Monday, April 30, 2007

Café Press at Last!

Gates of Vienna Marketplace

The Gates of Vienna section of Café Press is finally up. The Baron hasn’t included everything yet; right now it’s ceramic coffee mugs and a large variety of T-shirts. I had no idea one could find so many different textures, styles, and prices.

Later on, buttons, magnets and bumper stickers will be added to the selection. However, I wouldn’t recommend bumper advertising if you live in a Blue neighborhood. Don’t forget all that name-calling and fussy foot-stomping James Wolcott is subject to.

I want pencils eventually, too, but I’m not sure Café Press offers those. They probably don’t offer ashtrays, either - apologies to our Danish friends, who smoke like chimneys. Wouldn’t it be cool to have cigarette lighters?

You can see what’s on offer here. We have kept it to the lowest mark-up they allow.

Holger Danske merchandise will shortly be available also. You can scare everyone with his evil eye. In addition, there are plans for Islamophobic items of various sorts, so we can keep our JOOOish reputation intact.

Hey, Israeli T-shirts would be way cool. I’d even buy one, in reparation for those marauding Crusaders. I’ll apply the Baron’s mind to the subject...

Stay tuned.

[That’s all, folks.]


Unknown said...

Congratulations! We're looking forward to seeing what that creative mind of yours develops. I hope you're open to ideas from the masses. I've got several I might send your way.

Just keep one thing in mind. Attacking bomb-toting Jihadists, Shaira-law-loving liberals, and the cheese-eating surrender monkeys is fine. But do not dare mention Tolkien on a CafePress T-shirt. Doubt me? Next time you're at CafePress do a subject search for "Tolkien." It should come up nil. The reason is Saul Zaentz. Yes, that's the Saul Zaentz who's perhaps the most hated man in the entertainment business--no mean accomplishment. Here's what Wikipedia says about him:

Fantasy Records owns the distribution and publishing rights to the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Zaentz had a long-running dispute about this with former CCR singer/songwriter Fogerty. The songs, "Zanz Kant Danz", "The Old Man Down the Road", and "Mr. Greed" from Fogerty's album Centerfield are thinly veiled slams at Zaentz.

A series of lawsuits began between Fogerty and Zaentz, Zaentz claiming defamation of character for the lyric "Zanz can't dance but he'll steal your money", and also claiming that the fundamental music in "The Old Man Down the Road" was a lift from the Fantasy-copyrighted-but-Fogerty-written song "Run Through the Jungle" from CCR's smash 1970 album Cosmo's Factory. Zaentz won on the defamation issue, forcing Warner Bros. and Fogerty to change the title and lyric to "Vanz Can't Dance", but lost on the copyright issue. The judge found that an artist cannot plagiarize himself. Fogerty in turn claimed the label misled him about investing and managing his earnings from royalties, resulting in a devastating financial loss. Years later, when Zaentz sold his interest in Fantasy, Fogerty almost immediately re-signed with the label.

Alas, this same Zaentz owns the novelity rights to Tolkien, which includes T-shirts and similar CafePress items. I've read that he also picked up some $200 million from the LOTR films, so he's not being mean because he's hurting for money. He's mean cause he's mean. You can read about another of his victims at:

A couple of weeks ago, if you'd searched for "Tolkien" on CafePress you'd have hit on a T-shirt of mine prominently featuring my book-length Lord of the Rings chronology, Untangling Tolkien. It's been there since Christimas. Apparently in April the San Francisco lawyers for Zaentz awoke from their slumbers, decided they needed to bill some hours, and discovered my little T-shirt. Oh the horror!

When IP lawyers don't know what else to do, they beat on their chests, hurl excrement in all directions, and send out nastly cease and desist letters. CafePress what must have gotten one. They put that particular shirt (I have another) off-line and told me they'd been contacted by a law firm they named. And although CafePress has been friendly enough with me since, it's afraid to send me the letter. They do not have the cash or inclination to fight this themselves, in what's known in the trade as "Publish and be damned." Nor do I expect them to do so. This isn't their fight.

Since I've not heard a peep from them, I suspect these lawyers know they don't have a legal leg to stand on, that I'm on the sunny side of legal. With the hubris common to overpaid lawyers dealing with non-lawyers, they think that frightening CafePress is all they have to do. We will see about that.

MORAL: Keep in mind that CafePress can't afford to go to bat for you legally and probably not in other ways. A nasty letter from a lawyer or an anonymous one from the "we know where to find your children" sort--they're not all that different--could cause them to yank your stuff off-line. That's no a reason to go wobbly, as Thatcher put it, but it is something to keep in mind.

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

Dymphna said...

Hmmm...I wonder if this means CAIR will come after us for our Islamophobia button.

Probably. They have to spend those millions from the Saud tribe somehow.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

The text (the most important part) is missing from the shirts in the pix on the cafe press page.

Baron Bodissey said...

Mr. Smarter --

Since the text is on the back, you have to view the individual shirt to see it.

Except for the "value shirt", which doesn't allow printing on the back for some reason.