What to do when someone has ‘stolen' your logo!
Sorry, if you've been the victim of online identity theft. Yep, it happens and it recently happened to us.
Did you just discover your logo or image was being used on social media by someone else and you did not approve of the use? You do have legal recourse.
First, you need to do is be sure you have systems set-up to notify you when someone may have stolen your online brand. We use multiple services to alert us when “Socially Powered” is mentioned. The first defense is Google Alerts. Here is how to create and edit your Google Alerts.
When our logo was recently ‘stolen' it was found via @mentions on Hootsuite. It is recommended to have multiple methods to alert you to potential ‘stolen identity'.
Another way to check if your logo is being used is to manually search using Google Image search, simply upload your image and see where your image shows up.
Second, have a cease & desist ready to serve. Here is a link to a FREE downloadable fill in the blank template for your use.
Third, show you ‘own' your logo, copyright, or trademark. NOTE: If you have purchased a logo for yourself or your business you legally own the rights and nobody else is allowed to legally take your logo (even if it's not registered) We found this resource from LegalZoom. Here is some additional information on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The last thing we recommend is to alert your community of the infringement and they will most likely take action to help support your case. In our recent issue, we told our community someone was using our logo & they blasted the company on their social media platforms for using someone else's logo. This included posts and reviews on the offending social accounts. They most likely won't want this negative image on their pages and will be more inclined to remove your images.
Here's what we recommend when you discover illegal use of your logo, images, trademarks:
- Reach out to the offender & alert them to their wrongdoing
- In our case the person immediately took down the logo (thankfully)
- Take action directly through the social platform they are using the logo, copyright or trademark on.
- Call them out online! This is a bit more drastic, but it lets them know they won't get away with illegally using your images or if they do they will be negatively impacted online.
- Send a Cease & Desist Notice if they refuse to take down your images (preferably from a lawyer…this means business)
- Add “Copyright 2014 Your Legal Name. All Rights Reserved.” to the footer of your website
We would love to hear your stories if you have faced this frustrating situation & how you got it resolved. Best of luck if you are facing this situation!
Disclaimer: You should always consult a professional relating to legal, insurance, tax, or financial issues. This article is from my personal experience and is only intended as a guide.
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