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boo. that panda looks awfully familiar...

Edit: The issue has now been resolved: my agent and her lawyer tracked down the owner, they have apologised and paid a fee for usage of the image. But I will leave this blog post here as a deterrent to any business owner or sign maker thinking of using images found on search engines without permission.

Uh oh. My studio mate, Lauren O'Farrell, was in Dalston, east London yesterday and saw this sign...

...which she immediately thought looked very much like one I'd posted on my blog a couple years ago, here.

Here's the front view of the shop. Did the Cafe Coco at 77 Mare Street nick my design for their logo image? What do you think? This is hugely annoying. If they had contacted my agent or me, we could have negotiated a price they might have found very reasonable. Now I'm wondering what I should do. Talk to my agent, I guess. What a pain.

Thank you, Lauren, for spotting and photographing it! Please, illustration supporters, boycott this cafe, at least until this is sorted. (And I'll be sure to leave a note here if and when it is.)

Update: I've contacted my agent and she's already got the United Agents lawyer on it, so fingers crossed they'll pay up with minimum of fuss.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:32 am (UTC)
I agree. Boo! :(
Sep. 26th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC)
Looks like it was just taken and tweeted in photoshop. (Certainly talk to your agent about it.)
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC)
Will do, cheers!
(no subject) - ednapurviance - Sep. 26th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Alison Mutton
Sep. 26th, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
Oooh, how irritating! So many people really have no idea about copyright, they think because they found it on Google, it's clipart, and that's a really bad thing for all of us who have images that come up on Google. I slather watermarks over everything I upload now, and do from time to time get emails from people wanting me to remove them so they can use it (free of charge, of course >.<) I also often get clients wanting me to recreate something they found on the internet, and have to steer them away to something else, that fits what they need better, and doesn't break copyright. It's a difficult world!
I do hope this gets sorted soon!
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! I know, it always makes me wonder if it's worth putting so many images out on my blog, and I hate having to hide them under copyright watermarks. So far, I think the benefits still outweigh the drawbacks, but it does make me very cross.

And I suspect the cafe easily could have afforded my work if they'd approached me the normal way, but by rights, they should now have to pay a much higher fee, since they've used it and, by chance, been caught. And that will hurt.
(no subject) - kirstymcallister.blogspot.co.uk - Sep. 26th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jabberworks - Sep. 26th, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Sep. 26th, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jabberworks - Sep. 26th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:23 am (UTC)
Oh dear, that is pretty blatant of Cafe Coco. I hope you manage to get them to pay up.
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:25 am (UTC)
It's a shop sign, too, where everyone can see it. You think they'd be slightly nervous about doing that...
(no subject) - bunn - Sep. 26th, 2012 07:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jabberworks - Sep. 26th, 2012 07:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:31 am (UTC)
Panda Pirated
Oooh! That's infuriating!

And their font is hella ugly too!
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:42 am (UTC)
Re: Panda Pirated
I know. It's not even a very good sign. Definite lack of artistic awareness, all around.
Dave Shelton
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:50 am (UTC)
No question at all that they've nicked your design. It's blatant.

I'd be tempted to just send them an invoice with a covering letter/email pointing to your original posting of the image. Don't bother to explain copyright to them unless they try to argue it.

It might be, of course, that there's some 'designer' intermediary who created the sign whom the café owners commissioned in good faith but, frankly, that's not your problem.

Whatever way you want to approach it though, I don't think you should just let it go.

Good luck.


Sep. 26th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Thanks, Dave! My agent sounds like she's keen to clamp down on them, I don't want to let it go, either. People need to know this sort of thing isn't acceptable.
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:12 am (UTC)
Bubble Panda
I bet they didn't even think about it - piracy of this sort isn't theft in most people's eyes...definitely pursue it - not on :o( Nice Bubble Panda though!
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Re: Bubble Panda
Thank you! :)
Alice Brewer
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:28 am (UTC)
I can't believe it! Wow, right now if you search 'bubble tea panda' your's is the first picture. What fools. Sue them!!!!!
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
Hopefully we'll just whack them with a much larger bill than the one they would have got if they commissioned it legitimately. That really was a stupid thing to do.
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:58 am (UTC)
I hate that horrible sick feeling you get in your chest when you see someone has swiped your work :-( Makes you wonder how much more of your stuff is out there, across the world, just stolen off the web. Hope it all works out okay!
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
Thanks, Garen! x
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
The shop owners probably arn't aware it's ripped off. I bet they paid a cheap printer to knock up the sign, and it's their "designer" who swiped your drawing. I see it all the time, sometimes the signs are even pixilated where they've used low res web images. Bah!
Sep. 27th, 2012 07:50 am (UTC)
Oh, I dunno - my impression is that people who do enough design to actually get paid for it generally do have some idea about copyright. It's the clients that will cheerily send you photos that they swiped off some other poor sods website and look all amazed when you ask them 'do you have the right to use this?'

Obviously if someone does it to THEM then they are absolutely outraged and indignant. Other people's work is apparently supposed to be free, but they completely fail to see the irony in 'I spent hours working on this' - yes, so did everyone else!

Walking that tightrope without pissing anyone off or breaking the law I think is one of the main skills required of today's web designer... :-D
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
so annoying , hope they pay up with a minimum of fuss
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
Me, too. Cheers!
Sep. 26th, 2012 10:13 am (UTC)
This is part of the reason I didn't want to put my cartoony artwork online anymore- at least not publicly.

Sometimes I hate the internet- it makes people think they can just take everything without asking. :(
Sep. 26th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
Well, the benefits mostly outweigh the drawbacks; I owe a lot of my career so far to my blog. But it's a pain when I don't get paid for things, I'm not exactly rolling in cash. :(
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
woah that's so bad! I hope you get it sorted soon. I remember you posting the panda originally, it's so adorable :)
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC)
Hope you get it sorted soon. That Panda is adorable but businesses really should know better. Best of luck with it all.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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