New site launch
After much midnight oil burning, hand wringing and gnashing of teeth, Funkenhammer and I just launched a new site this weekend and I figured here’s as good a place as any to announce it. The Logo Mechanics is a ‘love child’ site of The Logo Factory dealing with logo repair (as opposed to full-blown logo design) and is a domain that was in desperate need of TLC. Actually, the site is more of a relaunch – The Logo Mechanics is a concept (and domain) that’s been kicking around for over ten years, as has, more importantly, the logo (below)
Which brings us to today’s sad tale of internet plagiarism. See, our original Logo Mechanics logo was designed way back in 2000. We used it on the original version of the Logo Mechanics site in 2001 (check out the Way Back Machine archive to see how the site looked on September 29, 2001). That’s 2001 folks. Someone took it upon themselves to vectorize the logo and upload it to the Brands of the World website in 2004 (Brands of the World is a repository of vector-based versions of logos and is one of the premier destinations for logo plagiarists) which is probably where the following problem originated.
In any case, imagine my surprise when I discovered some outfit in Brazil called Budin Ferramentas was using the Mechanics logo and had begun branding themselves with it all over the place. On their website. On their Facebook page. And more startlingly, on their storefront (with a really big sign).
Guess somebody figured that because we hadn’t used the design on our website in a couple of years, it was open season on our poor little mechanic fellah. Free for the taking and all that. Which kiddies, brings us to today’s logo design lesson – when you’re looking for a new company logo (or designing one for your clients), just because you find something on the Interwebs does not mean that you can use it as your logo (or sell it to your clients). And just because somebody doesn’t happen to be using a design at the exact moment you check their website, does not mean that the image has fallen into the public domain or something. Nope. We still claim, and own, the copyright of the mechanic, as we did back in 2000 when Steve Rodrigues at the shop designed it. And just because something can be downloaded from Brands of the World or some other ‘free vector logo’ site does not give you the right to make it your own.
And now we’re in the awkward position of writing those “you may not know this but…” e-mails to the good folks at Budin Ferramentas. And then imagining their surprise.