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
    Weirdness Herald..., 6 Apr 2009 @ 5:46am

    Weird Herald is off the reservation...

    So... If I understand you correctly...

    >Here's the rub: Because he didn't take any time to
    >protect his own work or really create an ongoing catalog
    >of his work, but has taken the time to publish his work
    >in all sorts of places, he left himself open for this.

    Ahh... so... by your definition, if one of the movie companies makes a DVD with encryption that is VERY easy to crack, and they then sell those DVDs ALL over the place... they just leave themselves open for someone to take the movie, remove the copyright and then republish the movie? Cool!

    >He made the logos, he put them out there in public in
    >digital form, and guess what?

    So... because a band puts their music on a website in MP3 format, you're saying that gives someone the right to take the music... copyright it... and then claim ownership? Huh?

    >They became a sort of infinite good.

    Much like music from a CD or movies from a DVD. They are all infinite goods. The CDs and DVDs aren't... but the "digital form" is.

    >In reality, copyright is protecting the artist, the one
    >who sold the logos to the stock photo place.

    Honestly... are you high? A moron? Or really just posting whatever the hell pops in your head so you can start arguments?

    In the REAL reality, copyright is protecting someone who STOLE the work, and then SOLD STOLEN GOODS (infinite, mind you) to a company who then copyrighted the STOLEN goods and now use the law in their favor. That is the REAL reality... not your made up fantasy land where this is somehow right.

    Seriously... are you on Techdirt's payroll just to start arguments, because this one was pretty lame - and goes against things and views you've expressed previously.

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