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Hey, just wondering about the legalities of this.

I found a picture I really liked on the internet, and it was one that you could buy and download in different sizes for various costs.

I took the image, and I projected it on a wall. Following this, I took lots of A4 sheets and traced over the design. I then scanned all the sheets back into my computer and pieced them together in Fireworks. Would it now be legal to use this as a logo?

Thanks.
 

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Re: Is it legal to...

You need to be more specific about what you used. The image is copyrighted, but the end result has more to do with the content of the image than the usage of the image itself. So it's hard to know for sure if it's legal. You used copyrighted material as "inspiration," so there's some level of risk. But you need to make sure the logo is clear too.
 

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Re: Is it legal to...

I do some photography and sell through one of the large micro-stock websites. They are extremely finicky on what they term "derivative works". These are images created from another image. If you do that, they require the licensing for the original. So, given that you traced a licensed image I would guess (I'm not a lawyer) that your tracing would be considered a "derivative work" and would be bound by the license of the original photo.

Looking at a picture and using it for inspiration is one thing... tracing it is another.
 

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Re: Is it legal to...

Let's say he downloaded a picture of a bear, traced it, vectorized it, and sold it as a logo to be used for a youth hockey team. While his "inspiration" was a copyrighted photo, the copyright owner would have a tough time proving the bear logo was a derivative of the original image. There would need to be some very specific detail involved.

I'm not suggesting that it's ok to go around tracing images and passing them off as original logos, especially if there is any intention of trademarking the logo. But in some cases it could be a situation of using an image for inspiration and not a blatant case of infringement where the original owner is financially damaged.
 

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Their is copy right issues which may be illegal, who you use really depends on their license agreement. But since you did not purchase the rights and enter into a contract purchase agreement under the terms of the creator you just stole it by illegally reproducing an original work. Some art with public domain properties this would not be a problem. It may not ever be an issue and get back to you, but is it worth it and is it unethical? Ask all the people who had napster. Don't mess with disney they will take you to the grave.

Below is an interesting movie about copyrights in the information age featuring the mash up DJ Girl Talk.
Hulu - RiP! A Remix Manifesto - Watch the full feature film now.
 

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It sounds pretty borderline and IMO that should be enough to keep you away.

I'm not sure using a stock image that other people can purchase is a good long term investment for a logo anyways.
 

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It's illegal to say it's legal on what your doing. Draw your own stuff dude, or pay someone to do it for you if you can't draw. Your already starting off on the wrong foot!

I wouldn't feel right starting off a company with someone elses design idea.
 
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