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Branding, Identity, Graphic Design and Illustration stories and information by Joe Barsin, Brand Consultant, JEB Design, Inc.

Copyright Infringement Pitfalls in the Digital Age

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This blog post illustrates what was discussed on the recent Maryland Crabs Podcast. Hosts John Frenaye and Tim Hamilton interview Joe Barsin on recent copyright infringement cases that have effected Annapolis. Below are the images from the Annapolis Electric Boat Rentals Company identity story.

The original illustration created in 2013 by Joe Barsin for Citizen Pride's store.

Below is the logo that the online logo factory, Logotypers, created for Annapolis Electric Boat Rentals in 2017. 

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This logo is an obvious copyright infringement since the artist, Augusto Filocamo (an off-shore freelance artist for Logotypers), found Joe Barsin's image online and used it for the skyline in the background of his artwork. The odd thing is he "cut and pasted" the Maryland State House and The Naval Chapel a couple of times! When this logo came to Joe Barsin's attention 2018, he contacted the owners of AEB Rentals. He pointed out what happened with their identity. Obviously, this was not good news for AEB Rentals since they had already spent a lot of money on graphics, boat signage and embroidered uniforms for the crew. They are a new company that did not need this legal issue placed on their door step. The good news is they realized their mistake and were willing to work with Joe Barsin on correcting it. Below is the new logo that Joe Barsin designed and illustrated for AEB Rentals. It is already on their website and social media and, over time, they will replace the other graphics. 

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Joe Barsin and AEB Rental are happy this copyright infringement identity issue ended on a positive note. The digital age is an exciting time but there are pitfalls out there that everyone needs to be aware of. Corporate identity is your brand. It needs to be built on a solid foundation. Putting your trust in a logo factory that is based off-shore and does not need to follow U.S. Copyright Law, nor be prosecuted, is asking for legal jeopardy. In the case of Logotypers and Fiver, they list a U.S. address but the artist they are using, to create the artwork, are not in America and are not employees. Granted, a U.S. designer can infringed on copyrights, too. This is what happened with the U.S. Naval Academy Crest being used by an affiliate of Nike on a new apparel line. In this case, the Navy sent a legal notice to Nike and, wisely, Nike removed the line of clothing. For Nike, this was an internal matter that they will need to set-up better creative reviews of their brand development. No matter whether you are a big or small company, treat your logo with the importance that it deserves. Hire a graphic designer or firm who have a solid record of work behind them. Check their reviews to make sure they are reputable.

If you have any questions about copyrights and corporate identity then please feel free to contact Joe Barsin. 

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