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Jamie Chambers
Works at GAMA
Attended Reinhardt University
Lives in Canton, GA
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Jamie Chambers

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(Discussion incoming: The short backstory is that for the past year I had four t-shirts on my t-shirt shop inspired by The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Yesterday I linked to them in relation to something else and I was sent a message the prompted the following, which is cross-posted, the original on Jim Butcher's official website forums. The t-shirts are no long listed or available.)

Subject: Fan-Created Merchandise

Out of respect for Jim [Butcher] I'm not going to directly quote a private message he sent me via Facebook, nor will I directly link to any products in this post, but what he sent makes me believe this is a discussion worth having. We live in a world of Cafe Press and Teespring and Etsy, where the barrier of entry for creating stuff out of love but selling it to make a buck has never been lower. Sites like TeeFury have an entire business model that seems built around violating copyrights and trademarks so fast that the product is already gone by the time anyone could even get a lawyer to draft a letter about it.

When Skin Game first came out, an artist friend (a fellow fan of Jim's) and I created a few different t-shirts in celebration. My little t-shirt stop focuses on material inspired by fandoms, along with parodies and mashups. They were not big sellers but they were fun to make and I literally wore one of them today. And while I they are absolutely inspired by The Dresden Files series, I made sure that the descriptions and depictions were of the indirect nature—sort of a sly wink for my fellow fans. Today I linked to them as a followup to referencing a fan t-shirt design content for a charity event by the awesome Pat Rothfuss, and Jim let me know he was unhappy with this, and even though he wasn't going to call any lawyers he certainly was within his right to do so.

As for me, I'm going to remove all four of the designs from my t-shirt shop. Even if Jim never even realizes that I've done so, the designs were labors of love more than money-makers. And as a creator and publisher, I can absolutely understand the importance of defending intellectual property. I'm on his side on this, even if he (perhaps rightly) feels I exploited his work. It's the best I can do at this point to make things right.

However, I'm very aware that the folks who run the big Facebook pages and groups related to the Dresden Files are continually running campaigns on Teespring that sell in a week more than I did in a year, promoted not only in those groups but use paid advertising to boost sales. A casual Google search reveals a LOT of merchandise out there, and I can only suspect that most of it just flies under the radar like my designs did until today. So if this is a problem, it's one that's not going away.

I will side with any creator and IP owner when it comes to this issue, but I do wonder if there might be better ways to handle things that don't create an adversarial relationship between those who own a property and fans who want to create. I was an intern with TSR, Inc. (publisher of Dungeons & Dragons) in the early 1990s back when they had a draconian policy backed by a team of lawyers against fans putting their own rulebooks and campaign material on the fledgeling online world. TSR later took a step back and created a set of guidelines for fan-published material. It was the first step toward later policies and licenses that allow for derivative works that I've seen more in the past 25 years. These kinds of structures even extend to the official Dresden Files RPG, which benefits from the Open Game License — allowing the FUDGE RPG to be transformed into FATE without Evil Hat needing to pay a licensing fee to Grey Ghost Press.
Money complicates things, so I get that an art student posting a fan-picture of Harry Dresden holding Bob on Facebook is different than folks making t-shirts for sale. But I do feel like there could be some kind of rules or structure in place that would address the problem and allow creative fans to still be the good guys instead of becoming the enemy. I don't pretend to know what the answers to these questions are, but I'm interested to hear what others think.
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This is one of the reasons I let my Etsy shop go.  

I love creating costume pieces, and I love giving people cosplay bliss.  I'm good at it, as my work sealed the deal on contest wins for many people (as evidenced by pics they'd share with me post-con).

But it gets tiring and demoralizing to see my original creations sit and gather dust while people ask you to pump out more and more ideas that truly do belong to other artists (Shrek ears, RWBY ears/horns, and Homestuck horns just to name a few) and also whine about the cost of custom work.  Even when just paying homage with "inspired by" work (which more often in the online shop world is coming to mean "not willing to investigate licensing"), this means a sacrifice of my own creative drive to spend precious time rehashing the already brilliant work of others.

Between that and other concerns that I'll not discuss online, I just couldn't do it anymore.  Toward the end, the whole adventure was making me sick to my stomach, literally.  I'm sad it's over - deeply sad to the point of tears still - but at the same time I'm also a little glad because it means I'm no longer parasitizing the ideas of others and free to pursue my own creative things once again.
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Jamie Chambers

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Check out #MadMax B-Roll footage to see what an awesome action director can accomplish without resorting to CGI: a movie that doesn't look like a video game cut scene! https://youtu.be/hatTUJT0Kxg
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Jamie Chambers

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Things kick off at the Origins Game Fair in just one week! Will I see you there?
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Jamie Chambers

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People make mistakes,
Holding to their own,
Thinking they're alone.
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Jamie Chambers

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RIP Clark ... you were such a good boy.
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aaaw :( Sorry for your loss.
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Jamie Chambers

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Yesterday I held a tiny baby in my hands. Tonight I watch her graduate from high school. Congrats to my beautiful daughter, +Liz Chambers!
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I never knew that esteemed scientists blamed time-traveling birds for a problem with the Hadron Collider. http://ow.ly/NuqG0
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I just busted out a stack of old Time-Life books. Shit just got real.
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It was that or a "... just for snorin' too loud" reference.
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What does Ben Franklin have in common with Genghis Khan? A lifetime of prodigious boning. http://ow.ly/MQhIZ
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The last four days have been really difficult, but thanks to amazing support from everyone I'm gonna get through it. Thank you, one and all.
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Thinking of my Dad today. Happy birthday, Jimmie Chambers. 
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True story ... I once dislocated my shoulder petting a cat. (And no, that's not a euphemism.) 
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Mike L.
 
Remember to call the cat owner Utgard-Loki then!
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Have him in circles
2,156 people
Randy Culler's profile photo
Amal Wickramasinghe's profile photo
Mike Bohlmann's profile photo
Tony Miller's profile photo
Steven Austin's profile photo
Eloy Lasanta's profile photo
Jason Hess's profile photo
Robert MacAnthony's profile photo
Brent Stires's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Writer, Game Designer, Publisher
Skills
Writing, Tabletop Game Design, Editing, Proofreading, Layout, Social Media
Employment
  • GAMA
    Vice President, 2007 - present
  • Signal Fire Studios
    Writer, Game Designer, Publisher, 2010 - present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Canton, GA
Previously
Woodstock, GA - Lake Geneva, WI
Links
Contributor to
Story
Tagline
Writer, Game Designer, Geek
Introduction
I have dimples, I make games, and tell stories. And I have very little choice in the matter.
Bragging rights
Award-winning game designer, published writer in multiple media, President of Signal Fire Studios, Vice President of GAMA.
Education
  • Reinhardt University
    English, History, Religion, 1993 - 1999
  • Kennesaw State University
    History/English
  • Sequoyah High School
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
Single
Other names
James