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Copyright Violation Question

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Locals Find!, Aug 22, 2011.

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  1. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    I have a logo I designed for a client. I hold the copyright on the logo. I at one point issued a one time use license for the logo to another shop in town. (An agent of the company had a relationship with this other shop) since, then they have been using my logo on other agent's work without my permission.

    Am I in my rights to seek legal recourse? or am I just out of luck? If I can seek legal recourse anyone know a good attorney that would take the case on a contingency basis? Is their another step I should take first?
     
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  2. ForgeInc

    ForgeInc Active Member

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    Do you have a signed agreement/contract or does your version of "granted a one time license" mean you handed over the files and called it a day, and now are bitter cause you found out they went with someone else?
     
  3. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    When I sent the artwork via email to the other sign shop directly. I wrote out the terms of using my artwork clearly.

    I clearly stated it was for use on the one job and the one job only for that one Agent / Customer.

    My issues with them is when they started advertising to other agents that they had the logo and picking up other work with my artwork without my permission or any offer of compensation to me.
     
  4. John Butto

    John Butto verboden

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    I have seen your artwork attempts in the past and your use of internet copy/paste, "what comes around, goes around".
     
  5. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    John, my past sins & transgressions are not what is at question here. I have cleaned up my ways since being educated here at S101. I haven't hid from my mistakes.

    If you don't have anything to share concerning the actual question please don't post. If you want to bash my past sins I believe there are better places to do that other than this thread.
     
  6. John Butto

    John Butto verboden

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    No "bashing" Sir, just giving advice like I was sitting next to you at a bar and you were telling me a story of your troubles in business.
     
  7. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    ha!

    Anyways Addy,

    you'll call your lawyer. he'll say, well i need to do some investigation.
    I need a $1500 retainer to start this. He'll call the shop and the customer and get some information about them. Then he'll say I used up all the time in research in the retainer, give me $700 to write them a letter threatening to take them to court if they don't discontinue using the logo, and pay you a few dollars for the use of what they have done. After he writes the letter and take your money, he will tell you that something like this will never make it to court, and it'll be too much money to persue it, and that you should figure out if you want to spend money to try and take them court, or take that money and spend it on bettering your current business.
     
  8. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    I am glad to say, that I have learned better and cleaned up my ways.

    Any advice on how to handle this situation I am in now. This shop is local to me and actually costing me work every month. This isn't a one time one off scenario. This is consistent repeated use of my artwork.
     
  9. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    maybe just ask him what he would like to do about it, and remind him of the one-use agreement you originally had him working under ...
     
  10. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Have you even bothered to send them a certified letter stating your copyright claim? If not then do it today and let them know the price for further licensing.
     
  11. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    Thanks Pat. This is exactly the advice I needed. I wasn't even sure how to go about stopping him.

    I am going to do that right away today. Thanks Again.
     
  12. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    Why would YOU copyright a logo you designed for a client. Didn't they pay you to design it for them? No wonder the east coast is so messed up if this is how you operate back there!
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Sounds like you did it backwards, Addie.

    I don't think the sign shop needs your blessings to use the copyrighted stuff, but your customer does. Seems as if you might've given the wrong permission to the wrong people and now you're in a fix.

    As Forge asked.... do you have a signed contract or just some back & forth e-mails ??

    Are we talking about a franchise real estate company or some 'One-Man' office with several agents ??

    Unless you have a signed agreement with your real estate customer that they turned you down as their authorized sign shop, but kept the logo and don't have any documentation that you offered it to them at the time of sale to them.... you can't go back now, after you've given it out for use. Regardless of how you word it, it's going to be hard to prove this ain't 'spilt milk' and you're just upset.

    I don't know how long ago you actually got paid for delivering a logo to this company, but unless you have signed paperwork of their turning you down on an offer for them to purchase the rights to the logo, in my opinion, you don't have a leg to stand on. You being the professional here, the designer and the initial start.... if you didn't explain to them upfront of all the "in's n' out's" of the legal mumbo/jumbo, I wouldn't find in your favor on anything here. You can't hold a company or business hostage if you never told them of the ramifications if they don't use you and still use something they paid for thinking it was a 100% finalization type of deal.

    When someone comes to us and asks for certain artwork/logo/design to be created.... all of the information would be outlined and explained in writing so they can sign it before you start anything. All parties involved must know the beginning and the ending before entering into a contract; otherwise, you're guilty of not fulfilling your obligation as a contractor. I’m sure it’s a little different down there in Florida, but business is the same everywhere. It’s not good to deal with half facts and then come on some forum and get information on this stuff and try to recoup on old accounts with force. Have you even tried contacting the real estate guy and asked for some money out of pity for your lack of contract etiquette ??

    Another good one….. a lawyer on contingency ?? You'd be better off defending your own bad actions and taking your chances. A good lawyer will probably tell you to forget it and start doing things by the book.
     
  14. John Butto

    John Butto verboden

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    East coast is messed up, we don't flood the state below us to ski and fish in our lakes.
     
  15. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    Here is the background on the logo. I designed the logo for the Real Estate company without getting paid per our agreement that I do all the signs & printing exclusively for all agents & the office in return. This is one of many offices I have similar agreements with.

    One agent had a relationship with this other company and asked to be able to get his work done at the other shop. I agreed. The other shop requested a copy of the logo. I laid out the terms for use up front.

    I control the logo for all intents and purposes when its needed for ads, websites etc.. that all comes through me. The logo isn't used where I don't give permission for its use. Per my agreement with the Real Estate company.
     
  16. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

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    BWAAHHH! Beat me to it Bro!
     
  17. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

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    i think you should send them a certified letter with a copy of the agreement and demand they cease and desist using the logo. if they dont stop take them to small claims court

    mark galoob
     
  18. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Again, is your version of the story documented, signed and dated by both parties ??

    No matter what was said or discussed with or without you.... you must have a complete paper trail from start to finish if you think you'll get anywhere in a court of law.

    Let's go a step further..... if your agreement was indeed how you described it as you don't have money for designing, layout or anything else and only get paid for signs or actual work produced..... why would you give the artwork to someone else ?? You basically violated your own agreement with the real estate company and if you can violate your agreement, why can't they ?? I know, two wrongs don't make a right, but you made both wrongs. Copyright infringement is pretty serious, but only when both sides know the rules... and to be perfectly frank, you're still only learning and don't have an overall grasp on it. Sounds like you're trying to get back at someone. Free enterprise is one thing, but you're sounding a little deceitful. They told you totally outright they were going elsewhere and you put something in writing that seems a little after the fact.

    If I might ask, what did you receive for giving this other sign shop a one-time use ??

    Again, how old is this contract that you have signed and dated with the real estate company and did they in fact sign and date it ?? While we're at it..... do they have a signed and dated copy with your signature on it ??
     
  19. NEGD

    NEGD Member

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    You still didn't answer the question.... do you have a signed agreement or just verbal?
     
  20. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    Why would you agree to let another shop produce the work? sounds like you made your own bed, now you have to sleep in it. You can try a certified letter, to see if you can scare them, but don't expect this to go anywhere legally.

    Also, by not charging for the logo design, you are telling your customer that the design has no value, now you are surprised when they see no value in it either?
     
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