Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Criminals In Our MIdst

The above photo is of counterfeit designer goods seized by U.S. Customs. Here in St. Augustine, these illegal goods are readily available, right out in the open, from vendors in the Plaza de la Constitution. These vendors are the busiest vendors in the hisoric plaza. The painters and artists in the Plaza recently won a temporary injunction against the City of St. Augustine preventing the police from arresting legitimate painters who display and sell the works on public property. They are now are forced to share space with this illegal activity. There is a resentment by the artists against copyrighted material being pirated. .........In May,Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard wrote that the city may ban outside sales within the city as the existing ordinance states with the exception of paintings, prints, sculpture and photography. No change of ordinance is needed......................In a direct affront to the judges order, the city is now waiving all rules and ordinances and writing a new ordinance that once again will restrict artists illegally. The city attorney claims to have confusion over a previous county judge's decision and a federal decision that he says seems to contradictory . We street artists ave learned that the county decisions will generally follow the dictates of the Judge's political cronies. This is why we went to Federal Court....................As visual artists were arrested and being jailed in the past, we were handcuffed and marched right past these illegal kiosks. ..............come down to the Plaza on weekends and if you are the type of person who likes this kind of cheap knockoffs, you can fork over your 40 dollars and try to fool your friends that you are a sophisticated "Coach "toting parvenue. ............arrests within the last month elsewhere : Florence S.C. Flea Market....Gatlinburg , Tenn.
Lake City, Fla Rehoboth Beach Any sale of these trademarked counterfeit goods is a violation of Florida Statute 831.05


  1. Kath in loos angeles12 August, 2009

    In Florence Italy,hordes of sidewalk vendors, primarily Africans, sell counterfeit purses. They set up in front of the Duomo and the Accademia and the Uffizi. One will be a lookout and as soon as the police come near, they pick up the four corners of their blankets, sling the merchandise over their shoulders and run! I am a huge supporter of the legitimate painters in the Plaza and visit at least twice a year. I own art from Suvo and Charles Dickinson.

    Our guide told us that not only is selling the counterfeit merchandise illegal but any tourist caught buying from these vendors is given a hefty fine. I think he said 250 Euros. Buyer beware.

  2. Unfortunately, the officials in St. Augustine aren't as sophisticated and saavy as in other cities, and this activity is shamefully allowed.

  3. The bigger criminals are the ones allowing this to go on. The same ones vioating the rights of the artists.