Yesterday we told you exclusively about the striking similarity between a t-shirt introduced by Brooklyn-based menswear brand, Deth Killers, in 2011 and a subsequent version by Los Angeles-based company, Cult of Individuality. When Cult founder, Ron Poisson (pictured above), caught on to the internet chatter about its alleged copies, he took to Twitter to clear the air. He claims the copied design is the work of a former employee. We commend Cult for pulling the tee, especially since it likely amounts to copyright infringement.
This instance raises a very relevant question. What role does the owner (or creative director) of a brand have to ensure that the designs that are produced under the company's name (whether in-house or by third-party suppliers) and passed off as original designs, are not copies? Read Poissonn's message after the break, as well as Deth Killers' response ...
Cult of Individuality is a company I founded to celebrate the original; a brand that champions the creative. We are a denim company that endeavors to offer a unique and innovative product that WE develop. So it is with great disappointment and embarrassment, that today I discovered, in 2011 a former employee betrayed my trust and tarnished our reputation by copying an original t-shirt design from @dethkillers and passing it off as his own. Although, the product is no longer available, this serious fraud and violation of artistic integrity is in harsh contradiction to the brand I have put my blood, sweat and tears into. For this, I sincerely apologize to the @dethkillers, their original designer and to all that were offended. This is not the kind of company we are, not the kind of man that I am.
To this, a spokesman for Deth Killers responded (via Twitter): Cult Denim, no hard feelings, thanks for doing the right thing.