Lithium Picnic

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Those of you who follow the world of fine-art fetish photography probably know the work of Philip Warner, aka Lithium Picnic. He is being sued by Suicide Girls.

Model Apnea writes on the Lithium Picnic Livejournal:

SuicideGirls has issued a public statement about Philip and his case in what looks like the start of their campaign of damage control against the bad press they’ve brought on themselves.

“In the 6 years since starting SuicideGirls we have worked with hundreds of writers, photographers and designers on a freelance basis and have never had a contract dispute with any of them, except for Philip Warner (aka Lithium Picnic.) We have a clearly defined work for hire agreement that spells out both our and our independent contractor’s obligations. This is designed to protect the 6 years of work we have put in to creating relationships, proprietary workflow systems and the privacy of our models, which is paramount to us. We believe Mr. Warner violated that agreement. We understand that Mr. Warner believes that he did not violate our contract. We have made attempts to settle this dispute out of court which Mr. Warner has refused.”

Remember my half-assed opinion on Web 2.o? Oh, did I mention that the Wikipedia Entry on Suicide Girls sayeth:

In 2005, a number of the paid models were reported to have resigned from the site or had their memberships revoked in connection with allegations of censorship and mistreatment of the models by the site’s owners.[18] Numerous members have reported that their journals and message board posts were removed because they criticized management. This practice of deleting either objectionable content, disagreeable content, or membership altogether is referred to by Suicide Girls staffers as “zotting”. 

…and then later:

Many of the former models involved in the 2005 dispute are now involved with the competing sites GodsGirls and Deviant Nation. Both sites have been sued by SuicideGirls LLC for hiring models who were allegedly still under contract with SuicideGirls and for allegedly violating SuicideGirls trademarks. Several former models were also threatened with legal action.(citation1, Willamette Week, and citation 2, Jane) In November 2006, SuicideGirls fired one of their main photographers, Philip Warner, (aka Lithium Picnic), for acting as the primary photographer for the website of former SuicideGirl Apnea. The termination was followed in February 2007 by a lawsuit by SuicideGirls against Warner. (citation3, Fleshbot, and citation 4, AVN Online.) According to a press release by Warner and Apnea, as of February 2007, none of SuicideGirls LLC’s lawsuits or threatened actions against former models or competing sites has resulted in a victory for the plaintiff, however, the legal expenses in the lawsuits have been costly and time consuming for the defendants.

I have retained a few of Wikipedia’s reference notes so you can chase it down for yourself if you’re curious, which I’m sure you plan to do since, as any college professor or CEO of Encyclopedia Brittanica will tell you, Wikipedia isn’t a credible source. After all, Web 2.0 is not about accurate information — that resides in books, preferably expensive ones — but about empowering the creator (or creatrix) and freeing information so there’s little chance that SG could be suing anyone, because that wouldn’t be very punk rock of them (nor would it be very “alt,” though actually it would be very “alt,” but I’ll get to that). Granted, we live in a corrupt Plutocracy in which the person with the most money wins any legal struggle, but SG is independently and privately owned by some people who just wanted to look at punk rock girls’ tits. Isn’t it?

Model Apnea writes on the front page at Lithium Picnic, in part:

Hi everyone,

This is Apnea with some not-so-happy news.

 As a result of the ongoing pressure and financial losses incurred from defending against Sean Suhl of SuicideGirl’s $100,000 lawsuit against Philip for shooting me for my site apneatic and the emotional stress and damage this has done to his business, Philip is taking the Lithium Picnic site offline until further notice.

I’ve taken it over for now so he can focus his time and resources on his case and raising funds. Please contact him at lithiumpicnic at gmail dot com if you have a paid project that you would like to discuss with him.

SG is now making the preposterous claims that they taught him photography and web design and they are going after the profits of my site.

Clearly, not everyone loves the Suicide Girls, and the Girls themselves don’t always love Suicide Girls. Hey, this doesn’t make them any less alt… in fact, it’s alt-er than alt, aka punker than fuck, to sue the shit out of anyone you can get cash from. As a matter of fact, I remember a huge number of my friends trying to figure out how to work the system so they could get SSI — that was “Social Security for the Insane,” as it was described to me, the pot of gold at the end of the my-life-sucks rainbow for a punk rocker, the ease-up that made it all worthwhile. That’s all SG is doing, trying to get their due so they can relax for a while, kick around the house wake-n-baking and catch up on The Dick Van Dyke show. It’s like the old Chris Rock joke: “What do you mean he doesn’t work? He got hit by four cars this year!”

Also back in the old days, I remember more than a few fistfights in front of Gilman, and about a hundred times that number of screaming matches. Isn’t it all just one big mosh pit where we get our aggressions out and it’s all the price of living a creative life?

Sure is! And what a small price to pay it is to living on the edge, exploring the fringes of this sewer-slog we call the life of an artist — a bloodied nose, some bruises, what the hey? A few scars give you character, and might even get you laid.

Provided, of course, the Nazi skins didn’t happen along and hold you down while they beat you for violating their red-braces, bluejeans, big-boots intellectual property, and their shaved-head trademark, and being a SHARP skin or a faggot instead of one of their approved type of skins who believed the Holocaust was a great idea and Reagan was God.

All I’m sayin’.

Related Links:

www.lithiumpicnic.com

Lithium Picnic Fundraiser Prints For Sale

Apnea’s Auctions, PayPal Donations

Lithium Picnic Shirts

Eros Zine Profile of Lithium Picnic

Eros Zine Profile of Apnea

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