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Logo copyright help

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by marty1990, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    So, my student union asked me to design a logo and I've just finished it, sent it to them and their ready to print it. However, I dunno how I've done it, but the logo I've made looks remarkably like a royalty free image that you're able to purchase. It's not exact, but it's close enough. The logo will only be printed on flyers and posters around my university here in the UK.

    I'm wondering if whether I should tell them NOT to print it and redo the whole thing?


    For the record, I didn't copy the image. The only thing I can think what I've done is that I've seen the royalty free image before and have recreated it, more or less, without realising.
  2. macrumors 6502

    I think we'd have to see both your logo and the royalty free image that it resembles to be able to provide guidance. :)
  3. macrumors G5


    If you "realized" the image look similar to another image now, no matter what you say, it'll look like you copied the image.

    And if it's close enough, the agency might find you to bill you for usage.
  4. macrumors 6502

    I'm on my way to university right now, so will upload my logo later, but my image looks similar to this.


    ... only cut in half. The rays follow a similar pattern. I've tried other rays but none look as good, and am worried now as I need to have the logo finalised later tonight.

    However, I also found it here;


    and am a little confused. If I'm to use the logo I made, even though it's similar, it wouldn't be for commercial use. It would be on flyers and posters and hoodies advertising an events week at my university. Would this cause problems?
  5. macrumors member

  6. macrumors 68000


    can you post the logo as an attachment e.g. zip file (so non members don't have access to it but we could help you more.
  7. macrumors 6502

    As the previous poster as said - post the logo and we can chip in with opinions. If you've created yours from scratch - there's likely to be enough of a difference for it not to be a problem. Take away the specific colourways and highlights from that sun and it's pretty generic shape.

    As for that thread on Yorkshire-Divers (of which weirdly I also post on very occasionally) bear in mind that most of the posts on it come from the perspective of self commissioned photography being sold on spec to magazines etc.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Apple Key

    It really depends on how similar it is. There are a million variations on the icon for a sun. If it is identical, then it is a problem and you would need to change it, however if it is only similar then you shouldn't have a problem at all.

    You may wan to explore a logo that is more unique though, as the end result will likely be better.
  9. marty1990, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    alright here's the logo;


    see, there's some resemblance, and this is the revamped version. my original one was scarily so much like the image i posted above, that i've told my student union not to use it. would this one be alright to use?

    they specifically wan't a sun in it. i made one which was quite minimalist, and they were adamant for the sun to be in it.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Hey - wait a minute - that's looks like a sun I drew up for a job a while ago...

    (Only joking - looks fine to me...)
  11. macrumors 68000


    since you did do a little change to it it seems ok now, unless somebody turns extremely picky.
  12. macrumors 6502


    That happens more frequently that you would believe. There truly is nothing new under the sun.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Gradients on yours are better.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Well, it's up online, so hopefully it's all gravy.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Sorry for the bump, but how do I go about copyrighting a logo?

    I've never done anything for an organisation before, and I doubt I'd copyright the logo I made, but for future reference, are there any free way's to copyright a logo?

    I found this site;


    but dunno if it's any use.
  16. macrumors member

    It'd really depend on the laws in the UK; in the US you automatically have a copyright to any and all creative works you make, even if it isn't registered with the copyright office.
  17. macrumors 6502

    seems fine.
  18. macrumors G3

    Did you have a contract with the student union?

    Put simply, technically, as you created the logo, it was automatically copyrighted to you as the creator at the moment of creation (unless of course you were employed by a company at the time of course, in which case the contract you signed at the start of your employment will have a clause that clearly states that you do not own any of the copyrights on any of the work that you create whilst employed for said company).

    Although there are exceptions to this moment of creation rule, and you shouldn't automatically make the assumption that you do own the copyright.

    Now, if you had a contract with the student union, then somewhere in there, there will be a clause that will either state that you as creator of the logo will continue to control and own the copyright to your logo and that the student union will license the logo (and any associated rights) from you for them to be legally able to use it.

    Or, there will be a clause that states that upon completion of the project, any and all copyrights as well as ownership, usage rights etc of said copyrights are transferred (AKA as assigned) to the student union.

    I should probably say that the latter is the norm.

    If no contract exists, then it is highly likely that you own the copyright on the logo, as well as usage rights etc.

    Therefore your course of action is either for you to keep control of the copyright (and any associated rights) and license them to the student union for them to legally use, you'll need to discuss this with them.

    I should perhaps also add, that speaking as a professional designer, it's highly unlikely that any organisation would ever willingly (or knowingly) agree to licensing their logo from a designer (a frankly absurd situation to be honest), and if they're not familiar with copyright laws, (usually smaller, less experienced companies), they will often (though erroneously) come to a conclusion that once the project is complete, and that they have paid you, that they own the logo and can do as they wish.

    Or, for you to transfer the copyright (and any associated rights) to the student union, though it is of course important that you do obtain a usage rights agreement from them that will allow you to use the logo in your portfolio in the future for example.

    Hope that helps.
  19. macrumors newbie

    I've run into a similar situation with a client who wanted a photo shot to be nearly identical to a recommended stock photo since they didn't want to pay royalties.

    Went to the studio, shot the shot a dozen different ways, but they would ONLY go with a nearly identical shot.

    I ended up contacting the copyright holder, sending both his original and our "duplicate" and asked if they would give a clearance to use the image. The stock house agreed to a minimal fee (I seem to remember $100) – and sent paperwork releasing us from infringement liability.

    If you are worried about usage the easiest remedy is to ask the copyright holder.

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