Let’s face it, “borrowing” images off the Internet has become rampant. It’s bad enough for photographers to find their images posted (without credit) but what if you found your logo gracing someone else’s site?
I read about this happening to someone recently and when she contacted the designer of the website that had illegally used her copyright protected logo, the designer had the balls to respond:
I received this graphic hrough a graphics group I was a member of. I made a logo for xyz.com out of it unaware of the copyright. I was recently informed of this and wanted to contact you and ask if they can continue to use the logo since it’s been over 2 years. Here is a copy of the log [sic] so you can see it.
No apology. No contrition. Just a request to keep using the logo!
After several more exchanges, the owner of the logo got a bit more of an apology but revealed something more concerning. He had received this logo through a graphics group at Yahoo where, it appears, people have been stealing artwork off of website for several years and then distributing it to their membership. Not an excuse in my book. Any web designer worth his salt should not be using artwork with unknown provenance.
I did not take this off your website. I received it from a yahoo graphics group a long time ago. There are literal thousands of people who have this and are using it. I am sorry for using your graphic, I did not know it was copyrighted. As soon as I found out I wrote to you so hopefully we can work something outs o my friend can continue to use her logo. I am sure you are upset and it is understandable. I hope you will see this truly was something that I had no idea about. I have approximately 10,000 graphics on my computer that I have collected over the last 10 years of graphics design. Unfortunately yours was one of them that was given to me through firstname.lastname@example.org Please, forgive me for this infringement as it was totally unintentional. I was given the graphic with the understanding that it was not copyrighted. Again, I am sorry for all of this.
So what can you do to protect your graphics? Apparently specifically forbidding the use of the image doesn’t help (it was on the original site). But there is a search engine for images that you can use to see if it appears anywhere else. It’s called http://www.tineye.com and it works!