Legal defense fund for artist David Lillie

Campaign Created by: David Lillie

The funds from this campaign will be received by David Lillie.

Goal: USD $10,000
Raised: USD $ 6,448

David Lillie is the creator of the ‘Dreamkeepers’ series, and has been happily sharing art online for decades.

He is now being sued for $100,000 in federal court over claims of copyright infringement and breach of contract by a former commission customer.

This isn’t an exaggeration, and it isn’t a joke.

The scariest thing is, if this is happening to us, it could happen to any online artist. 

Most indie artists post illustrations every day without giving it a second thought. Few of those artists have a signed contract granting permission from their client to share that art in perpetuity.

We entered into a publishing agreement with the plaintiff that seemed to proceed along good terms until they attempted to terminate the agreement. After that, we began to receive multiple DMCA notices from them or their agents, and it has now escalated into a lawsuit filed in federal district court in the State of Colorado.

We believe we have fully complied with the law and that the lawsuit filed against us is entirely baseless and without merit.

If you’re willing to help us prevail in this case, it will send a message loud and clear that will hopefully protect the ability of artists everywhere to continue creating and sharing what they love.

You can view a PDF of the complaint filed against us here.  (Case No. 1:23-cv-02616)

(Note the complaint contains several ‘Statements of Fact’ that do not align with our experience.)

Also please do not harass or contact anyone involved in this legal proceeding in any way.

It’s frightening to be making art, and one day wake up to a $100,000 federal lawsuit. Any support you can give, even if it’s just shedding more light on this situation, we deeply appreciate it. Thank you.

UPDATES

Update #3: Contract reveal
April 13, 2024
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updateImage

Many have expressed curiosity regarding the agreement we had with Mr. Harms, and if it really gives us permission to share what we wrote and drew- we've shared highlights in an image, and you can observe the contract in its entirety here.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TEBbCDJ-kqaO1VyloBscCghqbS873nFv/view?usp=sharing

It was after signing this contract that the Plaintiff proceeded to file a $100,000 lawsuit against us in federal court.  

We would have liked to share this (and MUCH more) earlier, but we aren't attorneys, and we need to hang back and let the professionals take care of business. But as the contract is now publicly available on the docket for this case, we can share.

Litigation is ongoing, and every contribution and share helps!  Thank you for helping us defend our right to share what we've drawn, and for shedding light on this lawsuit- we never thought we would be put in this position, and it means the world that good people have our backs.  Thank you.

Update #2: Enter Arsenault- Motion to Dismiss
March 27, 2024
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Major progress on the case today.

In response to the $100,000 lawsuit filed against us, with your help we have been able to secure the services of Mr. Arsenault of Front Range Legal Services.

His areas of expertise include intellectual property, copyright, trademark, patent preparation, cryptocurrency and blockchain, internet, privacy, business transactions, licensing, employment law, corporate subpoena responses, and regulatory compliance.

As of today we have officially filed a motion to dismiss.

PDF of the motion to dismiss:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dJGKcOALK9WJ92K_NqHJBq3XXdufQ1bj/view?usp=sharing

Online record of all legal motions (May require a PACER account):

https://ecf.cod.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/DktRpt.pl?217532640644535-L_1_0-1

The way I understand it, a motion to dismiss does not engage with whether the Complaint is right or wrong, or involve our counterclaims, but instead on specifically whether the Complaint itself meets the legal threshold to even be worth consideration by the Court.

So what happens next?

  • The court may deny our motion, and the case will move forward to the next stage.
  • The court may grant our motion, and then the Plaintiff will have the option to change their Complaint and file against us again.
  • And lastly, the court may grant our motion with prejudice, and throw this lawsuit out forever.

The situation seems incredibly clear cut to us but every single step hits us with major expenses, so we would be grateful for any awareness you can raise by sharing this GiveSendGo campaign!

Thank you again to everyone who is helping us stand up and fight back for our right to share what we have drawn. Please help us meet goal, I know with the team we’re working with we can prevail.

Day 1: THANK YOU
March 21, 2024
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THANK YOU so much for the outpouring of support. You have no idea how much this means to us- you’re giving us hope in the midst of a difficult time.

We appreciate everyone, for sharing and helping get this legal defense fund off to such an incredible start. I’m trying to get around and engage with people, but if I miss any messages it’s because we are juggling a lot right now. A couple of general notes:

1) People want to know more. It would be a relief to us to share more of the details and background to this situation. However, our attorneys have advised us to minimize conversation about ongoing litigation, especially in public. For this reason we cannot respond casually to many of the questions that people will have.

2) Some have mentioned it might be worthwhile to show the contract the Plaintiff signed with us- I’ll review this with our legal team to see what they advise.

3) The first motion from our legal team is currently being drafted, and we will share with an update as soon as it is filed so that you can see the progress of the case. I expect it to be within 14 days.

4) I’ve seen some anger and frustration on social media over the situation- while that is understandable, I want to just remind people again to be cool- it DOES NOT help us to act out on those feelings, the best thing to do is be supportive in positive ways and let the legal team take care of business.

5) We’ve had some questions about if we are open for commissions. If you’re interested, keep an eye on our other socials, we’ll keep this space focused on the legal situation exclusively.

Again: Thank you to everyone for the show of support. After dealing with this so long in isolation, you don’t know how much it means. Thank you.

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