The copyright infringer John Williams.
This past summer a plethora of creatives across our industry were infringed upon by John Williams. In a nutshell he ripped off hundreds of logo designs and began selling them through his site called LogoGarden.com. The full backstory and documentation can all be accessed via my original post here.
I thought after being publicly called out by the industries best, that John Williams would get a clue and change his ways. But instead he continued to show other peoples work on his website.
It’s been over four months now, plenty of time for John Williams to remove infringed content from LogoGarden.com. So lets take another look at his site, see what we can find, and see if our reasonable requests of all work being removed has been the case.
My Microsoft Windows Gaming logo.
John Williams didn’t create this mark, he’s a borrower of established equity. He repurposed the mark I created and added a few dots to it..
My LeapFrog Fly logo.
His infringement was itemized and documented exhaustively by LogoLounge.com creator Bill Gardner in this Rockport blog post. He proves beyond a shadow of doubt that John Williams knew what he was doing and had a plan of attack to accomplish it through other peoples work.
Checking his site four months after notifying him of the work he ripped off from me and corresponding with him via email John Williams still has the above two logos of mine on his site. He told me all would be removed yet these are still being sold through his site.
My tribal bat design derivatized.
Another way to describe the design found on LogoGarden.com is to refer to it as derivative work.
After notifying John Williams of the numerous copyright infringements, he merely migrated the aesthetic of some of the designs and has kept them on his site. Or possibly a more accurate term would be to say he derivatized them instead of just pulling the images he didn’t create off his site. The above tribal bat and following images document his on going modus operandi of derivative theft and proves he’s unethical and nothing short of a liar.
Going from left to right you’ll see my original design, the rip off John Williams originally posted, and the most recent derivatized iteration of it.
My family dental design derivatized.
Being notified of a copyright infringement isn’t a call of action for the infringer to merely tweak the original designs and than somehow magically make them their own legit art. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.
My recycle aid logo design derivatized.
Even a non-designer can see the obvious evolution of this mark from mine to the one that appears on their site.
My ShipItApo logo design derivatized.
Big or Small They’ll Rip it All
My work isn’t the only work being stolen or derivatized however. While perusing LogoGarden.com I spotted many marks that looked familiar.
Clearly Canadian brand logo derivatized.
When I notified John Williams last summer I also informed the agency that designed the Clearly Canadian branding and let them know that LogoGarden.com was selling their brand logo on their site. As you can see it’s clearly a rip off (No need to pardon the pun) yet instead of removing the mark Johnny once again merely derivatized the design. Time to notify the agency again I guess.
Non-profit company has their logo ripped off.
Other infringements have been gleaned graphically from non-profits as well. The above mark was lifted wholesale from a non-profit in Washington state and is being sold for profit on LogoGarden.com.
The Trouble with DMCA
Many people have asked since the original post “Why don’t you sue him.” etc. The short answer is you can but is it worth it? By default creators own the copyright on their work, but unless you officially register it with the .gov it can’t be leveraged in a court of law with any certainty.
This is just one of the flaws in the current DMCA protocol that unscrupulous design freeloaders like John Williams (and his ilk) like to hide behind.
But I realize an operation like LogoGarden.com doesn’t happen via one man. I’m sure John Williams has some equally shady designers working with him on this. So the problem effects our industry and resides squarely in our industry in terms of who is doing the exploitation.
I doubt this is the last we’ll see of John Williams. I say that because during the original Logo Gate stir up, he was busy doing his own counter intelligence propaganda via writing articles for small business oriented sites in order to legitimize and drive traffic to LogoGarden.com.
I’ll be keeping my eye on John Williams and I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and visit LogoGarden.com and see what you can find. Our industry needs to watch out for each other and if necessary act when we see infringement taking place.
Keywords: Commentary, Copyright, Rant, LogoGarden.com