It appears the Company Teespring has come to terms with this following fact. The Veteran community has established a beachhead in the industry and they will fight for every last ounce of their intellectual property as if it were the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima itself. For those unware, there currently and has been for some time, a fleecing taking place of the intellectual property of Veterans. The platform Teespring allows individuals to send in T-shirt designs, which for a fee, Teespring will make and ship to any customers one may have. Sounds great, right? That is unless the design sent in was actually the intellectual property of hard working Veteran companies. That then makes the seller who sent in the design a peddler of Illegal goods. Now, would that make Teespring a criminal themselves? Perhaps not, but were they to do nothing, it would pretty much make them the hourly motel pretending they don’t know why strange men keep coming in and out of room 69 every 30 minutes. That is unless they took the honorable course, which it appears they may have. Maybe, but we will be watching.
The Veteran Market
The truth is, an increasingly small percentage of the American population can truly state they know what it is to serve in the military. Consequently, as us Veterans have returned from War over the past decade to join the already honorable few from wars past, we began to seek passion, purpose, and a life on this side of war. For many Veterans, that included entrepreneurship steeped in creativity derived from experiences the rest of the world could barely imagine. And beards. Lots of beards, seriously it’s a thing with us Vets now as we seek to reclaim them from java drinking hipsters and place them on the faces of whiskey slinging warriors where they belong.
Consequently, veteran entrepreneurs of all likes began to build communities, organizations, and creative designs that would speak to the mind of Veterans as only another Veteran could. And for many of these groups, it formed into a burgeoning market in the clothing and lifestyle industry. However, these are not your grandfather’s plain white Ts. A massive amount of creativity and effort goes into the design of this apparel and a good number of Veterans have their livelihoods relying on the fruit of this labor.
You see, Veterans are only coming up with these ideas because they know what it is like to taste the grit of foreign dirt. They can still hear today the screams calling for Doc and they know too well the pull that war has on us all. Consequently, they communicate this via their products that make us laugh, reminisce with pride, and walk with swagger. Look, these Veterans are business men. They are not looking for some handout just because they are Veterans. However, they are also not looking to get ripped off by the masked Hamburgular of T-shirts. Bottom line, their works matter to them and it should.
Intellectual property is a real thing backed by the courts and common sense itself. For goodness sake, you can’t watch a movie these days without getting blasted by warnings from the FBI reminding you that piracy is not a victimless crime. So unless you are the nation of China and you just hilariously bootleg everything from DVDs to KFC, then you should care. And only an American company run by that one thief in the Marine Corps would even consider ripping off the Veteran community.
I don’t get to just draw an extra stripe on Abe and Garcia from the popular Terminal Lance comic and call it Terminal Corporal. One, because there is nothing, and I mean nothing, remotely funny or interesting about a Terminal Corporal, and two, I’m basically picking the creator’s pocket. Any publication that would have the audacity to publish my crappy rip off Terminal Corporal comic and profit for months until it was finally taken down is either maliciously profiteering or negligently pimping the experience, sweat, and creativity of the Marine that created TL.
All the Veterans
Now, if the claim of intellectual property theft was coming from PFC Shmukatelli’s clothing and Navy Seal Trident shop, we might could just dismiss it as nonsense. But all of them. And when I say all of them, I mean every major Veteran lifestyle company has repeatedly and consistently brought the claims of Intellectual Property theft to the attention of Teespring individually. Article 15, Awesome Shit My Drill Sergeant Said, Gruntworks, Grunt Style, and Ranger Up whom collectively speak to millions of fans have quite honestly had enough.
Despite being various entities in the same crowded market, these Veteran organizations have chosen to view their various platforms more like Juno, Sword, Utah, and Omaha beach in the same assault to defend their brother’s property. Different squads in the same Platoon was the sentiment being expressed. Honestly, I had the rare opportunity to sit back and watch some of this collaboration in progress and there was no hesitation on the part of any of them to offer whatever the other needed in this fight. This coalition responded with a collective and I quote, “Character is more important to us in a community where trust has saved lives and accomplished missions. I’d rather have the trust of my comrades over a few extra bucks.” Thus, as one would expect in the face of such a formidable coalition, Teespring agreed to meet and explore opportunities to prevent this intellectual property theft. For now.
You see, Teespring appears to have offered an olive branch and the leaders of this Veteran coalition took them at their word. Well, sit down Teespring executives and let me fill you in. The men with whom you negotiate are no fools. They are the same men whom would patrol the markets of Iraq and Afghanistan knowing the same haji who smiled at him by day was trying to kill him by night. Veterans are vigilant and always ready. Consequently, if this offer was in anyway insincere or an attempt to delay, it will not take men who slept with their weapons every night by surprise.
Again, this property, these organizations, are the hard fought beachheads of Warriors pursuing passion in this next phase of life and they will not give ground easily. They have made up their minds about it thus all must simply come to terms with it. The Veteran community always stands ready to be no better friend to any involved. However, none of us have forgotten the last half of General Mattis’ edict. Look it up Teespring then do the right thing. To all hundreds of thousands of Veterans who stood ready to support this cause, well, open up your flak and let it breath. But don’t take it off quite just yet.
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