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Can a seller be held legally responsible for a copyright infringement?


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So lets say that we have the following scenario:
A buyer purchases a logo from a seller. The buyer then uses this logo to represent their company and conduct business. The buyer does no realize that this logo is completely or partially copy and pasted from a logo that represents another active company (it is a copyright infringement). The owner of the other company then comes after the buyer and possibly files suit.
So the question is- who is held responsible here?
Obviously the buyer who used the logo is responsible. But is the seller who created the logo in the first place also responsible legally? Can the seller be sued or something?

I was looking through gigs here on Fiverr and I noticed so many that had the same sample work photos and such so it got me thinking about how this stuff works

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Good question, I’m wondering that too.

Tracing the seller could be very difficult in such a tricky situation; chances are, if they are doing such dirty business, they are also very quick to collect the dough and run away or create a different account and start over.

While it’s likely possible in theory to obtain the necessary information from Fiverr, the process is likely to be slower that a sloth running a marathon and more painful than repeated stabbing. Another issue is, upon delivery the buyer gets all the rights for the piece, so technically its his work and his fault after that.

Likely to be a nightmare, in other words.

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If these people are smart then they’re just using stock images to build the logos with. There are a lot of people using similar logo creation programs so that’s probably why the logos look similar. But in any case, if the buyer gets sued by the company then the buyer can sue the seller for whatever judgment they had to pay.

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On a site like Fiverr? Highly doubt it. When you are purchasing a logo on the Internet, there are risks involved. Especially when there is no ‘legal’ contract and you can’t identify the person you has sold you the logo. There are plenty of sellers with fake names/profiles/photos here. All they have to do is close their account and move on and after that you won’t even be able to identify who sold you what.
And trying to reach to that person even through customer care will be faaar slower than you getting sued by a company, most probably on your homeland.

Plus, the laws aren’t as strict in some some parts of the world as they are in others. So you are on your own.

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If Amazon could sue over 1000 sellers for writing paid reviews, I suppose it’s possible to hold a seller legally responsible for a copyright infringement. It would be difficult and costly to the buyer, and possibly not worth it in the end, but if someone is persistent enough (and has enough funds), it might be doable.

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Here is how it will work in reality, should you be using a logo that is already being used.

There will come a letter to your business address or home address if it is at all possible to
find that.
The letter will be from a lawyer, or from the legal department of the business. It will demand that you cease and desist from using the logo. It will threaten you with taking you to court and winning in a lawsuit. You will be told you will have to pay all financial damages and loss to the company’s reputation you caused along with all legal fees.
It may contain an injunction from a court near you to stop using the logo along with a bill for legal fees probably above $100,000, along with more threats on how they will proceed to collect the money. You will be terrified beyond belief.

No they will not ask you if you paid someone else to make the logo for you. It is all on you, not the designer you hired. You would have to sue the designer yourself who probably is in another country. Good luck with that.

There are companies that research logos to make sure they are not in use. The entire thing about using logos is that it’s taking a risk. There is a way around all this which I won’t go into here to avoid any risk that you might unknowingly be using someone else’s logo. There are ways to protect yourself from what can be literally a devastating experience should you be caught doing this.

Here is one hint on how to avoid problems like this: take a good look at fiverr’s logo.
Take a good look at Google’s logo. Think about it.

Your logo is your responsibility, not the designers. Be smart. Think about fiverr’s logo and why no one can copy it, and why it is not copied from someone else.

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I am not a lawyer, but since you ask, I’d say both. The seller should hold all the licenses and other legal stuff for what they’re selling. It’s also on the buyer to carefully check that what they have isn’t copied. I’m not sure a subpoena would work as this is an international company, and it’s not that difficult to set up an anonymous account if that’s your scammy little bag. Caveat emptor, in other words.

I still don’t understand what backlinks was trying to say. And he liked his own post. Again.

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The answer is yes, by the buyer he could be held liable.

The company who got copied would sue the person or company who is actually using the logo. Just to make a copy of a logo is ok but if you display it in public as your own, that is what gets you sued. The designer who copied it would not be sued, except by the buyer of it.

There has to be monetary damages to sue which means the person using the logo would be sued due to harming the reputation or causing confusion among buyers of the logo owner’s products.

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No, not everything on the Internet is free. Check out the concept of “intellectual property” sometime. Some owners of such property allow free usage of their work, and some don’t.

For example, if you wish to test your “everything on the internet can not be sued (sic)” theory, try setting up a Youtube or Vimeo “channel” of nothing by full-length Disney movies.

The Mouse will not be amused.

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