Ze Germanz!

I designed this shirt for my brothers birthday who owns a couple of split window kombis. He was pretty stoked on it and spread it around the VW community via 3-4 online forums.

In the paper today there is an advert for these which are now available on VW’s official shop. I did a quick ‘get info’ on the jpeg on the site, it shows it was created 2.5 months after my design went online.

What would you do…? Get angry, take on VW (bad idea), or just take it as a compliment? Or do you see it as a coincidence?

VW offical merch?
I’d say goodluck…
cool design btw

That’s no coincidence, and don’t get angry, get even.

Seriously, I’d contact a lawyer. How do you feel about VW making a reasonable amount of money off of something that you did?

The only thing that would be interesting is your use of their logo. But you didn’t produce your design for commercial gain so I can’t see how that would affect things.

Take it as a compliment, there are some very slight differences so im sure the vw suits could argue their way out of any copyright claim. Plus, your using their logo.

I like yours better but, the bumper on the pink one boxes the image if that makes any sense

You have a rightful claim against them … but your lawyers are so gonna get pwnd by their lawyers.

Id be worried about your use of their VW logo in any claim, regardless.

From my very vague research prior to posting this there are also a lot of nuances in the laws relating to the subtle changes theyve made.

I’d probably be pissed off too, but it is a nice compliment. Maybe ask them for a job?

Fuck it, it’s shit like this that allows big corporations to shit on the little guys because, you know, ‘it’s a compliment’. I would explore your options legal wise.

you have no leg to stand on and if you find one or two, ze germanz will promptly remove it.

send them a friendly email and try and get some free stuff from them…

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I agree with Ben_is_fixed – the fact that the Volkswagen version:
(a) includes a bumper bar;
(b) uses a slightly different VW badge; and
(c) is an image that is not as ‘clear-cut’ as your own,
suggests to me that there are sufficient ‘points of difference’ for Volkswagen to be able to at least argue that it hasn’t infringed your copyright.

Also, if the Volkswagen shop is based overseas, and if you couldn’t reach an agreement to settle your claim against it, then you would either have to either:
(a) commence proceedings against the Volkswagen shop in the Courts of the country where it is based; or
(b) persuade an Australian Court that it is the appropriate Court to deal with the matter, bring proceedings in the Court, win those proceedings, have the Australian judgment registered in a Court in the country in which the Volkswagen shop is based (which may not be straightforward), and then commence proceedings to enforce that judgment in that Court in the event that the Volkswagen shop doesn’t pay that judgment.

Ianhuman_xX seems to suggest that you could use the VW logo if you didn’t produce your own design for commercial gain. However, if you’re not concerned with commercial gain (i.e. if you were never going to make any $$$ from design), then how can you claim that VW should pay you compensation for their use of a similar design?

Thats the thing holding me back.

At the end of the day, I’m not going to do anything at all and just take it as a compliment. I have had too many good times with Volkswagens… I love their old cars and I have many a good memory with VW. They can have this one.

Just another added fact. After a quick look online… the design is only unique to the Australian VW store. Not any overseas VW sites. Which kind of has me thinking that it has been seen on one of the Australian VW forums.

Another note. I agree that the bumper has improved my design if they DID in fact rip mine off :wink:

if it was me i’d enquire politely and professionally (rather than going at them with some attack lawyers).

in fact i might even chat to some trademark lawyers first to see if i even had a claim.

i’d suggest simply getting some official credit (you are a designer by trade are you not?) if so thats probably worth more than you might get/lose from trying to wring money out of them.

if the credit aint worth much to you, ask for some free tshirts :wink:

Can you make me one? My brother has 63 splitty panel and it’s his birthday next week.

Yeah, it’s only marginally complimentary. If you were an artist and someone stole your painting and then sold it, claiming they were the artist, I’ll bet you wouldn’t see it as a compliment. You’d be pissed off. Graphic design is somehow different? I’m not trying to be all righteous or anything, but why should you go without while someone lines their pockets with your work?

Yes they have changed your original design. There is a percentage by which a design can be changed that makes it a ‘new’ design. It would be interesting to find out if they changed it enough to have it fall into this category. That would depend on whether the knowingly ripped you off, or if it was just some lazy in-house designer I guess.

Are you a designer by trade? Is there any way you could gain exposure from this? Contact them, asking for a credit and link to your website?

I’d definitely talk to a lawyer if I were you. At the very least you could pay a small amount of money to have a lawyer draft a letter on your behalf asking for either compensation, credit or probably the most pointless outcome, some kind of cease and desist order?

No, you didn’t produce the design for commercial gain so you aren’t out of pocket because they’ve used it, but I don’t think that matters, what matters is that they are gaining financially from something that you produced.

Obviously I’m no lawyer so I could be wrong on some of this, but it’s just how I see it and how I’d deal with it. If you don’t really give a shit then who cares, just brag about it and be done with it.

i like the idea of asking VW for a job =)

Yeah, I am a designer by trade. The whole IP thing is a tricky one.

I will just send them an email, politely telling them how it is and in no way will I demand money from them as it is not what I had in mind. This is the first time in 10 years working as a designer that this has happened… and by a company like VW is honestly pretty cool.

Oh… actually, NO this is the second time this has happened. But unlike the VW one, I HIGHLY doubt this logo had anything to do with the ANZ logo.

Check this out. (please note, website not done by me)
Welcome to Pilates Canberra

And the ANZ logo.
ANZ - Personal - Online Banking

You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice

YTWWN is a blog where users have taken notice to a blatant rip off of a creative work, and shared it with us. Sharing and discussing the observations and casualties of improper use of creative property is what we’re all about here.

(Sorry if this has been posted above, CBF reading it all…)

This has also come to mind… asking them that next time they would like a shirt designed. Throw me a line… or a splitty.

good luck trying though, given you used their logo™ and vehicle shape™ in your original artwork… and they did do the ~10%~ changey thing…

Lee, you don’t frequent the AusInFront forums do you? And even more of a stretch, aren’t the Lee whom I met in London about 3 years ago for a drink in Covent Garden, are you?

Totally agree with this.

ianhuman_xX: I don’t frequent the AusInFront forums. I haven’t been on there for a VERY long time. And, the last time I was in Covent Gardens was about 8 years ago… and my name is Liam :stuck_out_tongue: Are you on painkillers still? :wink: