Design plagiarism?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by marty1990, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    England
    #1
    I've been contracted to design an infographic surrounding Star Trek. In my infographic there are cartoon versions of Kirk and Spock, however I'm a little concerned. For you see, the company I have designed the infographic for really like the look of my 'cartoony' versions of the characters, but, after looking on visual.ly, I've found an Obama/Romney infographic, and the style of Obama and Romney is pretty much the same as mine. If I keep that look on my infographic, could I be done for plagiarism, or would it be classed as just a standard design?

    http://visual.ly/what-obama-and-romney-voters

    That's the original, I shan't post mine as the company is hoping to use my infographic as part of an online campaign, and they don't want it live yet.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Drunken Master

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #2
    Just claim it's "an homage".

    That's how everyone gets away with shamelessly ripping people off these days. ;)
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Thats the thing I didn't attempt to copy, I designed this infographic, sent it to my client, they liked it, then a friend showed me the Obama one, and now am worried.
     
  4. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    One cannot copyright a style, only content. If your web page can be mistaken for their web page then you may have violated copyright. If it is only a similar style but with different content then there is no copyright violation.

    This does extend to sub-parts of the page, for example if you lifted a cartoon on Romney, but you did not do that.
     
  5. marty1990, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
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    England
    #5
    So, even though my Star Trek characters are in the same style as Obama and Romney, it's okay if this were to get published online?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    #6
    Aslong as the rest of the design/web page isn't similar, then you're good to go.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    England
    #7
    yeah, everything is my own, even the characters. just the design of the characters is similar to the romney/obama on the above infographic.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Eastern WA - USA
    #8
    Personally, I would be more concerned about the potential copyright infringement of Star Trek.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    rocknblogger

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #9
    I've seen other very similar info graphics but they had different content, like yours I'm guessing, so I have to agree with everyone else. You're good to go.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    England
    #10
    Yeah, that was my concern too, but they aren't bothered, so that's their decision. The characters are my doing, but if there's similar designs, I'll just leave them as they are then.

    Thanks.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #11
    If general styles could be copyrighted, everyone, myself included, would be getting sued once a month. Like someone else said, I would be more worried about Star Trek than anything else. That's more of the client's concern, though.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    #12
    I respectfully disagree. You cannot absolve yourself of legal responsibility just by saying "someone else told me to / someone else paid me to...". The courts do not work like that (unless you can prove you were coerced).

    If you drew it, you infringed it.

    If a copyright lawyer comes after this project, both the artist and client will bear responsibility. Do you think your client will protect you? Pay for your damages? In my experience clients are pretty quick to throw designers under a bus.

    I am not a lawyer, but I have hired copyright lawyers to protect my intellectual property and won. These guys make $800/hr and, in my case, hit the other guy so hard his book publishing company had to declare bankruptcy.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #13
    You know, I wasn't really sure of that statement. I probably shouldn't have put it. I've never had to design something with content from one copyrighted entity for another entity, so I really have no idea what I'm talking about.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    #14
    The bottom line is...dont worry too much. There might be a 1% chance of there being any repercussions from this. Just answer the brief and if anything negative comes then pull it or adapt it.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    You probably have nothing to worry about but seriously, I wouldn't take legal advice from an internet forum. If you have concerns then speak to a lawyer. If you can't afford to then raise your concerns in writing with your client and make sure you have indemnity insurance.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Belly-laughs

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Location:
    location location
    #16
    You've made an infographics with star wars characters and are worried it may look too much like a list infographics with two faceless people? i wouldn't worry the slightest.

    i think you will find plenty more examples of similar styled graphics if you do a search.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #17
    It has to be damn close to be an issue. It's hard to protect a design. If you take text, a photo or an exact drawing, then you're screwed. But, an overall design has to be extremely close to even be considered a problem.
     

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