Monday, October 26, 2015

Your new cheap (STOLEN) design can land you in trouble.

Im a designer. A real designer.
Meaning, I take pride in coming up with unique and original solutions for my clients.
I am very protective of the work I have created for them and I don
t take kindly to others stealing it for themselves.

There are laws.
This is not the wild west where anything goes.
Why is it, in 2015, people think that they can take whatever they want off the internet, repackage it, and sell it cheaply to another? They don
t believe theyll get caught?
To go with this question, how is it that people believe that they are getting unique and customized work from a designer that only charges $5?

Many years ago, back in the early 90s, I designed a logo for a Toronto Comedy Club named Comedywood.
Because the most iconic symbol in this city is our tower, we (the client and I) decided that the character behind the logo should feature such.
I sketched and I sketched and I sketched some more, and eventually, I created the final piece that hung large in lights, high above a popular shopping plaza in this city where the club was located. It was well known. If you look closely, you
ll see that the lines in the logo arent perfect and theres a lot of unevenness because I didnt use computer vector arches and graphics, I freehandedly cartooned this logo using a pen.

s mind boggling is that for some strange reason, it is the most ripped off logo that I have ever created.

Thanks to reverse Google image search, I am able to find instances where this logo has been stolen and recycled on an ongoing basis. I
ve even seen it featured in a (foreign) designers portfolio. And as I mentioned, believing that this is not a free-for-all, I personally follow up on each and every one of these copyright infractions.

I usually start with a polite note of
you are using my work without permission so please remove it and only ONE time have I received an apology.
Usually, the answers I receive are
F you, WTF? and my all time favourite which happened to me this week your problem doesnt lie with me. It lies with the designer I hired”.

Actually, legally, my problem DOES lie with you as you are publicly using my work and showcasing it to promote yourself and/or your services.
But, I don
t believe the world is full of intelligence or those that fully understand the rules, so (as a nice guy) Im willing to let this one slide.

However, my problem right now DOES lie with the designer. He
s the one that tried to pass off my work as his own.

Want a logo for $5? You get what you pay for.
But don
t be surprised if you get a call/letter/email from the designer who actually created it, or even worse, a lawyer stating that you now owe somebody a whole lot more. 

1 comment:

TomtheProf said...

As horrible as it is for someone to 'claim' your work as their own, we need to get copyright and trademark policies right in our modern world. Collectively, we are trying to do so via newfangled methods such as the Creative Commons licensing. This provides for various non-business/non profit-making of your 'property' without waving your rights, and communicates that you permit fair use of your work (also helps with promotion of your work), without having others actually profit from your personal hard efforts (unless you permit). You know, that kid can use it on their blog or in their class video, but, they can't make money off of it (as the person above is doing illegally).

If we just stick to the strengthening copyright violation legislation, such as that inside the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), and the U.S.' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, then the copyright is so strong as to dissuade others from even bothering to conduct business at all. For example, if I can't find a good name for my business because 'it's too close to others' brands', then I am at a disadvantage starting my own business right off the bat. Another example is the Happy Birthday song situation.

Here's hoping we can strike the right balance, as it really is about that in my estimation.