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Old Nov 22, 2010, 12:03 PM   #1
SpeedRacer
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Logo Advise

Hi all,

I'm trying to design a logo for a client and they would like to use a lighthouse in the design. I was given a picture of the lighthouse and I incorporated it into the design.

What I'm wondering is... is this legal? I'm not sure if the lighthouse is owned privately or is government owned.

Does it become OK if I simply create an illustration of the lighthouse instead of doing Photoshop effects on the photo (the photo was taken by the client BTW).

Sorry I can't post what I have so far (client won't allow) but any insight will be very helpful!
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Old Nov 22, 2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SpeedRacer View Post
Hi all,

I'm trying to design a logo for a client and they would like to use a lighthouse in the design. I was given a picture of the lighthouse and I incorporated it into the design.

What I'm wondering is... is this legal? I'm not sure if the lighthouse is owned privately or is government owned.

Does it become OK if I simply create an illustration of the lighthouse instead of doing Photoshop effects on the photo (the photo was taken by the client BTW).

Sorry I can't post what I have so far (client won't allow) but any insight will be very helpful!
You're fine. It's a lighthouse, that's pretty public I'd say.
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Old Nov 22, 2010, 10:08 PM   #3
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The only way I could see a problem would be if your illustration (and final logo) looked a lot like another logo using the same/a similar lighthouse. If not, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old Nov 22, 2010, 10:15 PM   #4
ezkimo
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You're fine. It's a lighthouse, that's pretty public I'd say.
Not all lighthouses are public. There are plenty that are private property.

You're getting into questionable territory (Yeah, not an identical situation, but not entirely different), I'd say. However, a good contract should release you of any responsibility ;-)
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 09:57 PM   #5
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Not all lighthouses are public. There are plenty that are private property.

You're getting into questionable territory (Yeah, not an identical situation, but not entirely different), I'd say. However, a good contract should release you of any responsibility ;-)
If he authored the image, it's not the same.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 06:08 AM   #6
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If he authored the image, it's not the same.
I disagree. That's like saying if you take a picture of a logo and then trace it you're in the clear. It's not his property regardless of where the likeness comes from.

Last edited by ezkimo; Nov 26, 2010 at 06:24 AM.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 11:17 PM   #7
VictoriaStudent
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Originally Posted by SpeedRacer View Post
Hi all,

I'm trying to design a logo for a client and they would like to use a lighthouse in the design. I was given a picture of the lighthouse and I incorporated it into the design.

What I'm wondering is... is this legal? I'm not sure if the lighthouse is owned privately or is government owned.

Does it become OK if I simply create an illustration of the lighthouse instead of doing Photoshop effects on the photo (the photo was taken by the client BTW).

Sorry I can't post what I have so far (client won't allow) but any insight will be very helpful!
all that concerns you is:

1) get job
2) bill client for job
3) clients pays
4) ????
5) profit


the rule is: get any/all of your client(s) to sign a form releasing you from liability for all graphics/fonts/etc. that THEY provide YOU with. If they (the client) assumes liability for everything...and you do the job....and they pay you. then....excellent. All legal issues become the client's issues. Not yours.

Get your money and run. Do a good job. Afterwords? Who cares.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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I disagree. That's like saying if you take a picture of a logo and then trace it you're in the clear. It's not his property regardless of where the likeness comes from.
This statement is correct, yes, but not what I was implying. The situation mentioned isn't the same as the OP's situation.

Theoretical issue: The owner of the lighthouse feels the produced design is harmful to his property (business?) in some way, causing confusion as to the actual affiliation of the company using said logo.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 03:35 PM   #9
ezkimo
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Originally Posted by Plymouthbreezer View Post
This statement is correct, yes, but not what I was implying. The situation mentioned isn't the same as the OP's situation.
No, they're not identical situations, which is why I said that in my original post. They are the same in that they both deal with producing art based on something that doesn't belong to them. I don't care if the photo belongs to his client, the lighthouse does not.

At the same time, as I said in my original post and was reiterated by VictoriaStudent, your contract should cover you from any issues so it shouldn't matter to the designer.
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Old Nov 29, 2010, 09:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by VictoriaStudent View Post
all that concerns you is:

1) get job
2) bill client for job
3) clients pays
4) ????
5) profit

Get your money and run. Do a good job. Afterwords? Who cares.
Unless you hope to strike up a long term partnership with the company. If that's the case, I would suggest you ask them if they are at least aware of any legal ramifications that they may be subjecting their company to by using a likeness of a piece of property that they don't own.
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Old Nov 29, 2010, 02:28 PM   #11
Consultant
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Originally Posted by Plymouthbreezer View Post
This statement is correct, yes, but not what I was implying. The situation mentioned isn't the same as the OP's situation.

Theoretical issue: The owner of the lighthouse feels the produced design is harmful to his property (business?) in some way, causing confusion as to the actual affiliation of the company using said logo.
Lighthouse Str1pclub!!!
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 12:11 PM   #12
primalman
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Originally Posted by VictoriaStudent View Post
all that concerns you is:

1) get job
2) bill client for job
3) clients pays
4) ????
5) profit


the rule is: get any/all of your client(s) to sign a form releasing you from liability for all graphics/fonts/etc. that THEY provide YOU with. If they (the client) assumes liability for everything...and you do the job....and they pay you. then....excellent. All legal issues become the client's issues. Not yours.

Get your money and run. Do a good job. Afterwords? Who cares.
This is a dangerous thought, both professionally as mentioned by others for the idea of legitimate long-term relationships, and damaging to the profession as a whole. As well, it is incorrect, as even if you are able to produce and sign a so-called release of liability, you as the designer that is independent of the client [i.e. a freelancer or other contractor], are responsible for the designs you produce. If you are a legitimate employee or work-for-hire, the vast majority, if not all, of the responsibility is on the client/employers shoulders.

That does not let off the client, but if you produce a design as a contractor with full knowledge that it may be infringing, you will carry some of the liability. As for how much, a court will decide, not you, not the client, not the plaintiff and not a contract. In fact, in a lot of cases, the designer becomes the one that is wholly liable, as they created the content and made all the primary decisions to visuals and intellectual content, and they are the ones that should carry the knowledge of applicable IP law.

The client has come to you for your professional skills, which include your ability to understand the laws of copyright, trademark and their respective application and liabilities, both domestically and internationally. Protect yourself and the client's interests.
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Old Dec 2, 2010, 11:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Consultant View Post
Lighthouse Str1pclub!!!
Already the right shape.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 04:28 PM   #14
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You'd be much better off using Illustrator to create a lighthouse from that image. What I mean is trace it's basic outline, add some shape, differentiate it and then it becomes your lighthouse drawing.

Not totally ethical but a lot safer bet than using Photoshop to add some filters to a jpg that could be privately owned and lead to legal troubles. Always bet on the safer option.
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