Petition to Support Fellow Artists Continued...
posted: November 28, 2008
As of Friday morning November 28, the petition asking the Graphic Artists Guild to withdraw its lawsuit against fellow artists has 501 signatures! Please join the petition and sign up as soon as you can. The GAG has not withdrawn yet and we need to all unite and support our friends. We need to convince GAG that an artists advocacy organization suing fellow artists is just wrong. Please follow this link to see the petition:
Stop the Suit Petition
If you want to add your name to the petition ASAP email  your name to:
Robert Saunders November 28, 2008
Nice artwork, RAG—this is content-rich stuff. 501 is a great-looking number, and as of this comment that number is now past 523 and climbing. I love how your primary colors offset each other, creating a bold palette of primary hues that strikes the eye with a naiif appeal. Your reduction of curvilinear forms to geometric icons is audacious. Great figure/ground ambivalence in the counter of the "0" too. You are a master of understatement! ;-) And if you think this is fun, think how much fun one could have with the figure, "1000"! Let's see how long it takes to get there!
Mark Fisher November 28, 2008
Rag, done.
Steve Brodner November 28, 2008
I'm in. Send in the grown-ups.
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
It is a mystery to me why a petition which demands on behalf of the defendants that they be given the right to lie--regardless of whether or not they have actually done so--has received the favorable response that it has. Surely the signers have not thought through the implications of what their signatures mean. By demanding that the Guild "drop" its suit, the petitioners are saying, "We do not care if, in fact, prominent people claiming to speak for us have lied; we do not care if would-be advocates are truthful or honest; we do not care if their actions have damaged the cause of advocacy for our industry. Our personal attachments to the accused are more important than truth." I could understand a petition which urged the parties to rapidly settle their differences. But to demand that the aggrieved party simply swallow the grievance and walk away, as this petition does, is in no way the "non-partisan" exercise it claims to be. I wonder how many of the signatories would respond to a petition to "drop the suit" and simply walk away if the suit in question were, say, a copyright infringement suit they had brought on behalf of one of their own works. I'm guessing not many would be eager to abandon an infringement suit where they believed they had a case; why would they expect this petition to have any effect? How many of the signatories to this petition know anything at all about the nature of the accusastions--let alone whether or not they are true? Yet, ignorant of whether or not they are true, they are asking that those accused be given a free pass. Frankly, that is more disturbing than the lawsuit itself.
Robert Saunders November 28, 2008
But then, one who is not the target of the lawsuit is not likely to be disturbed by it, is he. Especially if he makes his living by filing lawsuits. If you are the target of a lawsuit, on the other hand, it can be a disruptive, earth-shattering experience that exacts terrible damage to you and those who depend on you. The artists and creatives who have signed the petition have done so because they believe in the cause of the defendants. And because they don't like to see individuals intimidated by capitalized corporate entities. They are each doing their part to level the playing field in the hope of righting a wrong. It's about levelling the playing field.
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
Excuse me, Robert--what is the "cause" you are referring to? The plaintiffs have sued the defendants because they believe they can prove the defendants have defamed them, and that they can prove it. The only "cause" here is the right to lie. Is that really something you want to defend? Yes, a lawsuit is a terrible thing--for both sides. That is why responsible attorneys invariably advise their clients to resolve their differences without going to court, if it is at all possible. The first thing that one is taught in law school is that one should strive one's best to keep one's clients out of court. Since I have not seen the complaint the Guild filed, I cannot comment on the nature of the allegations. I can, however, state confidently that the mere fact the Guild took the step of filing a suit indicates that it believed there remained no other way for the problems it faced to be addressed, precisely because lawsuits are not undertaken lightly.
Robert Saunders November 28, 2008
Good that you acknowledged that a lawsuit is indeed a terrible thing to be slapped with for an individual. I urge every artist to sign this petition ASAP. This affects us all in this business, and if you're an illustrator sitting on the fence consider this: It won't hurt, it's not illegal, and it will help level the playing field so artists cannot be frivolously prosecuted for criticism by an organization that was founded to raise standards for us and protect us.
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
Robert, it is indeed odd that you acknowledge a lawsuit is not lightly embarked upon--yet persist in the entirely fact-free conclusion that this one is somehow "frivolous." What is your evidence for this--aside from the word of the defendants, who of course have a personal interest in claiming so? If nothing else, you explode any claim this petition might have to being "non-partisan"--to the contrary, it clearly a highly partisan effort by the defendants to garner industry support for their right to make statements which need not have any nexus to truth. One has to ask why the defendants are so visibly desperate to have the suit dropped before they are forced to prove the objective truth of their allegedly false statements; one would expect them to welcome the opportunity for vindication if they were confident that their statements stand the test of veracity.
Robert Saunders November 28, 2008
Whatever. Again, to illustrators and others in our industry, if confusion is rendering you unable to act on this issue, go and get it from the horse's mouth. Call or email the Guild and ask them "Why?" Ask them to back it up. Get specifics. Call anyone among the plaintiffs, if indeed they are allowed to talk on this issue...that is, if confusion is rendering you unable to act. Otherwise, the defendants need your support. The more daylight on this issue, the better, for the defendants, and for the rest of us in our profession. We need to keep the heat on this issue.
Zach Trenholm November 28, 2008
I don't just sign anything Daniel. I made a point of visiting both organizations websites & read each of their perspectives on the suit. Becoming a signatory on behalf of the IPA is the right thing to do here.......
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
Zach, people will do what they want to do. I am merely pointing out some aspects of this petition which any truly "non-partisan" effort would welcome.
Brian Stauffer November 28, 2008
Daniel, I'll let your own words speak for you. "Since I have not seen the complaint the Guild filed, I cannot comment on the nature of the allegations. " Yet you do so. You attest that those who sign are doing so without any understanding of the background. I know full well the details of the suit and statements in question. Perhaps if you had done the research that you so disrespectfully assume others have not, your argument would seem a little more balanced than the partisanship it conveys.
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
Brian, There is no "disrespect" on my part in refusing to comment on the nature of allegations which it is up to the parties to prove or disprove in court. That is their affair, not mine. In broad brush, one side alleges that it has been defamed by the other--in other words, that the other side has lied about various and sundry matters. Fine; let them prove it--or let the other side show that it has told the truth. Demanding that defamation be given a pass does no favor to either party to the suit, or to the industry on whose behalf both parties claim to work. Nobody yet has offered a reason why would-be spokespeople should be granted a "right to lie"--but that is what demanding that one side drop its claims amounts to.
Donald Kilpatrick November 28, 2008
Thank you Richard for keeping this important issue on the front burner.
Aaron Strathmore November 28, 2008
One of the great things about this country is that individuals have the RIGHT to criticize large organizations, corporations etc. without fear of reprisal. GAG doesn't stand a chance in the courtroom and they know it. It's therefore apparent that the SOLE reason for this lawsuit is to intimidate and financially cripple the plaintiffs. Even better than signing this petition is to urge EVERY artist/designer to stop feeding the monster that the GAG has become. Aaron Strathmore FORMER GAG member
Aaron Strathmore November 28, 2008
correction above: I of course meant defendants not plaintiffs.
Daniel Abraham November 28, 2008
Aaron Strathmore: The only guarantee the First Amendment provides is against government reprisal for engaging in political speech--and even that has limitations where such things as incitement to riot are concerned. The entire purpose of defamation law is to prevent private individuals--such as the defendants in this case--from being able to purvey falsehoods against other private individuals with impunity. Nobody brings a lawsuit that they do not at least initially believe they can win--so your claim that "there is no way" the Guild can win its suit flies in the face of reality, logic and good sense. If, however, there is truly "no way" the Guild can win its suit, the defendants would not be concerned. Their attempt to make the suit go away via extra-legal pressure--rather than attempting to settle it--shows otherwise.
Leo Espinosa November 28, 2008
"an artists advocacy organization suing fellow artists is just wrong" Thank you, Richard.
Brian Stauffer November 28, 2008
"Nobody brings a lawsuit that they do not at least initially believe they can win" For a seasoned lawyer, that's about the most naive statement yet. They filed a lawsuit, so it must be valid! Please. Of course entities have done this for ages. The problem is that you and I disagree on the merits of their claim. I find it incredibly ironic that you are upset over the expression of an opinion in the form of a signature on a petition.
Brian Stauffer November 28, 2008
"Nobody yet has offered a reason why would-be spokespeople should be granted a "right to lie"--but that is what demanding that one side drop its claims amounts to." That is ridiculous. And again, ironic of you to say.
Alex Murawski November 29, 2008
Wow.... I'm a bit late to the party... but hey... Daniel suggests there is no reason to bring a suit you can't win... INTIMIDATION comes immediately to mind. He states as FACT that to oppose it is to support a lie. Who's really lying here? Which party has a history of protecting it's turf, it's political power and membership base, regardless of consequences and harm to the industry and art form we all devote our lives to. Remember Michael Douglas in Disclosure? "Who has the power here?" This is intimidation pure and simple and we should oppose it as a matter of principle... IMHO.
Steve Brodner November 29, 2008
Daniel: I refer you to this quote; the most perfect, almost Shakespearian moment of Nixon's. "Others may hate you, but they don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself." This Guild is allowing a weakness to turn into self-destructive toxicity. If the Guild is justified in its handling of these funds, it needs to be open, clear and compelling about the truth. That's what we do as artists, by the way. Tell it and tell it plain. Lawsuits are for hardball corporate types who try to crush their opponents with lawyers fees, not the facts. The SYMBOLISM of the Guild suing artists trumps everything.
David Flaherty November 29, 2008
I have to agree that lawsuits are often used to intimidate people into shutting up. I think Daniel understands this. If the guild goes through with this lawsuit against individual illustrators, it will ruin it's credibility forever with illustrators. The end result will not bode well for the organization. We are a small pond of artists. I think this should be settled as quickly as possible out of court.
Robert Saunders November 29, 2008
And may I again issue a reminder that we keep the heat on this topic and continue to accumulate petition signatures until the Guild withdraws this lawsuit—not a moment sooner—and confronts the IPA on equal footing in a forum of mutual choosing to address their grievances. So to all illustrators and creatives who haven't already done so, please sign the petition supporting your colleagues and preventing gag orders from becoming the norm in our profession. Thanks.
Marc November 29, 2008
There's an old saying: "You're your own worst enemy." Condescending posts that treat artists like children, and lawsuits against individual artists for expressing themselves, are two of the fastest ways I can imagine to alienate the constituency of an organization which purports to be an "advocate for artists". I have to ask myself whether people that exhibit this sort of judgment should be representing my interests in any capacity, and or that I'm alone in that thinking.
Kyle T. Webster November 29, 2008
Thanks, Richard for keeping this issue front and center. I have forwarded the petition link to all the illustrators, designers and photographers I know, in the hopes that they, too, will sign. I was threatened with a lawsuit this year because I drew an "unflattering" portrait of a public figure (who happened to also be an attorney...) for a Florida newspaper. Was I intimidated? Absolutely- my wife can attest to the fact that I couldn't sleep for days for fear that our family would be financially ruined. The paper came to the rescue and claimed full responsibility, of course, since they hired me, etc. - but my point in recounting this incident is simply to confirm that the mere threat of a lawsuit is enough to scare most people of modest means into running for the hills. Not good. Shame on the GAG - settling out of court is the obvious solution here.
Dan Z November 29, 2008
What is are the statements that GAG has claimed that the IPA has said? Does anyone have a link to more information?
Daniel Abraham November 29, 2008
Some very interesting responses. Brian Stauffer suggests that I have said that the Guild's suit must be valid because they have filed it. Of course, I have said nothing of the kind; I haven't commented at all on the merits of the suit. I have, in fact, specifically refused to comment on the merits of the suit because the merits are not the issue, as far as the petition is concerned. The petition is in no way concerned with the suit's merits, any more than my comments are; it is asking that the suit be dropped, regardless of its merits--i.e., regardless of the truth of the allegations--simply "because." Saying that nobody brings a suit that they do not at least initially believe they can win is not the same thing at all as commenting on the merits of the suit itself. Marc seems determined to find offense in language that is studiedly neutral. What he thinks "treats artists like children" remains a mystery, since he does not say. Suggesting that the signatories to this petition give consideration to what their signatures are actually endorsing, as I have here, treats artists like adults. Steve Brodner touches on the merits of the suit when he says, "If the Guild is justified in its handling of these funds, it needs to be open, clear and compelling about the truth." Once again, I have avoided discussing the actual substance of the suit because the petition itself is not concerned with them. It is, however, my understanding that the defendants' ongoing refusal to accept any number of statements the Guild has made on this topic is precisely what gave rise to the suit in the first place; the Guild is seeking objective confirmation that the defendants' statements at issue are not true. If indeed the defendants are confident of the truth of the statements in question, it is odd indeed that they should feel it necessary to seek collateral support independent of the merits of the suit--one would expect them rather to welcome the opportunity for vindication.
Gary Taxali November 29, 2008
This whole thing raises questions for me. Who EXACTLY is running the Graphic Artists Guild now? Does the GAG board support this action? Who is on GAG’s board? Would somebody post their names? If they DO support the lawsuit, I have a question for them. How can the IPA defendants retract statements if the statements were made by GAG officers and the defendants merely read them verbatim? What kind of retraction would that be and how would it be meaningful? How can anyone retract someone else’s public statements and have it mean anything? And if GAG’s board members do NOT support the lawsuit, do they have any leverage over GAG’s officers? Where are the spokespeople for the Guild and who is writing their public statements? How can anyone call this petition partisan when it was drafted by former officers of the Guild and supported by many former Guild members? Where are the Guild’s officers getting the money to finance the lawsuit? Are they using reprographic money? Is this lawsuit supported by Guild members or is it a group of 2 or more individuals who are using the Guild for their own purposes? If so, is there any way Guild members can take back control of GAG? How would we know? Gary Taxali
Daniel Abraham November 29, 2008
Alex: Sorry not to have responded to your post in my message above. Yes, being the object of a lawsuit can be intimidating--but if a suit without merit is filed purely for purposes of intimidation, it peters out very quickly, and there are usually attendant sanctions from the court. The courts are much too busy to look kindly upon frivolous lawsuits--indeed, they frequently pressure litigants pursuing cases of unquestioned merit to settle in order to clear the calendar. The leap of assumption--made, apparently, by many people--that this suit is merely "for intimidation" is disturbing in that it presumes that the defendants did not, in fact, do what they are accused of doing. I have given the defendants the benefit of the doubt in order to discuss this objectively--but clearly the plaintiff believes it's got the goods. It is disturbing to think that the defendants might have engaged in a systematic pattern of lies, but it is more disturbing to see that so many artists are less concerned with the possibility that people speaking in their name have lied than to see that the defendants get a pass for doing so regardless of whether they did or not. I agree that a suit by one organization against another is unpleasant. But I see no merit whatever in demanding that one organization be given a right to lie about the other with impunity, which is what the petition demands.
Robert Saunders November 30, 2008
Me again, sorry. One thing: As this is a case in progress, key parties are under rules to limit their speech, and information gathering and case preparation are going forward. A party posting on this thread could be acting on behalf of a litigant and later be called as a witness. So let's be judicious about what we say, not respond to baiting or fishing, nor name-call or accuse, just keep it positive, focussed on getting signatures for the petition. That's the purpose of this thread. Thanks. The number of signatures is now approaching 600 and shows no sign of slowing down. I feel a little like National Public Radio around fundraising time. What would we need to do to get you non-signers to sign? Remember, the defendants are being held _individually liable_ for one fifth of a million dollars. That could lose your house, your retirement, your savings...or simply bankrupt you. Three of the defendants are illustrators, like us. No deep pockets there.