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Question "Stolen" Artwork

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by hardlyjw, May 18, 2017.

  1. hardlyjw

    hardlyjw New Member

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    May 19, 2011
    NOLA
    Hey Guys,

    This is my first time ever being in this situation so I had some questions on the topic of "stolen artwork"

    Towards the middle of last year I was contacted by someone I've done various sign/graphics jobs for (very frequent customer). He asked us to draw up some proofs for his new boat. Typically we get deposits before doing anything. Since he was a long-time client (10 years) and having things done with us so often, we just skipped the deposit out of good faith.

    Anyways, I drew up multiple concepts and the client decided he'd like to push forward to the installation. So we contacted him to have the boat scheduled for installation and never heard back, after multiple attempts to contact.

    Fast forward to this morning, I've been sent photo's of the boat fully wrapped with my design. But it wasn't wrapped by me; I also never provided any artwork files other than a jpeg proof. My design was recreated to the exact detail.

    So the question is, is there anything I can do here to either be fairly compensated or not? or has anyone here every been in the same situation? if so, how'd it all work out? I'm not quite sure what steps to take or really how to even react.
     
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  2. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    What, if any, are the clauses or terms that you provide when you send concept artwork? Either in email, posted in store, or on the file itself.
     
  3. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Active Member

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    Have you had any communication with them since you found out. Who sent you the photos of the finished boat.
    Start working out every day and in a year go beat the sh#t out of the guy.
    Don't think that bit##ing about it is going to do you any good.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Typestries

    Typestries Very Active Member

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    This is the problem with this industry. Too many people doing design work for free, and the customers expecting it.

    Take this as a lesson and stop designing on spec.

    You are a PROFESSIONAL. You are invested in skill, expertise, experience and overhead. You MUST charge for your design. Up front. Always.

    Start taking a design deposit. It's tough at first, but will become easier with time.

    Does an architect design a house without a deposit? Nope. An engineer a site plan? Nope. Why should signs be any different?

    I've been at this for 23 years. It took me a LONG time to learn this. It's hard to do, because we all want the job. But, it must be done.

    After all, who wants to work for free all day?
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. equippaint

    equippaint Member

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    You'll spend twice as much on an attorney as the wrap cost trying to fight it even if you had a written contract.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. hardlyjw

    hardlyjw New Member

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    May 19, 2011
    NOLA
    Yeah we've got various disclaimers/disclosures, from order forms that are signed & email signatures stating unauthorized use/duplication/etc is prohibited and whatnot.

    Nope, no communication. I figured that'd be the worst thing to do when initially finding this out. Was never bit##ing though, was asking if anyone else has ever dealt with something like this.

    Again, I always cover the initial design cost upfront by receiving deposits. Could count on one hand how many times I've made an exception, this coincidentally is just one of those times. But yeah, lesson learned as far as making any exceptions.
     
  7. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

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    No deposit no proof. I learned it the same way you just did. A lot of us have. Take the lump, fix your system and boogie.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. hardlyjw

    hardlyjw New Member

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    May 19, 2011
    NOLA
    That's really the plan. I had already accepted he wouldn't use me for the project a while ago.

    Even with situation taken out of the equation. Really the concern is the duplication of artwork. Nothings to stop someone from seeing another wrap by someone else and having another designer remanufacture it. Aside from good ethics, which are pretty hard to find nowadays.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Yep, it happens..... and all the time. Just last week, I saw one of my customer's trucks lettered and knew we didn't do it. Went right up to him and said, I thought you said we were gonna letter that truck when you had some free time ?? He said, aw gee man, I am so p!ssed. My Dad took it to so and so and had it lettered. I told him were were taking it to you, but he did what he wanted to. I said, did ya pay lot ?? No, about $200. So, to make him feel good, I said, that little thing would only have cost ya about $50 or $75 at our shop. Aw man.... really ?? Uh-huh. :rolleyes:.

    The thing is, ya never make exceptions. Ya let your guard down and loyalty is out the window. I wouldn't pick a fight, but I'd go right into his place of business and ask him why he had you design something and then go elsewhere to have it done. If he said the other guy was cheaper, just say.... well yeah, the design part is the expensive part. Take that outta the equation and my price would've probably been less than his, since you're a long standing customer. Do you want me to send you a bill for the design part or just make out a handbill right now and you can pay me now ?? Make sure you take a handbill along with you.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    How I would handle it depends on the client.
    So he's a good customer but you haven't seen him since you did this design? He hasn't brought any of his other work to you since?
    If that's the case I would send him a polite email, highlighting the "fine print" on the proof about design rights and ask him if he realizes that having someone else
    copy your design was illegal.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. TXFB.INS

    TXFB.INS Very Active Member

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    depends on how you want to handle it.
    let Karma work it out or get compensation for the time you have invested.

    obviously, it sounds like this customer has used you and will not be coming back so treating him with kid gloves is no longer needed.

    what we have done in the past is send an official company letterhead via certified mail detailing the copyright infringement and an invoice listing the cost for using your design with the terms that it must be paid within. if said terms are missed the invoice is turned over to the collection agency with the added cost of the collection agency.


    regarding the company who did the wrap with your design, assuming a watermark on your work?
    either way, put them on blast via social media.
    Praising them on the wrap and how well they were able to copy your design to the last detail
     
  12. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Active Member

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    We have all dealt with it. Its part of the business we are in. Contractors get tools stolen. Stockbrokers, lawyers, doctors steal from people daily. People will steal from you. You put up cameras, high walls, locks but they still find a way. You can write all the contracts you want and "fine print" clauses, they don't care. I bet the guy comes back to you and tries to get more work from you. Just don't make yourself a mark or somebody's bit*h.
    This guy knows you can't do anything to him. You would spend more time and money than the job is worth anyway, somebody has already told you that. You are just going to have to suck it up and take my advice from post #3.
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Yeah, I vote for beating the snot outta the guy next year, when he ain't expecting it.

    Walk up to him and say..... aren't you Mr so and so ?? Yep. Okay, you're the guy that never paid me for my designs after I sent you a bill. Boink...... in the kisser. o_O

    That's your first installment of 30. Pay up now and get a discount or take the whole 30 payments, in full. :cool:
     
    • Like Like x 3
  14. equippaint

    equippaint Member

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    The real question to ask yourself is why you lost the job. He was a 10 yr customer, he obviously liked your design, he came to you first and somehow you lost the job and you didnt even know it until it was already done and over with. Rather than waste your time trying to figure out how to get your revenge, Id suggest you determine what YOU did wrong to cause the fiasco so you dont repeat it with another long term customer. It sounds like you knew you screwed up at some point and are projecting your anger.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Yep - learn and move on.
    Along the lines of Johnny Best - see if you can find where the boat is moored and open up the drain-cock most boats have to rinse them down when they are out of the water. If he catches you just tell him you were testing to see if the guy who wrapped it sealed the edges like he was supposed to.
     
  16. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    I have a clause on my artwork that it is my property and I will get an attorney blah blah blah..BS! I would have to ask what kind of file you sent the guy. i always send out low res jpegs and if they are replicated its gonna be hard. As far as why did this guy do this to you, probably price. And I hope he got a crappy product and it fails soon AND it would also be nice if he did come back to you that way you can tell him to GTH. Once bitten do not allow them back into your life
     
  17. JohnBFryJr

    JohnBFryJr Member

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    We are in a small town. What comes around goes around.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
     
  18. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Active Member

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    And you can never leave.... BOOMSIGN.jpg
     
  19. neato

    neato Very Active Member

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    Listen to this man...he knows his stuff...

     
  20. burgmurk

    burgmurk New Member

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    Just send him a bill for the design! If he doesn't pay, refer it to some bad *** debt collectors.
     
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