As Humans Do?


The world of graphic t-shirt design is one rife with instances of misappropriation. It is very easy to whip up a batch of Ts, and with that ease of manufacture often comes a less-than-discerning look at the rights behind the artwork and graphics on the Ts. The easy availability of artwork online (which can be had with a simple right click/save as) only exacerbates the problem.

Here, we have a situation where one company is alleged to have misappropriate the look of another’s t-shirt design. This dispute is especially interesting because it involves both graphic and textual content. As a rule, single words and short phrases are not covered by copyright law (they may, however, be covered by trademark law). If a phrase reaches a certain length, though, it may be covered by copyright law as a literary work. Poems, haiku, and certain other literary works that are not necessarily lengthy are nonetheless artistic and should be protectable by law.

And, the original combination of otherwise unprotectable elements is subject to protection.

So, what, here, is protectable? And, has someone done something wrong?

-ATTORNEY SCOTT ([email protected])


Origin 68:


Downward Dog-Gone it! Yoga Studio Accused of Art Theft


In this installment, we have the (alleged) wholesale misappropriation of an artist’s work for use in advertising. Kinfolk, a yoga studio in California, apparently did a right click + save as move on the artist’s work, and slapped the name of their studio on top of it. The artist writes directly to the studio, below.

-ATTORNEY SCOTT ([email protected])


Dear Kinfolk Yoga,

My name is Tim. I doubt you know me but you have decided to steal artwork from me to use in a local newspaper print ad for yourself. It is unfathomable to me, as a professional and independent artist, that someone would do such a thing. But I’m guessing you saw some “pretty” art that was “almost” print-ready in size, because yes, I give away desktop/phone wallpapers to my fans every now and then to use on their personal devices – not in any sort of commercial way at all to help make them money, or sell services.

What have you done is terrible. I’ll probably call you later today and chat about this some more, but in the meantime, you should probably immediately remove my artwork from any current/future ads and anywhere else they may be being used illegally at the moment.

All the best (not),

Timothy J. Reynolds

The link can be found here:


Boosting a Logo Design?


Logos are an interesting beast, legally-speaking. They can be protected by both trademark and copyright laws, depending on how unique the artwork is that comprises the logo. Most logos, though, are small and somewhat simplistic, meaning that they are best protected by trademark. Below, one discerning reader has identified what he believes to be design theft of logo artwork. What thinketh you?

-Attorney Scott ([email protected])



Below is an image from an agency called “Oohology.” In a recent tweet, the company celebrated the logos they had created in 2013.  One of these designs, though, appears to be ripped off from Jamba Juice. How no one has noticed this yet is beyond me. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that there aren’t any Jamba Juices around this city.

The images:



« Older Entries