EXPERT DIY TIPS
Gucci Says Copyright Guess says Copy-Wrong!
One of the most frequent questions I get is how to copyright a logo? I try to be honest and explain both sides. The law and reality..
Copyright literally means “the right to copy.” When you fill out a long online form on www.copyright.gov and pay fees from $35 to $1000 (or pay a lawyer 3 times more) and THEN wait for a unknowable amount of time, you will be the only person capable of copying your design. As the US Copyright office states in their mission they “promote creativity by administering
and sustaining an effective national copyright system”
But what happens when copyright infringement happens? You have to go to court and this time you HAVE to pay a lawyer. It pretty much sucks for the small dog but what happens to two large companies like Gucci and Guess?
You guessed it, who owns the G? In the words of the lawyers for Guess, “Guess sources its ideas from all sorts of brands. This process involved drawing inspiration from Gucci’s work, but not exclusively; That’s what design is”
The lawyer used the courtrooms green-and-gold carpet as an example of inspiration where you can “change the colors, tweak the pattern, and put it on a handbag.”
So where does that leave Copyright? I always recommend the poor man’s copyright where you certify mail yourself a copy of your own work and not open it. This is your evidence in court that the artwork in the closed envelope was created by you on a certain date certified by the US Postal service. But the US Copyright office says
“There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.”
So is it worth copyrighting? In my opinion copyrighting is a legal reality that can be very unfair.