Designer Todd Goldman Accused of Rampant Plagiarism

We’ve been seeing this story popping up here and there and weren’t sure if it was really a consumer issue, but after it showed up on BoingBoing again today we decided that there were just too many examples to ignore.

Todd Goldman, (of David and Goliath tees ) the “designer” responsible for those “attitude” T-shirts that feature crude drawings with slogans such as “Boys are dumb throw rocks at them,” has been accused of selling slightly modified tracings of another artist’s cartoon. Sadly for Todd, lots of his “designs” are starting to look… familiar. Todd’s lawyers are currently negotiating with the artist he ripped off (above) and there’s been some apologizing and what not. Still…

This is really a “let the buyer decide” sort of issue, so we’ll just link a bunch of examples so you can, you know, rock that whole caveat emptor thing. —MEGHANN MARCO

A bunch of examples [LiveJournal]
Blog about art swipes [BoingBoing]
T-shirt makes fun of Todd Goldman [BoingBoing]
Todd Goldman’s lawyers sending nastygrams [BoingBoing]
Todd Goldman loves Threadless T-shirt designs [BoingBoing]
Original Something Awful Thread [Something Awful]

UPDATE: Another link from our sexy commenters!

More Examples [mike tyndall]

Comments

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  1. Coder4Life says:

    Couldn’t look anymore like plagarism. Wow that is rediculous..

    how long did he think he would get away with this?

    Royalty fees here they comeee..

  2. Wasn’t the “I Bring Nothing to the Table” shirt originally a T-Shirt Hell shirt?

  3. dbeahn says:

    Todd is really a jackass. From http://www.penny-arcade.com/ :

    “You might remember Tycho mentioning Todd Goldman and a story about him stealing some artwork from a web cartoonist. We covered it in a comic and a post and our point of view was essentially “yeah it sucks but you can’t sue the guy for being a douche bag.” I would have left it at that except, well the latest development in the whole ordeal is actually super funny. It’s important to point out that Todd’s initial response to the article about his thievery was to call Dave Kelly a Pedophile. I’m not joking here he actually said “Here’s my inspiration! Every month I paint the works of a pedophile.” The letter goes on and it’s obvious that he’s just being a smart ass and blowing the whole thing off. Honestly I chuckled at the letter when I read it because (being a professional asshole myself) I thought it was a funny way to respond to the accusations. However, if you call someone a pedophile in a public forum you can’t turn around a few weeks later and threaten to sue that same forum for slander.

    Todd’s lawyers sent Fleen a mail last week that threatened legal action if they didn’t pull down all the stuff about Todd. The letter actually said “We have acquired articles posted on your website which contain defaming, derogatory and malicious statements about Mr. Goldman.” Yeah no shit, the guy is a thief what the hell do you expect.

    This sort of legal bulldogging is especially lame after Todd’s initial reaction to the story. If you want to play the arrogant asshole and call people pedophiles I respect that. I really do. I’ve been overcompensating for my low self esteem by calling people names for twenty years. I know how it works and the only rule is if you can’t take it, don’t fucking dish it out. “

    I think that sums up Todd nicely.

  4. BillyShears says:

    I’ve seen outright, unequivocal allegations of plagiarism in much more vague cases. This is just blatant, and I’m only looking at the example you posted. As a (more or less, long story) art major, this really infuriates me; having your work stolen by someone else who them profits from it is a real (figurative) punch to the face. He should rot along with his company.

  5. alicetheowl says:

    Yeah, I caught this when it was just a few enraged webcomic artists trying to figure out what to do about this. Apparently Roman Dirge (most-known for his Lenore comics) noticed that “Eve L.” looked awfully familiar several years ago, and contacted Goldman, only to get a letter back from his lawyers telling him to back off.

    I really hope that the collective whose work was stolen gets him on this.

  6. MonkeyMonk says:

    I don’t condone what Goldman did but what is the actual legality of “copying” someone else’s artwork since, if I’m interpreted the law correctly, you can’t copyright the concept just the actual lines used to express the concept?

    Is the issue here that Goldman “traced” the image or just that it looks so damn similar?

  7. mac-phisto says:

    penny arcade rocks. those guys don’t put up with crap from anybody.

  8. cindel25 says:

    He ripped Schoolhouse Rock! Bastard must die….

  9. joopiter says:

    I’ve been following this since Boing Boing first started posting stuff about it. I just took a look at the David & Goliath site and the first thing that struck me is that the “Skully” sleepwear looks an awful lot like the “Death Wears a Cute Bow” t-shirts that have been sold on http://www.glarkware.com for a while.

    Wonder who came first?

  10. dbeahn says:

    @MonkeyMonk: Well, let’s put it this way: Verizon took exception to Vonage copying their “concept” for VoIP. The courts agreed that copying someone else’s concept was not OK.

    Try copying Mickey Mouse and see if they don’t sue you out of business lol

  11. thejbs says:

    charlene@davidandgoliathtees.com

    is looking for a “Production Art Manager”. maybe someone can explain to her what it means to steal other’s creative work.

  12. thejbs says:

    or even better – from their website:

    “If you want to write Todd with suggestions or ideas, or just to call him a jerk, his email is todd@davidandgoliathtees.com

  13. ohayorisa says:

    Penny Arcade also has put up comparisons of Threadless Designs to those of David and Goliath in today’s blog. One or two designs could be coincidence, but it looks like he copied their catalogue!

  14. ShadowFalls says:

    Well, that is not the only example that is available to be seen, his are similarities and in some cases complete replicas of either pictures and/or text. His responses show his guilt, he thinks he is more important than everyone and so decides to ignore them. So, in short, support the artists and not the thieves. Don’t buy his shirts and he will suffer the consequences. Lets see him try ignoring the bank when they want payment on their mortgage.

  15. not_seth_brundle says:

    @MonkeyMonk: Of course images are copyrighted. They don’t call it the Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension Act for nothing.

  16. creamyhorror says:

    The most comprehensive page detailing the unusual similarities of Todd Goldman’s designs with various other sources is http://www.miketyndall.com/todd_goldman – it includes the most recent discoveries by the public, including what appears to be the partial source of Goldman’s most well-known artwork, “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them”. I’d suggest it be linked to in the main post as it’s the most condensed, factual page concerning Todd Goldman’s “art”.

  17. Pyrthas says:

    I’m surprised this hasn’t been posted yet. It’s by far the most comprehensive collection of images. It’s a little slow because it’s been bombarded with traffic lately, but it’s still the best (and most up-to-date) place to look.

    Also, he copied an image of Bambi. I don’t think that this has made it up to the site I linked above yet.

  18. BillyShears says:

    It kind of reminds me of that Wizard of Oz episode of Futurama:

    We represent – but are legally distinct – from The Lollypop Guild, The Lollypop Guild, The Lollypop Guild…

    I doubt that song will work for Goldman, though. The lines that define parody are very clear.

  19. superlayne says:

    This guy makes me angry. Really.

    I e-mailed the Happy Bunny guy. He’s looking into it.

  20. The Bigger Unit says:

    Go to YouTube and search for “joe rogan carlos mencia”. Rogan almost gets to the point of fighting Mencia on stage for ripping off TONS of comedian’s acts. Plagiarism seems to rampant lately…I wonder if Todd and Carlos are buddies. They’d get along great.

  21. Adept says:

    @Pyrthas: I think you meant to post http://www.miketyndall.com/todd_goldman/ and not the SA link (which was included in the summary). Tyndall’s site is a very good comprehensive summary but it’s also been getting hammered (it hit /. yesterday).

  22. Adept says:

    Oops, I stand corrected, didn’t notice the clickable “this” before the Bambi link.

  23. ivieso says:

    I plagiarize at my first class at college. Not only me, but most the class. The profesor told the whole class, DONT DO IT and made a morning lecture on it. On the next paper, most people did it again and he made another comment. Third time around, there were still some people doing it and he said this time he is gonna mark down the paper that does it again. OK fourth time around, he said there was less people plagiarizing, but he never marked down anyone. He made a comment on plagiarism everytime a paper returned to us. Probably because my half-ass classmates still kept doing it. I think Todd Goldman was in my class. I wonder what college he went too.

  24. pestie says:

    @dbeahn: That was a patent dispute, not a copyright dispute.

  25. velocipenguin says:

    @ivieso:

    You must go to a really shitty college. Getting caught plagiarizing at my school results in an automatic F in the course. A second offense results in expulsion.

  26. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @creamyhorror:
    @Pyrthas:

    That link is brutally damning. I can’t believe what a rip-off artist this Goldman guy is. I’ve never heard of him or any of the other artists on that page before today, but I nearly felt sick after looking through all the examples there.

  27. RandyRhythm says:

    My girlfriend was the one who took the picture of the Schmorky rip-off at a gallery in LA and emailed both Todd and Dave kelly(Schmorky) about it. There are many other prints by him for sale at this gallery. It’s at the Grove @ fairfax. Right next to the farmers market.

    Todd Goldman also deleted her myspace account and many others who were part of the “Anti-Todd Goldman” group.

  28. Art Vandelay says:

    It’s long, but I suggest the SA link for the best coverage of the story. That’s where it broke, and it continues to be the best place to view all the comparisons and emails from Todd.

  29. RandyRhythm says:

    shmorky* not schmorky.

  30. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @Art Vandelay:
    I’d be happy to peruse that thread, except you can’t view anything other than the first page unless you are a member, which apparently costs $9.95. I’m not that interested in reading it.

  31. PollyQ says:

    This is really a “let the buyer decide” sort of issue, so we’ll just link a bunch of examples so you can, you know, rock that whole caveat emptor thing.

    Really? This looks a lot like a legal issue from where I’m sitting. If I lifted entire articles from your site & posted them on my blog as my work, would you ask your readers to make the call, or would you be making the call… to your lawyers?

    Of course, you’re certainly not obliged to take sides in the dispute, but it seems like a strange attitude to take.

  32. RandyRhythm says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    I’m not a member and I have been able to read the whole thread.

  33. laughingdove says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I’m not a registered goon either but have been reading from day one. I read the forums quite regularly. You just can’t post if not registered.

  34. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @laughingdove: @RandyRhythm:

    Whoops, I was trying to rate the thread at the bottom (1-5), thinking those were the page listings. And it wouldn’t let me do that. Silly me. Thanks for making me take another look at it.

  35. melman242 says:

    “Really? This looks a lot like a legal issue from where I’m sitting . . . you’re certainly not obliged to take sides in the dispute, but it seems like a strange attitude to take.”

    It’s not a strange attitude for those who know Todd has been attempting to silence his critics and anyone exposing his plagiarism by having his lawyer send Cease & Desist letters to anyone who suggests Todd plagiarized the work of other legitimate artists.

  36. Citron says:

    Ugh, God. He copies and still can’t make anything funny or witty. Honestly, how sad is that?

    The t-shirts aren’t “quirky,” they’re just lame.

    But whatever. I hope he gets sued. I’ve been following the story since BB first posted it, too.

  37. delphi_ote says:

    Type “art thief” into Google. Next, type “Todd Goldman.” If he had handled this like an adult, maybe those words would not be synonymous to the internet as a whole now.

    P.S. Todd Goldman is an art thief.

  38. ivieso says:

    the cansumerist.com. I can be like todd goldman too.

  39. mathew says:

    More here:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/04/25/#22126

    Todd Goldman’s ripping off Threadless too!

  40. a says:

    From deep within the SA thread, tons more things are unearthed. One is a blatant Schoolhouse Rock image. There are many others. I hope this guy burns.

  41. kimpy26 says:

    sued or not, the more people that know about this, the less they will buy his plagiarized products!

  42. lestat730 says:

    As an artist and photographer myself I can say that having work stolen (especially for profit) is one of the things we worry about most when sharing or selling our work online. It’s great to see people like Todd Goldman get exposed for stealing another’s work and he deserves whatever comes his way as a result. It amazes me how many people are stupid enough to think they can get away with it forever. Worse yet, this guy didn’t just “borrow” one or two pieces or parts of other pieces but he did it repeatedly. An artists creativity is his greatest asset and to me stealing from another is just plain shameful.