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Protecting your Corporate Identity

June 8th, 2006

Copyright infringement. How to cope with the rise of internet plagiarism

When it comes to corporate identity and logo design, copyright infringement has become an increasingly prevalent issue. As more and more small businesses find they need a logo to stay competitive, the demand has created a plethora of logo design firms that offer a variety of services from stock clipart images to custom design services.

However, because of the competitive nature of graphics design and the ease in which people have access to information, it has become difficult to ensure that a design remains the property of the respectful owner, and does not become duplicated by someone else. The ease in which an image or logo can be taken from the web and retraced is surprising, and there are even some that fail to realize that online content isn't simply 'public' domain. Therefore you should always be careful to properly document and trademark your logo design, articles and content. Failure to do so may wind up costing you down the road.

Some graphics design firms have even gone so far as to take images from other companies' portfolios, and claim them as their own. Not a smart move! It's surprising the number of designers that surf the web and are able to catch duplicate logos with ease. The repercussions on such a practice can be devastating for a company.

When you're having a logo created, be sure to properly research the design company before signing on. If their prices are too good to believe, chances are they will be cutting corners elsewhere, often in the creativity department. Once you decide on a company to go with, try to ensure that you give them as much information as possible about your company. Try to identify your industry and competition as best as possible. This way, you will be helping the artists to come up with an original logo design that you can be confident in claiming as your own.

In addition to graphics and logo design infringement, text/content theft has become another problem to recently plague the internet. Thankfully, there is an interesting tool that allows you to easily see who's been copying your web sites. The tool can be found at Copyscape.com. Type in the web page address that poses a concern, and Copyscape will immediately give you the top ten results of pages with duplicate content. The results can be surprising.

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