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FRAUD, SCAMS ...
Logo Rip-Off: When Someone 'Adapts' 
Your Work As Their Own, What To Do?

September 27, 2016

By John Florian
VoiceOverXtra

There are a number of ways to rip off a voice actor:
  • Use an audition as the finished job, and not pay for it
  • Lure the unsuspecting talent into a pay scam
  • Waste a person's time on bogus auditions
  • (Got more to share?)
But steal a logo? It happens. Not often. But often enough to make you wonder what to do about it.

Recently, I've been seeing LinkedIn suggestions to connect with a VO agency in Turkey - and imagine my "delight" at noticing a portion of my own logo being used by this company. I also use the red mic/circle as standalone art on VoiceOverXtra hats and Calendar listings for our webinars.

(At top left, see VoiceOverXtra's trademarked red circle/mic art, and below, the adaptation.)

What should I do? Quite likely, the agency's graphic designer saw the mic/circle online - yet clearly marked with a TM - and considered it to be free art for the taking. So I just shrug. This isn't a rampant offense.

THEN AGAIN ...

While apparently rare, theft of art - which we've paid money to create - is a concern.

Last week, VO talent/coach Terry Daniel ignited a firestorm of messages at the Voice-Over Pros group he administers on Facebook, when he vented frustration at a voice actor who adapted Terry's logo and inserted his own name on the logo.

Fueling the fire for Terry was the fact that it wasn't the first time this individual had done so.

Even today, this thread of more than 100 messages continues to balloon with comments of disgust, and suggestions on how to stop this kind of theft. Of course, typical VO humor laces the rants, as well.

Here's Terry's opening salvo:
I won't mention any names but it won't take most of you very long to figure it out. Someone in our community continues to plagiarize blogs, comic strips, logos, etc. Today, he had my logo in the timeline cover of his business page but removed my name and added his. I don't understand any of this. It's maddening! Seems to be some kind of sickness. Every time he's been called out, he plays dumb but yet it's obvious he's altered the logo, signature, comic strip, blog, etc. Sorry for the rant but I'm sick of it.
Some ensuing comments suggested suing the repeat offender, yet it was also noted that damages would be hard to prove.

Mostly, there were moves to "unfriend" and block the individual from pages, and to report that VO's questionable marketing (to say the least) to agents he says he uses.

A sampling:
  • Truly a shame that this has taken place, but there has to be a level of professionalism that is maintained by all. We understand that there a few bad apples in every group and profession and we must be diligent in weeding them out as it will cast a bad light on a lot of us if we do not do anything about it. 
  • If I can spin a positive out of this...it sure makes me appreciate the professional, respectful, and savvy friends in this business that care enough to have each other's back and act proactively to better the profession. Thank you VO Pros!!
  • Just because you find something on the internet, doesn't mean it's free for you to appropriate for your own commercial use. That's like finding a can of beans on the floor of the supermarket and thinking it's yours to keep without paying for it because it wasn't on a shelf.
And on the lighter side ...
This kind of thing is rampant right now. Just the other day it was brought to my attention that some guy named "Antonio Banderas" has been ripping off one of my signature voices since before I was born. Unbelievable.
WHAT ELSE TO DO?

While the above is isolated to one individual, the theft of intellectual property on the Internet is NOT rare.

So, what to do if you find your own content being copied and used without your permission?

We asked attorney/voice actor/actor Rob Sciglimpaglia - author of the popular Voice Over LEGAL book - to advise, and his article on how to protect your brand appears here.
--------------------
ABOUT JOHN
John Florian is the founder and webmaster of VoiceOverXtra, the voice over industry's online news, training and resource center. A former print magazine editor, he is also a voice actor who merges the dual career passions of publishing and voice acting in the website, founded in 2007.

Email: johnflorian@voiceoverxtra.com
Web: www.VoiceOverXtra.com


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Comments (5)
Paul Garner
10/2/2016 at 5:15 PM
Thanks for this, John. I'm anxious to see what Rob's article will advise.
Bobbin Beam
9/28/2016 at 10:57 AM
Some of my website's content was directly lifted and used without permission by the same individual. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but especially online, transparency, honesty and originality reign.
Thanks.
Bobbin Beam www.bobbinbeam.com
Terry Daniel
9/27/2016 at 4:09 PM
Thanks for posting this, John! This person still has a chance to right the ship. If I were him, I would write an apology letter and post it on his biz page. This community is too small to be black listed, and why would you want to carry this on your back for this long? Admit you were wrong and people will forgive you. The choice is yours.
Javier Paz
9/27/2016 at 12:21 PM
Very interesting post, John!

Clearly a dishonest act. Wonder what type of VOs he delivers.

Javier Paz
www.VoiceOverJavierPaz.com
Elizabeth Holmes
9/27/2016 at 12:11 PM
I'm SO glad to hear you speaking out on this issue, John. THANK YOU!!
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