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http://web.archive.org/web/20020808140127im_/http://www.true...

On the left hand side of that image you see a little segment that conists of a hand, an eye and an ear. Those stand for interaction, video and audio. TrueTech hired Jonathan Kraij, a talented young designer to make that logo and it was featured in many places, magazines such as wave and many others besides in the late 90's.

Not three weeks after one prominent bout of exposure the logo appeared in an advertising campaign by Sony the Netherlands.

We talked it over with them and they traced it to a guy working for one of the agencies that designed the campaign. He'd most likely been subconsciously influenced by exposure from a magazine. Sony was pretty good about it, promised they wouldn't use the logo any further and paid us a fair bit of money to offset the use.

All in all it could have been a lot worse and I think that before you start using words like 'pirates' you have to dig a little deeper to be sure that it was intentional and that it wasn't some external party that caused this.

Sony is a damaged brand, they've done lots of terribly stupid stuff but at a minimum they should be given the benefit of the doubt until there is hard proof they did this on purpose. We all know Sony fucked up in the past but that is no reason to automatically assume they did so again without any proof.




Interesting. We should give the benefit of the doubt in cases regarding commercial use from copyright infringement. If its a 9 year old who is downloading a song, then she must be aware of copyright law and thus can't be given the same benefit of the doubt. That girl is a pirate.

Is it just me who thinks this logic is wrong?

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Of course she should be given the benefit of the doubt too.

See, if you as an outsider want to make sure that all parties are held to the same standard then you should be willing to apply that standard to your worst enemy as well.

Note that I am not in any way defending Sony or their conduct, I just want the same standard that I'd like to apply to downloading music to apply to this instance of possible copyright violation.

Sony is a terrible company and they deserve to go down because of the way they've harassed private individuals, they've lobbied for ridiculous legislation and have done an enormous amount of wrong. And in spite of all that you should still be even handed in dealing with them.

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I agree that we should hold all parties to the same standard no matter who the party is, but commercial usage should add additional expectations from the defending party. Commercial use is commonly perceived as "worse" than if it's done for private/non-profit use.

But my initial comment was mostly to acknowledge that we do not give the benefit of doubt to private persons, but we do to commercial entities. The law should be equal, but had this been a discussion about someone who downloaded songs, there wouldn’t have been a single comment questioning the validity of the accusation.

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I work in advertising for multi-national clients the size of Sony, and believe me, acquiring the rights to images is a hugely important step in any marketing campaign. Most likely Sony hired an outside firm to create them a logo, and that firm copied it instead. I have no doubt Sony will apologize and pay a standard fee plus some for its use. If you think a huge corporation like Sony, with billions of dollars of sales a year, is purposely looking to rip off a single $1000 logo and hoping nobody would notice, you don't understand big business.

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After they were told of their mistake, did they stop with the infringement or did they continue selling their devices?

Its one thing to do a mistake, but its an other to continue because its cheaper to ignore copyright law than to do a complete stop in the production and selling of a product. At that point they are doing willingly infringing copyright law.

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What is the likely reaction going to be for the agency that was supposed to create this for Sony? Will they just be fired from doing work for Sony, or are there any clawback provisions for the firm submitting supposedly original work that wasn't?

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> there wouldn’t have been a single comment questioning the validity of the accusation.

That just isn't true.

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Thankfully, we do have hacker news as a good indicator. Lets use the case I refereed to: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4818159

Even the title say "pirate bay girl". Not a single comment ask if this was just a innocent mistake done by the girl. not a single comment address if either the father or the girl have read copyright law or was aware which sites are authorized sources and which aren't.

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> there wouldn’t have been a single comment questioning the validity of the accusation.

did you mean something else? You could not of meant that.

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Could not've.

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...young Skywalker

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> See, if you as an outsider want to make sure that all parties are held to the same standard then you should be willing to apply that standard to your worst enemy as well.

That is a pretty difficult line to uphold when you can have no sway on said worst enemy and he's already been engaging in egregious behavior with no end in sight. Then isn't it just you being the sucker?

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I don't think it's necessary to use the same standard in personal-use and commercial-use situations. The current law already makes such a distinction. That seems reasonable and consistent to me.

So, get back to us when the 9-year-old uses the pirated music to attract business to her lemonade stand.

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It's not just you. That's an example of "high court" for the rich and well-connected persons, versus "low court" for the vast rabble. Less serious charges, with minor or no penalty in "high court". More serious charges, with large penalties, often with strict sentencing guidelines, for the "low court".

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Lead by example. Just because Sony is a douche doesn't mean you have to be.

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Really they should have handled this the same way as the other case. Sent a 600€ request (or 6000€) for a donation to KDE and a NDA and possibly a licensing agreement.

It's pretty clear Sony did not intend to do this and most likely just a placeholder image left in by mistake. Who at Sony would think saving 300$ on designing the image outweighs the risk of this.

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It's pretty clear Sony did not intend to do this

How can you say this? If you've ever worked in a corporate environment, you know that layers and layers of reviews and supervision and requirements exist to prevent any mis-step. If this image flew through that process, then Sony knows what it did.

I think you're making an unwarranted assumption. My assumption about Sony's massive, multi-review process is far more likely to be upheld by fact.

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I think you're making an unwarranted assumption. My assumption about Sony's massive, multi-review process is far more likely to be upheld by fact.

I sincerely doubt your assumption will be upheld. I've worked at large multi-nationals, I currently run an agency which does design services for large multinational companies. Not once have I heard nor seen anyone do something like run an icon set for a support page through something like TinEye or Google Image Search to search for possible copyright infringement.

Legal resources at a company tend to be scarce and expensive, and this would be a waste and there's too much gray area in design copyright to make this sort of thing feasible. Also its easier to have your internal teams just do their job and design icons from scratch, outside contractors are going to be bound by contracts to ensure the work they provide is adequately licensed and to indemnify the company against any losses if its not.

Not to mention Sony will spend a small bit of money to deal with this slip up as opposed to a great amount of money trying to police every design they use.

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But Sony has a big policy (https://internet.sony.tv/customer/template/IPNotice.vm) of respecting "Intellectual Property" of others! And of defending its own "IP" quite zealously (http://www.itproportal.com/2011/06/28/sony-says-attacked-bec...) How can you write that?!? Do you mean to say that Sony would consider violating some person's Property Rights just because it's cheaper or even free of charge to steal "Intellectual Property" than it is to figure out if some person owns the "IP" and who that person might be, and then negotiate a contract for the legal, proper use of the "IP"? Shocking! Just Shocking that some person would impugn Sony's good "Intellectual Property" name over an icon!

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  | If this image flew through that process, then
  | Sony knows what it did.
So there are people at Sony that can determine the source of a random icon presented to them with 100% accuracy? It's impossible that some lowly contractor somewhere copied it, and lied about it to management? It's impossible that there was human error along the way in the review process?

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To be fair, a few seconds with Google will usually identify the source of a given image with reasonable accuracy if that image has been copied from another public project. So yes, there almost certainly are people at Sony who could do what you described.

I'm torn on this whole issue. On the one hand, I think the world would be a much better place if we didn't have silly draconian copyright laws, so I don't like to see those silly laws given any further legitimacy by using them (and I write that as a guy who makes his living creating stuff that is protected by copyright). On the other hand, those laws are laws because of companies like Sony, and hoping they won't be used doesn't stop them being laws.

I suspect if companies like Sony started paying obscenely disproportionate fines for careless minor infringements, this might be the fastest way to get the problem fixed, though regrettably with significant collateral damage resulting along the way. For example, if they have sponsored laws that call for criminal sanctions against individuals who infringe copyright for commercial gain, those laws should be hovering over any conceivably responsible individuals at Sony and anywhere they outsourced to as well in cases like this. If merely working for a company like Sony on any creative project is potentially enough to get you a criminal record, the true damage caused by draconian copyright laws will become apparent to them very quickly (and probably quite briefly, since it seems unlikely that a company that became so toxic to employees and agencies would last very long).

I really dislike that I've come to that conclusion, but looking at the world as it is rather than as I wish it to be, I have trouble seeing any more logical outcome.

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I work in an environment similar to this (an outside agency working with a large multi-national) and believe me, I CAN believe that this is an unintentional mistake. Also, there's not "multiple layers and layers of reviews" for small "build your vaio" websites such as this. Sony may be large, but that doesn't mean it's CEO, legal team, or any senior person with a VP or C-level title ever saw this.

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I work at an agency, and we have done things for Sony in the past. Even small campaign sites like this get caught in "legal review" for a week or two at the minimum.

That being said, I would imagine that someone in the agency that did this thought that "open source" means "free", and that the lawyers at Sony weren't informed where the icons came from (or didn't ask).

Ultimately, I do think KDE should fire a takedown notice and make a big stink about it, though. Sony certainly wouldn't be shy or understanding about it, so neither should they.

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You think it only costs $300 to create a top notch icon?

You've never met a designer in your life, have you?

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Designers overrate their influence. I can certainly get a usable settings icon for less than $300. We're talking about a website to help users use the hardware they already bought, not trying to win a design award.

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You may be underrating the designer's desire to eat food, live indoors, and use software that isn't pirated.

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Interesting historical point.

The point that I take away from the current episode, though, is that Sony is profoundly hypocritical. They are a "damaged brand" because of their past actions. That shouldn't give them a free pass, but should instead cause increased scrutiny.

And yet again, it appears that increased scrutiny is warranted.

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We all know Sony fucked up in the past but that is no reason to automatically assume they did so again without any proof.

Why not? When somebody or something repeatedly behaves in a certain way, I think it's perfectly valid to assume that they will probably continue behaving that way in the future (unless there is some evidence otherwise, which in Sony's case I personally haven't seen).

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While you are right, a lot of the backlash is somewhat deserved: Sony was and is aggressive in pursuing their copyrights, which is part of the damage to their brand.

I don't think they did this on purpose. But they are part of a group of companies that don't care about those complexities when they sue others on copyright grounds, so they should tread very carefully there.

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Most of the copyright cartels like Sony fight against giving people the benefit of the doubt in copyright. So they are not entitled to it any more.

*(They promote automatic systems that will kick people off the internet after 3 strikes, they promote things like YouTube copyright detection software, etc.)

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This isn't subconscious influence, this is copy-and-paste. I'm all for avoiding lynch mobs though.

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