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Atlas and His Impostors. Six years ago I designed a logo with a friend and former boss of mine, GoFish Creative. He hired me to design the figure for this Atlas Capital Management logo, he directed the color and put together the type.
Since then, I’ve often been contacted by companies wanting to use it and I have to educate them about copyright. They tell me they can’t find that company online, which is immaterial. They want to just “tweak” it and use it, thinking to save cost, which is again copyright infringement, sloppy seconds, and not that way I work on a logo design.
Keeping this in mind, I was using Google Image Search the other night, where you can upload images to the search box to find where that occurs (or variations thereupon) on the internet. Fortunately, much of my work has been reposted with links back to me. However, when I came to this old logo, I found no less than 17 different companies (not including the actual client company), using it for their logo, including one logo company in Australia that was selling it (they may want to beware of lawsuits if they’re selling copyrighted material).
I think of it as a strange kind of flattery to be in such demand, though I’d prefer to be paid for my work rather than to have it redistributed and basically bastardized. Where Atlas Capital Management owns the copyright, it’s not for me to pursue any damages, of course, but I’m in the process now of contacting those companies to let them know that their business is looking cheap and unprofessional, and that if they paid a designer for the logo, they’d want to get their money back and come to me next time to have it done correctly.
Obviously any designer needs to show their work, and the internet is standard now, but it also has that hazard of dishonest individual and companies purloining things, creating mistrust in the economy. Even now, I feel a need to lay over a bit of a watermark on the logo as a precaution even where I’m exposing theft.