How To Remove Stolen Logo?
A lot of designers who are posting their work online are in a serious risk to be robbed. I have been designing logos for nearly a decade and I have to deal with this quite often. I am not a lawyer and I don’t have any legal background. However, I have been in this field for quite a while now and would like to share my personal experience, how to deal with it and even how to gain a profit from this situation without an expensive lawsuit.
Finding stolen content.
Services like Google image search, TinEye makes finding stolen content possible. There are others, but the two mentioned are the most reliable. I am using a Safari extension Backtrack, which makes this process faster. With only a few clicks I can find the stolen content. Google image search is better than its rivals. It can find images with changed color, position or even with the minor changes.
The support of Design community is also very important. Designers are constantly monitoring the Web and sharing information.
Getting into contact
After finding the infringing content you have two options. First — to contact them personally and ask for compensation or second — remove content without a notice. Let’s discuss both options.
Most often they are ignoring your email messages. In this case we need to find other ways to contact them. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter are just perfect for this. Especially public posts makes them understand how serious you are. It’s very important to be diplomatic and polite. Do not accuse them of stealing, especially publicly. It can backfire. Provide the link which proves that the design was presented under your name before their project took place. Have in mind, that every author owes copyrights or his artwork / other intellectual property from the moment it was created. Any extra documents of work being registered or some sort of license are not required.
Most often, people are deceived by designers and will collaborate with you. A lot of people get tricked who uses such platforms as Fiverr, where you can hire a ‘designer’ who creates a logo for $5. Unfortunatley I have been in this situation so many times.
Than there are some malicious and ignorant people who will try to shake off their responsibilities. From the moment they were informed it becomes their problem as well. And they will have to deal with you personally. Either they will offer you a compensation, remove the stolen content or they will just ignore you. If your logo or other artwork is unused, at least you can try and gain some profit from this situation.
What can you do to remove the content?
Start a social media campaign presenting the company in a copyright theft case. This will damage their reputation. Usually, no other steps are required. Note. Content must be true and well thought through to avoid the accusation of slander.
Next step is to fill out a copyright removal form to remove stolen content/website from Google search.
Removing infringing content from the website is difficult. Sending a DMCA removal notice to the hosting provider is valid only in the US located hosting companies. In EU you can send a cease-and-desist letter. It most probably will help to take down the infringing content to avoid being the subject of a lawsuit themselves. Hosting provider can find using whoishostingthis.
The final step is filling a copyright report form to remove the work from social networks.
It’s a time-consuming process. And sometimes feels like you tilting at windmills. But we have to defend our work with all measures we have. In order to change peoples thinking towards professional design and digital property. We have to start changing at least single person’s understanding. And I think it’s a good start