miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2009

Detecting Shameless Logo Plagiarism!

I guess that we must clarify language confusions here. As we are talking about intangible assets here, information, we use the words steal and theft only refering to the act of plagiarism. It is immoral when no reference to the original author is explicited then it is assumed that the copied logo is an original work of the graphic designed. No logo is completely original as particular features are always present in another logos but plagiarism is assumed when many features are present in more than one logo.

It's very funny to observe that to save money and time some companies copy (steal?) the iconographic logos from another companies. In some cases the small ones copy from the bigger ones and in other cases is the other way around.

I recommend to use the wonderful photo search engine called TinEye plus the Firefox TinEye plugin. In this case, is very clear that the photo similarity search of the service is a perfect fit for the detection of logo clones (thefts?).

These posts (part 1, part 2) written by a logo design company explain the details and techniques for shamelessly copying a complete logo or part of it. For example they show the similarities between the Sun Microsystems logo and the Columbia Sportswear logo. I tried to use TinEye to detect the Sun/Columbia similarities but failed.
In this article called Protecting Your Custom Company Logo Design's Copyright it is explained how to legally protect your logo, I guess is only useful when a explicit copy of your logo is made (and your logo is originally enough to be considered something that can be copied!).

An plagiarism example I detected with TinEye was the Kibon plagiarism (page 1, page 2). Kibon some years ago was an ice-cream brand, but the logo is also used by Olá, Good Humor and Wall's. Apparently these ice-cream brands are all owned by Unilever so they use the same logo in many places. But at least is not clear who design the logo. In site Brand's Of The World you can found the different logos: Olá (Portugal), Kibon (Brazil) and Wall's.
The TinEye approach did not work also for detecting one of my favorite plagiarisms: Livra (a prosumer web company from Argentina) versus CounterPath (a VoIP client software company).
We can conclude that plagiarism is usually accepted within an organisation because the organisation owns the copyright of the logo and can reuse and modify it without permission of the original graphic designer whether it works for the company or not.

Finally, swiss site Plagiat is completely devoted to plagiarism in it's various forms.