Stop messing

with other people’s IP


When it comes to doing business, we are all striving to be seen as professional, taken seriously and our marketing efforts well communicated, so they can be acted upon in a positive way. That’s the secret to success really and something which we fully subscribe to at Pixooma.

What’s IP?

Which is why when we see other businesses taking a different tack, we feel the need to call them out, particularly when they are messing with another organisation's brand name, logo, imagery, designs and/or copy and content. These are referred to as a company’s intellectual property (IP) and they fall into four main areas - copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents.

The examples below might help you to understand what we mean.

A business wanted us to change the red in one of their supplier’s logos so it would be easier for them to work with. It was a respected brand with which they were partnering. But rather than work to their partner’s brand guidelines and replicate the exact pantone reference for their iconic red, they thought they would cut a few corners and use something similar. We declined and instead followed the correct corporate guidelines.

We've heard of companies asking designers to 'Photoshop' images to remove the watermarks. This clearly indicates that they've not paid for the images like most decent businesses would. We would never do this - all images we supply are licenced and paid for properly. If a client brought us a watermarked image and asked us to 'Photoshop it', we'd point blank refuse.

A website agency was doing an online presentation, and we happened to be in the audience. Image our surprise when the images they used were not their own. Once again, they displayed distinctive watermarks and were not of the right size or clarity you might expect. This is a massive faux pas - there is a wealth of good quality stock imagery at very low prices, in fact some is free! So there is no excuse for stealing it.

If you are found guilty of copyright infringement in a magistrate's court, your business could be fined up to £50,000 and you could face a jail term of up to six months

Be ethical and fair

Our first bit of advice is just stop messing with other people’s IP. Our second is why must you persist in doing things that makes you look cheap, shoddy, lacking in attention to detail and very amateur? If you are pushing your website design services, buy the right images, otherwise clients will wonder what on earth you are going to do to their new site. And if you are presented with someone’s brand guidelines, please stick to them. And as for removing watermarks on an image, yes of course it’s possible, but no it is not ethical!

Remember the fact that copyright exists with some photos and by replicating it without their permission you are infringing it. And if that’s not scary enough, this might just do the trick. If you are found guilty of copyright infringement in a magistrate's court, your business could be fined up to £50,000 and you could face a jail term of up to six months. If the case reaches a Crown Court, fines can be unlimited and the maximum sentence up to ten years' imprisonment.

Act with integrity

At Pixooma, we always buy, or encourage our clients to buy images and ensure they have the right permissions for what they will be used for. In addition, we follow to the letter any brand guidelines that may be necessary in our work with you, whether that’s your own or those of a supplier or partner.

In fact, when it comes to IP, we take it very seriously. In recent years we have registered the name of our business – Pixooma Limited, as a registered Trademark (number UK00003525530). And our strapline "Success by design" is a trademark of Pixooma Limited.

If you want to stop people replicating elements of your brand without your permission, or worse still copying things that you own, then we recommend that you get in contact with an IP specialist firm like Franks and Co Limited or find an IP Solicitor.


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