university society logo

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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woolsyj
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university society logo

Post by woolsyj » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:38 pm

Hi! We are having some problems with the copyright of our logo. It was redesigned by a friend of the previous chair of the society and has been used all year on all posters and website etc with no problems. We were never told that we didn't have copyrite of the logo.

We then as a new committee wanted to create a new website, and the person designing it wanted to ensure we had copyright of it. So after some chasing around, this guy claims he did it and wants £150 for copyrite of the logo.

The website previously said Copyright © 2006 ... Society, but since our inquiry he has changed the wesbite to:
All text is copyright © 2006 The University of ... ... Society.

The ... Society logo and the site's design and layout are copyright © 2006 ...design.

We do not have this money to spend on a logo that we asumed was done for us free of charge by a fellow student and now we don't know what possition we are in and whether we have to pay him to use the logo.

The logo is to be used on the website and all our posters. Maybe if we can't use it in this way can we alter the design, say the font and colours? Or would the best method be to design a new one? ( we would like to keep this new one as members may get confused with this constant changing!)

In addition to this it is against the universities rules for a student to profit from a student society and in doing this he is obviously making a profit!

Thanks for your help!

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:08 pm

I think the following answers this... though it may not be what you want to hear..
Who owns a piece of work

Normally the individual or collective who authored the work will exclusively own the work. However, if a work is produced as part of employment then it will normally belong to the person/company who hired the individual.

Freelance or commissioned work will usually belong to the author of the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, (i.e. in a contract for service).

Rights cannot be claimed for any part of a work which is a copy taken from a previous work. For example, in a piece of music featuring samples from a previous work, the copyright of the samples would still remain with the original author.
(source http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyr ... yright_law)

Put briefly, if the creator did not produce the work as part of his employement within the university, then unless there is an agreement to the contrary, he will own the copyright.

Simply changing the font/colour is just adapting the work (which is itself an infringement), so not an option.

If you feel you have a claim, it may be worth discussing with solicitor, (but that's likely to cost more that £150 in any case). The safest (and easiest) option is probably to create a new logo or just pay the £150.

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