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ERTE
Sevenarts Ltd and Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts
Hall Of Shame Member
Added April 30, 2007

Betty Boop

In October 2008, a settlement agreement was signed that ended this dispute.

Look at the two pictures above. Erte, a fashion designer, to the left, and Betty Boop, a cartoon to the right. Welsome to a comedy of the absurd. Erte is elegant; Betty Boop is pedestrian. Erte has carfully structured lines and grace and characterizes the upper class; Betty Boop has her dog Pudgy and characterizes the wannabees. People who buy Erte do not buy Betty Boop (in more than one way).

Around 2001, Shamash & Sons, a well-known fabric manufacturer, released some fabrics depicting Betty Boop in a variety of poses wearing fancy dresses. One fabric, that which we call "Lush Life", portrayed Betty Boop in a bright dress while surrounded by gold stars. The other depicted Betty Bopp in about six different poses on a black background while wearing a variety of fancy dresses. The fabric also contains the title, "elegance", as shown above.

Seems there are some graphic arts designs from the 1930's through the 1980's by a Russian artist named Erte that look a lot like some of the dresses Betty Boop is wearing on those fabrics. Sevenarts Ltd located in London, claims to own the Erte rights in the US, the civilized world, Space (the final frontier), and beyond to some distant galaxy far, far, away. The agent for Sevenarts in the US is Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, located in Connecticut.

Guess what? Sevenarts, through its US agent, Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts ("CVFA"), is shutting down eBay auctions selling these Betty Boop fabrics, alleging the fabrics infringe upon Erte copyrights. But, and there's always a but, they claim they contacted Shamash & Sons who agreed the fabrics were infringing, and Shamash & Sons admitted they violated their copyright. Yet, they, the fop twins, Sevenarts and CVFA, have nothing in writing. Seems the fop twins also didn't demand Shamash & Sons withdraw the frabrics from the market and contact anyone to whom they might have sold the fabric and warn them of the alleged infringment. That might have been an intelligent move but why should the fop twins start now?

Seriously folks, what reasonable person would say that Betty Boop printed on a cotton fabric, sold in chain stores throughout the United States, at $6.99 a yard, wearing any gown, would take sales away from high-end products like Erte at $2,000 for a poster? Since no reasonable person would believe a loss in sales we must then assume, accuratelty we believe, that the person running Sevenarts, Ray Perman, and the couple running CVFA, the Rogaths, are flaming idiots. Their actions support our beliefs.


UPDATE - October 9, 2007 -
Charlotte Perman, daughter of Ray Perman, contacts us and cries in her cup of tea about all of the nasty things we have said about her precious daddy. She accuses us of not being nice people and rattles on making unsupported claims about us and our "attack" on her daddy. It appears the Permans swim in a very shallow gene pool.


UPDATE -
Sevenarts and CVFA lose jurisdiction appeal! On January 28, 2008, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Sevenarts and CVFA concerning jurisdiction. For the decision in HTML format, click here, for the decision in PDF format, click here. Now, they have to fight the issues which they have avoided.


Indeed, CVFA was telling people two years ago a lawsuit over the fabric was pending but to date there is nothing! But, they persist in punishing "innocent" infringers (their term - we maintain we are not infringing). Based upon the results of Chalk & Vermillion v Thomas F. McKnight, LLC, where CVFA sued Thomas McKnight for breach of contract, we wouldn't trust CVFA a whit. Not only did the jury reject the allegation, but the NY Court of Appeals slapped them down twice, rejecting two appeals by CVFA. CVFA wanted to get out of paying for what they ordered. Hmmmm. Not what we would consider to be stellar conduct. Thomas McKnight posted his version of the court decision. We wonder what ever made C&V think a Court of Appeals would overturn a unanimous jury verdict in a civil case? Drain Bammage, perhaps?


In their Motion To Dismiss, Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermilion's lawyer, Scott Sandberg of Snell & Wilmer in Denver, made an allusion to the many times we have been in court in Denver, saying in Footnote #1, "While they claim to sell things on eBay, Plaintiffs also spend a great deal of time litigating in this court. Plaintiffs have commenced at least 14 lawsuits in this Court, many of which were summarily dismissed". Why is it when a lawyer lies to the court it's acceptable? Sandberg will characterize his statement as a factual representation; we call it a lie. As we pointed out on our Response, most of the cases were dismissed at our request, because they were settled in our favor. His representation deliberately infers we lost them, which is why we characterize it as a lie by corporate lawyer Scott Sandberg, (more accurately of Snivel & Whine in Denver).

It seems Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermillion, and their priciple players, have spent a good deal of time in Federal Court in New York, Federal Court in Connecticut, and Second District Court Of Appeals, something Scott Sandberg (of Snell & Wilmer in Denver) didn't mention. We have found eighteen lawsuits in just New York and Connecticut.

Click Here to read what we found.


OUCH! Poor babies are Zero for Four in the Court of Appeals? It's no wonder C&V keeps changing lawyers. Based upon their lack of success in New York Courts, we wonder why they are challenging jurisdiction in Denver. Seems to us they would welcome the opportunity to be heard by a new court that hasn't ruled against them. We wonder about all of the Contract issues C&V keeps losing in court. All four of the Court of Appeals losses look like they were contract-related. We certainly wouldn't buy anything from them based upon this track record.


On October 15, 2007, we added links from the quoted emails below to the full emails. Seems someone (Charlotte Perman) claims we took these statements out of context. See for yourself: we did not.

The Betty Boop ~ Erte Dress Controversy

On December 2, 2005, CVFA had eBay terminate two auctions belonging to Tabberone that were selling the Betty Boop fabrics. An attempt to communicate was brushed aside and referred to Sevenarts. When asked, CVFA replied:

"We represent Sevenarts Ltd. the owners of the Erte trademark and copyright. and Please contact them directly with your concerns."

Ray Perman, owner of Sevenarts Ltd, replied. His basic attitude was that he didn't care about our position. On Monday, December 5, 2005, he acknowledged that he did not consider Tabberone to be an infringer, just an innocent purchaser of the fabric:

"No one has accused you of being an infringer. You and several other people have innocently bought fabric which makes unauthorised use of Erte designs."

When asked to remove the takedown black-mark if Tabberone agreed to not sell the fabric, he refused:

"I doubt very much that your reputation has been harmed or that you will be prevented from further offerings."

We tried to explain to him eBay keeps score and that when the score reaches a certain point, eBay won't say what point, eBay will suspend a seller for being a repeat offender. His atitude is that he's right and the rest of the world is wrong. We've never met an effete snob but he certainly brings it to mind. His attitude was that if we didn't like it, sue him (yes, he said that!):

"There is no more to be said on the subject. If you feel you have a complaint and wish to take legal action you must do so."

He even gave us the name of his lawyer.

Silly boy. He's never heard of Tabberone. On Monday, December 12, 2005, at 9am, Karen & Mike filed a federal lawsuit against Sevenarts Ltd and Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts.

On February 10, 2006, the lawyer for Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermilion, Scott Sandberg of Snell & Wilmer in Denver, filed a Motion To Dismiss claiming a lack of jurisdiction.

On February 24, 2006, we filed , our Response To Motion To Dismiss.


We agreed that it was OK for C&V to appear at a May 17, 2006, by telephone, instead of having to appear as the judge originally ordered. In the Unopposed Motion filed by Scott Sandberg, C&V's attorney in Denver, one of the arguments made supporting the telephone call, was "that all actions related to this lawsuit taken by Chalk & Vermillion were taken solely on behalf of SevenArts." (sic) Seems to us that C&V has adopted the German excuse from WWII that they were only following orders. Perhaps they should practice their accent while saying, "We know nothing!" á la Sgt Schultz.
I Know Nothing!


On May 15, 2006, Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty, filed his Recommendation On Defendants' Motion To Dismiss, DENYING the Motion To Dismiss, establishing jurisdiction for this case in Colorado. Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermilion had ten days in which to Oppose the Recommendation or file their response To The Complaint.

Lawyers typically do not file anything early. More often than not, filings are at the deadline, perhaps one day early. So, what do you make of a filing FOUR DAYS EARLY? Scott Sandberg, of Snivel & Whine (also know as Snell & Wilmer), counsel for Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermilion, filed Defendant's Objections To Reccomendations of United States Magistrate Judge on Thursday, May 25, 2006. The filing was due ten days after the Magistrate Judge's ruling, or Tuesday, May 30, 2006. So, Scott Sandberg electronically files the Objections four days early. Why? Consider it was just before a holiday weekend, Memorial Day. Was he going out of town? We think not. Was he being efficient? Again, we think not. Consider that with no one expecting it early, and, most importantly, he did not mail a copy of the Objections to us as required under federal rules, he would have a time advantage, or very possibly, a default by us. We believe he was hoping we would sit around waiting to see what would happen, wasting valuable response time, because we did not have a clue the Objections were filed, and therefor we wouldn't know we had a deadline of Friday June 9th by which to file our response. That would have given him an unchallanged filing to exploit to his advantage. And we believe he would have.

One person we know characterized the Objections filed by Scott Sandberg as being pathetic, and we agree. We filed Plaintiffs' Response to Objections in which we noted to the Court, "Plaintiffs request the Court note for the record that as of the filing of this Response, Plaintiffs have not received a mailed copy of the Objections, as required by the F.R.C.P., and as alleged by the Certificate of Mailing in the document filed with the court." When Scott Sandberg filed his Reply, which we informed him was not allowed under the Rules and was filed late, Sandberg did not dispute our assertion that he had failed to serve us as required. We can only assume we are correct in our interpretation that he did it deliberately and therefore he knowingly lied to the Court.

The Reply which is not allowed under the Rules, and was filed two days late, rehashes his earlier ineffective arguments. We think Scott Sandberg, of Snivel & Whine (also know as Snell & Wilmer), is preparing an ineffective counsel appeal defense for Sevenarts for when they lose the case.

Turns out that Judge Miller ruled on behalf of SevenArts, misciting Calder, and showing he doesn't have a clue about a Notice Of Claimed Infringement compared to a cease and desist letter. Sandberg must have thought we were idiots when he proposed to forego filing for "costs" if we would not file an appeal. We filed a timely notice of appeal and Sandberg didn't file for "costs". We didn't believe he would. The paperwork alone would have been billed to his clients for more than what they could reasonably expect to receive, so why bother?

Scott Sandberg must be unhappy. Our appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is being handled by Greg Beck, an attorney for the Public Citizen's Litigation Group, out of Washington, D.C., who have opted to represent us in the Court for the appeal and possibly future litigation. We believe the appeal is a slam-dunk. Our opening brief was filed January 10, 2007. Scott Sandberg, of Snivel & Whine (also know as Snell & Wilmer), counsel for Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermilion, filed his Response February 7, 2007. Our Reply was filed February 23, 2007.


What we also find laughable is the planned Erte Casino and Hotel for Las Vegas. Billed as "The Most Elegant and Romantic Hotel Casino on Earth," the "Erté Extravaganza" appears to be the dream-child of Sevenarts and Chalk & Vermillion, with a nod from Martin Lawrence Galleries. We have one question: Based upon your track record of not honoring contracts (see the lawsuits listed above), will jackpot winners at your casino have to sue you to get their winnings?

We can just imagine the fine print on the slot machines: Jackpots will only be valid if it is the player's birthday and the player pulls the slot handle with their non-dominate hand (no ambidexterous players allowed) while standing on the opposite foot and humming "Hakuna Makata" in Swedish.


Standing Up To Takedown Notices, By Catherine Rampell Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, October 19, 2007; Page D01. Article about people fighting back with a silly and unsubstantiated quote from Ray Perman. Hey, Ray? Ever heard of open foot, insert mouth?
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