DC/Warner Bros. Shut Down Childhood Cancer Fundraiser
BoingBoing recently put the spotlight on Warner Bros. decision to shut down a series of original art auctions on eBay benefitting a childhood cancer charity. Apparently, many of the pieces of art in the auction (which the organizer had requested of his contacts in the comics community and they were more than happy to provide) depicted DC characters such as Batman and Superman.
From organizer Thomas Denton’s blog, Say It Backwards:
I just got notice that two of the Superman related auctions have been removed from the site and the rest are probably next. I don’t know what to do now. I have to start canceling auctions and issuing refunds. That means all the fees and such I’m now responsible for which is money i just don’t have, and I have no idea if I’m still obligated to the middleman ebay uses for their charity auctions.
I am heartbroken. I am really sorry to any one this is any trouble for. Legally, I was in the wrong. I used their intellectual property without their permission. I’m not going to play the victim on that front. I swear I just wanted to do something good.
Denton offered some further thoughts on the whole kerfuffle in a later post, as well as notice that he would probably be shutting down his site — which had been a vocal supporter of all things Superman and DC over the years — once the dust had settled.
BoingBoing contributor Alex, who posted the initial link to the story, had this to say about the incident, which sums up my own thoughts about the matter pretty nicely, too:
Using characters owned by the major comic book corporations is pretty common in charity auctions at comic book conventions. This is not to mention that if you go on eBay right now there are a lot of auctions for artwork featuring those same characters, none of which Time Warner seems to be going after.
Thomas has posted a statement apologising to everyone involved in the affair (artists, bidders), but it doesn’t seem right that he’s been left holding the bag for trying to something for sick kids. Some letters to Time Warner’s PR department might make them think twice about sending out cease and desist orders so wantonly, and who knows, might even prompt them to kick some cash Candlelighters’ way.
Links to the auction, the rest of Denton’s posts about the Warner Bros. decision and the message he received from eBay, can be found at Say It Backwards. There are also some fairly lively comment threads brewing there, as well as at BoingBoing and The Beat.