LogoThief.com — Theft or Bad Clip Art Usage?

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It’s hard to pinpoint one’s feelings about the new site, “LogoThief.com” While it’s always nice to see justice done, one has to wonder if a client has been trapped by logo stealing, if it’s just one of those coincidences, or designers are using dingbats and clip art for what should be copyrighted material?

Their “About” page describes them as:

We are LogoThief. We exist to name and shame logo thieves and all others who plagiarize the work of logo designers.

We started this website because we are sick of seeing our own work and the work of our peers ripped off by unscrupulous designers in an effort to make a quick buck.

If you know of any logo thieves out there help us to name and shame them by letting us know as much as you know and we will document the case and share it with the world. Hopefully by documenting each case in a public place we can make it less attractive for these thieves to steal others work.

logothief.logo It’s not taking long for the kids at LogoThief.com to find examples for their quickly growing content. It seems their call for others to spot the theft and submit it to the website, it’s sort of like the stories that make up ClientsFromHell.net, except the logo thefts are right their in front of you. It can’t be made up as easily as words, but, as we all know, photoshop does wonders.

LogoThief, however, doesn’t rely on just hints and bigfoot-like sightings. Each example is accompanied by proof… lots of it, including Photoshop overlays, sources, and where to find the offending stolen property.

logothief.proof

Often it’s not so easy to yell “THIEF!” and have it stick. When a designer uses a commercially available piece of clip art or a dingbat, whether the client insisted on it or not, you are breaking the copyright law. You are also creating an illegal intellectual property that can never be copyrighted or properly trademarked.

In some of the examples below, taken from the LogoThief.com website, you can easily spot the piece of clip art that was used on several logos.

LogoThief.sushi

The duck is a piece of art that someone liked, plucked off the website, traced,stretched, rotated and that person thought it was enough to get the design under the copyright law. Not enough to be a derivative work.

LogoThief.duckhead

It’s become as famous as the winking pizza chef on the take out pizza box. Still, it belongs to someone.

LogoThief-CoffeeCup

One of the most stolen animal logos, next to the World Wildlife Fund panda.

LogoThief-Catnapped

Too close for comfort. A judge would probably rule for the creator. Still, it could be one of those ideas that are exactly the same, but happen half a world away, 30 years apart.

LogoThief-Cerebra

Often a piece of clip art is offered in a dozen or more ways. While the two plants are obviously the same, the cups and leaves (and colors) have been modified to make two different images. This might not be so easy to prove as logo theft.

LogoThief.tea.maybe

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Same clip art.

LogoThief-LaBrasa

It seems M Logo Concept is cursed by imitators. Of course, if you start with easily available clip art, create a logo seen a thousand times before, then point a finger at the next designer, well, it just doesn’t strike me as fair.

LogoThief.amate2

LogoThief.amate1

The pig on the label is the key to a lawsuit. But who owns the rights to the original label art?

LogoThief.italianlabels

If you’re going to have a popular handwritten logo, then someone will make a font of it.

LogoThief.font

At least this clip art had certain changes applied.

LogoThief.eye

On purpose or just close. See if the LogoThief crew has dug up any dirt!

LogoThief.bird LogoThief.maybe1

Logos are the property of the owner and appear on LogoThief.com. See more examples on their site — LogoThief.com

whg.bannerad.1.prelim

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