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LogoThief.com — Theft or Bad Clip Art Usage?

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.logoIt’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 there in front of you. It can’t be made up as easily as words, but, as we all know, photoshop does wonders.

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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

The similarities in some of these logos are frightening. This begs the question of how the logos were created in such a similar manner. Was it commercially available clip art being used by the same designers, or was the original lifted and “adjusted” by the logo thief? The original designers swear they are the creators of the art, so it makes the theft even worse, as per the example of the duck logo below the koi artwork!

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.

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LogoThief.duckhead

It’s become as famous as the winking pizza chef on the take out pizza box. Still, it belongs to someone and the use of the coffee logo, for example, is blatant thievery.

LogoThief-CoffeeCup

One of the most stolen animal logos, next to the World Wildlife Fund panda. Mr. Fisher, the originator of the cat logo must be livid, and rightfully so!

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… but in the case of the brain logo, it’s highly doubtful.

LogoThief-Cerebra

Often a piece of clip art is offered in a dozen or more ways, if that is the source of the original art. 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, but it seems it is obviously a copy.

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LogoThief.tea.maybe

Same art with slight variations. An obvious copyright infringement!

LogoThief-LaBrasa

It seems M Logo Concept is cursed by imitators. Of course, as with the numerous examples on the site, if you start with easily available clip art (not that we are accusing the original designer of the logo below of using clip art, mind you), create a logo seen a thousand times before, then point a finger at the next designer, well, it just doesn’t seem 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

Yet another rip-off of original art. There are subtle variations in the lines, if you look closely. A lift and rework in Illustrator, or a sloppy lift from a printed piece?

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

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3 Comments

  • Avatar for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives Jeff Fisher LogoMotives says:

    “…Bad Clip Art Usage?” Knowing most of the professional designers who created the original logos, posted above as ripped-off by others [including my own creation], I find it odd that you suggest that clip art was used to created the initial designs.

  • Avatar for Marco Marco says:

    So, I’m trying to figure out the writers angle on this article. Is this person attempting to claim that all of these logos were created using readily available clip art? Because I can tell you that is not the case. Specifically in the eye logo, which I created, with no use of “Clip Art”.

  • Avatar for Graham Freeman Graham Freeman says:

    “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.”

    Incorrect. If the designer DID NOT PAY for the commercially available piece of clip art, then that may be so. Commercially available pieces of clip art are sold specifically for this kind of use.

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