[UPDATE] Falls Fest Remove Merchandise After Copyright Complaint

30 December 2015 | 10:06 am | Staff Writer

"We have pulled it from sale for now and we're trying to get in touch with the artist ... We love and support local artists."

As their Tasmanian and Victorian festivals kick off, Falls Festival have found themselves in the middle of artwork controversy, having been accused of stealing independent designer Rittle's artwork and using it for the festival's official merchandise.

As ABC reports, Melburnian Ellie King of independent label Rittle was informed by a friend working at the festivals that King's smiley face and frowning face designs were being sold at the merch stands.

King told the ABC, "She was like, 'did you do the t-shirts for Falls?' and took a photo and sent it to me.

"I didn't know this was happening ... it's such a blatant copy."

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Responding to a Facebook post about the copied design, Falls Festival said, "Hey guys, there has been an unintentional mishap with one of our merch items this year.

"We have pulled it from sale for now and we're trying to get in touch with the artist. If they can please private message our page with their contact details so that we can get in touch. We love and support local artists."

Another spokesperson from Falls Festival later told the ABC, "We became aware of the similarity between our design and an artist's work and extremely small quantity were — 13 t-shirts — sold at the [Victorian] event.

"As soon as we were made aware of this similarity we removed all stock from sale from all sites. We are now in contact with the artist directly."

King admits festival promoters acted swiftly in ceasing sales of the merchandise, but admonishes that they felt the need to hide social media comments that criticise the festival for the infringement.

"It's kind of like, just admit guilt. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you're going to make a big mistake, own it and sort it out.

"At first I was really upset, but the amount of positive social media and people just getting behind me and sharing it, saying 'this is so bad, how can they do that when Falls Festival market themselves as looking out for local talent?' ...

"You definitely see the t-shirts around but I'm sure this will get the brand out in a good way ... If something good comes out of it, it might encourage other artists to fight this kind of thing."


People are now noticing a similarity between the Falls merchandise, Rittle's artwork and an original Sesame Street character during its original letter S segment. Check out the video below.