Escher Intellectual property and Zazzle

I never realized that intellectual property and Escher would be such an issue. I mean, come on, the guy is more than four decades dead. Zazzle has a different view on the matter. No references to the Dutchman on your American Apparel designs.

We all know M.C. Escher, right? The famous Dutch graphic artist who made those wonderful fish and bird tile drawings. And those impossible construction where you loop around like a Moebius ring. Some time ago I saw a T-shirt with an impossible triangle construction, a triangle which you can find on the web in many versions. It reminds people of those impossible Escher drawings, although I’m not even sure he ever made such a triangle. Never mind, Escher doesn’t have a monopoly on impossible constructions.

Fan art

In any case I made my own interpretation, a triangle made of wooden toy blocks. Obviously because the design reminds people so much of this artist, I made references in the text to M.C. Escher. Apparently I shouldn’t have done that, apparently M.C. Escher is some kind of brand name owned by a Dutch company. Zazzle notified me about this “copyright infringement” and removed my products. The image below is from my Spreadshirt store. Notice that all the texts are neutral.

For now I only have the design in my Spreadshirt store, without the Escher name. I removed them from my Cafepress store for practical reasons, editing 200 products is a bit too much. I’ll recreate those products with a neutral text later and see what happens. If I don’t get an “intellectual property and Escher” issue in the coming months, I’ll use the design again in Zazzle. Without any references to Escher.

How commercial is the old Dutch artist? Well do a little search on Amazon and just see how many products are on offer. No wonder that the estate guards the IP closely.

And of course I keep to more save designs, like this tile pattern in ovals. Yes, I saw it on somebody’s denim shoes, but I don’t know their brand name.