His Galaxy Wolf artwork was constantly being stolen. So he sued and bought the house

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“After every store I cleared out, there would suddenly be 10 more stores,” says Jodik. “I almost wanted to give up my art, because I was so frustrated that people would take my work and profit from it, and I wouldn’t get anything from it.”

Widespread popularity of where light and darkness meet Compounding this feeling is the fact that it is unclear where Zodiac should start. “Where the infringing use is widespread, it may not be possible to pursue every single infringement,” says Ezifula. “Particularly if outside the artist’s home jurisdiction, nor may it be appropriate where the damages are minimal.”

However, the damage is often greater – reducing artists’ income and weakening their brand, making them more difficult for potential customers to access. People often feel entitled to the artwork they find online, and artists are met with hostility when they try to assert ownership. Yet, it was this entitlement that broke the dam for Zodicay and created a path for her to fight back.

In 2020, Jodiac A lucky break of sorts came when Aaron Carter, the brother of pop singer and Backstreet Boys star Nick, used one of the artist’s other pieces, titled Fraternitieson Twitter to promote his clothing line (now X). The image, similar to Zodiac’s Galaxy Wolf, shows two lions clashing, one white and one black, while their manes are twisted into a heart shape. A frustrated Zodiac called out Carter on Twitter. Demands for credit and or removal are often met with silence. On this occasion Zodiac received a response:

According to an August 2020 court filing, Carter reposted Zodiac’s tweet, writing, “You should have taken this as a compliment, one of my fans sent this to me.” “Oh they started again, the answer is no, this image has been made public and I’m using it to promote my clothing line… I guess I’ll see you in small claims court.”

For the first time, Zodiac had options thanks to Carter’s response. The public nature of this exchange caused IP lawyers to line up to represent him, and, after seeing others make money off his art, Zodiac informed Carter of his threat.

After a year of court proceedings in the U.S. District Court in Central California, Zodiac said he received a settlement in at least five figures for infringement of his copyright. It was a revelatory moment. “I had never really received any kind of justice,” Zodiac said. “It really inspired me to seek further legal advice and see if I could do something against all the art theft.” (Carter died in 2022.)

This was a breach that would have been immediately identifiable to the infringer. Combatting the widespread sale of his work on a variety of goods would be a much more challenging task. However, his win against Carter brought him to the attention of UK-based Edwin James IP. The firm approached Zodiac to offer its resources, particularly its expertise in stopping counterfeiters from domains where copyright law is more lax, such as China.

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