Friday, July 27, 2012

First-hand proof of why you should avoid crowdsourcing sites for design work.

During my weekly search using Google's reverse image search to find businesses on the web that are plagiarizing my work, I stumbled upon quite a treat that directly confirms what I've been telling people for a long time now. That is that crowdsourcing websites are full to the brim with "designers" that copy and submit existing logos and other design work in order to try and win contests. 

Take a look below at the screen capture I took of a logo that was entered to a contest on Someone copied the logo I designed in 2003 for PAK Photography, slightly edited the icon and tried to pass it off as their own original work.

Click image to enlarge.
Below is a second example I found two days later on a similar corwdsourcing website, Yet another "talented designer" plagiarized my work, this time a logo for Uchenna Bath and Body Products, and submitted it as an original design into one of the contests hosted by the website.
Click image to enlarge.

This is first-hand proof that anyone using these crowdsoucing websites better be prepared to fork out some serious cash for legal fees as well as fines in case they get sued for copyright infringement. And don't forget the expense for getting a new logo designed, reprinting marketing materials, business cards, signage and anything else with the infringing logo on it.

Don't expect any help from the crowdsourcing website after the hammer gets dropped on you. At most, they will give you a refund for the amount that you paid out as the prize for the contest. Their hands are squeaky clean from the whole mess because they can claim that designers participating in their contests aren't employees of the company. 

To top it off, I reported both infringing designs to 99designs and The only action they seem to have taken was to remove the infringing logos. I checked the websites and both designers that plagiarized my work are still listed and competing in contests. Isn't that fantastic?


Sandra Schultz said...

I loved your two examples of your work being plagerized! Really hits home.
I think there is a group, or generation of designeners that have no idea that you can't just lift whatever you find on the internet and use as your own - and companies that perpetute the whole bad business by rewarding them with contest wininngs and payment. may be another one. 99designs has been flagged by the AIGA and GAG with cease orders.

Jeanetmarie said...

I always say when I hear people praising these crowd sourcing sites that they may getting a lawsuit instead of a cheap logo. Buyer beware.

Zachary Ziegler said...

I can't tell if people today are really that uneducated or just don't think they'll get caught. Clearly on the crowdsource design prize sites those people should know better and are clearly stealing work. But I was recently contacted by a stock photo company saying our client owed them $10k in damages from using their image without a license.Turns out the employee needed and image to submit with a blog post and found it by searching Google. She genuinely had no idea she was stealing.

Parkes said...
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