Copyright saga: a bad western movie, and I’m the bad guy

on January 5th, 2011

(UPDATED 14.02.2011) I think this needs documentation, since it is an issue that concerns all designers out there, or at least all the designers who put their work on Brandstack, Dribbble, Logopond and so on.

We all do so with a certain understanding of the risks we run, the most important being our work being copied a bit or ripped-off entirely. However, we do expect a certain protection from these sites, and even more so from a site like Brandstack, which is a market place, not only a showcasing opp.

And yet, it seems we have been all deceived.

UPDATE:
After pursuing various avenue to stop the use of the logo – ranging from cease and desist and copyright infringement notices to social media naming and shaming, the matter was resolved. The company using it stated they hired a freelancer to do their logo and they did not check whether the said freelancer owned the copyright. Be that as it may, the logo is now removed from the website and associated LinkedIn group, and I have a written promise not to use it again.

I will try to convince Brandstack to restore the logo to the “For sale” status – given that I now have written confirmation the logo was used without permission; let’s see how that goes.

And so, the morale of the story? Twofold:
1. Watermark your logos folks, if you plan to put them on Brandstack.
2. Never stop staking your copyright claim – send your cease and desist, send copyright infringement notices to registrars and other plaes where your artwork is used (in my case it was LinkedIn) and usully you will find someone takes notice – and action.

The story
This story started two days ago; Brandstack writes to me to inform me someone has registered the domain for a logo I created and they’re using my logo on the domain home page (see screenshot below)

This is the letter:

Hello Ema,
It has been brought to our attention that someone has begun squatting on the .com domain for your brand “Wealthion” and have misappropriated your design as well for use on that site. The whois records clearly show the domain was registered after you posted the design with us on Brandstack. You can find out more information about the person doing this here:

http://who.godaddy.com/whoischeck.aspx?Domain=WEALTHION.COM

You may want to take a screenshot of the registration date on this page before contacting this company with a cease and desist. There may not be anything that can be done about the domain at this point, but they have no right to be using your mark.

Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to help.

So great, Brandstack is trying to help and even finding copyright infringement issues before i do. Great service. I am impressed.

However, this is what I find in my inbox today:

Hello Ema,

We’re sorry, your Logo, Wealthion, has not been approved for sale. Please review Brandstack standards in our forum: http://tinyurl.com/yhukld2 – Also, the following reasons were given by the administrator who reviewed the files:

Reported for potential copyright infringement
Additional Comments: Here’s the message we got “logo is already being used on wealthion.com which the designer says is not included and has already been distributed on material for wealthion.com”

Thank you for taking the time to submit your work, unfortunately it does not meet the high approval standards we have set for the Brandstack. If you may have any questions please reply to this email and reference with your username and/or logo name.
For your reference, this logo has been placed in your Brandstack portfolio. If you would like to get feedback from other users, please change its status to “Seeking Critiques.”

We really appreciate you taking the time to submit and look forward to seeing more of your work very soon.

Regards,
Brandstack Team

http://brandstack.com/

So hang on, now I’m the BAD guy?! And you take off MY work for copyright infringement?! Wow.

So let’s see about this copyright things, shall we?

  1. 16 September 2010: I upload the concept to Behance, under the client’s name: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Windfall-Logo-Concept-Three/703323. If you look under project info you will see it has been created on the 16th of September and that is also the last time it was edited.
  2. October 2010: I upload the logo on Brandstack somewhere in October. Of course, I couldn’t use the client’s name, so I invented the name Wealthion. Yes, that’s right, I INVENTED the name too. This is the screenshot from Brandstack with a comment on the right dated October 20th.
  3. 2 November 2010: As per the Whois database, the domain wealthion.com is registered
  4. 4 January 2011: Brandstack notifies me that someone has registered wealthion.com and is using my logo.
  5. 5 January 2011: Brandstack takes down my logo as “logo is already being used on wealthion.com which the designer says is not included and has already been distributed on material for wealthion.com”
  6. 5 January 2011: I remove all my other work from Brandstack, apart from the Wealthion logo,which I want re-approved, for me to take down myself. It’s MY right to do so. Quite frankly, having logos on Brandstack is not worth the trouble and anger this has caused me.

And now forgive me folks, but I have a lawyer to see. Will keep you posted on this – and I suggest you reconsider the places you publish your work on and make sure they do have terms and conditions that will allow you to avoid such situations and help you – rather than the thief – should the need arise.

7 Responses to “Copyright saga: a bad western movie, and I’m the bad guy”

  1. I hope things will turn out right to you and the person whom you stole the logo. Let justice be attained.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe it. Who does that?!? To take a person’s logo, claim it is your own, and then report the person who made the logo.

    Were you able to get this mishap cleared up??

  3. Maybe I’m missing something, but clearly this is just a clerical error. You seem to have blown the whole thing out of proportion if I’m honest;

    “I think this needs documentation, since it is an issue that concerns all designers out there, or at least all the designers who put their work on Brandstack, Dribbble, Logopond and so on. ”

    Brandstack found a copyright infringement that you didn’t even know of, and notified you of it – even researching it! Then you receive communication that your logo is now found to be a copyright infringement – clearly from someone that isn’t aware of the prior communication you’ve had. Could it not be that someone reported the logo after finding wealthion.com, and not doing the same research that Brandstack originally did?

  4. Myows says:

    Hi – I’m very sorry to hear about your ordeal – unfortunately it’s all too common and that’s why we are trying to do something against the rampant copyright infringement happening online.

    May I suggest you contact Jonathan at Copybyte.com – he is probably the most qualified person to help you remove the infringing site.

    Please keep me updated, I’m sure it’ll all end well.

  5. katie says:

    This sort of thing REALLY pisses me off. Good luck with this. I’m rooting for you.

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liquidink Design, Liquidink Design. Liquidink Design said: Good luck. Bad form from brandstack. RT @limeshot: Copyrightgate -a bad western movie, and I'm the bad guy: read http://limeshot.com/?p=3791 [...]