FRAUD, SCAMS ...
Logo Rip-Off: When Someone 'Adapts'
Your Work As Their Own, What To Do?
September 27, 2016
By John Florian
There are a number of ways to rip off a voice actor:
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.
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.
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.
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