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Misogi-no-Gyo
02-21-2003, 09:11 PM
Thank you in advance for allowing me to solicit your opinions on a situation that I have unfortunately become involved in.

Recently I have received several anonymous e-mails from individuals informing me that something that has great meaning to me has been borrowed without my permission.

Years ago, back in 1991, I was privileged to take over as the "Editor-in-Chief" for our dojo newsletter. It was a daunting task, as I had merely been shadowing the existing editor, in awe of her abilities to navigate through such deep waters. After gaining my sea legs, and meeting with the senior staff at the time, we decided that we were going to try and produce a full-fledged publication for public consumption. We looked out at who the competition was, saw Aikido today, and Aiki-News. We wanted to create something that would be complementary in nature, offering similar content, with our own voice - much the way The NY Times and the Post print the same stories from altogether different viewpoints. After talking for hours about what to name our new, soon-to-be international publication, we arrived at AIKIDO. It was simple, to the point, and was in line with exactly the format we were aiming for.

As an artist, and computer graphics person, I spent weeks working with ideas trying to attain a logo graphic that would speak to everyone, everywhere. In the end, simplicity being again the best way to go, I blended the word AIKIDO, with the Kanji AI, KI & DO, written by the Shihan of our dojo, artistically placed over the bold English text behind it. I felt that either the English or the Kanji would translate internationally. Many may, in fact, find this graphic very familiar. You can see it here [http://lessons.nyaikidocenter.com], as I am still using this logo as the logo for both our non-profit and dojo related movements, here in NY.

Our Newsletter, imbued with this new kokoro, became a passion for me. I learned much about how difficult a job publishing anything, even our small newsletter could be. I quickly fell into the realization that the politics of the position, the proximity to our senior dojo members, my Sensei, and his Sensei, and the direct access to Major Aikido figures that I would have, combined with a completely voluntary staff turned this experience into one of the great “learning” points in my life.

Just as a side note – it was just after we printed our first issue, we noticed that Aiki-News changed their name to Aikido Journal... Alas, timing is everything, is it not?

Here is where I am seeking input from others. Please take a look at these two links.

1. http://www.aikidosi.com

and

2. http://www.uscra.info/

As you can see, both of these organizations have “borrowed” my logo graphic, clearly having scanned it off the cover of our newsletter. Now, I know that sometimes people obtain things in part, and do not know where they come from. However, it would require little effort to track me down via the internet to ask my permission to use something that was marked as “copyrighted” materials, having been distributed around the world.

I took the time to try and contact the individuals who manage the website at Aikido of Staten Island. I even went as far as writing directly to the Sensei, both to no avail. I received no reply. I again sent them a request to cease and desist the use of my copyrighted materials. Still nothing. To be fair, I have only just e-mailed the second group today, and have therefore not obviously given them time to reply. However, I must say that, although I have been pleasantly surprised on occasion, I would be surprised if someone had stolen my wallet, would give it back, with the money, if asked politely. As such I do not believe that either will ever do the right thing, after so blatant an act.

Being that this is Aikido, and I am an Aikidoka, I seek to move forward in the spirit of O-Sensei, as best as I can interpret that. I am aware of my legal rights in this matter, and the lack of such, on the part of my “intending no harm” aikido brethren who have mistakenly pilfered me. Therefore, I am seeking opinions – I would love it if I could conduct a poll – as to what the best course of action should be. I know that I could do any of the following

A. Simply do nothing, not resist, not cry “FOUL” out loud
B. Send additional letters requesting them to remove my materials from their websites.
C. Move forward to have these contents removed via restraining orders, infringement suits, small claims actions, contacting the ISP’s, each of whom has a clear “ No use of Copyrighted Materials” clause as part of there standard “Terms of Service.

There are other actions I could see, but the expense of hiring a hit-squad, would be prohibitive.

How do you feel about this topic? How would you feel if this happened to you, or someone at your dojo, or your it was your Dojo's logo that had been "borrowed" in this manner?

Kevin Wilbanks
02-21-2003, 09:50 PM
Aikido schmikido. I would attack with full legal force and no mercy. I am certainly no fan of frivolous litigation. However, I think our society takes plagiarism and theft of creative intellectual property too lightly. There is just no excuse for it, and everyone knows better.

When I hear about the extent to which plagiarism and cheating is tolerated in schools, it makes me ill. In my book, if you plagiarize in college, you should come back to your dorm room to find the lock changed and a security officer there to escort you to a pile of all your belongings at the edge of campus, and bade farewell with a warning that returning will be considered a criminal trespass. Think about how you feel about ill-begotten educational credentials next time you step onto a passenger jet or get prepped for surgery.

The stealing of artwork or writing and passing it off as one's own for personal gain or profit is almost as bad. I can understand 'borrowing' graphics for a website out of laziness, cheapness, or lack of imagination, but the appropriate response to being called out by the originator is an apology and immediate removal of the stolen work from the site. Anything less, and I'd go straight to hard-ball. If the owner/theif is profiting from the site in any way, even moreso.

Edward
02-21-2003, 10:45 PM
Theft? In aikido? Impossible! I have always been taught that if I steal, O sensei would come and strangle me while asleep :)

Now on a more serious note, intellectual property is just one aspect, but I do believe that theft in general is not surprising in the martial arts world. The quality of the people involved in MA must be the reason. Maybe aikido has the lowest percentage of crooks amongst other MA because of its spiritual and philosophical content and because it attracts more intellectual people.

Anyhow, I agree with Kevin that you should protect your property, intellectual or not, by any suitable means. The offenders being aikidoka is even a better reason to do that. It is true that one gets always hurt by the people one expects the least to do so.

Kelly Allen
02-22-2003, 12:34 AM
First of all I would like to say, that is a very attractive logo. I'm not supprised that it was pilfered, and I would be very supprised if there weren't more than just these two sites that pilfered it.

The smartest thing you did was to copy right the logo. Not so much because you can keep the logo all to yourself and sue anyone else who tries to use it. But more for the reason that someone else now can't take your hard thought out, very nice looking logo, and copy right it for themselves so that YOU can't use it.

That being said, since no one can actually take away the logo from you, I would personally look at the use of your logo as a compliment. If it attracts other people to become Aikidoka then it has served its purpose. If other people use it and is recognized as your logo then to me it is free advertising.

You have every right to sue, but for what reason? The logo is legally yours and in no way can be taken away from you. You have already seen to that. That's just the way I see it.

Jucas
02-22-2003, 02:52 AM
Have you had any contact with these two organizations at all?

If not, I encourage you to pursue getting in touch with these groups before acting on legal actions. I am sure these are reasonable people; and while taking a logo may not be a reasonable act, does the possible destruction of another's character really try to promote the fundemental principles that you, yourself were trying to establish and spread in your publication.

If you haven't tried to contact these people by telephone? If not, then I would do so... various clubs, for one reason or another, do not update there website, and the email you are writing to could very well be out of date.

-J

Hanna B
02-22-2003, 03:40 AM
Is e-mail the only way to contact these people? Maybe a phone call where you explain what it is all about would have more effect.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-22-2003, 08:07 AM
Ok. I agree about the phone call. The problem with email is that everyone has a different pattern in terms of frequency and how much attention they pay to it. Unless you know the recipient, you never know whether your message is just sitting in an overstuffed inbox or got accidentally deleted as spam. I would make sure I knew they declined to do the right thing before kicking their asses.

Also, as an FYI, I'm pretty sure anything copyable that one creates is automatically 'copyrighted' by the fact that one has created it. Getting it officially registered is only a formality to clear up future disputes more easily. All that is really required is that you made it and have evidence or witnesses to that effect. Even if someone registered it later as their own, the old, dated publications with credits listed would probably be sufficient to get it overturned in court.

otto
02-22-2003, 10:55 AM
Ok..wait a sec guys, i've recognized your logo inmediatly it appears on the AikidoFaq Multimedia Gallery..

AikidoFAQ Gallery (http://www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/kanji/image1.gif.html)

Its possible maybe that those two sources you mentioned grabbed the logo from it too?..

I understand AikidoFAQ.com is one of the first aikido sites on the net , now just out of pure curiosity wich one you think came first, your logo or the one there (aikidofaq)?...

Now assuming that those guys copied the logo from aikidofaq and not your site , who will you blame for the theft???...

I think the most wisest thing to do is contact these parties and inquire about the origin of their logos...

Best of luck

Plus KI!.

kung fu hamster
02-22-2003, 11:07 AM
Imitation may be a sincere form of flattery, but it can really piss one off. Makes me wonder, I see the Westbrook/Ratti drawings everywhere, do they always get credit for their reproduction?

Choku Tsuki
02-22-2003, 01:03 PM
... I see the Westbrook/Ratti drawings everywhere, do they always get credit for their reproduction?
Tuttle owns the rights to the images in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere and Mr. Ratti, the illustrator of those great images, doesn't care that these drawings show up everywhere. Such is not the case with other images. No one disputes the talent required to create such beautiful drawings which capture movement in a moment.

Have you seen their Tales of the Hermit (http://goviamedia.com/) books?

--Chuck

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-22-2003, 01:32 PM
Gee, here we go again.
Ok..wait a sec guys, i've recognized your logo inmediatly it appears on the AikidoFaq Multimedia Gallery..

AikidoFAQ Gallery (http://www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/kanji/image1.gif.html)


As I mentioned, It would be a familiar logo to many people considering I have been using it publically since around 1990, or 1991. We sent our newsletter to hundreds of dojos around the world. It was quite popular in its time.

It's possible maybe that those two sources you mentioned grabbed the logo from it too?..

I understand AikidoFAQ.com is one of the first aikido sites on the net , now just out of pure curiosity wich one you think came first, your logo or the one there (aikidofaq)?...

Since I created it, something I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would say that our use of it was first.

...Well, they may have been first on the internet. However, It still is not right that they have used my logo without requesting to do so.


Now assuming that those guys copied the logo from aikidofaq and not your site , who will you blame for the theft???...


That is easy - all of them are guilty of it.


I think the most wisest thing to do is contact these parties and inquire about the origin of their logos...

Yes, that should prove quite interesting and comical...

Thank you for pointing out another case of copyright infringement. Does anyone know who operates the AikidoFAQ site? I mean, know them personally.

I would like to get this resolved, but care to do so in a way that allows these individuals a chance to exit with grace, so to speak.

Hanna B
02-22-2003, 02:49 PM
To avoid more people using it, it sounds like you should contact Kjartan Claussen (Mr AikidoFAQ. No, I don't know him personally. I'm sure he has contact info onthe site) first of all. Seeing it there, it is quite easy to believe that it is OK to use it - just like Ratti's drawings...

akiy
02-22-2003, 04:55 PM
Hi Shaun,

You're entering into the very difficult area of intellectual property rights and copyright issues that are central to many areas of the Internet these days. I'm no lawyer, so I'd say you should take everything I'm about to write with a grain or two of salt.

I'm guessing that the fact that you've already pursued this matter with the people who are using your logo shows that you're interested in protecting what you've created -- quite understandable, I think.

I think you've done the right thing in trying to contact the folks who are using the logos without your permission; that's what I would do in this situation. As others have written before, you may wish to further your communications through postal mail rather than just e-mail, perhaps with delivery confirmation or such.

At this point, I personally would try my best to diplomatically discuss with these parties that your logo is important to you and that you wish to retain ownership of such. I frankly think that these people, once you establish communication with them, will be OK in not using your logo (if that's what you'd like them to do). I'd probably stay away from "legal action" and such but, rather, try to work with them "person to person."

As far as the AikidoFAQ site goes, try e-mailing Kjartan whose address I'm sure you'll find on his site. He's a very down-to-earth guy whom I've met personally and consider to be one of my friends. I'm sure he'll be more than happy to comply with your request.

Lastly, although people seem to believe that Oscar Ratti's images from "Dynamic Sphere" are in the public domain, they are not. As Chuck points out above, Tuttle still very much owns the copyright to the images. I've corresponded in the past with Mr. Ratti and I understand that the copyrights to the images belong with Tuttle and not with him. Just a heads-up in case you or your dojo are considering using some of the images from the book as the images remain very much under copyright...

In any case, I hope everything works out OK, Shaun. Please keep us informed in how things work out...

-- Jun

Bogeyman
02-22-2003, 11:38 PM
As far as why one would want to protect an identifying mark such as this is straight forward, image. Not to say that anyone that is using this logo has any ill intent but it could still inadvertantly cause a negative image for your publication. It only takes one bad apple in the barrel...

E

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-23-2003, 12:44 AM
As far as why one would want to protect an identifying mark such as this is straight forward, image. Not to say that anyone that is using this logo has any ill intent but it could still inadvertantly cause a negative image for your publication. It only takes one bad apple in the barrel...

E
Mr. Novak,

I am not sure what you mean by your comments. Would you please clarify. How could using an image that I created, whether it be for my organization, any publication that I choose to associate it with, or if I simply want to put it on my shower curtain, be construed as anything other than my right to do so.

To be quite honest, I can't imagine ever using a graphic that I did not personally create. I have no idea what goes through the mind of someone who does, nor understand how anyone in their organization would ever go along with it, knowingly.

The bottom line is this is something I continue to use, care to protect, and have not given any permission to anyone to use at any time.

After reading the suggestions posted here, I will follow up my e-mail with phone calls, and certified mail. The fact that I have to do this with other aikidoka, people who should know not to do this sort of thing, truly makes me feel ill. The thought of having to go to the trouble and expense of hiring legal assistance, sickens me to no end. However, ill, sick or otherwise, I will do what is necessary to stop this blatant theft.

My hope, in addition to soliciting opinions, was to have these individuals, or someone close to them, also read and see the consensus made public on this message board, and having done so, remove the images from their websites, and refrain from using them in their other media sources. Perhaps this will happen, as then I would not have to to be put in the place of being the bad guy for protecting what is mine from those who have already stolen it.

deepsoup
02-23-2003, 06:11 AM
After reading the suggestions posted here, I will follow up my e-mail with phone calls, and certified mail. The fact that I have to do this with other aikidoka, people who should know not to do this sort of thing, truly makes me feel ill. The thought of having to go to the trouble and expense of hiring legal assistance, sickens me to no end. However, ill, sick or otherwise, I will do what is necessary to stop this blatant theft.
Aren't you going a bit over the top with the hyperbole here? I mean no disrespect, but you really are starting to come across as a bit of a drama queen. Are you rehearsing your big scene in court already?
My hope, in addition to soliciting opinions, was to have these individuals, or someone close to them, also read and see the consensus made public on this message board, and having done so, remove the images from their websites, and refrain from using them in their other media sources. Perhaps this will happen, as then I would not have to to be put in the place of being the bad guy for protecting what is mine from those who have already stolen it.
I see I misunderstood your original intention, I thought you were genuinely interested in other people's opinions on this, but I guess you'd already made your mind up and were hoping for confirmation.

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that you felt you'd be 'the bad guy' if you quite reasonably got in touch with people to take issue with their alleged theft of your logo, and yet you dont feel villanous hiring lawyers to do it for you? What is this love affair between Americans and litigation?

I can't speak for Mr Novak, but actually, your logo struck me as rather generic too.

Don't get me wrong, its very nice, and I can see why you're proud of it. But when you get right down to it, your logo consists of the word "aikido" in English and Japanese, which obviously you don't own in either language. I'm guessing you dont own the font used to write it in romanji, and while its a nice idea to combine "AI" with :ai:, "KI" with :ki:, etc.. I seriously doubt you're the first to do so.

Obviously I'm not a lawyer, but it really strikes me that the only thing you can claim as an original work is the calligraphy of the kanji themselves. (Assuming your shihan hasn't placed those in the public domain, in some way. If he owns copyright on those, arguably the only truly original part of your design, maybe you should seek his advice? Would that be appropriate?)

I definitely dont think you have sufficient cause to hire hitmen, but whether you have sufficient cause to hire lawyers is up to you. Maybe you have money to burn, I dont know. But even so there are far too many lawyers in the world for my tastes, and I for one would prefer you not to encourage them unless its absolutely necessary.

Regards

Sean

x

Kevin Wilbanks
02-23-2003, 07:37 AM
The appeal or imaginativeness of the design is not at issue. I don't think there is much question it is a unique design, and provably so. As far as wrongdoing goes, to me, it's all about whether the people using the logo volunteer to remove it or offer to pay for it once the situation is made clear to them.

It sounds like right now, it has not really been established whether they are refusing or dissing the creator, so I tend to agree that the time for high drama has not arrived. It sounds like the two users probably pulled it off the Aikfaq under the impression it was free clipart, so I doubt there is anything nefarious in it. The real error occurred when someone put it in with free clip art in the first place - this too was probably an innocent/ignorant error and not the work of a dastardly moustache-twirling villain. I don't think there is much point in making moralistic speculations about the people involved before real contact is made with all the parties.

If they are dismissive and uncooperative though, I don't see why getting a lawyer to send a threatening letter, etc... is that out of line. Given the nature of the dispute, what would Sean do? Fly to the dojo and/or residences of the people involved and challenge them to duels?

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-23-2003, 02:21 PM
Aren't you going a bit over the top with the hyperbole here? I mean no disrespect, but you really are starting to come across as a bit of a drama queen. Are you rehearsing your big scene in court already?

...Got to love that UK sense of humor.

In any case, when it was one site, something I found out about quite a while ago, I thought I would just contact them and they would comply. I guessed wrong. Yes I only contacted them through e-mail, because I could take the time to edit my words and come out sounding reasonable, rather than harsh. However, when it turned out to be two, and then three, one of which was by an organization that, in my opinion, would attach a negative feeling to my logo, I would say that I feel compelled to put an immediate stop to it.

Imagine, Mr. Sean, that someone took a picture of you, made a nice poster of it, and put it around your country with the words COMPLETE WANKER across your chest. Might you get a bit dramatic after you realized what you would have to do, the energy you would have to put in and the expense it may require you to put out in order to rectify a situation that you had no part in making, other than combing your hair that day, of course...?

I see I misunderstood your original intention, I thought you were genuinely interested in other people's opinions on this, but I guess you'd already made your mind up and were hoping for confirmation.

Actually, that is not correct.

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that you felt you'd be 'the bad guy' if you quite reasonably got in touch with people to take issue with their alleged theft of your logo, and yet you dont feel villanous hiring lawyers to do it for you?

If you read my words, I clearly said, "...the thought...makes me ill."

What is this love affair between Americans and litigation?

Now, I can't speak for all Americans, but I can say that I am sure that most of us are still wondering what is this love affair between the British and those ridiculous wigs. How about for the balance of this thread we refrain from making generic and stereotypical remarks, shall we?

I can't speak for Mr Novak, but actually, your logo struck me as rather generic too.

Excellent. That is at least one person who won't be using it on his website.

... and while its a nice idea to combine "AI" with :ai:, "KI" with :ki:, etc.. I seriously doubt you're the first to do so.

In this case, it really doesn't matter. This is not a case where I am suing someone for there use of a similar trademark, or one that could be "construed" as similar. This is a case of someone actually using something that doesn't belong to them. Period. If there had been some artwork that they had created on their own, having never seen my logo, and it was similar, legally, they still could not use it, had I trademarked the logo. That is an extreme scenario given we are talking about aikido organizations. However, this logo is in use by a non-profit, community-based organization whose intentions, goals and methodologies are 100% opposite to one of the organizations, and from a commercial viewpoint, as non-profit organizations are really public companies in a way, to allow this type of negative association, knowing that it existed would be negligence on our part.

I definitely dont think you have sufficient cause to hire hitmen, but whether you have sufficient cause to hire lawyers is up to you.

Obviously you understood my suggestion about hit men, was complete sarcasm, and nothing more. That was my way of saying that it was not too dramatic a situation, just one where I needed other's opinions to help me with possible alternative ideas I had not yet considered.

Maybe you have money to burn, I dont know. But even so there are far too many lawyers in the world for my tastes, and I for one would prefer you not to encourage them unless its absolutely necessary.

If I burnt money, I would be issued a summons, and have to hire an attorney to defend my actions. Given both our feelings about lawyers, you could hopefully see that won't be something I will be doing in the near future. Should I win the lotto, I reserve the right to rescind my previous comment.

I do want' to make clear that although I dsagree with some of what you have said, I am happy that you added your comments for me to consider a "best approach" given the circumstances.

I would like to say that it seems as though our friends at http://www.uscra.info have already complied with my request. Can anyone verify otherwise? Thanks again.

Les Kelso
02-23-2003, 05:49 PM
I think there are so many varied possibilities of appropriate responses to someone who has (inadvertantly or not) used or misused our personal properties that one toys with the absurd in asking for opinions on the "proper" thing to do...After all if it is 'your' property then you should have your 'own' response and not be apologetic about it. I agree with Mr Akiyama in taking a low key and humble approach as one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar...however as I stated above...It is YOUR property and ultimately YOU have to make the decision on how to approach the wrongful usage of it...As a matter of

"2 cents worth" you might consider making a list...such as:

1. Are they using it for personal or monetary gain?

2. Is it used in an honorable and tasteful manner?

3. Do they refuse to acknowledge the authorship?

4. Are they willing to compensate in some manner?

5. Are you certain they have received notice of their wrongful usage of your material?

6. What do you want if they continue to use it?

7. What do you want if they discontinue to use it?

8.

ross_l
02-23-2003, 07:04 PM
Looks like someone got the message at

http://www.uscra.info

I don't see your logo on their site anymore.

YEME
02-23-2003, 08:36 PM
find out first who runs the publication.

put your request to cease usage of your material in writing -the snail mail kind.

quite often email is redirected to the wrong person and never arrives at appropriate destination.

While it is easy to let your anger/disappointment at being ripped off get the better of you, it may be a case of waiting until you have verification that the people using your material are doing so despite your protests and with full knowledge that they are breaching the copyright act.

Bogeyman
02-23-2003, 09:38 PM
Hi Shaun,

Sorry it took a while to respond. What I meant by my earlier comments was that someone could do something wrong where they get in serious trouble or look bad and if your logo is associated with it, even without your permission, could still be attached to you because you have the same logo. This could hurt the image of your logo. It is nothing but guilt by association which is why I believe it is important to protect trademarks and copyrights. This does happen in big businesses and can be very costly to them. It can be devastating to a smaller business. I hope this clears up what I meant.

E

one4k4
02-24-2003, 07:37 AM
Even if the graphic created is comprised of the text "Aikido" and the kanji for Ai, Ki, and Do, the simple fact that he places them together in the arrangement he desires, makes the image copyrightable.

Now, I can't go taking pieces of my favorite Perl code, C code, and anything else from my favorite apps, written under an open source license, and write it as closed source.

But I suppose that's a different type of infringement.

It sounds like he has print copies of this logo, from over 10 years ago. We all know that the internet wasn't invented until the mid 90's when Al gore thought it up. (:) Sarcasm, indeed.) But my point being that he can probably prove the "prior art" idea, shutting down any image on the net in general. (Umm, any of the images that are copies of his.. )

But, imho, that doesn't mean "bring out the big guns", I too would take it as a compliment, especially in the world of Aikido. If I made a logo and it was used in a profit gaining venture, such as another print magazine/paper, that's another story.

A simple e-mail or phone call is all I would really do. But I congratulate you for standing up and pointing out the copyright laws and doing that whole.. thing.

Now, somebody go copy my images, I need to be reassured that my artwork is good as well. ;)

Hanna B
02-24-2003, 08:01 AM
As an artist, and computer graphics person, I spent weeks working with ideas trying to attain a logo graphic that would speak to everyone, everywhere.Those of you who say that imitation should be considerad flattery, I think you have missed a major point: you are talking about a professional. Most of us amateurs would think differently of matter if it concerned us, maybe.

achilleus
02-24-2003, 10:07 AM
[QUOTE="Ottoniel Ojeda (otto)"]Ok..wait a sec guys, i've recognized your logo inmediatly it appears on the AikidoFaq Multimedia Gallery..

AikidoFAQ Gallery (http://www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/kanji/image1.gif.html)

I am sure that the logo in question is new to the Aiki Faq website. I don't think there is any question that if Mr.Ravens' copywrite would hold.

DA

achilleus
02-24-2003, 10:10 AM
Looks like someone got the message at

http://www.uscra.info

I don't see your logo on their site anymore.
Since you brought them up again, who ar ethese guys, anyway? I dind't realize I wasn't training in REAL aikido!?!

I always get PO'd when someone claims to know whats real and whats not.

DA

rachmass
02-24-2003, 10:59 AM
thanks for saying something I wanted to David; I was being to PC to say anything. Does anyone know these folks or train with them? What are they like?

bcole23
02-24-2003, 11:44 AM
First of all, your attitude is definitely all wrong. Don't take their having your picture up there as a personal insult. It seems to me that you've taken this very personally. Stuff like this happens on the internet all the time. Now, if you think about how most Aikido web sites are created/run, you'd realize that there probably isn't anyone actually maintaining the darn thing. So just sending an email most probably wont get you a response. You best and cheapest bet is old fashioned snail mail. Also, once you realize that most likely, they thought that the image was free, then it's hard to blame them.

However, if they are unresponsive, then still.. DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Just take whatever measure is appropriate to get them to remove it. You must prove that you have notified them of your request and a reasonable date that it is to be removed by. (certified mail)

Here is how I would do it.

1. Call them. (will probably be resolved right then and there)

or if you don't want to fork over the price of a phone call...

2. Write them.

If you can't fork over the price of a stamp then you don't really care anyways.

3. Write them by certified mail.

4. Take legal action. Court costs can be recovered I believe..

Anywho, I'm just restating what's already been stated. Just don't be a baby about it. Be a man.

When I did my dojo's web site, I asked permission to use the pic of O'Sensei from Jun, and I still have the reply with his assent, in case someone says, "Hey!! That's mine take it down!!", I can say, "Ok, and here's where I got it from and here's all the correspondence. Have a coke and a smile."

siwilson
02-24-2003, 12:00 PM
Looks like someone got the message at

http://www.uscra.info

I don't see your logo on their site anymore.
Phew!!???

:freaky:

MattRice
02-24-2003, 12:40 PM
I would just like to formally request permission to use this phrase:
...dastardly moustache-twirling villain....
as it cracks me up.

Matt

Kevin Wilbanks
02-24-2003, 02:57 PM
I'm afraid I hold the copyright to that phrase. You'll have to check with my lawyers and agent regarding pricing.

Erik
02-24-2003, 10:24 PM
So far, no lawyers, which means I fit right in on this one since I'm not a lawyer either.

Taking the word Aikido and putting the the kanji in it is a pretty gray area to me. It's not exactly original and I really doubt this is copyrightable. It may be, but I don't think it is. Perhaps if it said something distinct, other than Aikido and the kanji, it would be. For instance, if it said, NY Aikido Center in some way, or Aikido magazine, for instance.

From

http://www.chillingeffects.org/copyright/faq.cgi#QID459

Question: Does copyright protect words or short phrases?

Answer: No. Names, titles, and short phrases are not subject to copyright protection. These are not deemed to be "original works of authorship" under the Copyright Act. Names may be protected by trademark, in some instances. See the Trademark FAQ for more information.

So, while works of art are protected by default with a copyright I don't think it flies on this one. Neither the word Aikido, nor the kanji are distinct, nor, even your property. What you are attempting to copyright is a use of font, color, kanji, their spacing and a word all of which are in common use.

Short statement: I don't think this is original enough to qualify.

I have no idea if this would qualify as a trademark, I really doubt it, but then you have to register those so it's not a trademark.

Secondly, there is an issue of damages. What is there to collect? How are you being harmed? Ask yourself if it is worth the psychic effort of trying to effect change on this one? Ask yourself if it's even worth the psychic effort of cranking out the posts and aggravation you've obviously been feeling.

Third, I can't imagine those other guys would care. Just using the word Aikido would look better for their site.

Finally, and to repeat myself, is it really worth the aggravation? You think it's bad now, wait until you drag in guys at $125/hr+?

Anyways, good luck with it, and as I said, I'm not a lawyer and have never even thought of playing one on tv.

I do recommend the following site for those with questions on copyrights:

http://www.chillingeffects.org

MattRice
02-25-2003, 09:36 AM
I'm afraid I hold the copyright to that phrase. You'll have to check with my lawyers and agent regarding pricing.
TOO LATE!

last night I had a rousing tickle session with my 2 year old whilst shouting The Phrase over and over in my best Snidely Wiplash-esque voice. Now I'll owe royalties I suspect.

ross_l
02-25-2003, 01:34 PM
I thought you might be interested in this. I heard this once before but wasn't positive.

Quoting from the "10 big myths about copyright explained" webpage which you can find here:

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

"1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."

This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.

It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either."

Kelly Allen
02-26-2003, 03:51 AM
I have to say after following this thread I have learned alot about copyright and trade mark laws. I've said it before you do have a nice Logo, and what you designed should be yours. I also thought that copy righting our logo has protected you but from what I have read it might not be the case. Trade marking sounds more like what you should have done to protect your logo.

However, even if you did try to protect your logo, what would be the consequences of that? Well the obvious is multiple lawyers bills for every site you try to make right their wrong. Even if you did win there are no assurances that the institution would pay, or be able to pay, for the use of same. In fact it would quite probable just shut down the dojo. This is assumeing after paying a lawyer lots of money that you even win the suit.

I say pick your fights carefully. I'm sure you will find many more sites using your logo. If you have to, fight the ones you deem to be useing your logo inappropriately. The other dojos will probably be happy to comply with a formal letter from you. On the other hand if it is a reputable dojo, Leave that fight be.

Fighting any of these might be more aggravation than it's worth. You might find the fight never ends. I hope you find a good solution to your dilema.