profile pic Alumni

r.i.p. keyboard kat

nathanwpyle at
nathanwpyle at profile pic Alumni

I think that is true, Justin. About the bestee monies. At least that's what I've heard. That's the word on the street. That's what the kids are saying.


It's a parody, I doubt the case will hold.


I think losing reprint money was just for the 101010 thing. It was the 10K winners who wouldn't get reprint money. And it didn't win the actual Bestee, that went to that Toille debacle. I think it won for the month. Oh yeah, I don't think the reprint fee gets paid when they reprint it for Bestee of the Month because you get prize money, but other reprints should count. But isn't 3KCM a "Classic?" I think they're always in print so the payment model is different.

d3d profile pic Alumni

the dude is a desperate asshat. i'm crossing my fingers the whole thing blows up in his face.


SJ, if you win bestee of the month, you don't get any reprint money. EVER.


d3d on Jul 06 '11 at 5:02am the dude is a desperate asshat. i'm crossing my fingers the whole thing blows up in his face.


mullmuggins on Jul 06 '11 at 5:04am SJ, if you win bestee of the month, you don't get any reprint money. EVER.

That's fucked up.

Do they even do Bestee of the Month any more? I kind of lost interest after the Toille debacle. If they do, that's really shabby. They need to fix that.


It is the way of the cat...cuddle....then claw!

SuperRyan profile pic Alumni

If you invented keyboard cat

you would have invented keyboard cat

skindapple Keyboard Cat owner claws Threadless June 30, 2011|Steve Johnson | Tribune reporter In terms of popular Internet culture, it's a war of the titans, waged over a deceased house pet with apparent piano skills. It also raises basic questions about the lines between homage and appropriation, between a mashup and a knockoff.

Charles Schmidt, the Spokane, Wash., man behind the wildly popular Keyboard Cat YouTube videos (and subsequent merchandise), is suing Threadless, the giant, Web-based Chicago T-shirt maker, for allegedly infringing his copyright via a T-shirt that pays tribute to Schmidt's musical feline.

In the lawsuit filed June 21 in Seattle federal court, Schmidt contends that Threadless' 2009 Three Keyboard Cat Moon T-shirt, which is itself hugely popular, violated the copyright he has established for images of his late cat, Fatso, and the phrase "Keyboard Cat."

"This is somebody who is a hard worker, who is a talented artist and who is determined to protect his intellectual property from infringement," said Caitlin Bellum, one of Schmidt's attorneys at the Seattle firm Hendricks & Lewis.

Schmidt, described in the lawsuit as "an established professional actor, video producer, musician and graphic and visual artist," is seeking monetary damages, an injunction to stop selling the T-shirt, a judgment that he owns the copyright, and the impoundment and destruction of all Three Keyboard Cat Moon items at Threadless, which now include iPhone 4 cases as well as the original shirts.

The YouTube footage, first uploaded in 2007, derived from video Schmidt shot of Fatso in 1986, says the lawsuit. The cat died in the late '90s, Schmidt said. The video became popular in 2009.

"How the designers and Threadless define this design doesn't matter," Schmidt said. "You won't see them doing this with Mickey Mouse. And as far as the law goes, there's no difference between Keyboard Cat and Mickey Mouse."

The artist who co-designed the original T-shirt was upfront from the start about the appropriative nature of the design.

"I barely came up with the idea," Shawn Harris told the Tribune in an interview when the shirt was originally released. "It was something of a mashup, really. We just almost played DJ with these things that people loved already on the Internet."

Harris, himself a cat owner (and frontman of bands including The Matches and the new Maniac), said the idea originated with his admiration for Schmidt's Keyboard Cat.

"He kind of exuded this larger-than-life, rock-star quality," Harris said. "It was sad he was confined to such a limited amount of pixels, as portrayed on YouTube."

Harris began wondering whether the cat could be put into a classic rock photo, such as the cover of The Clash's "London Calling" album. "Then I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. These mystical wolves,'" he said.

Also popular at the time was Three Wolf Moon, an originally sincere nature T-shirt featuring wolves baying at the moon that became popular with ironists after comments about the shirt on Amazon, where it was sold, turned into a sort of comedy thread.

People tried to be funny by attributing magical qualities to the shirt or poking fun at its design or those who would wear it without an arched eyebrow. (Sample: "Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.")

Believing the mashup concept he had come up with was a winner, Harris, working with design partner Emilee Seymour, an Australian, used Photoshop brushes on a blank screen to make a digital painting of three cats closely resembling Fatso (who was in freeze-frame on an adjacent screen) alongside a keyboard under a moon a lot like the one the three wolves howled at.

They submitted it to Threadless, where the shirt designs come from outside artists whose work will get printed and offered for sale if it proves sufficiently popular with the Threadless online community. At the time, it was the most popular design the company had yet had, and Threadless rushed it into print to take advantage of the merging of two then-popular memes.

The lawsuit "kind of bums me out to some extent, given the degree to which the (Keyboard Cat) meme was reappropriated at the time and mashed up and kind of became part of Internet popular culture," Harris said Thursday, reached on the phone in Oakland, Calif.

A leading theory in contemporary artistic endeavors, he said, is that "nothing is completely original material, whether it be influenced, directly influenced or completely borrowed. But I can understand somebody protecting their original content. It's an odd gray area where somebody's capitalizing on something that you've taken part in creating."

He said he and his partner have earned about $12,000 to $14,000 from the Three Keyboard Cat Moon design.

Threadless does not comment on pending litigation, Cam Balzer, the company's chief marketing officer, said Thursday in an email.

*i just found this and read it, sorry it's so much. but the craziest part of it for me was that i used to live in Spokane, WA like 8 years ago.


That's an insane amount of money to make off just one t-shirt design any which way...

shirtflirt THIS is why festa left...

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