Action Alert: A message from Richard Grefé AIGA executive director
As you may be aware, the website LogoGarden.com has come under fire for copying and selling the work of designers and claiming it as original work. AIGA has issued the following response, urging designers to take action against the site and its founder, John Williams.
A website promoting access to “do-it-yourself logos for entrepreneurs” starting at $79 has copied logos and other images created by designers and displayed them as LogoGarden founder John Williams’s own work for sale, without the original designers’ permission.
Bill Gardner of Gardner Design, who found more than 200 of his own designs offered on the site, has documented Williams’s outrageous and unethical behavior on the blog Rock Paper Ink, including examples of the slight modifications of well-known logos like the identity for World Wildlife Fund and Time Warner Cable.
Williams has made slight modifications to many of the images, presumably in an attempt to avoid claims that he infringed on the original designers’ copyright rights, although these modifications are not enough to avoid liability for infringement of the creator’s rights in the underlying works. It may actually increase Williams’s liability by demonstrating his willful copyright infringement.
We believe the most powerful response we can make as a community is to demonstrate the profession’s outrage and the threat of clients’ legal action, if the rights to the design belong to the client. Several legal actions are already in process.
Your course of action, immediately:
Check logogarden.com for your own work using the “try it free” button.
If your creative work has been misappropriated, contact Williams (see below), contact your lawyer, contact your client and have your client contact his/her lawyer to make it clear that this is a violation of copyright law.
If your work is on the site, contact Williams to make it clear that this represents illegal, unethical behavior; that it fails the basic test of decency, common sense or business acumen; and that it also exposes his customers to liabilities for copyright infringement.