Oakland Artist Smacks Down Tech Exec for Using Image in Viral Job Ad

A page from Packard Jennings' Business Reply pamphlet (Image used with permission from artist)

An Oakland artist smacked down an executive at a San Diego tech company in a "Cease and F**king Desist" letter after the exec used one of the artist's images without providing payment or even asking if it was okay to use in a Craigslist ad.

Paul Koch, CTO of Chatmeter, received major kudos last week for his job ad titled "Searching for 2 F**king Great Developers," which included expletives and a funny picture of a man pushing over his desk. News outlets such as Nextshark and ABC 10 in San Diego published articles on the ad, praising it for its unique take on a job listing.

Snippet of Paul Koch's Craigslist ad (Courtesy of Packard Jennings)
Snippet of Paul Koch's Craigslist ad (Courtesy of Packard Jennings)

But Oakland artist Packard Jennings did not find Koch's ad funny at all. The picture Koch used was from Jennings' "Business Reply," a 16-page pamphlet containing a series of images portraying an office during worker upheaval. Koch not only didn't pay Jennings for use of the image, which the artist claims is his most recognizable work; he didn't even ask permission to post it.

As a matter of fact, if Koch knew the purpose of the work beforehand, he might not have used it. Jennings described the pamphlet on his website as being for putting "inside the postage-paid, business-reply envelopes that come with junk mail offers and mailed back to the company of origin."

Jennings' most notable works are political by nature, including his "Anarchist Action Figure," which he placed inside box stores in 2007 and then filmed customers as they tried to purchase the toy.

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Late Sunday night, Jennings fired off a cease and desist letter to Koch, stating that if the exec did not remove the picture from the ad within 10 days, it would be taken as "willful infringement," which could lead up to $150,000 in fines if Koch was found guilty in court.

Packard Jennings' Cease and Desist letter (Courtesy of Jennings)
Packard Jennings' Cease and Desist letter (Courtesy of Jennings)

"As a f**king tech company, I would think that you could stop playing Mortal Kombat for one f**king minute to do an on-line search and discover the artwork," wrote Jennings in his letter. "Your bulls**t corporate image is now associated with my artwork, which is in essence anti-corporate. Can you see how we have a f**king problem here?"

According to Jennings, Koch responded to the cease and desist letter with an email Monday morning. In it, Koch apologized to the artist for not reaching out, stating that he didn't think anyone would want to have their names associated with such a profane ad. He also promised to pull the image from the ad and offered Jennings a one-time use fee of $500 for his troubles.

The image was removed from the ad before noon Monday.

Despite Koch's offer, Jennings isn't done going after the tech exec. In his response to Koch's apology, Jennings made it clear that he never wants Koch to use his work again and that $500 is not enough to "rectify the situation."

"If you look at my artwork, much of its content has an anti-corporate sentiment. I would never license my artwork for commercial purposes," wrote Jennings in his response. "When you used my artwork in affiliation with your business, you altered the narrative about that work."

We will continue to follow this story and update it when we learn new details.

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