Never ignore copyright issues. Here's how I lost my 5 figure site.

52 replies
I saw a thread here from someone who wanted to know if copyright infringement (using photographs of others) was okay and then he mentioned he'd do it anyway supposedly because we don't get to hear people going to jail for using copyright material (not too often at least).

I wanted to share my experience so you know that if you get caught, you will have to face the firing squad and will lose your entire business built around the copyright material.

Here's what happened:

I started a site and business in the Human Resource Management niche some 8 years back. My company basically placed eligible candidates in vacant positions in different companies.

I had a company website that brought me clients regularly. Matter of fact it was contributing to 42% of my turnover. That's big!

Now, I got a logo designed for my company some 6 years back by a freelancer from a top rung freelance site.

What I didn't know was the logo was an exact copy of a financial consulting company based out of the Middle East. The logo colors were different though. So, I basically had a copyright logo (painted in slightly different colors) sitting on my site without me having any clue about the copyright infringement.

Recently...

4 months back I received a letter from WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization notifying me about the copyright infringement and that the Financial consulting company (the logo owner) has filed a case against me and also wants a compensation (It was a huge amount).

This was followed by a letter from a "Case Manager" and also a "Trademark Attorney" telling me how to save my back - asking for money is essence.

The same day I received a letter from my domain registrar followed by a letter from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (this came a few days later) with a notice to shut down my business!

My attorney responded to all letters, but I didn't even get the time or opportunity to explain myself properly.

The clients (advertisers) on my site didn't want to be a part of the problem and pulled off their sponsored ads. In less than a month my business got shut down completely (police raided my office too looking for pirated software and stuff, but they didn't find anything).

I lost a lot of money and my entire business.

I did supply proof to them that the logo was done by a freelancer and I didn't know about the infringement, but it didn't help.

I have other businesses, but this one was big enough for me to let go. I tried everything, but nothing worked.

Crux:

Never ignore copyright issues. It can cost you dearly, more so once your business grows big and successful. If you are not sure whether or not you are infringing copyrights, better not do it.
#copyright #figure #ignore #issues #lost #site
  • Profile picture of the author GforceSage
    So a lazy Logo designer cost you everything.

    What area do you live in?

    Are you going after the designer?

    Best of luck getting things going again.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407606].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author NK
    Out if curiosity, are you going to go after the freelancer or just let it go?

    Let this also be a warning for freelancers. Being lazy and using things you're not supposed to can come back at you really hard. Always make sure you have the right to use it and also the right to pass it along to a third party (your clients).
    Signature

    Affiliate Link Cloaking & Tracking Software - The most powerful tool available for affiliate marketers who are sick and tired of making way too little money!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407631].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by NK View Post

      Out if curiosity, are you going to go after the freelancer or just let it go?

      Let this also be a warning for freelancers. Being lazy and using things you're not supposed to can come back at you really hard. Always make sure you have the right to use it and also the right to pass it along to a third party (your clients).
      Frankly I stopped using freelancer services after this incident because there are now thousands of ways to fool customers and wouldn't know you are on the wrong side of the river until its too late.

      Many freelancers don't simply care because its just a five bucks gig for them, but to a business owner its about protecting a business built on blood and sweat.

      My request to business owners would be - never take things from granted, especially if you bought your stuff for super cheap off freelance sites.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407961].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RichardF
    Wow that is messed up! You'd think at least you'd be given a chance to explain yourself. Also, honestly, there are only so many ways you can make a logo. Some are bound to look similar to others, and I think it's kind of petty to go after someone with all your legal resources just because their logo is similar (that is unless they're in the same line of business and are direct competitors).
    Signature


    Need a writer who really understands the Internet marketing niche?
    Sales copy, autoresponders, articles, e-books, blog posts & more!
    Visit my WF thread -or- my website

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407668].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by RichardF View Post

      Wow that is messed up! You'd think at least you'd be given a chance to explain yourself. Also, honestly, there are only so many ways you can make a logo. Some are bound to look similar to others, and I think it's kind of petty to go after someone with all your legal resources just because their logo is similar (that is unless they're in the same line of business and are direct competitors).
      Richard,
      I admit some are bound to look similar, but trust me when I say this, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center along with Copyright Attorneys take less than a second to prove that your intent was wrong and it happens so fast you wouldn't know what hit you until you can barely move in pain.

      I did have my company attorney take the necessary steps and that saved me thousands of dollars towards legal payments charged by the Case Managers appointed by WIPO, but they couldn't save my business.

      Copyright infringement is rarely taken seriously because we hear very few horror stories. But, if they catch you, the entire artillery will come down upon you until you are finished.

      Thankfully for me this wasn't my only or primary business, but it was a profit puller nonetheless.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407950].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    This is a good lesson for people in the industry. Many times I have found people blatantly selling my products or using my images or content in their products or salespages. Every single time they have used the excuse that it was someone else who did it for them and they had no idea. Each and every time I have told them that it doesn't matter who did the work for them, they are the one trying to profit from that work and thus they have to take full responsibility for it.

    So take note people. Those excuses will not fly.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407745].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      I did contact the designer. He's from the Phillipines. I could have sued him for what he did, but its pointless now and the best he could have done in any case was refund the design charges which is just a couple of dollars.

      At the end of the you have to be accountable for your actions. Absolutely no excuses are admissible.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407938].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      This is a good lesson for people in the industry. Many times I have found people blatantly selling my products or using my images or content in their products or salespages. Every single time they have used the excuse that it was someone else who did it for them and they had no idea. Each and every time I have told them that it doesn't matter who did the work for them, they are the one trying to profit from that work and thus they have to take full responsibility for it.

      So take note people. Those excuses will not fly.

      Very true Will. Just because its out there on the internet doesn't mean its up for grabs. Post this incident - actually in the midst of all this, I had an opportunity to speak to a copyright attorney and she opened my eyes. Virtually, everything is covered - right from ideas to color schemes!

      I didn't know and I'm sure there'd be many others not knowing much about what all things are included in Copyright Laws, but now that I know much of it, I'll never ever use anything for businesses that aren't 100% original.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407971].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    That is just messed up, a cheap logo costing you your business...(at least part of it).

    This should be a warning sign but i'm afraid it won't. Many people just have the idea of "That won't happen to me."

    Anyways, it's just not worth the risk to hire somebody you don't know...How can you ever find out they have copied the work right, especially a logo?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407968].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by JensSteyaert View Post

      That is just messed up, a cheap logo costing you your business...(at least part of it).

      This should be a warning sign but i'm afraid it won't. Many people just have the idea of "That won't happen to me."

      Anyways, it's just not worth the risk to hire somebody you don't know...How can you ever find out they have copied the work right, especially a logo?
      I didn't find out that it was copied, but quite evidently the owner or one of his allies or maybe his customers...dunno who, but someone did and I paid for it with my business.

      I later learned there are ways to prevent such things from happening, but it takes way too much learning about rules and laws to be able to successfully pass unscathed.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407982].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author crizual
    That's what happens when you pay for cheap logo designer. I always say if you are serious about business go for something good. Perhaps its time we started to treat designers, you know, just like everyone else?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407978].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by crizual View Post

      That's what happens when you pay for cheap logo designer. I always say if you are serious about business go for something good. Perhaps its time we started to treat designers, you know, just like everyone else?
      I'm not sure I get your point here buddy. I did treat the freelancer with respect and paid around $80 or something close (don't remember exactly) for a 3 size logo. I paid what he wanted and if you ask me $80 ain't cheap for a logo, but its definitely nothing compared to my business. So, he had my full respect and everything, but now.....well, I don't think I need to tell you how I look upon freelancers now.

      You know something - there's a reason freelancers (many of them) are not taken seriously. Your work should speak for you and in my case and there have been other cases too (not so fatal though), the "work" stabbed my business right through the heart.

      I have nothing against Freelancers, but they should be able to look beyond a couple of bucks that a gig brings them. Those that treat is as a business, flourish and those that treat it as a "make a quick buck" business never attract respect.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408003].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author crizual
        Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

        I'm not sure I get your point here buddy. I did treat the freelancer with respect and paid around $80 or something close (don't remember exactly) for a 3 size logo. I paid what he wanted and if you ask me $80 ain't cheap for a logo, but its definitely nothing compared to my business. So, he had my full respect and everything, but now.....well, I don't think I need to tell you how I look upon freelancers now.

        You know something - there's a reason freelancers (many of them) are not taken seriously. Your work should speak for you and in my case and there have been other cases too (not so fatal though), the "work" stabbed my business right through the heart.

        I have nothing against Freelancers, but they should be able to look beyond a couple of bucks that a gig brings them. Those that treat is as a business, flourish and those that treat it as a "make a quick buck" business never attract respect.
        That's why some companies I know don't hire cheap designers from China. You've payed 80$, that's low price. Real design price for logo start from 200$ ++ . You get what you pay for. When ever I hire someone for further development I hire them on codeable (not promoting ...) for wordpress I know that I can trust them, because I pay little more, but it's worth the money I pay for.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9416859].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
    I heard similar stories like this one years ago, which is why I never bought one of those "PLR Graphics" packages. You never know.

    Even now, when I make a blog post and need an image I buy one from sites like istockphoto, download and save the rights document that comes with it.

    Better safe than sorry.
    Signature

    Are you protecting your on line business? If you have a website, blog, ecommerce store you NEED to back it up regularly. Your webhost will only protect you so much. Check out Quirkel. Protect yourself.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9407987].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author PPC Ninja
    I thought anonymously mentioning people in posts was for Twitter! I made the post last night about using a painting or drawing of a well known person on a T-Shirt and asked for peoples opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that it was most likely illegal in someway (be it copyright or use of a celebrity likeness, etc). Nobody knew the answer for sure and I could not get a solid YES or NO so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself. This is a completely different situation because I'm not running a million dollar business on this logo or likeness, but using a rendition of it on a crowd funded T-Shirt. Bottom line is, people on this forum overreact WAY too much.

    P.S Sorry to hear about your business.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408342].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
      Banned
      Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

      I thought anonymously mentioning people in posts was for Twitter! I made the post last night about using a painting or drawing of a well known person on a T-Shirt and asked for peoples opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that it was most likely illegal in someway (be it copyright or use of a celebrity likeness, etc). Nobody knew the answer for sure and I could not get a solid YES or NO so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself.

      Nonsense ---> I and several others know for sure and I even linked to a law site showing you the law. The answer was a solid NO. You should get a release from the subject and use a properly licensed image instead of using an unlicensed derivative image that could be subject to copyright law. With the amount of information you have provided the obvious answer to anyone that cares about the law is no. The bottom line is some of us are tired of hearing about your apparent disregard for the law.

      OP, thanks for your share and I am sorry to hear of your misfortune.

      Cheers

      -don
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408364].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author PPC Ninja
        Negative. Nobody could tell me if a painting or drawing rendition was copyright. Good day.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408371].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
          Banned
          Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

          Negative. Nobody could tell me if a painting or drawing rendition was copyright. Good day.
          You are ignoring the Right of Publicity!!

          Cornell University Law School
          The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual's name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one's persona. It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.

          Publicity | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute
          NOLO - Law for All
          The right of publicity is the right to control the commercial exploitation of a person's name, image or persona. This right is traditionally associated with celebrities because the name or image of a famous person is used to sell products or services. For example, it is much easier to sell a t-shirt if there is a picture of Michael Jackson or Madonna on it. However, the unauthorized use of the image of Michael Jackson or Madonna for these purposes would infringe their right of publicity. This right only extends to commercial exploitation. Information uses such as articles at celebrity websites are permissible.

          The Right of Publicity | Nolo.com
          On top of that reproductions and/or dervatives in most cases are still protected by copyright law. Copyright and Right of Publicity are two entirely different matters.

          Right of Publicity is common knowledge among professionals in the image business. This is an issue that professional photographers and folks in the graphics and other art and image industries deal with on a day-to-day basis.

          Cheers

          -don
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408432].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

      I thought anonymously mentioning people in posts was for Twitter! I made the post last night about using a painting or drawing of a well known person on a T-Shirt and asked for peoples opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that it was most likely illegal in someway (be it copyright or use of a celebrity likeness, etc). Nobody knew the answer for sure and I could not get a solid YES or NO so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself. This is a completely different situation because I'm not running a million dollar business on this logo or likeness, but using a rendition of it on a crowd funded T-Shirt. Bottom line is, people on this forum overreact WAY too much.

      P.S Sorry to hear about your business.
      Its not overreaction bro. I just shared my experience. At the end of the day its you who will have to run your own business - warriors can only advise you. No one is going to say a "solid yes or no" - that's actually considered rude here!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408404].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

      I thought anonymously mentioning people in posts was for Twitter! I made the post last night about using a painting or drawing of a well known person on a T-Shirt and asked for peoples opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that it was most likely illegal in someway (be it copyright or use of a celebrity likeness, etc). Nobody knew the answer for sure and I could not get a solid YES or NO so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself. This is a completely different situation because I'm not running a million dollar business on this logo or likeness, but using a rendition of it on a crowd funded T-Shirt. Bottom line is, people on this forum overreact WAY too much.

      P.S Sorry to hear about your business.

      PPCNinja,

      I'm sorry, but you have come to exactly the wrong conclusion.

      You should learn what happens to unsuspecting business owners through very little fault of their own.

      Taking advice from total strangers on a public forum, especially any type of legal advice, is just plain foolishness.

      You may not run a million dollar company - that is irrelevant to the discussion. Unless you are set up as a corporation, your personal assets could be attacked.

      With the attitude "I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself" . . .

      . . . there is a good chance that eventually you will have to learn from sad experience.

      You concluded: "Bottom line is, people on this forum overreact WAY too much."

      When your entire business and/or personal assets are in the balance and the issue is one of a legal nature, "overreacting" can save your life.

      Steve
      Signature

      Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
      SteveBrowneDirect

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408418].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author PPC Ninja
        Who said I was going to take their advice and write it in stone? The thought that I should take all advice here to heart and as the correct response has never crossed my mind. People on the forum have a tendency to automatically assume that users (such as me) are somehow incompetent and can't formulate their own intelligent thoughts or conclusions.

        I ask questions to get opinions and consensus, not as an end all be all solution. At the end of the day, I will never make actions directly based on what someone has told me or informed me to do.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408453].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

          I ask questions to get opinions and consensus
          The thing is, when legal matters are being questioned, opinions and consensus mean nothing - they are very dangerous considerations.



          Originally Posted by PPC Ninja View Post

          I will never make actions directly based on what someone has told me or informed me to do.
          Smart. Perfect. Exactly. Stick to this rule. When you have a legal question always seek competent, professional legal advice.

          Thank you PPC Ninja for expressing that thought.

          Steve
          Signature

          Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
          SteveBrowneDirect

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408471].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          ...about using a painting or drawing of a well known person on a T-Shirt and asked for peoples opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that it was most likely illegal in someway (be it copyright or use of a celebrity likeness, etc). Nobody knew the answer for sure and I could not get a solid YES or NO so I figured I would go ahead and give it a try and see what happens and learn for myself.
          Most told you it was not legal - but you decided to interpret that as not "for sure" so did want you wanted. Not a great business decision.

          You assume no one will notice if you cross the line - no one will come after you....and you assume you will be given a chance to "explain" if you do get in trouble. You are dreaming.

          Just being charged with copyright or trademark infringement can ruin your business. Customers shy away from people facing legal problems - no matter how many excuses you offer.

          The OP's story is a good example because he did not intentionally violate any rights - he was unaware of the problem. That did not help him at all.
          Signature
          Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

          Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408502].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author artflair
    There's a good lesson to be learnt here - not only about the copyright issues... If you'll grow big, they'll go after you! That's why it is better to play according to the rules right from the beginning!
    Art
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408486].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by artflair View Post

      There's a good lesson to be learnt here - not only about the copyright issues... If you'll grow big, they'll go after you! That's why it is better to play according to the rules right from the beginning!
      Art
      Exactly. If you just bend rules here and there for fun or as a startup business, you might not get slapped, but if you have a revenue earning business that has loopholes, they are going to find that out for sure and make you pay for it.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408503].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MrCreative
    This is an eye opener to me, because I have hired many freelancers for Logo's throughout my life. I need to screen carefully the next time I order a logo or anything in which this can be an issue.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408504].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by MrCreative View Post

      This is an eye opener to me, because I have hired many freelancers for Logo's throughout my life. I need to screen carefully the next time I order a logo or anything in which this can be an issue.
      Specifically ask the seller to give you in writing that he didn't infringe copyrights or violated any other existing laws. Of course you wouldn't go after the guy should your business land in soup, but you'll have proof to prove your intentions and that might save your business from sinking like a stone.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408519].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Sorry, but I call BS on the story.

    First, it would be a trademark issue. Not copyright.

    Second, this:

    The clients (advertisers) on my site didn't want to be a part of the problem and pulled off their sponsored ads.
    as if your clients are identifiable, were somehow contacted about the issue and threatened.

    Third, this:

    In less than a month my business got shut down completely (police raided my office too looking for pirated software and stuff, but they didn't find anything).
    this would involve a criminal investigation.

    Assuming a business was raided, shut down, and the subject of a filed WIPO action - there is a lot more going on that has not been disclosed beyond a logo dispute with a company in a different niche in the Middle East.

    In addition to the nonsense about a domain registrar and minister demanding a business be shut down due to a logo.


    If it was just a logo dispute what would have happened is you pointed you were an innocent victim, this happened years ago, paid a bit to resolve matters, then changed to a better logo and moved on. No criminal raids by police. No advertisers bailing. No shutting down the business.

    .
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408515].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      Sorry, but I call BS on the story.


      First, it would be a trademark issue. Not copyright.

      I didn't copy the documents and mails I received and put them here. I just wanted to share my experience. For us "non legal people" there's very little difference between Intellectual property, copyright and trademark etc. This isn't a legal/law forum, so I guess I will be excused by using incorrect terminologies as long as the point gets through. But, I guess you are correct about the trademark issue.

      Second, this:

      as if your clients are identifiable, were somehow contacted about the issue and threatened.

      You probably didn't read the full post. My sponsored clients were those who received HRM solutions from me. FYI, no one wants to disclose who their hiring partner is and if the hiring partner gets into trouble they don't like their names sticking on banners on the front page.

      Of course someone got the word out. It happens when you have a business thats doing pretty well.


      Third, this:

      this would involve a criminal investigation.

      Where did you get that from? I was offered help which I refused because I had my people helping me. The story you saw here ends in a couple of lines, but for me it involved everything from bribing officials to sending out letters to concerned people.

      I just shared my experience here, not my case report!


      Assuming a business was raided, shut down, and the subject of a filed WIPO action - there is a lot more going on that has not been disclosed beyond a logo dispute with a company in a different niche in the Middle East.

      Yes, they wanted to find out if a lot more was going on. Don't forget the fact that I had business connections, employees (happy and unhappy) and of course competitors. Everything is possible if they want to close down your shutters.


      In addition to the nonsense about a domain registrar and minister demanding a business be shut down due to a logo.

      You seem to be a senior member here. Is that the kind of language you'd love to hear yourself?

      Please read before commenting. I didn't say "Minister". I said corporate affairs because they are the people who issue licences and when you have a board of members and a couple of them decide to walk in the opposite direction (talking advantage of the situation). things get tricky.

      The registrar was Big Rock and they walked out on me because they recievd some notification too.


      If it was just a logo dispute what would have happened is you pointed you were an innocent victim, this happened years ago, paid a bit to resolve matters, then changed to a better logo and moved on. No criminal raids by police. No advertisers bailing. No shutting down the business.

      This didn't happen years ago. PLEASE READ. It happened four months back. Really surprised to see that advice coming from you. If it were that easy, people would just copy stuff, apologize, change and move on! Apparently that doesn't work all the time, at least not in my country.
      .
      I'd again like to say, its not my case history you read above. I just summed it up for others benefits. The idea is to tell people to stay away from copyright infringement.

      If you think thats BS... well...you are a senior guy here...I'm sure you will get some listeners! For me, infringement is an absolute no no!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408577].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
    Angshuman Dutta,

    I'm sorry you've encountered all of these problems...

    There are two issues I see here...

    First, when having a logo created, you should have spent a few dollars more to have your logo created by a professional design firm in your country....

    They have a lot more to lose than "Joe Freelancer."

    Second, always, always, always..... always.... I am saying ALWAYS have your Attorney include an "Indemnification clause" in ALL of your contracts...

    While I am not an Attorney, I'll give you a "lay" definition......

    If someone sues you for the work you "contracted out" the company you "contracted out" is agreeing to be legally responsible for all damages and claims.

    You can find the legal definition of indemnify here.

    While this "Indemnification clause" may not have saved your business in this case, had you done the things I mentioned above, you would have grounds to sue them to recover your losses...

    Whether or not they actually have the money to cover it is another story...

    My wild guess is you'd rarely find yourself in this legal situation with a "professional design firm."

    As always, I strongly recommend you seek competent legal counsel in your jurisdiction.

    All The Best,

    Rich Beck BCIP, MCSD, MCIS
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408539].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

      Angshuman Dutta,

      I'm sorry you've encountered all of these problems...

      There are two issues I see here...

      First, when having a logo created, you should have spent a few dollars more to have your logo created by a professional design firm in your country....

      They have a lot more to lose than "Joe Freelancer."

      Second, always, always, always..... always.... I am saying ALWAYS have your Attorney include an "Indemnification clause" in ALL of your contracts...

      While I am not an Attorney, I'll give you a "lay" definition......

      If someone sues you for the work you "contracted out" the company you "contracted out" is agreeing to be legally responsible for all damages and claims.

      You can find the legal definition of indemnify here.

      While this "Indemnification clause" may not have saved your business in this case, had you done the things I mentioned above, you would have solid ground to sue them to recover your losses.

      All The Best,

      Rich Beck BCIP, MCSD, MCIS
      ,Thanks Rich for that.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408603].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
        Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

        ,Thanks Rich for that.
        Angshuman Dutta,

        You are welcome....

        I pray it serves you well in the future...

        All the Best,

        Rich Beck BCIP, MCSD, MCIS
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408623].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author NathanKruz
    Say you have a website and you have a slider with images. You got the images from google images and photoshoped some other google images on it. Is this still copyright?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408578].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ForumGuru
      Banned
      Originally Posted by NathanKruz View Post

      Say you have a website and you have a slider with images. You got the images from google images and photoshoped some other google images on it. Is this still copyright?
      Yes, it could be copyright infringement if the images were not in the public domain and your use does not fall under legitimate fair use doctrine. If the images were licensed with a CC attribution license then the images should be attributed.

      Photoshopping a copyrighted images does not automatically eliminate the original copyright holders copyright protections as often times derivative images are still protected by copyright.

      Google does not "own" the images...the original photographer, artist etc does. You need to check the rights on each individual image and make sure you have permission or the proper license to use that image.

      Google has advanced image search feature but it is not all that accurate.

      Cheers

      -don
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408586].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author marax
    I find it an irony that IP protectors keep going on about how stealing intangible products are the same as stealing physical products.

    But if we are to take this case study into perspective,
    if we bought something off ebay and it turns out to be stolen goods,
    then we should legitimately go to jail for it.
    That's a weird thought
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408607].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
      Originally Posted by marax View Post

      I find it an irony that IP protectors keep going on about how stealing intangible products are the same as stealing physical products.

      But if we are to take this case study into perspective,
      if we bought something off ebay and it turns out to be stolen goods,
      then we should legitimately go to jail for it.
      That's a weird thought
      Buying something off Ebay to run a profitable business, might get you into trouble if its stolen. Because when you are running a business your should be "responsibly sourced". That's your responsibility. But don't take this as expert advise. Better to consult a legal professional.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408636].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

      My attorney responded to all letters, but I didn't even get the time or opportunity to explain myself properly.

      ...

      I did supply proof to them that the logo was done by a freelancer and I didn't know about the infringement, but it didn't help.
      Originally Posted by RichardF View Post

      Wow that is messed up! You'd think at least you'd be given a chance to explain yourself. Also, honestly, there are only so many ways you can make a logo. Some are bound to look similar to others, and I think it's kind of petty to go after someone with all your legal resources just because their logo is similar (that is unless they're in the same line of business and are direct competitors).
      If "I didn't know it was against the law" were a valid defense (true or not), we wouldn't need jails. Fact is, jails are full of innocent people - just ask them.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408655].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        If "I didn't know it was against the law" were a valid defense (true or not), we wouldn't need jails. Fact is, jails are full of innocent people - just ask them.
        Well said John.You never know you are a criminal until you are convicted of a crime. LOL No defense is a valid defense once they've convicted you and decided to hang you.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408680].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

          Well said John.You never know you are a criminal until you are convicted of a crime. LOL No defense is a valid defense once they've convicted you and decided to hang you.
          I wasn't trying to take a shot you. I'm just saying that the law doesn't recognize "I didn't know" as a valid defense because there's no way to to separate the accidentally guilty from the deliberately guilty.

          Warning, video uses an offensive word...

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408791].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Angshuman Dutta
            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            I wasn't trying to take a shot you. I'm just saying that the law doesn't recognize "I didn't know" as a valid defense because there's no way to to separate the accidentally guilty from the deliberately guilty.

            Warning, video uses an offensive word...

            Blazing Saddles Funny Scene - "they said you was hung" - YouTube
            No offence taken John...I was just joking.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9409669].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author pxjenkins
    Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

    I saw a thread here from someone who wanted to know if copyright infringement (using photographs of others) was okay and then he mentioned he'd do it anyway supposedly because we don't get to hear people going to jail for using copyright material (not too often at least).

    I wanted to share my experience so you know that if you get caught, you will have to face the firing squad and will lose your entire business built around the copyright material.

    Here's what happened:

    I started a site and business in the Human Resource Management niche some 8 years back. My company basically placed eligible candidates in vacant positions in different companies.

    I had a company website that brought me clients regularly. Matter of fact it was contributing to 42% of my turnover. That's big!

    Now, I got a logo designed for my company some 6 years back by a freelancer from a top rung freelance site.

    What I didn't know was the logo was an exact copy of a financial consulting company based out of the Middle East. The logo colors were different though. So, I basically had a copyright logo (painted in slightly different colors) sitting on my site without me having any clue about the copyright infringement.

    Recently...

    4 months back I received a letter from WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization notifying me about the copyright infringement and that the Financial consulting company (the logo owner) has filed a case against me and also wants a compensation (It was a huge amount).

    This was followed by a letter from a "Case Manager" and also a "Trademark Attorney" telling me how to save my back - asking for money is essence.

    The same day I received a letter from my domain registrar followed by a letter from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (this came a few days later) with a notice to shut down my business!

    My attorney responded to all letters, but I didn't even get the time or opportunity to explain myself properly.

    The clients (advertisers) on my site didn't want to be a part of the problem and pulled off their sponsored ads. In less than a month my business got shut down completely (police raided my office too looking for pirated software and stuff, but they didn't find anything).

    I lost a lot of money and my entire business.

    I did supply proof to them that the logo was done by a freelancer and I didn't know about the infringement, but it didn't help.

    I have other businesses, but this one was big enough for me to let go. I tried everything, but nothing worked.

    Crux:

    Never ignore copyright issues. It can cost you dearly, more so once your business grows big and successful. If you are not sure whether or not you are infringing copyrights, better not do it.
    that's a really stark warning, and thanks for sharing

    impresses upon one the need to diversify business because one can be caught out by such scenarios...
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408696].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    OP, where are you based?
    Signature

    I can convert your Non-Responsive website to Responsive website ... How sweet is that? :)

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408746].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author evilsaigon
    This is really a shocker...

    Lesson learnt: Spend 10 seconds doing an image search before accepting an image work.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408888].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author NatWil00
    Oh my God, this is a very bad experience, i'm sorry! If the logo has done a freelancer, you will have the proof that you did not know about the copywriter, you have the discussions with him, work entrusted to him, etc.. or not?

    Is it not important? It is impossible! You should never believe that the copywriter is not important and that we can use whatever we want, because it is not so and i'm sorry that you have this bad experience.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9408930].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author fatchap
    Far more to this than has been explained.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9410997].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
      You said right here that the logo was done years ago:

      Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

      Now, I got a logo designed for my company some 6 years back by a freelancer from a top rung freelance site.
      But when that was mentioned, now you're saying it wasn't done years ago?

      Originally Posted by Angshuman Dutta View Post

      This didn't happen years ago. PLEASE READ. It happened four months back. Really surprised to see that advice coming from you. If it were that easy, people would just copy stuff, apologize, change and move on! Apparently that doesn't work all the time, at least not in my country.
      I am very interested in why your offices would be raided for a simple civil matter such as this... What country was this in?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411136].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    The OP stated that the logo was designed 6 years ago. However, his business got shut down four months ago. What's so hard to understand about that?

    And, he owes no one here any further explanation into the raid, his country of origin or the civil matter. If you don't believe him, move on to another thread for entertainment. Geez.
    Signature

    Focus+Smart Work+Persistence=Success

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411414].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
      Originally Posted by Fun to Write View Post

      The OP stated that the logo was designed 6 years ago. However, his business got shut down four months ago. What's so hard to understand about that?

      And, he owes no one here any further explanation into the raid, his country of origin or the civil matter. If you don't believe him, move on to another thread for entertainment. Geez.
      Kindsvater said "you were an innocent victim, this happened years ago" and the OP said he was wrong. He was referring to the time the logo was created, not the time the raid had. Is that difficult for you to understand?

      Furthermore, if someone doesn't like discussion about a personal issue, they shouldn't post it in a public forum. Did you think threads just got started here so that people could see themselves type? On top of that, I was asking about the country that happened in because I think it would be interesting to take a look at the laws in the country to see how often that type of thing happened.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411726].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Trollfarie
    Here's some tips when hiring a freelancer:
    Always ask for references.
    Always make a contract.
    Check to make sure the freelancer has a professional site.
    Do an image search or plagiarism check of the finished product.
    Remember, you get what your pay for.
    Signature

    Need great content that increases your page rank or gets more attention on social media?
    Check me out!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411425].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    this would involve a criminal investigation.

    Assuming a business was raided, shut down, and the subject of a filed WIPO action - there is a lot more going on that has not been disclosed beyond a logo dispute with a company in a different niche in the Middle East.

    In addition to the nonsense about a domain registrar and minister demanding a business be shut down due to a logo.


    If it was just a logo dispute what would have happened is you pointed you were an innocent victim, this happened years ago, paid a bit to resolve matters, then changed to a better logo and moved on. No criminal raids by police. No advertisers bailing. No shutting down the business.
    I agree.

    If the cops kick in your door for a logo you allegedly stole, it might be time to find a less oppressive place to live, like reality.
    Signature
    Get Off The Warrior Forum Now & Don't Come Back If You Want To Succeed!
    All The Real Marketers Are Gone. There's Nothing Left But Weak, Sniveling Wanna-Bees!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411471].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
      While i am in total agreement that Copyright infringement is to be avoided. I feel like there must be some vital details missing from this particular story.

      The wipo arbitration and mediation center is a neutral third party (an arbitrator) which can be appointed by both parties to a dispute to arbitrate as an alternative to civil court action. They even provide model forms which *all* parties to a dispute can sign to appoint them as arbitrator. See Frequently Asked Questions

      How are disputes referred to the WIPO dispute resolution procedures?

      For disputes that may occur in the future, parties may include a clause in their contract providing for the reference of all disputes under that contract to one of the WIPO dispute resolution procedures. For existing disputes, parties may conclude a submission agreement providing for the reference of the dispute.

      The Center has established model contract clauses and model submission agreements, which exist in several languages.
      What they don't do is just jump into a dispute on one party's say so, and then start billing the other party. They aren't a law enforcement agency who go round investigating "crimes" - they are a neutral third party that parties to a dispute can appoint to resolve their dispute instead of going to court. In other words, they wouldnt be involved, and would have no power over somebody, unless they agree to it.
      Signature
      ClickBank Vendor?
      - Protect Your Thank You Pages & Downloads
      - Give Your Affiliates Multiple Landing Pages (Video Demo)
      - Killer Graphics for Your Site
      SPECIAL WSO PRICES FOR WARRIORS + GET THE "CLICKBANK DISCOUNT" TOO!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9411734].message }}

Trending Topics