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Ethical Delima - Design Theft

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biggator850
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Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby biggator850 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:02 pm

Need advice from those in the business! Several years ago I helped out some friends by designing and building trophies for a "inaugural" fishing tournament. My work became a MAJOR HIT that really propelled the success of the event. I built the trophies for 2015, 2016, and 2017 annual events basically only changing the colors and year numbers so each was unique. It was essentially "charity" work, as I was basically given a tip after the fact to cover the materials etc. Each piece I built was posted to my website, and had my company logo and info on the back. I NEVER gave up rights to the design.

This year I had a visit from a new customer asking me to do work for them. He told me that he loved the trophies I did for the 2018 tournament. I told him I did not build the trophies for this year. He said they looked just like the years before! I did a web search and found pictures of the 2018 trophies. It was an EXACT COPY of MY design!!!!!! Some other shop took pictures or image files of MY custom work, duplicated it, and has posted it to the internet as THEIR own design!

I have no idea what the other shop was told, and part of me wants to call them just to find out who undermined me. The other part of me wants to attack!

Any advice as I am sure some of you have found yourselves in a similar delima?

BC
Last edited by biggator850 on Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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acourtjester
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby acourtjester » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:10 pm

I think unless you registered the design you just did all you can, this has been talked about many times here.
Once posted on the web it is only time before its copied, its the time we live in, a sad time.
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby Scratch » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:42 pm

Yeah, I think you're out of luck. Just take it as: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" or some shit like that....

I guess if it really bothered you, you could contact the event people and ask why they decided to go with someone else and let them copy your work, but it really aint gonna solve anything or put any money in your pocket... it would probably make them feel bad though, and isn't that all that really matters? ;)


BTW - You gotta link for Florida Coastal Decor? I couldn't find any info on them... I need to make some trophies for an underwater basketweaving competition coming up and I heard they have some cool ones!
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby WyoGreen » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:48 am

For what it's worth, there is a Facebook page for Florida Coastal Decor.

https://www.facebook.com/flcoastaldecor/
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby Black Forest » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:07 pm

I would think the people that ran the event are the culprits. They probably went to the other company and told him it was their design. A simple phone call to the event manager would be the first order of business. If you didn't make any money on the first years of doing the trophies and only got paid for materials I don't see why you are upset. Did you get any new customers from your trophy work? If so then maybe you did indeed lose some revenue. If not then just move on.

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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby Largemouthlou » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:39 pm

Well this really boils down to the turn key machines and customer service from the vendors is great these days, along with hypertherm giving all cut parameters. Just about anyone can be an expert cutter in hrs!! Alot of us learned everything the hard way and put a lot of time and effort into learning everything that is now offered on a silver plater to the new generation of cutters.. Soon there will be cutters on every corner and this won't be worth doing. I do have to say he who is great in marketing will survive.. Me, I really suck at it and have fallen back to just cutting for myself and a few friends, Not sure if I will ever upgrade machines or put more money into the biz..

If you never gave out the file to the directors then it was an out and out trace job!! End of story
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby tcaudle » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:40 pm

You need to read the legal definition of a Copyright. Copyright covers original artwork or works and accrues to the person that creates it. Its really hard to claim copyright on "shapes". If you print or draw a design its copyrighted as soon as its finished. it does not have to be "registered" to be a copyright. Notifications on the artwork or on the website help substantiate the time and ownership. There is a grey area where its called "work for hire" where someone hires you to do a work for them and they become the owner of copyright. What constitutes "consideration" to establish something is a Work for Hire can be sticky. If you take anything in exchange it could be argued its payment (even money to cover expenses) . The down side of all this is it is civil in nature and up to you to pay to defend it. You can send a cease and desist letter but they can chose to ignore it. You can complain to the web hosting provider or any for sale site like Ebay that its copyrighted material. Your legal bills would exceed anything you could hope to get. I think I would have a chat with your "friends" if they are still involved to see who might have contracted with someone else (if they did) and if they are still getting them for a "donation".
Its frustrating to have ideas and designs stollen but without contracts it gets a lot harder to prove anything.

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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby biggator850 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:02 pm

Update: Well it looks like the other shop that duplicated my work was not a willing culprit in this! I did send a "cease and decist" letter, and the other shop took down all advertising of the design! While the letter asked them to call me on my cell phone to discuss, as I assumed it was a misunderstanding, they have not called. I did recieve a VERY ANGRY call from one of the event organizators claiming THEY owned the design! When told they do not own the design, as I designed it, produced it for three years, published it to our website, etc. It ended as a very UGLY situtation! It appears Florida Coastal Decor is an innocent party that acted in good faith. When advised of the copyright issue, they responded as a professional!

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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby tnbndr » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:13 am

It ended as a very UGLY situtation! It appears Florida Coastal Decor is an innocent party that acted in good faith. When advised of the copyright issue, they responded as a professional!

But in the end what did it get you? You have the copyright but will never do work for them again!
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Re: Ethical Delima - Design Theft

Postby acourtjester » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:40 am

This may be a learning situation in that there should be paperwork spelling out who owns a design that was custom made. And who has the rights to reproduce the design. This has been discussed many times about logos here, just because this was a smaller area the owner should still have the rights that were spelled out in the original paperwork. With logos some have absolutely no reproductions allowed or with colleges a small fee is paid and the logo can be reproduced.
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