Designer Threatened With Copyright Infringement Claims... On His Own Work

from the hurray-for-copyright dept

A whole bunch of people have been submitting this story all weekend, about how designer Jon Engle is is accused of copyright infringement for his own designs. The site is down right now, but Google cache has it. Basically, the story is that a stock art site claims that it owns the copyright on 65 logos that this guy created for clients -- and is demanding he pay $275 for each one (which is actually somewhat low, given what they could demand). He's not sure how the images got on the stock art site, but it looks like someone just took the images of logos from a showcase site, removed the text, and uploaded the icons themselves. He explained this to them, but instead of an embarrassed apology:
When I refused to pay the bill they hired a law firm specializing in copyright infringement. The attorney called and offered a settlement of $18,000. How is that any different than the bill? I refuse to pay THEM for work I created. That is the epitomy of ridiculous. The attorney didn't like my response. He threatened to sue. I say BRING IT ON! I have no doubt I can win in court.
So what did the lawyers do? They started going after all of Engle's clients, telling them that their images infringe on its copyright and that Engle is "being investigated for copyright infringement."
However, the new tactic I discovered this morning is so much harder to fight. They are calling or emailing every one of my clients they can find. They inform the client that I'm being investigated for copyright infringement and that the logo I designed for them may have been stolen from their client. After discovering my ban from Design Outpost I began contacting clients to see exactly who they've been in touch with. So far, I've heard back from three. In every case so far my client is furious with me. They took the lawyer's warning at face value without bothering to contact me. I understand their reaction to an extent. I'm sure they're worried that they may be sued as well for using 'stolen' artwork and the best thing they can do is distance themselves from me.

I feel like this is nothing more than an underhanded campaign meant to demoralize me and destroy my reputation. If you read through their website you can see they work on contingency. This means they don't get paid if their client doesn't get paid. I've also made it very clear there's no way in hell that I'll ever pay up. I'll declare bankruptcy and go to work for McDonald's before that happens. Are they thinking they can beat me into submission? Do they think I'll agree to a settlement to make it all go away? Guess again. I have the truth on my side and I will NEVER pay a rip-off artist or their extortionist lawyers.
Nice to see copyright law "protecting" the artist again.

Filed Under: accusations, copyright, design, jon engle

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  1. identicon
    Turquoise, 8 Apr 2009 @ 6:58pm


    Dear Respected Design Community,

    I have been fighting for artists rights for over 11 years to the point where
    it has devastated both my business and the livelihoods of my artist alliance
    . I'm guessing we only license 1 image these days to every 50 which are
    stolen and profited from. I personally have uncovered over 500 for- profit
    companies whom have stolen over 8,000 images from my artists!!!! I can not
    expose this story to the point which will soon be shared, but please know
    one thing about this irony! I have fought this matter with my own personal
    investments to a point of bankruptcy. I love my artists and their right to
    earn money from their unique, artistic, intellectual property! If anyone is
    interested in the entire story of my experience, please contact me
    personally at

    I do want to personally thank you for your concern. I understand your
    concern! is proud to advocate and represent the copyrights and
    works of the many award-winning and talented artists who have provided their
    work to for rights managed licensing for over a decade. The
    works which are of concern to and Mr. Engle include, and are
    not limited to, the works of:

    Patricia Dalbey
    Image #PD1P0138 (Stoplight Image)
    Image #PD1A0213 (Chef Hat Image)
    Image #PD1A0087 (Grape Image)

    Phill Bliss
    Image PB#2A0244 (Sun and Moon Image)

    Cindy Lindgren
    Image #CL1A0083 (Feather Image)
    Image #CL1X0181 (Feather Pen Image)
    Image #CL1A0102 (Peapod Image)
    Image #CL1X0216 (Hand Image)

    Scott Greer
    Image #SG1A0094 (Shoe Image)
    =0 A

    Dave Winter
    Image #DW0V0054 (Sombrero Image)

    Larry Milam
    Image #LM1A0041 (Rose Image)
    Image #LM1A0043 (Mountain Image)
    Image #LM1A0434 (Plate Image)

    Mary Ross
    Image #MR4P0041 (Star Image)
    A 0
    Rita Lascaro
    Image #RL1A0061 (Rope Image)

    Robert L. Prince
    Image #RP0X0123 (Coffee Cup Image)

    Peter Buttecali
    Image #PB1A0004 (Rooster Image)
    Image #PB1A0030 (Skunk Image)
    Image #PB1A0034 (Lioness Image)
    Image #PB1A0080 (Truck Image)
    Image #PB1X0231 (Horse Image)
    Image #PB1X0337 (Door Image)
    Image #PB1X0346 (Building Image)
    Image #PB1X0535 (Crown Image)
    Image #PB1X0536 (Crown Image 2)
    Image #PB1X0614 (Mountain Image)
    Image #PB1X0714 (Mountain Image 2)

    Michael Rowley
    Image #MR1X0058 (Cow Image)
    Image #MR1V0088 (King Image)
    Image #MR1X0168 (Jester Image) 20
    Image #MR1X0189 (Donkey Image)
    Image #MR1V0219 (Jester Image- Color)
    Image #MR10227 (Waiter Image)
    Image #MR1X0257 (Cat and Dog Image)

    Elizabeth Burrill
    Image #EB1X0079 (Pig Image)

    Paul Dolan
    Image #PD0A0046 (Stork Image)
    Image #PD0A0145 (Snake Image) intends to use an appropriate "legal" forum to resolve's concerns about the above and many other works; one which will
    allow to explain why claims rights in the many
    images which these artists have provided to, one which affords
    dignity to the artists whose work represents; one which will
    treat Mr. Engle with dignity and respect; one which will give Mr. Engle an
    opportunity explain why he believes he has authorship or copyrights in the
    many images with which is concerned.


    Richard E. Askew, Principal/Founder, LLC
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Turquoise
    Sent: Monday, April 06, 2009 1:33 PM
    Subject: very unhappy about your treatment of Jon Engle

    This story is all over the internet now. Designers are furious. Better do something quick.You need to fire that lawyer. He is ruining your company's reputation.

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