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It is not difficult to tell when something is the exact copy of something else -the two look alike, after all!
It is far more difficult when the copy is not an exact or nearly exact duplicate, but simply another way to express an identical or similar concept. In the Creative field, a "concept" is an abstract idea that is typically described in words or represented visually.
Concept copying is a very important subject in the design community - both for professionals and non-professionals, offline and online. After all, while it's commonly accepted that all design is inspired by other design, mere copying is NOT inspiration. But it also should be said that not everything we create is unique. We are influenced by our culture, our history and our environment. Yet there is a very clear difference between inspiration, influence and outright stealing.
Because standard projects on crowdSPRING are visible to all users, it is not uncommon for Creatives to come up with similar ideas. We extend our intellectual property efforts to protect the originality of ideas in a specific project, even if two designs aren't exact copies of one another. For example, if the Buyer's project brief and/or name of the Buyer's company or product doesn't naturally suggest certain design elements, we will protect any original entries that introduce original elements into a specific project and will not allow other Creatives in the project to use the same elements (especially after a Buyer reacts positively when seeing the ideas from the Creative who first introduced those elements).
How does this work in real life? Let me illustrate with an example: a consulting company called James Consulting is looking for a logo. Nothing in the name or Buyer's brief suggested any specific design elements. A Creative submits a logo with an orange (the fruit) and the Buyer reacts very favorably to that design element by giving that design 5 stars and in the comments to the design. We will protect the originality of that idea by protecting the original Creative's right to continue to refine/improve their design and will, when asked by that Creative, bar others from using the orange design element in this project.
We do this to be fair. If the galleries were closed, nobody would know that the Buyer liked the orange and so it's highly unlikely that others would submit designs with that same element.
On the other hand, we won't protect unoriginal ideas, even if they are submitted first in a project. For example, in a project for a sea shipping company, we won't protect design elements using ships as graphics - the name itself suggests that such elements are appropriate.
Last updated: 29-Oct-10 11:47 p.m. GMT